At government auto auctions you will find great deals on hundreds of cars. The cars include those owned and no longer used by government agencies as well as those cars seized under certain forfeiture and seizure laws. Every week hundreds of cars with starting prices of $200 are available including models from Mitsubishi, Toyota, Cadillac, BMW, Ford, GM, Nissan, Honda, Chrysler, Lexus and others.
The government’s eagerness to quickly sell off its car inventory is an advantage that cannot (or at least should not) be overlooked by any serious car buyer looking for a great deal. Fortunately for buyers, the goal of the government is to dispose of the vehicles it no longer needs as quickly as possible at almost any price. Anything is better than storage and maintenance expenses. Like most things in life, however, when buying a car at a government auto auction, there are disadvantages as well as advantages. Below are some of the disadvantages.
1. Selling Terms – Auctioned cars are all sold “as is.” After buying one, there is no opportunity to complain about its condition, to exchange it or to ask for a refund. Therefore, as when buying any used car, take the time to inspect the vehicle’s condition as much as possible and learn as much about the vehicles that you are interested in before you go to the auction.
2. Intimidating – When you attend your first government vehicle auction, it may seem intimidating, However, as with most endeavors, those feelings diminish with each additional visit. It may be worthwhile to attend one or two practice auctions to become comfortable with the process. You may also pick up valuable information concerning price and condition before attending by keeping track of on-line car auctions.
3. Time – Searching for the government car auction in your area, registration, preliminary checking, attendance, and getting all the necessary paperwork done after purchase may take up to a few weeks. Again a practice run or two may help streamline things for you.
4. Pressure – Unlike buying a car through a private party or dealer, there is not a lot of time to consider all the facets of the deal. You must often fly by the seat of your pants, make quick decisions and hope for the best. Gathering as much information as possible in advance concerning the auction process and the cars that you are interested in bidding on is key.
5. Vehicle Inspection – While most government auctions provide an opportunity to make a visual inspection of the cars for sale, you are not going to have an opportunity to take it to your mechanic for a comprehensive inspection of the mechanical parts. You can offset some of this concern by (a) bringing a knowledgeable mechanic with you or (b) having someone available at home who can get a history report of the car using its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
As always, the more information you have the better. Arm yourself with good information before you head out to the auctions and you’ll find lots of good deals at government auto auctions.