Swapalease Review: Is it worth trying?
Here's my honest review of Swapalease. The platform offers a way to connect people that want to get rid of their lease with those who are looking to take over a lease. They claim to facilitate quick and easy lease transfers as the largest automotive lease marketplace. But is it really that simple? The answer is "not exactly"
As a leasing marketplace, Swapalease may offer you visibility to the other relevant party, but they do not control the actual lease transfer. Sounds like it could be a tricky problem, but it's not all bad. You just need to understand the service and how to use it safely.
Below we breakdown what type of service Swapalease offers and how it works for both the buyer and seller.
Table of Contents
- What is Swapalease?
- Is Swapalease Legit?
- How Much Does Swapalease Cost?
- How Does Swapalease Make Money?
- What Credit Score Do You Need for Swapalease?
- How to Take Over a Lease with Swapalease
- How to Transfer Your Lease with Swapalease
- Swapalease Review- The Good and the Bad
- Is it Possible to Beat the Swapalease Experience?
- Alternatives to Swapalease
- Best Lease Deals by Category
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Swapalease?
Swapalease is a top car lease transfer marketplace. The website connects people who want to transfer their lease with those who are looking to take over a lease. It allows people who need to exit a lease a way to do so without facing harsh penalties from the leasing company.
People who are looking to get out of their current lease can register an account with Swapalease and post an ad for their car with the details of the lease agreement for a $200 listing fee. You must include photos and a full description of the vehicle including the leasing company, lease term, monthly payment, and mileage (total, driven, and remaining).
Is Swapalease Legit?
Yes, Swapalease is a legitimate company. It has been an Accredited Business with the Better Business Bureau since 2001. The business began in 1997.
How Much Does Swapalease Cost?
Swapalease charges both the buyers and sellers on their site. There are three main pricing tiers for sellers:
- Tier 1: For a one-photo ad, the lease trader must pay $74.95, and a $200 success fee if the lease is sold.
- Tier 2: For the next tier, "Swapper's Club" you pay $199.95 for a 12-photo ad (the success fee is included in the package).
- Tier 3: The Swapper's Club Gold package includes the success fee and a 36-photo ad that is featured for 2 weeks for $299.95.
Buyers also pay a fee between $34.95 and $79.95. You must pay the registration fee and the leasing company's lease transfer fee, as well as potential lease-end fees. The only way to know for sure what you would pay as a buyer is to contact Swapalease and by researching the leasing company information and the licensing and registration rules in your state.
How Does Swapalease Make Money?
Swapalease makes money from both the lease buyer and lease seller. Since both pay fees to be part of the Swapalease network, the company makes money when you sell your lease or buy another lease. Sellers can pay a premium for added features like more photos but at a minimum they must pay a success fee in addition to the monthly listing fee.
What Credit Score Do You Need for Swapalease?
When you take over a lease via Swapalease, you must meet the lender's qualification for the lease origins. Many times, taking over the lease requires a better credit score than starting a new one. Swapalease recommends having a credit score over 620 to avoid high-interest rates and having one over 660 for the best rates.
How to Take Over a Lease with Swapalease
As a lease buyer, you have the upper hand on Swapalease. The lease seller likely wants to offload the lease and vehicle as soon as possible, which puts you in a great spot to negotiate. The steps to acquiring a lease on the site include:
- Browse the vehicles available. You do not need an official account to view inventory or reach out to the seller with questions.
- "Takeover Lease". To complete a deal you will need to create a paid account and select "Takeover Lease".
- Paperwork. You must complete the registration form, fully fill out your account, and add your credit card details.
- Fees and costs. You will have to pay $59.95 to register the car as a buyer. The one-time cost keeps your account active until you successfully find your leased vehicle. You also get a free credit check and a few helpful eBooks as part of the fee.
- Additional fees. Keep in mind that if you buy from Swapalease, there may be additional fees related to the lease. Some of the fees include a vehicle inspection fee, the lease transfer fee, the lease disposition fee at the end of the lease, lease wear and tear fees, and mileage fees.
How to Transfer Your Lease with Swapalease
Getting rid of your leased vehicle is fairly simple with Swapalease. Here's how the process works and a few things to note.
- Register for an account.
- Select "Transfer Lease". Complete your account.
- Pay to list your vehicle. Choose from one of the three listing plans and pay the associated fee. The Swapalease listing plans include:
- Tier 1: $74.95 for a 1-photo ad and an additional $200 "success fee".
- Tier 2: $199.95 for a 12-photo ad, success fee included in the package.
- Tier 3: $299.95 for a 36-photo ad that is featured for 2 weeks. The success fee is included in the package.
- Complete your listing. Once you pay for an account, you can complete your ad details, upload photos, and provide information on your lease configuration.
- Consider offering additional incentives. Depending on how quickly you want to offload your lease, you may need to offer additional incentives to encourage interest in your post. Remember, you will pay the monthly lease payments until the lease is transferred. One popular incentive to offer is to cover the lease transfer fee from the finance house. Another option is a cash incentive. You can include information about your incentives in the description of your listing.
Swapalease Review- The Good and the Bad
Swapalease Pros: Here's What I Like
- Diverse inventory of available lease takeovers. The online platform allows buyers the opportunity to enter a short-term lease fairly easily.
- Avoid a large down payment. You can skip out on a large down payment by taking over a lease rather than starting one.
- Popular platform. As a highly-targeted platform, it connects lease sellers with a motivated buying group. Since the platform is so popular, it gives you a good chance of finding a suitable transfer candidate.
- Simple. The site is simple and intuitive, it's designed with selling or buying a lease in mind.
- Less expensive. Paying the Swapalease listing fees are much less expensive than terminating a lease, reselling the vehicle, or performing a buyout.
Swapalease Cons: Here's What I Don't Like
While there are some great benefits of Swapalease, it's not without its fair share of drawbacks. There is a list of common Swapalease problems that buyers and sellers frequently report. Some of the biggest issues with Swapalease include:
- No refunds. While Swapalease fees are nominal compared to some other options, there is still a non-refundable cost associated. You pay the fees in advance, and there are no refunds.
- No guarantee. There's no guarantee that you will be able to find a lease buyer to take over your lease. You may pay the non-refundable fees and never get a suitable buyer. Even increased exposure via the higher tier package does not guarantee that you'll be able to transfer your lease.
- Vehicle Information. Swapalease does not verify the information given about the vehicles or lease. As a buyer, it's up to you to investigate the lease terms and consider an inspection at your own cost.
- Does not handle lease transfer itself. Swapalease does not actually transfer the lease. It is really just a platform to connect the two relevant parties, but the leasing company completes the transfer under its own terms.
- Poor customer service. Overall customer service is reported as a top complaint in Swapalease customer reviews. According to review sites Swapalease has poor consumer ratings, suggesting that many customers are dissatisfied with their experience.
Is it Possible to Beat the Swapalease Experience?
Swapalease can certainly help connect people looking to get rid of their lease with those interested in taking over a lease. However, there are several common problems with Swapalease, and it's not the only option.
The answer is yes, you can beat the Swapalease trading experience.
There are several different ways to transfer or acquire a lease, and some of them don't require additional fees. But, you can still find a great deal on Swapalease if you are diligent and careful.
Here are some tips:
- Check alternative sites for listings. As a buyer, you should browse Swapalease and its alternatives (listed below) for inventory before signing up for any paid account. You may find what you are looking for on a site that doesn't charge a buyer's fee.
- Do your own research. Carefully examine the lease agreement and contact the lease company to confirm the details so you do not miss anything.
- Be accurate. As the seller, you should provide accurate, detailed information and proof of your claims including repair receipts and lease documents. This includes adding several high-quality photos that clearly show the condition of the car. The more specific you can make your listing, the more confident the buyer can be.
- Offer reasonable incentives. As a seller, it is a good idea to offer some nominal incentive to make your lease listing stand out, however, you do not want to go overboard and end up losing a lot of money on the transfer.
Alternatives to Swapalease
There are several alternatives to Swapalease that connect lease buyers and sellers. Here are the top Swapalease alternatives:
- LeaseTrader. LeaseTrader is the largest direct competitor to Swapalease. The process is similar, and LeaseTrader also charges tiered listing rates and buyer fees. Like Swapalease, LeaseTrader does not verify listings and has a simple interface.
- Free platforms (Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace). Both allow you to post local ads, and Facebook Marketplace even allows you to reach people nationwide. You can also list your lease for free. Both sellers and buyers should be aware that they will be responsible for the entire process.
- Online communities for brands. Each auto brand has several online communities like Facebook groups, forums, clubs, and more. Joining one of these communities connects you with others who enjoy that brand and you can certainly share information about a lease you want to sell or buy.
It's possible to transfer or acquire a car lease by utilizing a dedicated lease swap website or simply browsing an online listing platform.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I transfer a lease through Swapalease?
After registering for an account, and filling out all the necessary vehicle information, you can sign up for three different tiered packages. The different tiers offer the ability for the lease seller to put up more photos or be a featured ad on their site for two weeks.
How do I take over a lease through Swapalease?
You can browse Swapalease's inventory based on car model, style, monthly payments, state, and many more specifications that sellers are required to put in their ads. However, Swapalease does not handle the lease transfer process, it only connects the two parties together.
What are alternatives to Swapalease?
Some alternatives to Swapalease include LeaseTrader, free marketplace platforms like Facebook and Craigslist, and brand specific online communities. Free platforms and online communities do not charge fees, but there are few more steps involved and a bit more trust between the two parties.