Majority of cars at government auctions have been reclaimed from individuals who failed to pay their government loans, from criminals or "retired" police cars as well as other government cars that are not anymore in service.
At government auctions, you usually can find a variety of models and makes, even classic cars not available at dealerships. In general government auctions are held at specific locations regularly usually every month. Refer to your local newspaper for details and listings.
Anybody can participate and yes, it is very possible to get great deals. Here are tips to help you:
1. Before participating, verify first with the appropriate agency that indeed, such an auction is associated with them, because there are a lot of auctions that represent themselves illegally as being sponsored by the government.
2. Buying a car at government auctions means that you have to set first your target price before you go and participate. Establish your "target price" for the specific type of car you want to buy by consulting an online car-buying website and then base this number on the invoice price of the car you are aiming for.
3. You have to be at the auction site early to do the following:
(a) Consider a few cars only. Obtain a list of cars ahead of time then narrow your choices down to only a few which fit your requirements.
Generally, the auctioneers provides the make, model, year and VIN or "vehicle identification number" for every vehicle of your choice, plus the total car miles in the odometer.
(b) Note down the VIN of a car that you are interested and either use your computer notebook or call somebody at home to quickly check the car with an online car-buying website in order to discover whether or not there is evidence of flood damage, odometer fraud, major accidents, etc.
(c) Carefully inspect all the cars of your interest. Thoroughly look inside the interior and exterior and start the car’s engine, but remember, you are not allowed to go for a "test drive".
Tips for buying a car at government auctions:
1. Take into consideration costly mechanical car problem possibilities, because in most cases, cars at government auctions are sold "as-is".
2. Take your mechanic with you so to preview the car you are eyeing on because he can easily recognize engine defects and problems that may not be recognizable to you.
3. Never bid on any car with a value range (usually based on "National Automobile Dealers Association" used car price guides) you do not presently know.
4. Make certain that the contract clearly states the number of days until you obtain the title. Note that should it take much longer, then it is wise to take back your money. Never bid on any car without the title.
5. Avoid getting yourself over-involved in a bidding frenzy and spend way above your budget for a certain car. It is sensible to simply walk away, even if you really would like to purchase the car.
Remember, your purpose of participating in a government auction essentially is to "save money"; so never buy out of impulse.
The individuals who successfully obtain the right car of their choice at the right price at government auctions go there well informed and know what they really want as well as how much they are prepared to pay for it.