Unlike when you buy an asset, most leases provide you with the opportunity to upgrade as part of your agreement. [iStockphoto]

Over the last few years, property ownership has transformed from a dominant symbol of stability and security to one of financial risk.

Many Kenyans however still prefer the status and convenience of owning a property.

The emotional and cultural attachment to this practice, however, does not always translate into economic benefits.

Today, access is advantageous to ownership and it is expected to drive the emerging intangible economy. New technology and design for example are constantly advancing, meaning things become outdated quickly.

Leasing may be worth considering if the equipment you need is likely to date quickly or if you are looking for a short-term commitment.

There are also tax reasons, cash flow reasons and other costs of ownership that could mean you benefit more financially through leasing than through buying an asset.

You can get a great deal more for your money through leasing than by simply buying an asset, including the potential to upgrade your tech, schedule service and maintenance if breakages occur and even the option to buy at a significantly reduced cost or sell the asset on for a profit.

Unlike when you buy an asset, most leases provide you with the opportunity to upgrade as part of your agreement.

Not only does this asset refresh offer considerable cost relief to staying up-to-date, but you also don’t have to worry about getting rid of the old equipment as it is returned to the lessor.

If there is still some economic residual within these returned assets, there may even be the opportunity to negotiate a trade for a discount on the newer models.

Although buying guarantees your company ownership of the assets, this is not necessarily a benefit.

By having full ownership, you are responsible for everything that happens to the asset, including the disposal of the equipment when it has outdone its usefulness.

Consumers are motivated to update to the most contemporary products on the market with the best features, at the best price.

Taking cars, for example, leasing is a better option for consumers wanting the most up-to-date technology at a low cost.

The technology in cars is constantly improving and with leasing, consumers have the chance to regularly upgrade every three years to a newer vehicle with more advanced performance features.

Modern consumers have different priorities, and their attitudes towards owning a car are altering with the cultural shift towards usership over ownership.

Monthly payments are also much lower than loan payments, and leases are often easier to obtain than a loan. What’s more, maintenance costs are minimal, since most warranties for new cars last three years - which is usually around the same amount of time as the average lease period.

Through leasing, modern models are accessible to anyone who can afford the monthly payments, and they can continue to change and upgrade models every three years as new features emerge.

Owning a car can mean you carry the burden of unexpected breakdowns and repairs, whereas leasing often includes an affordable maintenance package covering tax benefits, warranty and breakdown cover.

The repair costs are also much lower with new models, therefore, leasing offers consumers reliable and stress-free motoring without financial baggage.

Leasing also cushions consumers from the impact of depreciation.

As long as you look after your assets, pay your dues on time and end contracts on good terms, you should be able to develop a strong relationship of trust, leading to further deals from your leasing partner.

-The writer is NCBA Group Director, Asset Finance and Business Solutions