GoodWill is a nonprofit organization that operates retail stores to raise money for people with disabilities or who otherwise need a helping hand. Its online auction site, ShopGoodwill, is a collaborative effort from GoodWill stores all across the United States and provides an impressive variety of all sorts of products, from cameras to tools to sports equipment.
Visit websites of government agencies that hold public auctions. At the federal level, you can find auctions online or listings for live auctions held across the country by visiting the GovSales.gov website. GovSales.gov has consolidated listings of assets for sale across the federal government. A variety of state and local government agencies also hold public surplus property auctions. Links to many local government auction sites are listed at USA.gov, under Shopping.
Remember, you aren’t allowed to drive these vehicles, but you are granted access to them prior to the auction, and getting up close can reveal all kinds of hidden maladies. Look for things like paint overspray, uneven sheet metal, compromised suspension components, undercarriage rust, and anything else that looks out of place. Interior aroma is another major thing to watch out for, so be wary of things like gasoline aromas and mildew, because even though they may dissipate eventually, there’s a strong chance they represent a much larger issue.
But ordinary folk typically don’t have the means to attend high-end events like these, so we have to settle for the local auction block, with all of its police impounded “perp-mobiles,” abandoned clunkers, and donated jalopies. But regardless of what kind of crap is being auctioned off, there are diamonds in the rough that can be unearthed, and as a bidder, you stand a chance of getting one for pennies on the dollar.
High-end classic car auctions like the Barrett-Jackson events are common on cable channels with three-digit numbers, such as Speed and HD Theater. Perfect Shelby Cobras, Ferraris with long racing pedigrees, glorious Duesenbergs, exceedingly rare muscle cars and old Mercedes roadsters so gorgeous that your eyes water cross the block and sell for insane prices.
To bid, you'll mostly need to go to an auction house on the day and bid in person. However, some auction houses now offer live internet or telephone bidding. You'll have to register to bid with the auction house, whether you're bidding in person or not. You should be able to find out when the next police auction will be held by visiting the auction house's website.
The majority of the vehicles found at local auctions will need some work done to them in order to be deemed “road-worthy.” Knowing this before you ever set foot on the grounds is a major part of deciding if this is the right way for you to source an automobile. A low bid on a crappy car has the potential to leave you stranded on the side of the road, so if you aren’t a savvy DIY wrencher, you’d better have one hell of a trustworthy mechanic.
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.
The following link will take you to the sale list for the next abandoned & confiscated vehicle auction. Be advised that some of these vehicles will not be present on the day of sale, as owners/lien holders will have reclaimed the vehicles. You must be present at the sale preview to know what remaining vehicles will be offered and to view vehicle conditions.
Boulder, Colo., police started using PropertyRoom.com in 2007, mainly to unload property that couldn't be traced back to the owners. Before items are put up for auction, they are posted on the police department’s Web site for four weeks. Previously, the department had been stuck holding onto items for up to three years, said spokeswoman Sarah Huntley.
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.
It is strongly recommended that you attend the open houses/inspections that are scheduled prior to sale. The bidder is invited, urged, and cautioned to inspect the property prior to submitting a bid. Failure to inspect property shall not constitute cause for cancellation of sale. Property will be available for inspection only at the times specified. At their own expense, potential bidders may have property inspectors examine the property during regularly scheduled open houses.
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Find police auctions - In order to bid at police auctions, you need to find them first. Police departments will often times hold an auction to sell off the evidence that they no longer need for their cases. There are also items available at large government auction sites. There are police auctions available online for items that were seized and not claimed by their owners. It isn't that hard to obtain information about the locations of police auctions because most of the information is available online.
With the budget and loan in place, you should start thinking about the auction’s inventory of cars and vehicles. Moms may need more seats for kids, or business owners may need trucks for hauling and transportation. Be sure to inspect the inventory closely. Do not be afraid to start the ignition, test the heating and cooling, check the seat controls, and more.