lease swap

Assume a lease & drive new cars for less than $200 monthly

One of the most amazing ways to drive a new luxury car on the cheap is to assume a lease.

A car lease takeover benefits everyone: the original lessee gets out of their lease without paying expensive penalties …

And we get to assume a lease without putting down expensive down payments.

Why do people lease swap?

People find themselves in so many different situations that need them to get out of a lease…

Either they no longer like the car, they cannot afford the payments or they experience a drastic life change (such as having a new baby).

Many times lease swaps come into play after an ending relationship.

As I have written about here, I recommend leasing a new car for life. It is actually cheaper than driving a car into the ground (when you get the right car at the right time).

But a lease takeover is a dream come true… especially for those looking for a short-term lease…

We can swap a lease for as little as $50 (to join a lease takeover site).

And when the lease ends, we turn in the leased car and walk away.

Even better, we can sell back the car to any dealership in the world and bank a nifty profit.

There are several companies that match us to those looking to take over a car lease…

But I trust the most. (More on how to use them below.)

Get into a luxurious car with a low-cost lease transfer

The vast majority of lease swaps are for barely-used BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes Benz.

Most get into these leases with large down payments. This significantly lowers the monthly lease payment.

But life happens – and they need to get out of their lease before the contract ends…

As a result, we get to take over their lease cheaper than leasing a car ourselves.

A lease swap is awesome (but this closely-held secret makes it even better)

In a lot of circumstances, people are so desperate to get out of their lease, they are willing to “sweeten the deal” and pay us a cash incentive.

For example, take a look at this listing of a 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class:

swap a lease incentive 1

At $360.11 a month (for the remaining 27 months), we can drive a barely-used $42,000 luxury car on the cheap.

But here is the best part…

The lessee wants out of this lease in a bad way: there is a $1,050.00 cash incentive for us to take over this lease. That is like driving this car FREE for 3 full months as our reward.

But wait… take a look at this:


swap a lease incentive 2

This lease swap features a $3,152.00 lease transfer cash incentive. This means we can drive this Mercedes FREE for over 9 full months!

Bottom line: ALWAYS look for cash incentives when taking over a lease.

Incentives can lower the cost of leasing substantially.

Why take over someone else’s lease payment?

A lease swap is a win-win situation.

The original lessee gets out of a lease contract that does not work for them.

And we assume a lease without having to come up with a down payment.

Even better, we can find leases that offer cash incentives (which lowers our monthly payment).

A lease take-over is cheaper than leasing ourselves

Since the lessee submitted a large down payment, we get to drive a car at the absolute lowest monthly cost.

Just continue driving the car until lease ends and either turn it in and walk away (or better, sell it to any car dealer for a small profit).

Lease takeovers are short-term leases

A lease swap is a great way to find out if we like driving a car before making a longer-term commitment.

For example, I have seen leases lasting just 7 months and others lasting over 25 months.

There are no extra costs with a lease swap

Always driving a new car means we never have to worry about maintenance or repair costs. Even oil changes are (often) included free.

The only out-of-pocket cost to worry about is windshield wiper blade replacements and washer fluid.

Get safer cars by swapping a lease

Cars get safer year after year.

So getting into a short-term lease offers us safer cars compared to higher-mileage used cars.

Are you ready to take over a lease?

Taking over someone else’s lease is straight forward…

The fastest, easiest and safest way to assume a lease is to register with a lease takeover site.

A lease takeover site quickly matches your wants with a large inventory of those looking to get out of their lease.

Some lease swap sites perform a credit check on us and pre approves us ahead of time… This helps speed the lease swap.

We could try swapping out a lease on Craigslist, but this is almost always a more expensive route. In fact, most people who list on Craigslist eventually link their listing to a lease-takeover site.

FAQs about car lease swaps


How long does it take to transfer a car lease?

Once we find a perfect match, a lease transfer takes as little as 5 days up ’til 8 weeks.

This is solely dependent on the leasing company.

Here is how the process works:

First, the credit application-approval process takes up to 72 hours…

Next, the leasing company takes up to 5 days to create and process the lease-transfer documents…

Finally, it takes up to 10 days to mail back and forth to sign the paperwork.

From start to finish, the process averages 2 weeks to complete. (Some leasing companies take up to 8 weeks). Lease swap sites generally list each leasing company’s turnaround time.

How do I choose the right car to lease a swap with?

Of course, we want to choose a car that meets our wants and needs.

I prefer to get into a lease and sell my car for a cash profit when the lease is about to end. This requires finding a car with a residual percentage of at least 55%.

Then consider assuming a lease with a big cash incentive. Any cash incentive representing at least 3 months of payments is a good start. (I have seen cash incentives as high as 9 monthly payments.)

Once we are ready to take over someone’s lease, ask to see records to make sure all the necessary maintenance has been done to preserve the warranty.

Can anyone take over someone’s car lease?

Yes. As long as the original leasing company approves us…

Generally speaking, leasing companies need a FICO credit score of at least 680.

Do I have to give a down payment?

Nope. Not at all…

The main benefit of taking over a car lease is we do not give a down payment…

A down payment was already paid by the original lessee…

We simply take over paying the original lessee’s monthly car-lease payments. And we continue paying until the end of the car-lease term.

What if the lease swap is across state lines?

A great number of lease swaps are between people in different states.

Most lease swap sites work with national transportation companies. They inspect and deliver the car to any state in the U.S. (We can negotiate the cost of transportation with the original lessee before assuming a lease.)

Also, transferring a lease could change the state tax rate when we reside in Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. (These states charge sales tax on the entire price of the car.)

Where do I return the vehicle?

According to lease contracts, we must return a leased car to a dealership.

But as I write about here, we can sell back a leased vehicle to anyone and make a tidy profit.

After the car lease is over, can I buy the vehicle?

Yes we can.

The payout amount (a.k.a. the Lease End Buyout Amount) is clearly stated in the lease contract. This is the most we have to pay to buy the vehicle.

Once again, I recommend selling the vehicle to a new or used car dealer if the residual value is at least 55%.

CarMax is the fastest, easiest and (often) the most profitable way to sell back a leased car. They take in our car, payoff any balance to the leasing company, and write us a bank check for any lease equity left in the car. The process from start to finish takes about 45 minutes.

Do we need to get new license plates when taking over a lease?

Usually, the license plate is the property of the original leasing company.

So no – keep the license plate on the vehicle.

How much does it cost to use an auto lease takeover service?

Typically, there is a one-time cost to join a lease-takeover site of roughly $50.

This typically includes a year-long membership to access an updated database of lease-swap vehicles.

Some include a credit check. A pre-approval shows the lessee we are serious about taking over a lease. And having our credit pre-approved helps us better negotiate lease swap fees…

Most leasing companies charge over $600 to alter the original leasing paperwork. But we can negotiate to have the original lessee pay some or all the cost.

Once I start the lease-swap transfer process, can I back out?

Yes, we can back out at any time until we sign the final transfer documentation.

Do you pay personal property tax on leased vehicles?


It all depends on where we live.

And unfortunately, it is hard to track this information down.

Each town, village, township and county treats personal property taxes in a different way.

The good news is the leasing company calculates this for us. And they add any taxes into our lease-takeover monthly payment.

My credit is questionable… can I still take over a lease?

Most leasing company need us to have a FICO credit score of at least 680.

For those with less-than-desirable credit, a standard car lease might be the way to go. Car dealerships forge many leasing company relationships. And some specialize in working with those having poor credit scores.

How do I make sure I get my cash incentive in a lease swap?

The original lessee puts the cash incentive into an escrow account.

This 100% guarantees we get our cash after taking delivery of the leased car.

Online escrow is a 5-step process. It protects us by verifying the funds are available.

Escrowed funds are released in as little as 5 days after assuming a lease.

Typically, the original lessee pays the escrow fees.

Who handles the car after a lease swap?

This depends.

Most leasing companies allow full transfer. That means we are 100% responsible for mileage overages and damages…

But some do not. For example, VW Credit/ Audi Financial does not remove the original name from the lease. So it becomes a joint account. This means the original lessee shares equal responsibility for the account. (This is bad for the original lessee, but no different for us.)

Are you ready to assume a slightly-used car lease?

If you are ready to get into an awesome car at an amazingly low monthly payment, swapping a lease might be for you.

While many lease swap companies exist, I find offers the most extensive database of lessee looking to swap out of a lease. Click here to search their database free.

Another option is to lease on your own. I wrote an extensive post about leasing a car here.

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Markus Allen

Family man. Truth seeker. Life hacker... more about me here...


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