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Looking to lease for the first time - advice?

New Member

Looking to lease for the first time - advice?

I was hoping it could wait another year, but I just received word that my current car’s transmission is going out, so I need a new car in the next month or two.

I’ve never had a good experience buying a used car (I’ve bought several cars but the title was in someone else’s name so I’ve never had an auto loan of any kind), and because I wasn’t expecting this I don’t have the kind of money I’d like saved for a good down payment on a loan, and I refuse to be stuck on a 60+ month loan repayment, so I’m thinking I’m going to do a 36-month lease on a new car and plan on buying out the car at the end of that if I like it—I’m about to graduate college (and start paying down student loans) so I’ll be in a much better financial position to buy a car in 3 years time.

A side question here is, does this seem like a sound strategy?

My main question is related to approval and interest rates.
My FICO 8 scores are 590/620/580 (though the low two should just to about the Transunion level once one of my cards is reported correctly, and Transunion and Experian should go up some more once a stupid apartment collection from 2014 that I actually paid and they just now reported for the first time gets taken off). My auto scores range from 580-690 (and the 690 is on Equifax which doesn’t have my good card reported on it yet!), but do lenders take those into account the same when I have literally no auto leasing or loan history to speak of? Is there any way of estimating ahead of time which lenders use which bureau?

With an income of $40k/yr and those scores, what’re my approval odds for a car with MSRP $33-36k? One with MSRP $22k? What kind of interest rates am i looking at here? If I get approved in this range, what’s a “good deal” interest rate?

How is any of this affected if I get my S/O (FICO 680 but makes more money than me) to co-sign/joint sign? I’m willing to pay a bit more for the little personal victory of not having a co-signer, but I don’t want to be stupid about it.

Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: Looking to lease for the first time - advice?

If the ultimate goal of leasing is to own the car after the lease ends then it is a very good strategy. You scores are a bit low for leasing but depending on what kind of car you are getting, it is doable.


No one here can tell what interest rate you will be getting as a lot of factors go into determing that.  What kind of car are you thinking of getting?.  Also, getting someone to co-sign just gives you a better chance of getting the car if their credit file is better and does not change anything.  They will be joint on the account and will report to both credit files. 

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