What is the process of leasing my next vehicle?

If you are coming up to the end of your lease contract, you might be wondering what your next steps are.

The average person spends 3 months deciding which car they are going to get and how they are going to finance it. Getting a new car is an important decision and there is a process involved.

In this article, we are going to look at the process of leasing your next vehicle, what things you should consider, and how long the process will take.

What should I think about before I change my car?

As your lease contract comes to an end, you will need to think about your next vehicle. There are a lot of things to consider and it can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve written this article today. So here are some of the things we recommend doing before changing your lease car;

Look at your current lease car

Take a look at your current lease car and consider the following;

  • Are you happy with the size?
  • Is the performance good enough and what you were looking for?
  • How good is the fuel economy? Do you want something more economical?
  • Do you like the style of the car?
  • Are you happy with the brand overall?
  • How reliable has the vehicle been?

You can read about the most reliable car brands here. Once you have considered those things about your current car, you know what to look for in your new lease vehicle.

Man looking at a car thinking about getting a new vehicle.

Start researching new cars

Now you have a rough idea of what you want your next lease car to be like, you can start doing some research. There are so many ways to research a new car, this can be both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because you can get a well-rounded view of a vehicle, but a bad thing because it can often be difficult to know where to start. Here’s where we recommend you do your research;

Search engines

-If you have a few cars in mind, then searching for their reviews is an obvious and perfect place to start.

-There are plenty of reviews to choose from and they will range from overviews to in-depth reviews.  

Magazines and newspapers

-There are lots of reviews in car magazines and newspaper supplements. These are often reviews of the latest cars on the market and are great if you aren’t quite sure what you are looking for yet.

Podcasts

-One method of research you might not have considered yet are podcasts. There are a few podcasts out there that review cars and are often free to download on iTunes or Google Play.

Talking to your friends and family

-Asking the people around you for advice is a great way of researching which car to get. They drive their cars every day, so are likely to give you a frank and honest opinion on whether their car does what they need it to.

YouTube or other video reviews

-Video reviews are great as they condense everything that is in a text review into a video that you can watch pretty much anywhere.

You can check out some of our video reviews here.

If you have absolutely no idea where to start, but you know what sort of car you are looking for, then you can always use a car search engine. These search engines will have multiple drop-down options for price, type of car, type of engine etc. and you can fill in as much or as little as you like. We have around 10,000 vehicles on our website, so using a search function will help you narrow down your search and give you some idea of what you want to be looking at.

One of the key things we do not recommend you do is go straight into a dealership. While this may be something you want to do later down the line, we don’t recommend it straight away. The reason being is that as soon as you walk into a dealership you are on their sales list, and you could end up making a decision that is not necessarily right for you. We always recommend you do research elsewhere first. If you do feel like you need to speak to an expert, then it is a better idea to go through someone independent, who can give you an honest view on all makes and models.

Once you have narrowed your search down

Now you have narrowed your search and you should have a few vehicles in mind that you want for your next lease car, it’s time to look at pricing.

For some, pricing is everything. There is nothing wrong with this, but you should still make sure that the vehicle is right for you. You will be with this car for a few years and if it’s not the right car for you then it will be a long wait until your contract is up.

You might want to start by looking at a price engine online. You will choose the vehicle, the mileage, how much you want to pay upfront and how long the contract is for and it will generate some prices for you. This is always good to get a rough idea of how much it is going to cost. However, we do still recommend talking to an independent broker. They will also be able to give you prices but they may also find a better solution or option for your situation. They may find a better car for a lower price that suits your situation, or a new trim level that might suit you better. While machines are great, you can’t beat human knowledge.

When you are speaking to someone, there are two ways they can search for you. This can either be via specification first or by price first. For example, they can come up with the price at the end after taking into account mileage, the length of the contract and whether you want maintenance. Or, you can give them your budget and they work backward from that. It’s completely up to you and depends on what is most important to you.

Anyway, once you have got your prices and you have decided which finance route you want to go down, you can re-start the leasing process.

The leasing process

As you have already leased your last car, you are probably very familiar with the leasing process. However, that could have been a few years ago in which case we are going to jog your memory on what happens during the lease process.

Choose your car

After your extensive research and talking to your sales expert, you will decide which car you are going to go for and through which finance route. We recommend going through one independent broker when you are looking at pricing. The reason we recommend this is that you can ring loads of companies and dealerships and get different quotes, but you will also have all those companies talking to you at once. If you go through an independent broker then they will still get you all the quotes, but you only have to talk to them. You can read our article on what to look for in a vehicle broker here.

Man and woman with car salesman deciding on their next vehicle they want to buy.

Proposal form and credit check

Once that is all decided, you will be sent a proposal form and you will go through a credit check. You will have to sign the proposal form and send it back, this is usually done electronically these days.

Graphic of two hands holding phones displaying their credit scores

Ordering the vehicle

Once you have been approved for finance via your credit check (read more about going through your credit check here) then you will be able to order your car.

You will be sent an order form which you will have to check is correct, you will sign it and send it back. It is at this point that you will also pay your initial rental or arrangement fee. Your vehicle can now be ordered.

Depending on whether you have ordered a factory order car or a stock car depends on how long this will take. You can read more about factory order and stock cars here (factory order vs. stock car article).

Taking delivery of your vehicle

Shortly before taking delivery of your vehicle you will receive the finance documents. These will usually be sent to you electronically. You will go through the contract and make sure that everything is correct. You can read our article on what to look for in your terms and conditions here.

How you sign the documents depends on the finance house. Some will get you to do it electronically, others you will have to print them off and scan them back and others will get you to post them back. It depends on the individual process of the finance house. If you want to find out more about the documents process you can read our article here.

The finance house will then confirm everything is correct and will ask you to send your driving licence off to them. This is standard practice and is entirely for anti-fraud purposes. You can read more about why you have to send off your driving licence here.

Once that is all completed, you can arrange to have your vehicle delivered. This can either be at your house or a workplace, not at a service station or a car park. You will sign the delivery form to confirm that you are happy with the vehicle. This is sent off to the finance house and your contract will become active.

Then, it is just like every other contract. You pay monthly until the time is up. Once that time is up, you start the process all over again.

Hopefully, this has given you some guidance about when to start looking for a new lease car. Start by looking at your current car and deciding what you like about it and what could be improved, then work from there. There are so many places you can do research nowadays, and it’s important that you do as much research as possible to ensure that you are making the right decision. That said, we always advise talking to an expert to ensure that you are making the right decision for you and your situation.

Next Stop!  The ultimate vehicle leasing guide

Holly Martin

Content Co-ordinator at OSV Ltd
Holly enjoys: Reading, music and spending time with friends.

Within a week of Holly starting work at OSV she became an indispensable part of the marketing team. She's very intuitive and gets on with the whole office effortlessly.
Holly Martin

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