Difference Wiki

To Lease vs. To Buy: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 26, 2023
To Lease means to rent an asset for a specified period, while To Buy means to purchase an asset to own permanently.

Key Differences

To Lease refers to the act of securing rights to use an asset, often for a predetermined period, in exchange for regular payments. To Buy, conversely, involves the outright purchase of an asset, granting the buyer full ownership and rights to the item.
When someone chooses To Lease, they generally return the asset at the end of the lease term or opt to buy it. On the other hand, when someone decides To Buy, the asset is theirs to keep, use, or resell as they see fit.
Financially speaking, To Lease might require a smaller initial outlay and predictable payments over time. To Buy usually requires a more substantial initial payment, but there are no future obligations related to the asset.
The decision To Lease or To Buy often depends on the individual's or business's financial situation, duration of need, and preferences. Leasing can offer flexibility, while buying provides a sense of permanence.
In the realm of real estate, To Lease a property might mean living in a rental without building equity. In contrast, To Buy a home means building equity over time and potentially benefiting from the property's appreciation.

Comparison Chart


Grants temporary usage rights.
Grants full ownership.


Limited to the lease term.
Permanent until sold or transferred.

Financial Commitment

Regular payments for the lease term.
One-time payment or mortgage installments.


Easier to change or upgrade assets.
Might require selling or trading in to change.


Does not build equity.
Builds equity over time.

To Lease and To Buy Definitions

To Lease

To allow possession in return for regular payments.
The landlord agreed to lease the storefront to the new business.

To Buy

To secure a good or service permanently.
She's saving up to buy a new laptop.

To Lease

To rent a property or item for a specified period.
She decided to lease a new car instead of buying it.

To Buy

To pay the required amount for acquisition.
He managed to buy the antique at the auction.

To Lease

To engage in a contractual agreement for temporary use.
They chose to lease the apartment for two years.

To Buy

To invest in an asset with the intent of permanent possession.
Many people prefer to buy stocks as a long-term investment.

To Lease

To secure rights to an asset for a duration without ownership.
It might be more affordable to lease equipment for short-term projects.

To Buy

To obtain ownership through purchase.
They decided to buy a house in the suburbs.

To Lease

To grant temporary possession in exchange for payment.
The company plans to lease its unused office space.

To Buy

To acquire possession of something in exchange for money.
He went to the store to buy groceries.


Do I build equity when I choose To Lease?

No, leasing does not build equity since you don't own the asset.

What does it mean To Buy?

To Buy means to purchase an asset, granting full ownership rights.

If I decide To Buy after choosing To Lease, is that possible?

Often, yes. Many lease agreements have an option to purchase the asset at the end of the lease term.

What happens when I decide To Buy with a loan?

When you decide To Buy with a loan, you make payments over time and build equity as the loan is paid off.

Can I sell an item I decide To Buy?

Yes, if you decide To Buy an item, you have the right to sell it as the owner.

Is it possible To Lease with an option To Buy?

Yes, some lease agreements come with a "lease-to-own" or "option to purchase" clause.

What does it mean To Lease?

To Lease means to rent an asset for a predetermined period in exchange for regular payments.

Why might a business choose To Lease equipment instead of To Buy?

Businesses might choose To Lease for flexibility, tax benefits, or to avoid obsolescence.

Are there tax advantages when deciding To Buy?

Depending on the situation and region, there might be tax advantages or incentives when deciding To Buy.

Is it cheaper To Lease or To Buy?

It depends; leasing might have lower upfront costs, but buying can be more economical in the long run.

If I decide To Lease, can I end the lease early?

It depends on the lease agreement. Some leases might have penalties or fees for early termination.

If I decide To Buy, do I need to make a down payment?

Often, yes. Many purchases, especially significant ones like homes, require a down payment.

Can I modify an item I choose To Lease?

Typically, modifications to leased items are restricted or need approval, as you don't own the item.

How does maintenance work when I choose To Lease?

When you choose To Lease, maintenance terms are typically defined in the lease agreement, often with some responsibilities falling on the lessor.

What's a common reason people decide To Buy homes instead of To Lease?

One common reason is to build equity and benefit from potential appreciation in property value.

What's a common asset people decide To Lease rather than To Buy?

Cars are a common asset that people often choose To Lease instead of To Buy.

Is a mortgage related to the decision To Buy?

Yes, a mortgage is a type of loan specifically used to finance the decision To Buy real estate.

Can I negotiate terms when I decide To Lease?

Yes, terms of a lease agreement, like price and duration, can often be negotiated.

How is duration determined when deciding To Lease?

Duration is typically stipulated in the lease agreement, defining the start and end dates.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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