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Has your leased car been a pain in your neck for the last year and a half? Do you wish you had chosen a different car or agreed to different lease terms?
In other words, are you desperately looking to get out of your lease?
If you are, sadly, the leasing company won’t easily let you off the hook—at least not without a sizable penalty charge. Your best shot of getting out of a car lease is to transfer it to another person.
Websites like LeaseTrader and SwapALease help connect people looking to get out of a car lease with people looking to take over a car lease. Both sites allow you to post your vehicle or lookup a vehicle offered by somebody else.
But first things first:
What Is a Lease Transfer?
Once you have signed a leasing contract, it is rather expensive to get out. The only ways to terminate a lease are to:
- Perform a buyout, where you buy your vehicle from the leasing company.
- If you buy it, you could try to sell it yourself. However, you better know what you’re doing. Buying a car you already hate can be a costly and bitter mistake.
- Pay a “lease termination fee.”
- This is a heavy penalty charge, where you pay the leasing company all the profit they would otherwise lose.
- Transfer your lease to another person.
Typically leasing companies allow some form of a lease transfer. However, it’s up to the lessee (you) to find a suitable substitute, who wants the lease.
How Do Lease Swaps Work?
If you want to transfer your lease, you will have to find a replacement lessee. They must take over your monthly lease payments and return the vehicle at the end of the lease.
A lot of things need to go right to make the lease takeover possible:
- You need to find a driver who likes your exact leased vehicle—model, trim, color, everything.
- The new driver must agree to take the used car as-is and pay all associated fees at the end of the lease.
- The new lessee needs the necessary credit score and must be approved by the leasing company.
It’s tempting to jump straight into LeaseTrader or SwapALease. But there may be conditions which are a deal-breaker for either party.
Check for Eligibility With the Leasing Company
The first thing you need to do is read your leasing contract and look for a lease transfer or lease assumption clause. This clause allows for a lease takeover by another party. Next, contact your leasing company to confirm whether you can or cannot transfer the lease to another person.
Each lease transfer is assessed individually. The person stepping into the lease will go through a credit check. Generally, their credit score and credit history must be the same or better than yours.
If the finance company doesn’t like the candidate for any reason, they can reject the lease transfer. Or, they may force you to become a guarantor for the lease, which still leaves you liable for the lease payments.
Call the leasing company and ask before you waste any of your time!
Lease Transfer Fees and Other Expenses
In order to switch the lessees on the contract, there is some administration and paperwork needed. Of course, this paperwork is not free, and you will be charged a few hundred dollars in the form of a lease transfer fee or a lease swap fee.
Depending on your lease, it may be difficult to find a person who wants to take it over. You may need to offer some cash incentives in order to get interested candidates. This may be a few hundred dollars or a few thousand, depending on the specific vehicle and lease.
What If You’re Shopping for a Lease Transfer?
If you’re the person taking over a lease, the most important thing to worry about is the condition of the vehicle and the remaining mileage.
Remember this is not a new car. You’re taking the vehicle as is and will be responsible for all known and unknown issues caused by the original lessee. When you turn it in, the leasing company will conduct an inspection and charge you for damage that falls outside of their wear and tear standards.
Now that you’ve got the basics of lease swapping, let’s discuss how you find an interested person. You can hardly expect any of your family or friends to take it over.
One of the most popular methods to perform a lease swap is through an online platform like LeaseTrader or SwapALease. You can browse classifieds of leased vehicles available for transfer. Or you can place your own ad and find interested drivers.
Let’s go into the details.
What is LeaseTrader.com?
LeaseTrader.com is a classified ads platform for lease swapping.
Leaseholders who want to “Get out” of their car lease can post an ad, uploading photos and adding the details of their lease.
People who are looking to “Get in” a short-term lease can browse available vehicles and compare different deals. If they like a particular auto lease deal, they can contact the seller and apply to their leasing company for a transfer.
It’s important to note that the platform does not facilitate the legal transfer of the lease. Both parties pay a fee to LeaseTrader for using the site.
What is SwapALease.com?
SwapALease.com is not much different. The platform has two main options: transfer a lease and take over a lease.
Transfer a lease: This option is for leaseholders who wish to trade out of their leased vehicle. They can post a listing with photos of their vehicle and information about the lease payment and configuration.
Take over a lease: This option is for drivers interested in a short-term lease. They can browse leased vehicles, compare deals, and apply to acquire the one they like.
SwapALease, like LeaseTrader, does not facilitate the actual lease transfer. The platform charges both the transfer and takeover party a fee to make the connection.
LeaseTrader vs SwapALease: Which is Better?
LeaseTrader and SwapALease are very similar. They are both straightforward, leading visitors to either create a new vehicle listing or browse available leased vehicles.
It’s important to remember that these companies are only responsible for advertising the vehicle listing and making the connection between lease takeover partners. Neither LeaseTrader nor SwapALease performs the actual lease transfer.
This is only done through the leasing company that owns the particular vehicle. The terms and conditions of the lease transfer, as well as any applicable fees, are determined solely by the leasing company and are non-negotiable.
That said, there are differences between LeaseTrader and SwapALease, which make one or the other more useful for your specific situation.
Both LeaseTrader and SwapALease charge sellers a fee to advertise their listing. Both offer three comparable pricing models, which provide enhanced listing options and different levels of exposure.
LeaseTrader Seller Fees
LeaseTrader listing rates for sellers:
- $99.95 for a 15-photo listing
- $199.95 for 7days of high exposure
- $249.95 for 30 days of high exposure*
*High exposure includes social media marketing, suggested results exposure, and prominent gallery listing
All successful lease transfers carry a transfer commission fee of $149.95. All fees paid to LeaseTrader are nonrefundable, regardless of whether your lease transfer is successful or not.
SwapALease Seller Fees
SwapALease listing rates for sellers:
- $74.95 for a 1-photo ad, plus a $200 “success fee” – $210 total**
- $199.95 for a 12-photo ad – the success fee is added in this package
- $299.95 for a 36-photo ad, – the success fee is included and the ad is featured for 2 weeks.
**This fee is charged before the potential lease transfer goes through. If the transfer fails, the fee is reusable for another transfer, but it’s not refundable.
All fees paid to SwapALease are nonrefundable.
Both platforms let you browse vehicles for free, but buyers must pay to register and contact leaseholders.
LeaseTrader Buyer Fees
LeaseTrader subscription rates for buyers:
- $9.99 per month for 6 months ($60 total)
- $19.99 per month for 2 months ($40 total)
- $34.99 for 1 month ($35 total)
LeaseTrader charges the buyer a commission of $149.95 if lease transfer is successful. A free credit report is performed as part of the package.
SwapAease Buyer Fees
Swap A Lease charges $59.95 to register as a buyer. Unlike LeaseTrader, this is not a monthly subscription fee. This is a one-time registration fee.
A free credit report and 2 PDF E-Books are offered as part of the package.
It’s important to know that neither LeaseTrader nor SwapALease verify vehicle listings for accuracy, or perform vehicle inspections.
It’s up to both parties to verify all information prior to transferring the lease.
Neither platform guarantees the lease transfer will be successful and all charges are nonrefundable.
Both SwapALease and LeaseTrader use the same layout.
The main body of the homepage offers a photo gallery of the vehicle, a detailed description, and a features list.
The right-hand sidebar contains all critical information about the lease, including:
- Monthly lease payment
- Lease term (number of payments left)
- Miles (actual, total, and available according to the lease
- Vehicle location
LeaseTrader edges ahead with its modern and minimalist design. The listings feature a lot more details and information is readable, well-formatted, and easy to find.
Exposure / Traffic
Webtools indicate SwapALease.com receives as much as 3 times more web traffic than LeaseTrader.com
However, LeaseTrader’s Facebook audience is 8 times larger than that of SwapALease. (Don’t forget; LeaseTrader offers social media marketing as part of its top tier package.)
Does either mean a bigger chance of success? Not necessarily!
The success of your listing is determined by the details of your lease. If you secured a good initial lease deal, it’s probably attractive for other leasees as well.
If you’re stuck in a car that’s not worth the monthly payment but you desperately need to be rid of it, you may be forced to offer a cash incentive upfront to grease the deal for prospective leasees.
As you can imagine, with this type of service, it’s usually love it or hate it.
Both SwapALease and LeaseTrader have positive and negative reviews online. Most negative reviews claim clients are unable to find a suitable transfer, while at the same time have been charged nonrefundable fees.
There’s an equal amount of these complaints for both websites, and while it’s a concern you need to keep in mind, it’s also clearly stated during the sign-up process.
Which Lease Swap Platform is Best?
LeaseTrader and SwapALease are very evenly matched in price and features. Both platforms promise to take the hassle out of lease swapping, though neither offers any guarantee of success.
We’re here for the facts. The choice is up to you!
Other Ways to Swap Your Lease
Of course, lease swap platforms are not the only ways to find suitable swap partners.
Here are a few free alternatives to SwapALease and LeaseTrader:
- Craigslist and other classifieds
- Facebook Marketplace
- Brand-specific web forums
- Online and offline car communities and clubs
Are You Ready for a Lease Swap?
This concludes our comparison of LeaseTrader and SwapaLease.
We covered all basic information about lease swaps—how they work, what to look out for, and the pros and cons of the most popular lease trading platforms.
Hopefully, you’re a step ahead and ready to make an educated financial transaction. Follow Below Invoice for more leasing power tips and automotive content.