Leasing a Car in Virginia

If you’re leasing a car in Virginia, you’ll likely pay less in monthly fees than you would if financing the vehicle.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
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If you’re looking to lower your car payments in
Virginia
, leasing a car instead of buying one is a great way to cut costs, though you will need to negotiate your capitalized costs and monthly interest rate.
Leasing has become an increasingly popular method of getting behind the wheel. In fact, one in four American drivers lease their vehicle, so don’t overlook leasing as a great way to snag a reliable set of wheels.
If you’re thinking about leasing in Virginia,
Jerry
has put together everything you’ll need to know about leasing a car in the Old Dominion.
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Reasons to lease a car in Virginia

Leasing a vehicle is a reliable way to keep your car costs down, and if you live in Virginia, you’re likely spending a lot of time in your car. The average Virginia driver’s commute is
28.2 minutes
, nearly two minutes higher than the national average. The more time you spend in your car, the more money you spend on it, so if you can save a few bucks leasing instead of financing, well…why wouldn’t you lease?
True, financing a car is a smoother path to ownership if that’s what you want. But leasing has become a popular way to get behind the wheel of a great car, with lower monthly fees than financing to boot.
If you’re still hemming and hawing over whether to lease or buy, consider some of the advantages of leasing.

Flexibility

If you finance a vehicle, you're on the hook for debt for as long as it takes to pay off your loan. By contrast, a lease allows you to choose both the duration and terms of your agreement.
Once that lease is up, you’re free—to lease another car, to buy a car, or to get around town barefoot if you’d like. The world is truly your oyster.

Lower monthly cost

For the most part, you’ll pay lower monthly fees if you lease your car instead of financing it, and for Virginia drivers, that’s a big deal. Why? Because the
cost of living
in Virginia is higher than the U.S. national average.
As well, with a lease, you’re free to negotiate with the dealer about any extras that might be thrown into the deal, be they a certain number of covered service appointments, winter mats, or other perks. If the cost of living isn’t getting any cheaper, why not lease and stuff a few extra dollars into your pocket?

No loss on depreciation 

When a car is purchased, its value starts dropping the moment it is driven off the lot. By contrast, as a leaseholder, your lease payments effectively cover the costs of that depreciation while you drive the car
Once your lease is up, you walk away from the vehicle obligation-free, and its lower value becomes someone else’s problem to deal with.
Key Takeaway Leasing a vehicle will put more money in your pocket, as the monthly fees are less than if you buy a car through financing.

What to look for when leasing a car in Virginia

If you’re interested in leasing a car, but have never done so before, there are a few terms to know before you cruise through the dealership’s doors. Here are a few things to know before seeking out a great lease deal.
Similar to financing a vehicle, you’ll likely make an upfront payment along with mandatory monthly payments upon leasing a car. With a lease, you’re paying for the depreciating value of the car you're driving, as opposed to paying off a loan.
When your lease ends, you’ll return it to the dealer and walk away from it in what is a closed-end lease. Once your lease is up, the car is no longer yours, and any financial or other obligations to it cease. Some dealers give you the option of buying the car outright at the end of a lease.
With a lease, many of its parameters can be negotiated, so it's good to know the following terms in order to get the lease deal you want.

Terms to know

  • Capitalized cost: Your car’s cap costs are the foundation upon which your lease payment is calculated—this is usually the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. However, cap costs can be increased due to the addition of registration fees, insurance costs, service contracts, and warranties. Do your best to negotiate a lower cap cost to ensure lower monthly payments.
  • Money factor: A number usually ranging from between 0.0021 and 0.0046, the money factor is multiplied by 2,400 to arrive at your monthly interest rate. Again, having this rate as low as possible will keep your overall monthly payments lower. 
  • Mileage cap: Upon leasing a car, your lease agreement will likely include mileage caps, or the maximum number of miles you can drive the car per year and over the life of the lease. If you exceed these caps, you’ll have to pay for each subsequent mile driven.

Red flags to watch for

The vast majority of car dealers work in good faith, but some will try to take advantage of you. If you notice any of the following happen as you negotiate your lease, look elsewhere for an honest broker and a better lease deal.
  • A dealer pressures you to sign a lease after your first visit
  • The dealer avoids negotiating cap costs or money factor and only wants to talk about monthly payments
  • Extra fees and expenses appear in your cap costs

How much should I expect to pay?

In the U.S., the average car lease costs $460 per month. You should aim for this ballpark when thinking about monthly lease costs. Another good thing to remember—your lease costs should never exceed 20% of your monthly income.
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FAQs

The average car lease runs three years, or 36 months. When determining the length of your lease, think about what works for you, how often you drive, and whether you anticipate any significant financial changes in your life over the projected lease term.
This all depends on you—if you’re looking for a reliable car but have no interest in owning one, leasing is a great way to go. If ownership is what you have in mind, financing a vehicle is the way to go.
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