This is a bit lengthy, so my apologies! Basically I’m looking for advice on whether it’d make more sense to lease or buy.
I recently sold my car (2015 GTI) with a trashed engine and am in need of a short-term car. Typically I buy a car (private party) and hold onto it for years; however, I’m transitioning to a WFH career in ~12-18 months and we will not need two cars after that, therefore I’m torn between leasing or buying due to the crazy market right now.
As Nissan seems to be the only manufacturer (that I’m aware of) doing 18-month leases, I’ve been leaning towards just leasing a 2023 Altima SV based on Nissan’s current incentive of $199/mo for 18 mo. with $3034 Initial Payment. I’ve never leased before and this seems at a glance like a decent deal for me, but after reading through a bunch of the forum posts and signed deals, maybe not so much? There is also the small print disclaimer of “Dealer Sets Actual Price,” so I’m 100% expecting a dealer to increase that price on me.
Alternatively, I’ve considered buying a new or recent ('19-'22) used car and kind of gambling on the future market with plans to sell the car within two years. I could also just buying a vastly overpriced older used car, which I’d rather not do. For now, I’m leaning towards leasing. While I’d prefer a sportier car, for such a short term I’m more than fine settling with an Altima, but if I could find a lease for something with a bit more performance for a little more money, I’d definitely consider it.
I’ve read a few “best leasing practice” guides and it all feels so over my head. I’ve played around with the LeaseHackr calculator and also became a super supporter to mess with the Rate Findr portion of it, but again, I feel lost. Per the Rate Findr lookup, a 18/10 lease for a 2023 Altima SV has a RV of 86% and 0.00289 MF. An 18/12 lease has an 84% RV. If I decide to lease, I’ve considered just paying a broker to handle negotiations for me as I haven’t dealt with a dealer in about a decade nor do I have the free time to do the whole back and forth.
A bit more about me:
*Located in northern VA, so apparently tax is based on selling price rather than monthly payment
*Girlfriend works from home, but neither of us want her “trapped” at home if I simply use her car for the last year or so before I transition to a new career and move away from the DMV.
***My annual commute is ~10.4k/mi, so I may need to go to 12k miles, but we’ve talked about me simply driving her car for a week here and there to keep it under 10k. Alternatively, I pre-purchase more miles later into the lease.
*I can afford to pay for the entire lease at once if necessary
*Military vet, though I separated >12 months ago which, at least per fine print, sounds like it disqualifies me from a lot of the $500 incentives
*FICOScore8 of 784 (Experian), 795 (Equifax), and 800 (TransUnion); CreditKarma, which I know doesn’t mean jack in this case, has my VantageScore for TransUnion and Equifax both at 819
If there’s anything else that could help, let me know and I’ll share!