But that doesn’t mean there still aren’t good deals to be had at local auctions, because as intimidating as it may sound, there’s a reason dedicated bidders still show up to these things every week. You just have to remain skeptical and attentive if you want to take home the right ride, because you never know what might show up, and by using these 10 tips, you might land a gem.
Sign up to receive automatic notification of new auction listings. You can call the regional office of a government agency to get on mailing lists for upcoming government asset sales. Each government or contractor website will also have a registration form to receive notices of new auction listings. It is also possible at these websites to create custom email alerts for particular items coming up for auction or categories of listings.
After registering for the auction of your choice, begin to figure out a budget. Setting a budget helps relieve anxiety and stress that can come along with auto auction participation. Know your budget and stick to it no matter what the circumstance. When the budget is set, you can start to look into your finances. If you are going to need a loan, determine who or what will be your financial lender. Some auto auction firms provide pre-approved loans; if that is a route, you are comfortable taking. Banks and credit unions are other options for obtaining a car loan.
Cars at public auctions are often those that wouldn't sell at wholesale dealer auctions. Yes, some are flood vehicles, and Hurricane Irene should still be fresh in your mind. Some are cars quickly reconditioned in dealership shops to fill in slow periods when there's otherwise little work to be done. And many are just flat out junk. "A car that goes across the block at a public auction that isn't spewing smoke is often packed with thick racing oil to ensure it doesn't," Lang continues. "Everything at a public auction looks shiny, but shiny doesn't mean much about the quality of the car."
Sign up to receive automatic notification of new auction listings. You can call the regional office of a government agency to get on mailing lists for upcoming government asset sales. Each government or contractor website will also have a registration form to receive notices of new auction listings. It is also possible at these websites to create custom email alerts for particular items coming up for auction or categories of listings.

In recent years, public auctions have become commonly referred to as “the mechanic’s auction,” where lots can quickly become a money pit for novice bidders. There is no guarantee on the authenticity of the mileage on the odometer here, and since it’s an auction, you can’t drive the vehicle prior to bidding on it. This is a place where flood vehicles sell for top dollar after being hastily reupholstered in the hopes of duping amateur bidders, and cars with bad engines come loaded with heavy-duty oil in order to ensure it doesn’t belch smoke or leak on the auction block.

The purchaser shall pay a non-refundable deposit of 25% of the purchased price of any auction lot on the date of the auction, with the balance of the purchase price paid within 3 days following the auction. All payments must be received by cashier’s check, money order, company or personal check accompanied by an irrevocable bank letter of guarantee, or wire transfer payable to Bar None Auction. Any payment other than cash may be subject to an additional 3% administrative fee.
K – Your assertions may be true for your stores, but that is not the case for the bulk of vehicles at auction. Many dealerships will send off brand trade ins to the auction (ex: Chevrolet dealer takes a Ford in on trade). Additionally dealerships will often “turn” their inventory sometime between 60-120 days. If they’ve purchased a car and it’s not moving many dealers will move it to get their cash back out of the car and put it back into another car that they might be able to retail, and make a profit on.

Inspect the items - Before you bid on anything, carefully inspect all of the items first. You would also like to get a better idea of what the items you will be bidding on could be worth. In case you are bidding on an online auction, you will need to rely on the picture and the description of the item. You need to do all of your research in advance, as all of the sales at the police auction are final once they accepted you bid. By doing your research in advance you will ensure that you are buying real bargains and not overpaying for the items that you are bidding on.


The Department of the Treasury has designated CWS Asset Management & Sales (CWSAMS) as the prime contractor responsible for the maintenance and sale of seized and forfeited real property throughout the U.S. Our website is incorporated into the official Treasury site, http://www.treasury.gov/auctions/. CWS is not affiliated with any other auction information services, seminars, or publications, and we never charge a fee to access these auction listings.
Public auctions are not usually advertised to bring in the best revenue. Sometimes there might be a small ad in the local paper, but unless you go looking for it, you might miss it altogether. On the whole, public car auctions are actually really difficult to find. Knowing how to locate your nearest auction room will help you for any future purchases too. The place you should talk to is your department of transport. They will let you know if they conduct their own auctions or put you in touch with a financial institution that does.
If you are well versed in using the internet, then you can learn about these seized auctions without being present in an auction. Take away the attempt of evaluation in newspapers just log on for updated auction schedules at the auction listing websites. You can check the online items specifications, and know more about it. You can check every detail that is relevant, the auctions time and place and every relevant detail you can check.
Policeauctions.com is run by a private company and is not affiliated with the government. It provides information and links to government-run auctions, but the site itself is part of the wholesale liquidation auction market. Items are sold as is and sometimes there are fees. You have to register to bid and get information, but it doesn’t cost anything to join the site.
K – Your assertions may be true for your stores, but that is not the case for the bulk of vehicles at auction. Many dealerships will send off brand trade ins to the auction (ex: Chevrolet dealer takes a Ford in on trade). Additionally dealerships will often “turn” their inventory sometime between 60-120 days. If they’ve purchased a car and it’s not moving many dealers will move it to get their cash back out of the car and put it back into another car that they might be able to retail, and make a profit on.
Do the homework, sometimes even ‘bad’ car can be a great deal at an auction. I recently bought a minivan that was listed as having a blown transmission. A little research discovered this is a common problem for that make and year. At the preview, I had my mechanic (whom I trust) on speed dial and got an estimate on the spot to replace the transmission with a new, 5-year warrentied rebuilt one. The bids on the van were low (who’d buy a vehicle with a bad transmission?), and even with the purchase price, the cost of the new transmission and towing to my mechanic, it still came in way below KBB value. And I know it has a worry-free transmission for the next 5 years. So don’t let even a ‘problem’ car scare you off if you’re willing to do the homework and hassle of getting it fixed.
Copyright © Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the BIZFLUENT.COM Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material appearing on BIZFLUENT.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional financial and/or investment advice. BIZFLUENT.COM does not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the website.
Lot: 1 - ST. LOUIS CARDINALS MULTI-SIGNED HALL OF FAMERS ST. LOUIS CARDINALS MULTI-SIGNED HALL OF FAMERS HOME PLATE WITH PITCHING RUBBER Home plate signed by 7 St. Louis Cardinal HOFers including Jack Buck ('87), Stan Musial ('69), Bob Gibson ('81), Enos Slaughter ('85), Lou Brock ('85), Red Schoendienst Lot: 2 - CHRIS CARPENTER ST. LOUIS CARDINALS SIGNED 2006 CHRIS CARPENTER ST.   [ View Full Listing ]
Another problem that you might face with local police auctions is finding information related to their occurrence. You can find the information on websites that deals particularly in government auctions. After acquiring the information of its timings, you need to call the local police department, and register your bidder number. Bids only from registered bidders are considered in these seized car auctions. It is advisable to obtain Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) prior to bidding for the car and run it through the Carfax website. It helps in checking the past history and allows you to buy a clean car.
Watch the mood and trend of the crowd in the bidding before your vehicle comes up for sale. I've noticed that at auctions there are frugal crowds and there are spendy crowds. I don't know why this is. I've seen furniture, tools, and kitchen cabinets sell for 10% of retail. But I've also seen them sell at what you'd pay for full retail in a store at the same auction house on different days. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Always be prepared to walk away. There'll be another auction in a week or two.
You could tell that most people knew each other. It felt like these few dozen bidders were part of an exclusive network of junkyard owners and flip-artists who have been bidding on cars against each other for years. Every now and then, when one guy outbid another, you’d see the losing bidder lean over to a friend and talk shit on the winner. “He just buys cars for the sake of buying them. He probably makes no money,” I heard one guy whisper. Police auctions are full of mysteries and secrets.
×