How to Lease a New Car in 9 Easy Steps!

I recently leased a new car, and I am totally in love with it! The idea of leasing appeals to me because of how little maintenance a lease requires, and because I get a brand new model every 3 years. Plus, the pricing on leases can be great if you negotiate, and you can get away with putting very little to nothing down. True, you don’t own the car when the lease is over, so you lose that equity, but cars depreciate in value so quickly that, to me, it works out.

Here are a few of the steps that I took when recently leasing my new car, hopefully you find them helpful!

1) Do your research online before even heading out to the dealer. I was lucky enough to have a local dealer that my honey purchased his car at, but sites like and a Google search of the dealers in your area should provide you with reviews to help guide you.

2) Make up your mind! I selected the make and model I was interested in, and had a few optional customization options broken out prior to leaving the house. I also had a separate wish list, complete with my must-haves and nice-to-haves. I didn’t focus too much on color, a little flexibility can help you.

3) Eat before you go! You will be there a while, especially if you’re going to negotiate. I think I speak for most people when I say that I have so much less patience when I’m hungry. You’re going to need your strength to remain patient and get everything you want, for the price you want to pay.

4) Decide how much you’re willing to put down. You will never put $0 down, you will always have to pay tax, title and license fees when leasing a new car. You will also usually have to pay the first months payment up front. You may choose to put a few thousand dollars down to lessen your monthly payments, but, if you go into the dealer with a reasonable monthly payment in mind, you shouldn’t have to. I knew how much I wanted to pay and I got the car that I wanted (with all of my must-haves and nice-to-haves) for the price that I wanted to pay, without putting anything down.

5) This brings me to my next point, decide what your monthly payment should be. This is the number you’re comfortable with, based on what you can afford, and what type of car you’re looking to lease.  Here is a good rule of thumb. If you can only afford $200 per month, you’re probably not going to want to stroll into your Mercedes Benz or BMW dealerships, but there are a lot of other makes and models that you can afford! Do your research and use the payment calculators on manufacturer websites to get a nice reality check on what your budget allows you!

6) Find out what offers are currently available, including specials, dealer cash and model year end deals. Another great thing to keep in mind is any upcoming holidays. If you’re looking at a new car in the summer, think about how close you are to Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day, when the dealers are more likely to have sales. Columbus Day and President’s Day are also great times to lease. Model year ends are usually in August, so that is a great time to pick up “last year’s model” which is actually still this year’s model.

7) Determine how many miles you will drive in the year. You can calculate the distance to and from work, and multiply out to cover driving to and from work each year, make sure to multiply that by 3. Also take into account any weekend trips you like to take or road trips you’re planning. It is hard to think about this 3 years in advance, but if you know you might want to visit a state up the coast or in the Midwest sometime soon, give yourself a bank of a few thousand miles.

8) Take a test drive. How will you know if you love the car if you don’t take it for a spin. This is my favorite part, it really lets you get a feel for your potential new wheels. While you’re out on the lot you can take a look at the available color and interior options of the make and model you’re going with, and ultimately select your new car!

9) Never settle for the first offer. When I leased my first car, the first offer that the sales person gave me ended up being double of what I actually paid. I had a number in mind and wouldn’t budge, and they came down and met my price. I did this with my new car as well, trust me, they don’t want to lose your business. You’re already in the dealership, and it costs them less to keep you as a customer than to draw a new customer into the dealership and start all over again. 


Follow these steps and walk out of the dealership with a beautiful car, just like my practical and fun new Jeep Cherokee.

The day after In leased my new car, we took a ride to the local park and took some fabulous photos of a gorgeous old building that is on the verge of being demolished. I wanted to share those photos of a little piece of NJ history.

Do you have any tips and tricks about new car leasing?


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