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Automobiles Auctions   >   Articles   >   How Government Auctions Work


How Government Vehicle Auctions Work

As explained in our article What Are Government Vehicle Auctions, government auctions are auctions used by the government to sell unwanted vehicles. These vehicles can come from two sources:
  1. Firstly, they are used to sell vehicles which have been previously used in government service, but are now being retired. These vehicles are often only 2 or 3 years old, and are usually well-maintained, although sometimes they may have high mileage.

  2. Secondly, they are used to sell vehicles which the government has obtained through "surplus and seizure laws" Very often these are vehicles seized from criminals, and can include vehicles seized or impounded by state or local police, sheriff departments, IRS, Border Control, DEA, FBI, etc. Since these vehicles come from many different sources, their types and condition can vary widely. However, in nearly all cases, the government agency has obtained these vehicles for free, and will want to dispose of them as quickly as possible for the best price they can get right now.
A key point to understand is that although there can be bargains to be found in government auctions, there also can be lemons. Thus, if you want to get value for money from government vehicle auctions, you need to know what you want, know what you're bidding on, and use good judgement.

Step 1: Finding Government Vehicle Auctions

Government vehicle auctions are held in all 50 states of the United States. You can monitor the local press or contact government agencies to find such auctions, but the easiest way is to join a government auction members' site.

Members' sites are independently run sites which list government vehicle auctions, and often provide search facilities to make it easier to find auctions in your area. Usually there is a membership fee associated with joining one of these sites, but compared to the cost of a vehicle, the costs are modest.

Step 2: Registering for Auctions

Many auctions will require potential bidders to register prior to the auction taking place, so once you have located auctions that you are interested in, the usual next step is to register with the auction.

There may also be a fee associated with registering to be a bidder in a particular auction. You will of course only want to pay to register at those auctions which you are seriously interested in attending or bidding on.

Step 3: Checking the Vehicles

Before bidding on any vehicle it is a good idea to know as much as possible about the vehicle and its condition. That way you will know if it is really a vehicle that you wish to purchase, and how much you would be prepared to pay for it. You might also come across some vehicles which superficially look attractive, but turn out to be poor choices on closer examination.

If possible you should inspect the vehicle in person before bidding. If you are not especially knowledgeable about automobiles, then perhaps you could take a more knowledgeable friend with you to look at the vehicle? You may find a guide like How to Inspect A Used Car to be helpful. Additionally, if seriously considering purchasing a vehicle - it's probably also worth checking on the vehicle's history using online services - provides vehicle history reports with over 60+ problem checks (based on access to a database of over 40 million records from state DMVs, junk yards, and insurance carriers)..

In some cases, vehicles may only be sold online, and it might not be possible to inspect the vehicle in person. In this event, you will need to read all the descriptive material as closely as possible, examine any photographs offered, check the vehicle history, and make a considered judgement about the risks of purchasing the vehicle.

Step 4: Preparing to Bid

One thing you need to know before bidding on any vehicle is how much you are prepared to spend. Set yourself a maximum figure before the auction and stick to it - that way you won't get carried away by the excitement on day!

Make sure that you take into account any other amounts that might apply (for example, sales tax), and choose your maximum bid accordingly.

Finally, before attending the auction, you should also take care to read the paperwork requirements for the winning bidder, so you don't have any problems with completing the purchase.

Below are some books about government auctions.


Here are some books from

Disclosure: Products details and descriptions provided by Our company may receive a payment if you purchase products from them after following a link from this website.

'How to Buy Government Seized Vehicles Repossessed Homes and Surplus Property'
By unknown author

Auction Buyers Hot Line, EE Inc
Paperback (0 pages)

How to Buy Government Seized Vehicles Repossessed Homes and Surplus Property
Lowest Used Price: $8.00*
In Stock*
*(As of 17:00 Pacific 18 Jul 2024 More Info)

Click Here
'How to Buy Government Seized Vehicles Repossessed Homes and Surplus Property'
  • Manufacturer: Auction Buyers Hot Line, EE Inc
  • Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 0
  • Author: unknown author
Click here for more information

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