What Government Car Auctions Can Mean For The Average Car Buyer?

The short version of government car auctions is that at first sight, they seem to good to be true. Can you really buy a car for $200 that looks like new? The truth is, it IS true. Local, state and federal governments regularly auction off unclaimed or seized properties. These properties are homes, real estate, equipment and cars and these government car auctions can really land you a sweet deal on a good car if you know what you are doing.

General Service Administration, “GSA” for short is the majority leader in government car auctions. Other agencies with the ability to legally obtain illegal property include U.S. Marshall’s, Department of Treasury, Border Patrol or the IRS. Your city police along with DOT are conducting these sales on a weekly basis. “Police Impound Auctions” are what you would look for if you wanted to attend.

A lot of the government car auctions don’t necessarily come from seizures but from surplus. You’ll hear them referred to as ‘government surplus auctions’, and they not only sell cars, but things like computers, furniture, forklifts, equipment, and many other things. Banks will often have auctions to sell cars that they’ve had to repossess. These are your ‘Repo car auctions’. Most of the time when you hear of these auctions, they are actually handled by a private auction company that’s under contract.

Don’t fret if you live in a small city, you can always find an auction nearby.  Auctions are usually on a set schedule. They can be held monthly, quarterly or annually as determined by the agency conducting it. Finding out when they are being held could be as easy as looking in the newspaper. The chance of finding the type of car you’re looking for is pretty good. If you’re interested in an SUV, sports car or just a family car, auctions are the way to go. The ability to attend an auctions lies with one having money, a driver’s license and be over 18 years of age.

The ability to view cars before the auction is known as the “preview” period. Not every auction will allow this. Two maybe three days prior to an auction is the time period for this preview. At this time you can do everything but drive off. This is the best time to start them up, listen to them and make sure they run properly. Also find out what you want to bid on and keep track of it. Privately run auctions should be the only time you would pay buyer’s fees.

This has been the short version of free government auctions. Be prepared to run into some stiff competition especially if you’ve got your eye on a good looking car that seems to be in good condition. There’ll be plenty of bidders with their eye on it too. Sometimes it’s best to bid on one that doesn’t look so good but that you know from experience should run good and are reliable and durable. Don’t get discouraged if you lose on a few bids. It’s part of the fun and the learning experience. Be prepared to bid on more than one vehicle if they have that many you like. These government car auctions really can be a way to get a great deal on a good car.

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