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Lease Trader Review – Take Over or Swap a Short-Term Car Lease

By David Bakke

I recently had a chance to take a look at a web site that should be particularly helpful to anyone currently leasing an automobile. It’s called LeaseTrader.com, and it is essentially a full-service online auto lease transfer marketplace.

The site matches people who currently have vehicle leases they wish to get out of, with individuals who are looking for short-term leases with attractive payments and no money down.

How It Works

The way the LeaseTrader.com is set up really couldn’t be any easier. There are only two buttons to click on the site’s homepage. One says “Get In,” for those looking to take over a lease, and the other one says “Get Out,” for people trying to exit their lease.

leasetrader get in get out

If you’re looking to take over a lease, you simply search for a vehicle, contact the seller once you’ve found the vehicle you want, start the transfer process, and when that process is finished, drive away!

If you’re trying to get out of a lease, the process is just as easy. You post your vehicle, communicate with potential buyers, start the transfer process, and when that’s done, you’re instantly lease-free.

The Process

Here is a breakdown of how the transfer process works, and a few tips in order to speed things up along the way.

1. Seller lists vehicle
This is a quick process involving providing buyers with information about your vehicle and your lease. It helps to have a copy of your lease and lease statement in hand before you begin.

2. Buyer selects vehicle
Buyer searches, finds, and reviews listings. Buyers must join a 60-day Buyer Program to communicate directly with sellers.

3. Buyer verifies their creditworthiness
Once a buyer has chosen a lease to take over, the buyer’s creditworthiness is verified before the process can continue. This is required and is a very important part of the package offered by LeaseTrader.

4. Buyer and seller communicate directly
Seller and buyer communicate directly with one another – the seller can be confident that the potential buyer has the needed credit to complete the process. Once all questions and concerns are answered, the two parties are then ready to move forward with the transfer.

5. Transfer documents are sent to both parties for signature
Once approved by the finance company, documents are sent to both parties for signature, which completes the transfer. The documents normally go first to the seller, who signs them and forwards them to the buyer. The buyer signs the documents and sends them back for final processing. The completed documents are sent to both parties and then, typically, the buyer will need to take some of these documents to the local DMV to pick up license plates and other registration items (specific process varies by state).

6. The vehicle is transferred
Once the documents are completed, the seller may now hand over the vehicle to the buyer and the deal is done. The buyer can now take possession of the vehicle. If the buyer and seller are not located near each other, the vehicle can be transported using one of LeaseTrader’s shipping partners.

Get out of a lease - Take over a lease


The benefits to LeaseTrader are so wide and varied, that it would be impossible to try to list them all. So I will focus on what I consider the best of the best. First, there is no down payment involved if you’re looking to acquire an existing lease. There is also a “back-out” clause. You can back out of the process at any point in time up until the final transfer of documents. LeaseTrader also gives you the power to negotiate the transportation costs if the seller and buyer are not near each other. They are not automatically assigned to either party.

In addition, the site will answer any possible questions that you may have about the process before you begin. Their FAQ section is extensive and complete, and I couldn’t find any question that I had about the process that weren’t addressed already.


There are some things that you should be aware of before diving in at LeaseTrader. First, it is not a free site. The cost to join their buyer program ranges from $39.95 to $79.95. This is for one 60-day period and includes having your credit verified once. At the initiation of the transfer process, LeaseTrader charges the buyer a commission of $149.95 after rebate. The cost is actually $249.95, but if you pay it up-front, they take $100 off. There is also the cost of the lease transfer paperwork, which can range from $0-$650, depending upon the financial institution that you use. Who pays for this can be negotiated between the buyer and seller however.

For sellers, there is an up-front cost of $89.95 to list your vehicle, and the same $149.95 commission applies to the seller. Keep in mind that all fees paid to LeaseTrader are nonrefundable.

Also, if you go with a buyer or seller who is not located near you, the transportation costs can be substantial.

On a final note, they do not specifically give you any kind of timetable as to how long this process actually takes. They offer tips on how to expedite the process, but nowhere did they mention any generalized timeframes.

Final Word

For those that currently have a lease they want to get out of, or if you’re interested in getting into a short-term lease, then LeaseTrader certainly has its benefits. It looks to be a great marketplace for both buyers and sellers. There are lots of great reasons to get into a car lease.

On the other hand, there are also lots of reasons to get out of a car lease. Either way, LeaseTrader seems to have everything you would need. There are certainly costs involved, but depending on how much money you might be able to save by either getting into a car lease or out of your current one, it might be worth it to absorb them.

Has anyone had any personal experience, good or bad, with LeaseTrader? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Try out LeaseTrader to transfer or take over a short-term car lease. (Official Site)

Early lease termination

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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  • http://www.ultimatecredit.com Gerri

    A Few years ago I ended up using either Lease Trader or Swap A Lease (can’t remember which one) after the car I had been driving was rear-ended and was no longer worth repairing. Did a lot of research and got a great deal on a Mustang convertible from a woman in Detroit who had a Ford employee discount but needed a new car due to her pregnancy. It was such a good deal but when my husband totaled the car a year later, we actually got a check back from our insurance company. I put that money toward a used car and will drive it until it’s no longer worthwhile to keep. But I would consider this option again, especially if I wanted the car for a year or two and did not commit to buying one.

    • David Bakke


      Thanks a lot for your insightful feedback. This kind of commentary really helps out our readers, and, as author of the article, I sincerely appreciate it!

      Look forward to seeing you here more often!

  • http://monthlycarlease.com Rob

    Really appreciate you spreading the word out about LeaseTrader to those who wish to lease cars or are considering it. Sadly, many car buyers believe that leasing a new car is riskier than buying a new car. That is simply not true. I’ve leased about 15 cars and have never had to worry about taking a hit if I got rid of a car a little early, at least not anymore than had I purchased the car. Whether you buy or lease, you’re going to be upside down in equity if you turn the car in before the loan or lease term is up. Good article. LeaseTrade is an excellent service that should give people who like leasing cars even more confidence. If you want to get out of a car lease early, you have other options.

    • http://www.moneycrashers.com David/moneycrashers


      Thanks for your kind words–you offer a lot of insight on the matter.

      Thanks for commenting


  • NH

    Please be aware that this company Lease Trader is a complete scam. I got burned by them and so did many others. They mis-represent the cars they offer. Most of the cars don’t exist and sellers are unreachable. They have a lot of hidden fees which they don’t incluse. SO STAY AWAY FROM LEASE TRADER. I have used Swap a lease before which was a great experience. highly recommended.

    • http://www.moneycrashers.com David/moneycrashers


      Thanks for your informative commentary. We always appreciate comments from both sides of the aisle, so to speak.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Raulo

    Please read all the reviews posted at http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/leasetradercom-c108664.html before dealing with leasetrader.

  • Daveb

    I am sorry I didn’t do a better job of research before I jumped in as well. I found a MB C300 for my wife and paid the money to join. I asked the seller a question and then the car vanished off the site (search). I have been waiting now for 3 days and I have still heard nothing. BTW, I paid for and was also credit qualified. Things seem a little odd. When I called they said that my email was forwarded to the owner for response! Well . . . . . I guess I was scammed though I am hoping not! To anyone that stands up for LeaseTrader, were you paid to post good things?

    • Davidbakke


      Thanks for sharing your story…our readers will appreciate it.

  • GS

    Ok- So i got a car about 2 1/2 years ago through lease trader ( sort of). I paid all the upfront fees and in the end, the seller and i did all the work, and completed the transfer in about 1 week. I am in the process of getting a second car through lease trader , and this time i talked to the seller, and told him my previous experience with LT. I paid 35 bucks for a one month subscription and he paid about 90 to list the car. Together we are handling the transaction through MB financial. It is saving us over 500 not using LT to do the transfer. LT is a great market place and it is woth the membership fee to connect. Other than that- you are better off calling the finance company and handling it yourself.

    • Davidbakke

      Interesting perspective! Thanks for sharing…

  • rbdeli

    I’ve leased cars for 25 y ears and have never once regretted. I will say, however, that it helps to know there are excellent ways to get out of a car lease early if you’ve gotten yourself into something you didn’t expect.

  • CarGuy123123

    LeaseTrader is terrible! They require you to input your personal information and then they turn around and sell your information to 3rd parties for advertising!!! It is a complete waste of money. Go to Swapalease. Such much easier and cheaper!

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