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Leasing a Car: How Can You Get a Zero-Down Lease?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2015

If you're interested in leasing a car, you're probably at least a little disappointed by the requirement to put cash up front (at lease signing) to start your deal. After all, it's rare that you have to do such a thing when you're leasing an apartment, a house or most other items, so why do you need to do it with a car? Fortunately, you don't necessarily have to do it, as there are many zero-down lease deals available. But since they're not always easy to come by, we've decided to explain exactly how you can manage to lease a car with nothing down at lease signing.

Good Credit

One way to get a zero-down lease, or at least get a lease with less money down than the typical car shopper, is to have exceptionally good credit. Drivers with good credit are generally considered less of a risk, which means they qualify for better deals in the world of automotive financing and leasing. If your own credit isn't good enough to qualify for a zero-down lease, consider asking a friend to cosign your loan, but remember you're putting your friend's credit at risk if you default on the payments.

Good Negotiating

Another way to get a zero-down lease is to negotiate hard and insist you won't be leasing a car without it. Sometimes, it just won't happen, no matter how good you are at negotiating. But many times, dealerships and lending companies can be persuaded to roll the lease's down payment into the car's monthly payments. Meanwhile, if the car is in especially low demand -- if supplies are high or it's the end of the model year, for instance -- a dealer or lending company may waive the down payment altogether, just to chalk up another sale and move the car out of the showroom.

Good Incentive

Another good way to get a zero-down lease is to take advantage of a monthly manufacturer incentive or special offer on a car. While it's hard to know exactly when the car of your choice will offer a great lease incentive, many automakers offer zero-down lease deals each month to help move inventory or clear out a specific vehicle before the model year is over. If you're especially dead set on a zero-down lease and the above two strategies don't work, you may need to change your car preference and choose a different model that's specifically offered with a zero-down lease deal or incentive.

Good Luck!

Getting a zero-down lease for your next car certainly is possible, though it's not always likely, regardless of how good your credit is or how strong your negotiating skills are. But if you follow our suggestions, you'll find that the zero-down lease is, by no means, an auto-industry myth.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Leasing a Car: How Can You Get a Zero-Down Lease? - Autotrader