NBC 6 Responds

Have a Car Lease Coming Up This Year? You Could Pocket Some Serious Money

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If you have a car lease coming up this year, you could pocket some serious money - your car may be worth way more than the lease payoff. That's good news for some drivers, but others are hitting roadblocks trying to cash in.

Evan Anziska leased an Infiniti back in 2019. His lease is coming up and he's in a sweet spot. That's because the booming used car market is driving up trade-in values. Anziska says Carmax offered to buy his car for $30,000, and his lease buyout is just $22,000. That means he could pocket the $8,000 difference.

"My initial reaction was, 'Wow, there's a lot of money to be made here,'" said Anziska.

The car experts at Edmunds say Anziska's not alone. If you have a lease coming up this year, you could make money, too. Edmunds says consumers who sell their leased cars are walking away, on average, with $7,000.

"Chances are, with used prices as high as they are right now, the value of your vehicle is going to be much higher than predicted when you started your lease three years ago," said Edmunds' analyst Jessica Caldwell.

So which cars will make you the most? According to Edmunds, you could score $9,000 for a Ford Expedition; $11,000 for a Toyota 4Runner; $17,000 for a GMC Yukon. Edmunds has a long list of cars that can make you some money.

Unless you hit a roadblock, like Anziska did. After combing through his lease, he learned that Infiniti won't let him sell his car to Carmax.

Infiniti told NBC Responds it started restricting where consumers sell their leased cars last year, because they want those used cars back on Infiniti lots.

Edmunds says car makers like Honda, Acura and GM have also changed their rules, banning consumers from selling their leased cars to other dealerships.

"Because there is such a shortage of both new and used vehicles, automakers are really wanting to get those vehicles back off the lease because that's a used vehicle that their dealer can sell," said Caldwell.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a car manufacturer trade group, pointed out that leased cars aren't owned by the driver. And they can buy the car, and then sell it, but not until the lease is up.

Anziska doesn't like that option, but he knows he might be stuck.

"I should have the flexibility to take that money and do what I want with it. I'd love the opportunity to have that kind of flexibility going into my next lease," he said. Here's information on selling your leased car.

This story originally appeared on NBC Los Angeles.

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