So you are looking to buy a new car but not wanting it to cost you an arm and a leg, well here is the secret to landing yourself a bargain. Government Car Auctions are where you can save thousands of dollars on your next car purchase. There are a large variety of makes and models available ranging from sedans, wagons, 4WD and trucks to the prestige, vintage, sports and luxury cars.
What is a Government Car Auction
These auctions consist of vehicles that have been closed or repossessed by government agencies such as:
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- US Marshals Service (USMS)
- US Customs Service
- Small Business Administration
- Police / Sheriff's Auctions: State and Local
- US Department Of Defense
- US Bankruptcy Court
- Regional Government Public Auctions
- US Department of The Treasury
- Department of Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS)
- Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Department of Energy (DOE)
These seizures and repossessions is a result of criminal or illegal activity, owners who were not able to make their car repayments and they also include offenders who did not pay their income taxes and tax evasion like crimes. Other government vehicles being sold at these auctions include government vehicles that is out of use, such as where government agencies purchasing a new vehicle to carry out a project of public service that is then no longer required.
Why are these cars being auctioned off so cheap?
Government auctions operate differently to a normal retailing businesses as their purpose for selling is not driven by profit means, whereas a car dealership purpose of making a sale is to increase their revenue. The government general purpose is to clear out their inventory to avoid ungoing storage cost. This is why they want a quick sale, since why you would find vehicles being auctioned for a fraction of their market value.
How much do these cars go for?
Like all auctions the savings you can make on a car depends on how many other people are interested in purchasing it. The more interested parties would increase and drive up the price of the car, however do not let this deter you. You can always still save more at an auction then you would at a car dealership. I can even say most car dealerships purchase their vehicles from these auctions and resell it while making a killing of a profit. With the current financial crises there is an increase in number of repossessed cars so the amount of cars available at auctions is outweighing the number of bidders on the market. You can purchase vehicles for as little as $ 200, but that really depends on the car you are looking at purchasing, the savings can be up to 90% off the market value. For example a 1999 Honda Civic was purchased for $ 2,050 where the market value was $ 8,795, that's a saving of $ 6,745.
Where to start?
- Firstly, find a government car auction near you, these are typically not publicly advertised, but there are government car auction listing services you can join, they will be able to give you the name, location, phone number and website of auctions near you. These can sometimes be beneficial for you as a lot of people do not know about the available auctions, which can mean less people bidding and more savings for you.
- Secondly, you need to do some research on the car that you are interested in purchasing. Getting a rough idea of how much the car is really worth on the market so that you can set a max bid to ensure you get the most savings.
- Find the car you are interested in at an auction near you
- Arrange financing if required
- Attend the auction and inspect the car
- Place your bid
- Make a purchase
- Attend the auction early so you can examine the condition of the car and see how many other interested buyers there might be at the auction.
- Bring along a mechanic or someone who has some knowledge of checking the engine etc for the vehicle
- Pre-owned government / surplus or company vehicles are generally in good condition and are usually maintained well and serviced regularly. They are typically not more than 2-3 years old, which makes them a great buy.
- Set a max bid limit and stick to it. Keep in mind cars are being inspected every day, so if you are not in a rush you will definitely find the car you want for a good bargain price.