Government auto auction is quite a global practice even though in some countries it is not familiar among the citizen. In Japan, for example, people fully take advantage of this kind of auction while in the US, government auto auction is not yet a practice utilized by the public.
Government auto auction is a practice where vehicles are auctioned to private parties, both individual or organization. This is done in order to redistribute vehicles coming in from different government agencies. The investigative agencies may acquire the automotive items by seizing them from criminals or lawbreakers. The IRS may seize cars from those failing to pay taxes and sell said cars in order to generate cash flow.
Other organizations like rental companies or the insurance companies may also auction cars they take possession of although not necessarily via government auto auction. Rental companies usually auction cars in their fleet considered too old for rental service while insurance companies auction totaled cars to salvaging industry. These are pretty much not the kind of cars buyers on a budget are looking for, even if they do come with relatively low price.
Other than seized vehicles, the government auto auctions may also be auctioning vehicles from agencies’ own fleet, typically vehicles used by agents and staff. These cars are usually no more than three years old and they don’t normally sustain any damage as they have only been used as regular transportation means. Other highlights concerning these vehicles are the fact that they are well-maintained and they have low mileage, as well as features like power steering, power windows and air conditioning.
Government auto auction is no means to reap profit; the vehicles are sent into auction because the government see no use of them and opt to generate income instead. That is why good deals can generally be found at this kind of auction. According to government auto auction sites like GovtAuction.us, bidding starts at $ 100 and winning bidder may save up to $ 15,000, even though the average saving a buyer can get is around $ 6,500. Keep in mind though that government auction does not necessarily translate to cheap dirt price. Bidders are not exactly few in numbers and considering their good condition, the cars may keep bidders interested and committed for quite a while.
Depending on the source, condition of cars auctioned at government auto auction may vary. Ones coming from agencies fleet are generally better while bidders need to prepare for some minor scratches or bumps in the case of seized cars. Touch up paint jobs or dent removals are relatively cheap but worn tires or scraped wheels may cost quite a bit of cash.
There is no pre-auction inspection allowed so it is advisable that bidders study the auction catalog and ask for help from auction spotters. Any kind of pre- or post-auction inspection can be negotiated at a price, which on its own defeat the economical motive of government auto auction bidders.
To be eligible for government auto auction, an interested buyer needs to be 18 years old or older, in possession of Social Security or Taxpayers ID number and prepared to declare no pending payment on other properties previously purchased from the government. There is no registration fee.