When you lease a car, a leasing company actually buys the vehicle from the dealer before leasing it out to you.
The leasing company expects to earn interest on the money they used to buy the car (just like a loan). They also know the car will be worth a lot less at the end of your lease and expect to be compensated for the depreciation.
Here are some terms you should be familiar with in order to calculate the lease:
- Capitalized Cost - The cost of the vehicle after subtracting any down payment or trade-in allowance.
- Residual - The amount the vehicle is worth at the end of the lease.
- Depreciation - The amount the vehicle has lost in value during the lease.
- Term of Lease - The number of months you will be leasing (usually 24, 36, 39, or 48 months)
- Money Factor - The finance charge, usually expressed as a fraction. (To calculate the interest rate, simply multiply the money factor by 2400)
We're going to assume the car you will be leasing has an MSRP of $27,000 and you managed to negotiate the purchase price down to $25,000. To keep things simple, there is no down payment and you don't have a trade-in. You will be leasing the car for 36 months. The money factor is .0029. and the leasing company
has predicted the residual value to be $12,500 at the end of 36 months.
Basically, all you need to know in order to calculate your monthly lease payment is the price of the car, the residual value, the money factor, and the lenght of the lease. Dealers should provide you with all of these numbers if you call them up and ask.
Now let's take a look at how each part of the lease payment is calculated
The depreciation cost is actually the largest portion of your lease payment. It's easy to calculate:
- (Capitalized Cost - Residual) ÷ Term of Lease
Remember, Capitalized Cost is the negotiated selling price of the car. The leasing company doesn't care if you get ripped off or not, it's up to you to get the best deal possible to ensure the lowest possible depreciation cost.
- ($25,000 - $12,500) ÷ 36 = $347
$347 is your monthly depreciation cost
- (Capitalized Cost + Residual Value) × Money Factor
You read that right, it's the Cap Cost PLUS residual value. It doesn't seem to make sense but it's actually an accounting method the leasing companies use to simplify things on their end.
- ($25,000 + $12,500) × .0029 = $109
$94 is your monthly interest payment