Despite the name, a lease to own car program isn't another name for leasing a new vehicle with the option to buy at the end. Lease to own car programs are actually more like rent to own programs, where you agree to make payments for a set term and gain ownership once the final payment is made.
What Is a Lease to Own Car?
When you get a lease to own vehicle, you drive it and make payments on it, but you don't own it until it's paid off. Unlike purchasing a car, the leasing company's name remains on the title as the owner, which means you have to pay title and license fees at the end of the lease term once the vehicle is yours.
Unlike leasing, you aren't going to get a brand new car, although you have the chance to walk away from the vehicle at the end. The vehicles that are typically available for lease to own programs are used cars, much like the vehicles you find on buy here pay here (BHPH) lots, but that doesn't mean the cars aren't worth having.
Lease to own programs can be a great option for bad credit borrowers. There's usually no credit check involved, so as long as you have the needed income and down payment, you should be able to get approved for one of these programs. One last thing to keep in mind: these vehicles are leased "as is." Since there's not typically a warranty involved, you may want to consider purchasing a used car service contract.
Getting a Lease to Own Car
As with financing any new or used vehicle, there are advantages and disadvantages to the process. Whether or not the pros outweigh the cons depends on your situation. However, lease to own programs can be a good place to start when you don't know where to turn.
Let's take a look at some of the high and low points of these programs:
- Lower prices compared to new cars
- Payments may be tailored to your pay schedule and may be required on a weekly or bi-weekly basis
- No credit checks
- Sign and drive at the same place
- Payments may have to be made in person
- Payments may not be reported to the credit bureaus
- Only used vehicles
- High interest rates and short lease to own terms can lead to higher payments
Now that you have the tools to determine if a lease to own program is for you, you need to be able to find a dealership that has this service. Not all small independent dealers or BHPH dealerships offer lease to own car programs. But, if you're looking for one of these programs because you don't think you can qualify for a typical loan, you may be in for a surprise.
Find a Dealership for Your Situation
The Car Connection works with special finance dealerships all over the country. Our partner dealers are signed up with lenders that know how to work with many types of challenging credit situations.
We know that sometimes getting the auto loan you need and finding an affordable, reliable car means more than just driving a new set of wheels – it can mean the ability to improve your way of life.
Whether you're looking for a lease to own dealership, a special finance dealer to work with poor credit, or you just need a new or used vehicle, we want to help. Fill out our easy auto loan request form to get the process of getting matched with a local dealership started today.