Sometimes the choice to buy or lease a vehicle can be daunting but the information below will help you make that important decision.
While those who lease only pay tax on the lease payments, saving money in the long run is usually not the case. Although buyers pay all the taxes up front, it is important to remember that the average car ownership in Canada is eight years, which is roughly equal to two lease terms. So, those who lease will pay tax on monthly payments for the entire time they have a car and they also do not get the benefit of using a trade-in to reduce the taxable amount on the next vehicle purchase.
Likewise, here are a few tips and other important information to keep in mind when looking to buy or lease a vehicle:
There are 3 types of leases:
A finance lease is a way of providing finance – effectively a leasing company (the lessor or owner) buys the asset for the user (usually called the hirer or lessee) and rents it to them for an agreed period.
A capital lease is a lease in which the lessor only finances the leased asset, and all other rights of ownership transfer to the lessee. This results in the recordation of the asset as the lessee’s property in its general ledger, as a fixed asset.
An operating lease is a lease whose term is short compared to the useful life of the asset or piece of equipment (an airliner, a ship, etc.) being leased. An operating lease is commonly used to acquire equipment on a relatively short-term basis.
Making the best decision when it comes to buying or leasing a vehicle involves lots of research. Make sure you know the kind of vehicle you need and the ways you will be using it before you visit a dealer. Even a great vehicle can make you unhappy if it doesn’t meet your needs. The Automobile Protection Association’s Lemon-Aid Guide, and Protegez-vous.ca (in French only) have detailed information on how well new and used vehicles perform as well as their reliability and safety. They may charge a fee for the service. Consumer Reports also offers a similar service.
The amount of the factory rebates, dealer discounts, or incentives can vary considerably depending on the way you choose to finance the purchase. So, be sure to explore the different finance rates and cash incentives offered to ensure you get the best deal that fits your budget. Several websites offer detailed information on the various manufacturer incentives available for specific new vehicles for a small fee and can supply the wholesale price the dealer pays the manufacturer for its cars. These services can help determine a reasonable purchase offer for a wide range of vehicles when negotiating with dealersThe final monthly payment depends on the length of the term and the amount of the down payment. Remember that a larger down payment can significantly reduce the amount paid every month when you finance the purchase. It is often cheaper to take a cash rebate and finance the vehicle through your bank. Before choosing a finance or lease option, you should agree with the dealer on the selling price.
In most almost all provinces, there is no cooling-off period when you buy or lease a vehicle. You can check with your provincial or territorial transportation ministry to find out if there is a cooling-off period available to you. So, be sure you understand all the costs outlined in the lease and your responsibilities under the agreement before you sign on the dotted line. Make sure to read all the fine print.The agreement should include the amount of your trade-in, the financial terms, the down payment amount, the cost of options, any restrictions (for a lease), taxes, freight, pre-delivery inspection, and the cost of add-ons such as rust protection or upholstery treatment. Except in some rare and extraordinary circumstances, such as the seller hiding a major defect, the contract you sign to buy or lease a vehicle is binding*. That means that once you sign, the dealer is usually not obliged to let you out of the contract if you change your mind.
*As of 2010, dealers in Ontario are required to make several mandatory disclosures when selling a used vehicle. Failure to do so may give the buyer a right to cancellation of the contract.
Look for rebate and incentive programs from the automaker. Christmas, spring time and end-of-model clearances are often good periods for rebates and promotions. Although low monthly payments can make it easier to buy a vehicle, always remember that buying or leasing a vehicle it is still a big financial commitment. Spreading loan or lease payments out over a longer period of time may lower the monthly cost but may also increase the total amount paid due to higher financing costs.
There is a common misconception that it is easy to make a profit by buying out the lease and immediately reselling the vehicle. Although it is difficult to predict the future value of a vehicle, it is generally unlikely that you can pay all the taxes and fees required when a leased vehicle is purchased and then sell it for a profit. Buying a vehicle for the purpose of reselling it will incur double sales taxation; first to you and then to the next buyer. Most lessors will not allow the person who signed the lease originally to assign their option to another person in order to avoid double taxation. If they do, a hefty handling charge is likely.
Before you start negotiating, it is important to understand who can do what. No matter how you pay for a vehicle, you buy it from a dealer and not a manufacturer.
Dealers can decide to lower their profit margin and offer a lower price on the vehicle or offer to absorb some of the add-on costs associated with the purchase.In the case of a lease, you may be able to buy additional kilometres to raise the allowable mileage. Additional kilometres can usually be purchased upfront at a lower cost than the amount of the penalty you will pay at the end of the lease if you return the car over the set kilometre limit.
Leases usually have a fixed allowance for kilometres travelled. It is usually cheaper to prepay for any kilometres you might drive over the set amount during the lease rather than pay the penalty for exceeding the allowance when you return the car.
If you don’t plan to use the vehicle often, some dealers might offer a low kilometre lease which may have a lower monthly payment. There is no credit for unused kilometres if you don’t use the full amount allowed by your lease.
Unless you buy the vehicle at the end of the lease, there is usually no benefit for returning the car under the kilometres limit set in the agreement.
When you sign a lease, it will include a “repair standard,” which outlines the condition the car must be in when the lease expires and it is returned to the dealer.
This relates to wear and tear on the vehicle as well as accident damage. The leasing company sets the repair standard, which is outlined in the lease contract.When it is time to return your car, take photos of any cosmetic damage and get estimates before returning the vehicle. This evidence may help you negotiate with the automaker or leasing company if you feel you are being overcharged for repairs after turning in your leased vehicle. In some cases you may be better off attending to cosmetic repairs before turning in the vehicle. For example, most interior damage like holes, tears and cuts can be repaired. The lessor will likely replace an entire seat cover or trim panel instead of charging for its repair. Visit the Automobile Protection Association website for a list of guidelines on how to approach repairs most effectively.
For a lease term that runs longer than the warranty on the vehicle, it may be useful to consider buying an extended warranty to deal with some issues when it comes to wear and tear. Extended warranties may also cover some repairs once the original warranty expires. Extended warranties sold by the manufacturer of the vehicle you are leasing or buying are usually more complete than warranties from independent companies. Most new car dealers sell both.
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