Car buying and car leasing are emotional experiences. Sometimes, we make decisions we later regret
One year in, and maybe you don’t really like the car. Maybe, it costs too much and you’re looking for a way out. Perhaps you’re moving abroad, or, God forbid, you’ve lost your job.
Anything can happen during your lease term. And, unfortunately, leasing contracts are as binding as can be. Terminating one comes with a harsh, often unbearable, financial burden for the lessee.
So, how do you get out of your lease? A lease transfer might be the solution for you.
Lease transfers have risen as the preferred method to bail out of a lease agreement. If you find a replacement lessee who can afford your monthly payment, the leasing company will typically allow a car lease transfer. The new party involved performs what is called a lease assumption, or a lease takeover, of the original lease. They become the lessee on the lease agreement and you’re free to go.
Additionally, lease transfers help drivers who want a particular vehicle, but can’t find a suitable deal, or just want a short-term lease. Assuming someone else’s lease can place them in their desired vehicle.
It sounds pretty straightforward, but finding the right person can be incredibly difficult.
What is SwapALease.com?
SwapALease is a dedicated online marketplace for transferring car leases. It connects people who want to transfer their lease with people who are looking to assume one.
Drivers who are looking to get out of their leased vehicle can register with SwapALease and post an ad for their car and lease agreement. Along with photos and description of the vehicle, full details of the lease must be disclosed, such as:
- Leasing company
- Monthly lease payment
- Lease term
- Mileage – total / driven / remaining
Drivers looking to assume a short-term lease can browse posts of available vehicles and contact their owners to initiate the lease transfer.
SwapALease makes the connection between both parties. From there on, the process continues with the leasing company which actually owns the vehicle.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of using SwapALease.
Pros of SwapALease
SwapALease is not the only place to look for lease transfers. However, it’s a highly-targeted platform.
The main benefits of using SwapALease are its simplicity, popularity, and cost.
When you arrive on the site, it’s immediately obvious what you need to do. Every visitor is either looking to get out of or get into a leased vehicle and it’s designed with that in mind.
SwapALease offers no-nonsense lease swapping.
There’s also the popularity side. SwapALease started in 1997, and, after 20 years in the business, it’s one of the most popular platforms for lease transfers. You have a good chance of finding a suitable transfer deal with this website.
SwapALease does charge for facilitating lease transfers, but it’s dramatically cheaper than your other options. Terminating your lease, performing a buyout, or reselling your leased vehicle are each much more costly than SwapALease (not to mention the hassle!).
For drivers looking for a new car, SwapALease offers a chance to get into a nice, short-term lease with ease. You could enjoy a vehicle you probably wouldn’t pick otherwise.
Cons of SwapALease
While the benefits of SwapALease are real, there are also drawbacks to using the platform.
For one, though it is cheaper than alternative options, it’s not free. SwapALease charges both sides of the lease transfer. The fees are charged in advance, and there are no refunds—ever.
When posting your car, SwapALease does not guarantee you’ll find an interested party to assume your lease. Increased post exposure comes at a premium cost, and it still doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get any leads.
Drivers looking to snatch a great vehicle should know that SwapALease does not verify the condition of vehicles posted on the website. All information is provided as-is, and it’s up to both parties to verify and inspect the vehicle.
The final item here is not really a drawback, but sometimes visitors get confused. SwapALease does not conduct the actual transfer of the lease. The platform connects the two interested parties, but the lease transfer process is completed by the leasing company under their own terms.
Let’s see how it works.
How to Transfer Your Lease with SwapALease
Here’s the How-To Guide on getting rid of your leased vehicle with SwapALease. We’ll discuss a few things to know and expect to increase your likelihood of success.
It’s pretty straightforward.
You choose the “Transfer Lease” option from the main screen. From there, complete the details of your car and create an account.
Now that you have your account, you must pay to list your vehicle. You can choose from one of three listing plans, each one provides different features and levels of exposure.
Once you select your tier and pay, you’ll be given access to the listing editor, where you complete the details of your ad, upload photos of your vehicle, and provide your lease configuration.
Fees and Costs
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.
Usually, the registration fee is not your biggest expense.
Depending on your lease and vehicle, you may need to offer additional incentives upfront to boost interest in your post.
If you find a suitable partner and the leasing company approves the transfer, the finance house will charge a lease transfer fee, which must be covered by one party or the other. It’s usually a few hundred dollars, and you may want to cover it as part of your incentive.
Remember that until the lease is transferred, you remain responsible for monthly payments. If you don’t shake off the vehicle quickly, you’ll be stuck making lease payments and will still need to offer a cash incentive for somebody to take it away.
Handing out several thousand dollars upfront is a nightmare, but you have to compare it to how much it’s costing you to keep the vehicle.
No Sell Guarantee
It’s important to have realistic expectations. If you got into a lease that’s too expensive, it may be difficult to find somebody who wants to assume it. And if you do find someone, their credit score and background check may not be satisfactory for your leasing company.
If you haven’t got any messages in the first month, you should strongly consider offering better incentives, and/or using additional marketing platforms to boost exposure.
SwapALease can’t do magic tricks. Even if you pay the highest listing price, there is no guarantee you’ll get an interested and suitable lessee.
How to Assume a Lease with SwapALease
On the flip side, if you’re looking to assume a lease through SwapALease, you have the upper hand. The current lessee is under pressure to get rid of a vehicle quickly. You can use that to your advantage and negotiate incentives that sweeten the deal.
But beware of lease deals that sound too good to be true. Don’t fall victim to a scam. Remember, you’re taking a used car and there are risks involved.
If you just want to browse the vehicles available for transfer in SwapALease, you don’t need to register. However, in order to contact the current lessee, you need to create a buyer’s account.
The process is very straightforward. You select the “Takeover Lease” option and go through the registration form, completing your account and credit card details.
Fees and Costs
SwapALease charges $59.95 to register as a buyer. It’s a one-time fee, and the account is active until you successfully match with a leased vehicle.
SwapALease throws in a free credit check and a couple of ebooks as part of the package.
Vehicle Inspection Fee
It’s wise to have the vehicle inspected at an official dealership or repair shop. This is a small price to pay to verify that the vehicle is in good shape.
Lease Transfer Fee
If you’re assuming the lease, you usually have to pay the lease transfer fee. However, you can negotiate with the lessee to cover this expense.
Lease Disposition Fee
The disposition fee is charged at the end of the lease. Since you will be returning the vehicle, you will have to pay. The only way to avoid a lease disposition fee is by negotiating a waiver with the leasing company. However, that’s not something you do during the lease transfer, so assume it’s a part of your expenses.
Lease Wear and Tear Fees
Once you assume the lease, you become responsible for the condition of the leased vehicle upon its return. At the end of the lease, the vehicle goes through an exhaustive inspection.
You will be charged for all wear and tear fees, including damage and maintenance issues. You incur these costs regardless of how the damage originated.
Similar to the wear and tear, you’re responsible for paying any extra miles outside of the lease mileage cap. When you receive the vehicle, make sure to check and verify how many miles the vehicle has and what lease is configured for.
The finance company requires lessees to maintain a strict servicing and maintenance schedule. Before you sign the papers, request documents and receipts for maintenance services from the current lessee.
If they have skipped performing maintenance, like oil changes, it becomes your problem immediately after the deal is made.
No Listing Verification
It’s very important to know that SwapALease does not inspect any leased vehicle and doesn’t verify any information in the listings.
It’s up to you to check, inspect, and verify if the current lessee is being truthful. Don’t fall victim to a scam!
Again, you’re taking a second-hand car. You have no idea if it was properly cared for, how it was driven, how it’s been maintained.
You’re responsible for the condition of the leased vehicle upon its return to the finance house. This can amount to an eye-watering bill if you inherit a poorly cared-for car.
It’s a good idea to spend a little extra and get reassurance the vehicle is in great condition.
Alternatives to SwapALease
Finally, we need to mention there are other ways to transfer your lease. Let’s quickly go over the most popular alternatives to SwapALease.
As far as lease transfer platforms go, LeaseTrader is the biggest SwapALease competitor. The process is almost identical, although there are some differences that may cause you to pick one or the other.
You can read our extensive comparison: LeaseTrader vs SwapALease
Leasehackr.com is a dedicated forum for leasing. You can find mountains of information as well as a member-exclusive marketplace for lease swapping.
However, you should know that Leasehackr members are very savvy, and you’ll have a hard time pushing a bad lease through.
Craigslist hardly needs an introduction. It’s a free platform to post local ads, including lease transfer offers.
It’s always a great idea to check Craigslist for local lease swap deals.
Similarly, Facebook Marketplace is an amazing platform that gives you access to one of the biggest audiences on the Internet.
You can successfully secure a lease swap using Facebook and other social media sites.
Brand-Specific Forums and Communities
Last but not least, every automotive brand has various, dedicated, online and offline communities. These can be forums, Facebook groups, local clubs, drivers associations, and more.
These allow you to connect with fellow drivers who like the same brand and possibly find a partner for a lease swap.
Time to Swap!
Okay, you now have a pretty good overview of how SwapALease works and the potential pitfalls you need to watch for.
You’re ready to go out there and secure the best lease transfer deal, regardless if you’re getting out or getting in.
Need more help? Don’t hesitate to contact Below Invoice!