Government and Police Auctions
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Have you been giving thought to perhaps taking advantage of the incredible deals you’ve heard about when it comes to buying at police seized car auctions? Well, you’re not alone. Practically everyone has heard about these police seized car auctions, and the often amazing buys available through them. And, practically everyone, if asked, expresses an interest in taking part in one of these police seized car auctions. But, when also asked, very few people will say that they every actually have attended a police seized car auction, or have any solid plans to do so in the future. So, why all the interest but not much follow through? The fact of the matter is, people know these police seized car auctions are out there and are taking place, but very few people know much about them — when they take place, or how they, themselves, might be able to participate.
In this article, I’m going to do my best to try and provide you with some of the information you’ll need to know regarding how police seized car auctions work and how attending one can potentially land you a truly killer deal on a quality automobile.
First off, it’s important to realize that each police seized car auction that might be taking place at any given location will have specifics regarding that particular auction which must be taken into account by interested attendees. There’s really no way to properly apprise yourself of these specifics for each particular auction other than to contact the party organizing the auctions and finding out the specific information directly from them. With that said, however, the information contained in this article should provide you with some general, yet very helpful insights to aid you in locating such auctions, and what you’ll generally need to know before participating.
Buying at police seized car auctions is one of the best methods available to obtain quality used (and sometimes new) vehicles at severely discounted prices. A lot of folks seem to think that the only types of automobiles that are regularly offered up at such auctions are actually old, decommissioned, and/or otherwise surplussed police cars. This isn’t, in fact, the case at all. While such vehicles are regularly put on the auction block at such events, they’re not the only type vehicles commonly made available. Police seized car auctions regularly feature vehicles that were obtained through asset seizure and forfeiture of property.
Seized and forfeited vehicles come into police possession when the vehicles have been confiscated by the police due to the vehicles use in, or association with, a crime or criminal. In 1986 a federal law went into effect which encourages police departments to seize assets in the execution of a criminal investigation as a means to discourage dealers in illicit narcotics through denying those criminals the proceeds from their illegal activities. So, let’s say the police conduct a raid on a known drug kingpin’s mansion. They will seize his cars, jewelry, property, and any other valuables that they have reason to believe was obtained by the kingpin through the proceeds earned from drug trafficking offences. The kingpin and his associates and family loses his valuables, and a strong message is sent to others: Crime does not pay. If you break the law, eventually, you’re going to lose everything you gain from it.
Many of the items offered up to the highest bidder at police auctions are obtained in this manner. (And, unfortunately, some are obtained by way of, shall we say, less than scrupulous means) When you’re buying at police seized car auctions, some of the vehicles you’ll be looking at that are up for auction might be surplus vehicles — old police cars, and the like, but many may be seized vehicles obtained by the police department in the manner described in the previous paragraph. These cars will be auctioned off to the highest bidder, and the money fetched will go to funding the police department, or sometimes to other governmental interests.
Police seized car auctions are taking place all the time in cities and towns right across the country. In some larger cities, due to the frequency at which such seizures occur, police seized car auctions may be held at regular intervals throughout the year — they might occur on a regular date every three months or so, depending on the specific city. In smaller towns they might happen intermittently. And, in some states, the auctions are centralized — a state agency will collect such seized inventory from a number of individual police departments and hold regular auctions featuring items sourced from each of the individual police agencies.
No matter how frequent they may be, someone interested in buying at police seized car auctions will usually be able discover when and where one of these auctions is scheduled to be held in their area by looking through a local newspaper, or by consulting an online auction listing source, such as this one. The notice published in the paper will provide the date and time at which the auction is scheduled to take place. It will sometimes also provide a listing of some or all of the automobiles that are to be put up for auction on that date. In some cases there might be a date published occurring prior to the date of the actual auction that has been set aside for interested parties to inspect the vehicles on offer. Taking advantage of a qualified listing service is more likely to provide much more detailed information that will allow you to make the wisest and most informed decisions regarding purchasing any particular vehicle, and how much you should spend. Along with that, such services will notify you directly and proactively of any police seized car auctions (or, sales and/or auctions of other types, if you choose) in your area. They will also have available to you on-line search features that will allow you to enter specif and detailed criteria any time you wish and then be presented with a list of upcoming opportunities that match the criteria you entered.
Putting forth the effort to actually inspect the vehicles prior to the time of auction is an absolute must. When actually buying at police seized car auctions, in almost all cases, the vehicles that are being auctioned off are sold on an “as is” basis and are not sold with any sort of warranty or guarantee. Once you place a bid and the auctioneer drops the gavel and yells “SOLD!”, you own the vehicle — no matter what may or may not be wrong with it. If you placed the high bid and then come to find out that the vehicle doesn’t even have an engine in it, and you didn’t know because you passed on the opportunity made available to you to fully inspect the vehicle prior to the auction and you never opened the hood and looked, well, that’s your tough luck. The onus is on you to familiarize yourself with the item being bid on and to structure your bid accordingly. For this reason the wise bidder will always take full advantage of the opportunity provided for inspecting the vehicle — some people buying at police seized car auctions, if not so qualified themselves, will even bring a certified mechanic friend along with them to inspect the vehicles.
One other thing to be well aware of is the fact that while the car has been seized by the police or government and they are putting it up for sale at their police seized car auction, this does not guarantee that the vehicle is necessarily entirely free from any liens. There could very well be outstanding debt still owing to a finance company that was held by the person from whom the car was seized. If you successfully bid on the vehicle, you may be on the hook to actually settle that debt with the original finance company. This is somewhat rare, of course, but it’s not entirely unheard of. And, the party conducting the auction will be required to provide adequate notice of any such outstanding debt that may be attached to the vehicle before they can put it up for sale. You should be aware, however, that just because you aren’t aware of any such notice given doesn’t mean that they didn’t necessarily provide proper notice. They have a legal obligation to make such notice readily available, but you also have a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that you’re fully apprised of such notice.
If you get the winning bid and later come to find out there is money owing on the vehicle, but they didn’t take reasonable measures to provide notice of such, then you’re off the hook. The sale is null and void. They’ll have to take the vehicle back and refund your money. But, if you get the winning bid, later come to find out there is money owing on the vehicle, and they DID take reasonable measures to provide notice, but you just weren’t aware of it, then YOU own the car, and YOU own the associated debt, and it’s not their problem anymore. It’s yours. So, the wise and prudent individual always makes sure that they are taking all reasonable measures and action to fully familiarize themselves with items being put up for auction and to find out as much information as they absolutely can regarding such items.
And, of course, there’s no excuse not to inform yourself in such a manner. Simply taking about a minute to ask an official at the auction if there is any outstanding debt on any of the vehicles, or what their policy or protocol is regarding such things should adequately cover your butt. If you ask and they say “no outstanding debt” and it later turns out there is, it’s their problem, not yours. You made the purchase under the clear understanding, confirmed by an official representative of selling party, that there was no outstanding debt, and the fact that it turns out there is voids the agreement of sale — they can keep their car, and you can keep your money.
With these things in mind, and with an eye to buying at police seized car auctions using a little bit of wisdom and prudence, such auctions can, and very often do, provide truly astounding opportunities for obtaining quality used vehicles at incredibly amazing savings. If you happen to be in the market for a used car, it would be well worth your time to investigate any upcoming police seized car auctions which may be taking place in your area. Or, perhaps you’re thinking of starting your own business obtaining vehicles from such sources and flipping them for a profit? If that’s the case, then buying at police seized car auctions is most assuredly worth investigating.
This month the Canadian Province of Alberta becomes the latest in North American governmental agencies to turn to electronic, online means for selling off their surplus goods at auction. This has been, as should be expected in current times, becoming more and more of a trend among various governmental departments and agencies throughout North America.
The new website which has been launched by the Provincial government of Alberta will feature auctions for surplus merchandise from various governmental departments and agencies, hospitals and post-secondary learning institutions — all open to being bid on by the general public.
Surplus goods from the Alberta government have already been available at auction to the general public for quite some time, of course. Up until now, the public was able to attend various auctions, that were held somewhat sporadically, where such merchandise was put up for grabs. Along with these auctions, the government maintained a number of sales outlets in both Edmonton and Calgary. It should be noted, however, that these live auctions and sales will not be halted by the Alberta government now that the new auction website has arrived. In their launching of the new surplus auction website, they are merely providing to the public another option for acquiring government surplus goods. Although, as it appears, not all items actually available at the live auctions or through the sales outlets will actually make it to the online site. However, the selection of goods available online promises to be robust.
The Alberta government surplus auction website was launched into full service on December 4th of this year, and, at its initial appearance, offered a wide array of goods such as surplus computer equipment, office furniture, various types of industrial equipment, various electronics, medical equipment and supplies, and even surplus government vehicles, among other things.
The Province of Alberta reports that they auction off more than one-hundred thousand surplus items each year and in so doing generate more than two and a half million dollars per year in revenue for the Province. The addition of the online auction system is expected to bring benefit through allowing a wider section of the public easier access to the Province’s surplus auctions, as well as helping to relieve associated costs involved in transporting the available goods to the sites where live auctions are held, or to the Province’s surplus sales outlet locations. The items sold through the new surplus auction website are sold on an ‘as-is’ and ‘where-is‘ basis, and must be retrieved at the expense of the successful bidder.
The new online government surplus auction website is operate and overseen by Service Alberta, and is available by visiting this link. At the time of the writing of this article, the auction site is featuring such items on its front page as: A five drawer stainless-steel map/plan cabinet with an opening bid amount of $25.00, A rotating magazine stand with an opening bid amount of just $1.00, an Arctic Cat BearCat 440 snowmobile with an opening bid price of $500.00, and a Yamaha Big Bear Quad 4X4 ATV with an opening bid price of $1,000.00. (All prices, of course, are given in CAD)
There are currently, as of this writing, however, a total of 119 separate items up for bid on the site, and all offerings are fully searchable or browsable via the website’s functionality. Members of the public are able to place bids on items 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via the new website. Payments using Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are accepted.
Everybody knows that one of the absolute surest ways of making money in business is the “buy low and sell high” model. And, it goes without saying, the lower you can buy an item for, and the higher you can turn around and sell that same item for, the more money you’ll make. It is precisely for this reason that sourcing potential trade items from surplus providers is so attractive to so many. There are few, if any, other avenues that hold an equal potential to provide a buyer with lower priced, quality merchandise which can then be re-sold for higher profit margins than government surplus sources.
Through government surplus outlets and auctions, a buyer is able to locate all manner of various goods very inexpensively and re-sell those items at a substantial profits. Such cheaply sourced items can be re-sold easily, effectively and without much overhead, through on-line means such as eBay and other online auction services, flea markets, junk sales, Craigslist or print classified advertising, mail-order, liquidation centers, and more.
Sourcing merchandise intended for resale from government surplus sources offers very attractive profit potential because government surplus sources aren’t likely to be as concerned with obtaining the highest prices for their surplus merchandise as are private, commercial sellers. When it comes to government surplus sales — such as government surplus auctions, or government direct liquidation — the sales are being run and handled by government employees. This means, of course, that it wasn’t their personal money that was used to procure the items in the first place. It was tax-payer money. The sellers have no personal stake or financial investment in the sale of the items which they need to make certain they recoup. So, they are not strongly motivated to make sure that they obtain the best possible price on a sale. At least, they’re not nearly as motivated as a private seller would be — one who, if they are unable to obtain a good price for the item they have personal capital invested in, might not be able to provide for themselves or their families as well as they would have liked. The government employees overlooking the sale of the government surplus items you’re interested in purchasing are getting paid the same wage whether the item sells or not, and regardless of how much it sells for. Whether an item ends up being sold for one dollar or a million dollars, the people overseeing the sale make the same wage.
Now, many people that are inexperienced in the game of flipping goods obtained from government surplus sources are very often under the mistaken impression that government surplus really means military surplus. And, that most of the types of goods available have very specific military applications only and, thus, appeal only to a very specific and somewhat limited market, making the items obtained somewhat difficult to re-sell unless you already have avenues of distribution set-up within that market. This, however, is not the case at all. Military surplus actually only accounts for a small portion of the surplus merchandise that various government departments sell off practically every day. Most of the merchandise that makes up regular government surplus sales are items with very mundane, every-day, civilian usages.
At government surplus auctions and distributors it’s common to find things as ordinary and mundane as office furniture, consumer camera, photography and other types of audio-visual equipment, regular clothing, consumer computer equipment, various electrical and kitchen appliances, musical instruments, hand tools, exercise equipment, janitorial supplies and equipment, and much, much more.
Of course, with all the attraction that’s obviously inherent in exploiting government surplus sources in order to make money flipping surplus merchandise, there really doesn’t seem to be a lot of people actually doing it. And, one must wonder why this is. The reason is fairly straight forward, however. I explained above how the people who run these government surplus sales aren’t personally motivated to get the best prices for the items being sold. And, of course, for this exact same reason, these government surplus sales aren’t widely advertised. The truth is, most people just don’t know about these government surplus sales. The sellers aren’t personally motivated to publicize the sales in order to bring in the widest array of potential buyers and make sure the items are moved for the best possible prices. This is another reason why merchandise can be obtained at such great prices from government surplus sources — there’s less competition among buyers than there usually is at private sales, simply because less people are aware of them.
So, all you really need to do is find these under-publicized sales. Fortunately, we’ve published articles right here on SurplusBusiness.Com in the past that will explain to you the best methods of going about finding these sales. Check out just some of our articles listed below for more information:
So, these are the attractive advantages of government surplus when it comes to turning a profit by buying low and selling high: The sales tend to not be well publicized, which means less competition among buyers. Which, of course, means less demand and less buyers running up prices. Government surplus auctions tend to place items up for bid with either very low, or absolutely no reserve price. Coupled with the less than normal buying competition, this means that, often, even placing a ridiculously low-bid on an item can result in a winning bid.
Just recently, I was at a government surplus auction where a lot of antique shaving kits — never used and still in their original packaging — came up for auction. I know there’s a small, but fairly enthusiastic, collector’s market for such items. I estimated the re-sale value of the lot at around $500.00 But, since the market is so small, it probably would have been a hassle to move them quickly, if I won the bid.
In this particular case, it was a silent auction. In such an auction, you don’t get to know what other people have bid. You enter the most you’re willing to pay, and at the end of the day, the person who entered the highest amount wins the item for the amount they entered. Even though I knew the re-sale value was around $500.00, the reserve price placed on this particular item was set at only $25.00.
So, I thought, “What the hell!” I’ll put in the minimum bid. I don’t really want the hassle of trying to move the items in such a limited market — so, if I don’t win it, I won’t be all that disappointed. But, if I do somehow manage to win them for the minimum bid, I’ve pretty much got to go for it. If I don’t get it, I don’t get it. No big deal. I didn’t expect to win the bid. But, I did. As it turned out, nobody else even placed a bid on the item. And, as luck would have it, I actually did find a buyer fairly quickly and with relatively little hassle. I paid exactly $25.00 for the lot, and within two weeks I found a buyer and sold the entire lot for $380.00. A profit of $355.00. Not bad!
There’s no doubt that if you’re interested in saving cash on any sort of goods, property or items, the bargains that can be obtained at local or federal seized property auctions are positively unparalleled. Everyone knows, or has heard, about people managing to snag incredible deals at such seized property auctions. Yes, a lot of people know this — but, not a lot of people seem to be regularly taking advantage of the low prices for quality goods that these local, federal or state seized property auctions offer. Why is this?
Most people, when in the market for some sort of high-priced item, having heard of seized property auctions, spend a token amount of time investigating them. And, as is regularly the case, quickly become frustrated because finding such seized property auctions proves difficult. They try once, don’t have much luck finding any seized property auctions, and from then on they never try again. From then on, their opinion is that what they’ve heard about seized property auctions and the deals that are available at them is just some sort of hype, or that actually finding seized property auctions is really more trouble than its worth.
If you’re like most people who have looked into taking advantage of such state, federal or local seized property auctions, chances are extremely good that you’ve had a similar experience. The truth of the matter is that taking advantage of seized property auctions, finding them, and actually obtaining amazing deals on items that you’re interested in acquiring is much easier said than done.
Traditionally, government seized property auctions are not well advertised and promoted. There’s two main reasons for this: The first reason is that, counter to what might be intuitive, the government agencies that operate these seized property auctions actually want to keep the competition amongst bidders to a minimum. This attracts the big players — the professional liquidators and other such business professionals that buy and buy and buy, and have the means to drop huge amounts of money on the big lots.
If such pros are constantly dealing with a swarm of (what they consider to be) gnats (the little guy — the private, independent individual), they’ll go elsewhere. The real pros view this as an inconvenience and an impediment to their ability to do business smoothly. The operators of government seized property auctions welcome all bidders, big and small — they have to. But, if they had their way, they’d limit the seized property auctions to just the big fish — the big time business players that will think nothing of dropping $10k on a lot of, say, 500 assorted pieces of office electronics, or a lot of 50 industrial arc-welders. The big players have big money. And that’s very attractive to the government agencies operating seized property auctions. And, the big players with the big money don’t like the annoyance of having to compete with a bunch of little players.
The second reason is that there really is just no pressing incentive to advertise seized property auctions widely, while there most certainly is incentive to keep costs to an absolute minimum. Remember, the whole shtick behind seized property auctions — what makes them so attractive to the big bidders — is that the merchandise is available for ridiculously low cost. Advertising is an added cost for the operators of seized property auctions — an added cost that, if incurred, reduces the profit able to be made by the auctioning department from the already razor-thin profit margins obtained on the individual items or lots.
The big players that fuel the seized property auctions don’t need advertising to know when and where these seized property auctions are taking place — it’s their business to know. They’ve usually spent years in developing the right professional contacts and putting a system in place to effectively keep abreast of upcoming seized property auctions.
Seized Property Auctions — The Where and When
So, if you’re not one of these big players, where does that leave you? How can you find these local, state and federal seized property auctions? Luckily, it’s not as difficult as it may at first appear.
The best way, hands down, is to take a page from the big players themselves. One of the methods the pros employ is to use the services of a government seized property auctions locating service. There are companies out there who act as service bureaus to auction buyers and interested parties looking to score deals at private and government seized property auctions. One such service is GovernmentAuctions.Org. However, there are a number of these companies currently in operation. Information on another popular seized property auctions locating service can be found at this link. And, yet another is located here. Yet another can be found at this link.
These locating services do all of the work in finding these unadvertised government seized property auctions that are coming up all across the country. You simply inform them of the locations you’re interested in — the locations you have easy access to — and when one of these seized property auctions is scheduled to happen, they’ll inform you regarding all of the information you need so that you can attend and take full advantage. It’s an invaluable service for anyone looking to obtain hefty bargains at seized property auctions. If you’re actually thinking about perhaps getting into a full-time, or just a side business, or revenue generating hobby buying low at seized property auctions and selling high, then a quality auction locating service such as one or more of the ones mentioned above is an absolutely indispensable tool!
When it comes to government seized car auctions, there appears to be quite a number of myths out there that, for some reason, are commonly believed by the general public. Many people, it seems, hear about such government seized car auctions and become excited by the prospect of being able to acquire, for incredibly good prices, automobiles repossessed by the government. And, it’s true that you can do exactly that. However, as I said, there appears to be a number of myths prevalent throughout the public. In following article I’ll touch on some of the more common of these government seized car auctions myths and attempt to set the record straight.
On any day you care to choose there are, quite literally, many thousands of repossessed vehicles sitting in car lots all across the country just waiting to either be reclaimed by their delinquent owners, or to be snatched up by the highest bidder in a government seized car auction. Most often the vehicles available at the us government car auctions range from absolutely pristine, desirable automobiles to pure junk-heaps. And, this is the first myth that seems predominant in the mind of the public.
Government Seized Car Auctions – Myths
It seems that a lot of people mistakenly believe that when showing up at one of these government seized car auctions they’re bound to encounter nothing but quality automobiles that are in great shape — both mechanically and visually — and that they’ll be able to acquire them for a real steal. This isn’t, however, the case. Very often the vehicles are in pretty rough shape and require a fair amount of maintenance in order to get them into salable, or even drivable condition. If you’re someone who isn’t willing to put a lot of work into the cars you can acquire from one of these us government seized car auctions, then you could find yourself showing up to the auction only to discover that there aren’t any vehicles up for auction that you’d even consider bidding on.
It’s true that these sorts of cars will end up being sold very cheaply. But, they’re being bought up mostly by people who can and will do the work to bring them into salable condition and then flip them for a profit. If you have the means to do that, then government seized car auctions can be an absolute gold-mine for you. If you don’t have the means to do that, however, you’ll end up having to hunt a little bit for the really good bargains. But, they ARE there — just don’t expect all of the us government seized car auctions you may attend to be overflowing with them. Many people are disappointed when they attend their first of these government seized car auctions and find this to not be the case.
Because, of course, this is a myth that seems to be prevalent among those who don’t have experience attending government seized car auctions. Many people seem to believe that you can show up at one of these auctions and the lot will be full of nothing but great cars that end up being sold for very little money. Most often, this isn’t the case. People tend to fight more readily in order to hang on to good cars — so, less of them become repossessed. If someone owns a junker and has fallen on hard times, however, they’re much more likely to just let the repo man come and get it without putting up much of a fuss.
The great cars do show up at us government seized car auctions — make no mistake. But, when they do, as common sense should tell you, they quite often end up being sold at something close to a fair market value. You can still get them for a fair bit less money than you would be able to if you were purchasing it from your average used car dealer. But, it’s a myth that such pristine cars can regularly be acquired for a song. It does happen, yes. But, it’s not extremely common. When such a fine automobile does come up for auction at one of these us government seized car auctions, the bidders present, of course, will very often bid it up to something close to fair market value for such a car before dropping out of the bidding.
So, be aware that amazing deals on high quality cars can be found at these government seized car auctions, but don’t expect that every auction you attend will be brimming with such buying opportunities. You will, most likely, have to hunt around a little bit to find them. Among all the US government car auctions seized, most of them will require at least some work.
Another myth surrounding government seized car auctions appears to be that many in the public think that acquiring one of these cars at auction could actually be dangerous. They believe that many of the automobiles may have been seized in drug raids, or some other such nefarious scenario, and that the cars might have belonged to dangerous felons. These felons might then show up at the auction to watch and see who acquires their automobile, follow them home, and take back their car — with violence in some cases.
This too, of course, is a myth. Talk to any auction service — even ones that have been in business for many decades and have overseen thousands of government seized car auctions, and they’ll tell you that they’ve never heard of this happening. The truth of the matter is, it just doesn’t make any sense from the criminal’s point of view. The government seized car auctions are almost always held on a public lot which employs security measures. In other words, when you’re at one of these us government seized car auctions bidding on automobiles out in an open, outdoor, fenced in lot, you’re almost always being recorded by security cameras equipped on the lot. A drug dealer, or other criminal, or an associate of theirs, that has just suffered a raid is very, very likely not going to risk showing up at one of these government seized car auction just to get their face on camera so they can get their car back. It’s not worth the risk, and seeing as how their stuff is currently being sold off at a government auction, they’ve got much bigger things on their mind besides getting back a single car.
Along with this, a lot of people would be surprised at just how relieved a lot of people are to actually have their car repossessed! It’s true. When the repo man shows up to take their car away a surprising number of people actually welcome it — believe it or not. The reason, of course, is simple. If a person is in a situation where their car is being repossessed, that person is likely in the midst of some fairly heavy financial troubles. When their car gets seized, to them, it’s one more payment they don’t have to worry about making, and a portion of their plate has been cleared which will help them to focus on what they must do to try and get out of the mess they now find themselves in. You’d likely be surprised, but for many people, having their car repossessed is a large weight off the owner’s shoulders.
Don’t believe what you see in the movies and on TV. It’s true that some vehicle repossessions turn ugly — they take place in the middle of the night, secretly, while the owner is believed to be sleeping. And, if the owner wakes up and notices their vehicle is being seized, there can be an ugly, overly dramatic scene that ensues. That does happen, it’s true. Those types of repossessions do take place. But, the reality is that in the majority of cases where a person’s car gets repossessed, the owner is actually waiting at their front door for the repo man to arrive — their car keys in their hand, ready to hand them over.
So, if you keep the above myths in mind when attending government seized car auctions, and come to know that they are myths — no matter how widely believed they seem to be among members of the public, you’ll do better at maximizing the quality of the experience you have when attending government seized car auctions. And, you’ll be much more likely to drive away with a decent, quality automobile that you obtained for a great price.
If you’d like some great information on how to best locate government seized car auctions that may be taking place in your area, all the information you need can be found at GovernmentAuctions.org by clicking on this link.