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Have you ever found yourself with a curiosity about making money by purchasing items at auction at low prices and then re-selling those items at a profit? It is, in fact, somewhat surprising just how popular this notion appears to be. In fact, to a fairly large number of people, the thrill of obtaining interesting items at auction for low prices, just in itself, seems like both a fun and interesting endeavor. And, if truth be told, flipping those items that you manage to acquire at auction for a profit is a good way of making money — one that you could even easily turn into either a lucrative part-time, or even full-time business for yourself.
Indeed, there are quite a number of people out there, right now, who are earning substantial incomes doing just that. They attend government surplus auctions, bid on the items up for grabs, and actually have loads of fun doing it. They then turn around and flip the items they’ve won through channels like eBay, or even through local classified advertisements, or a number of other channels. Not everyone has the time to attend government surplus auctions — nor the know-how required in locating them, or how to participate in them. So, if you can obtain items by placing winning bids at, say, a 500% discount over what the fair-market resale price is for such a used item (which isn’t all that difficult to do at a government surplus auction) you can mark-up the item by, say, 400% over your bid price, and still sell it off to a buyer for, what would be to them, a substantial discount.
For the purposes of illustration, using the above the figures, let’s say you managed to obtain the fictional product of a ‘widget’ at auction. A used widget in good condition regularly sells for about $1,000.00. You, however, won your widget for a 500% discount below that price. That means you will have spent only $200.00 to acquire your widget. You then mark-up your resale price by 400% and advertise your widget for sale at a price of $800.00. A buyer, paying your full asking price, would still be purchasing your widget at a savings of $200.00 below what they could normally find used widgets selling for. And, you’ve still made a profit of $600.00! The reason for this is because the ‘fair-market resale value’ of used merchandise is based, for the most part, on the prices of used items that have originally come from retail sources — not from surplus sources. And, retail sources begin with a higher cost for most merchandise.
The used widgets, in our fictional example, that most people are used to seeing for sale, are priced on average at $1,000.00, because almost all of these widgets are being re-sold by people who originally purchased the widgets at retail — not through surplus auctions. The bulk of those widgets being resold, therefore, are being resold for less than what the seller actually paid to acquire the widget in the first place, and the seller is attempting to recoup as much of their original purchase price as they can. This is what dictates the average resale value of a used widget.
So, how can you get involved in making money with government surplus auctions? Of course, the very first thing you’ll need to do is to actually find such auctions that are taking place in your area. Practically anywhere you might live, there are most likely many such auctions taking place relatively close to you on a regular basis. The problem is — and this is one of the reasons why not a lot of people take part in these auctions — is that the auctions usually aren’t well publicized. And, there’s a reason for that. The entire thing about these auctions is that the people who do attend them are looking for great deals — and the agencies that hold such auctions are looking to dump their surplus inventories quickly. That’s exactly why they sell this stuff through an auction format — their primary concern is to get rid of the stuff fast, and they do this by selling it all in one go, at auction, for very little money. Of course, doing it this way, however, while it does work to unload their surplus inventory quickly, it doesn’t result in huge profits for the agency when each auction is assessed individually. So, the agencies have an interest in keeping costs low in order to maximize their returns. And, publicity for the auctions cost money.
It’s not bad for them, however, because there are a dedicated group of regulars who attend these auctions, who will put forth the effort to hunt down the auctions and find them. And, that’s all the agencies really need — just this dedicated group. Because, of course, this dedicated group are made up mostly of re-sellers — so, they buy and buy and buy. If you get into attending these government surplus auctions on something of a regular basis, one of the first things you’ll notice is that you’ll see the same faces at many of these auctions, over and over again. And, by actually not widely publicizing government surplus auctions, it works out better for the agencies holding the auctions.
Remember, the primary concern of the agencies that are holding the government surplus auctions is to unload their surplus inventory quickly in order to make room for new inventory, and to rid themselves of the associated costs and efforts in storing their surplus goods. If the auctions are well publicized, a lot of regular folk will attend and that will drive the prices up. More people attending means more bids — more bidding wars. Which means the individual auction lots end up selling for more money. It’s kind of counter-intuitive, I know. You may think that would be desirable for the agency selling the items. But, it’s not! The higher prices drive away the professional buyers.
The professional buyers are there to acquire stuff cheap for the purpose of turning a profit — they’re there to acquire LOTS of stuff. If they can’t obtain the items at prices that make it worth their while, they’ll go away, and the agencies will be left with a room full of average joes looking to spend a hundred bucks or so to get their hands on one or two items. The agencies don’t want that. They want professional buyers who have business channels set-up to quickly move all the items they can get their hands on. Because, even though these professional buyers will buy more cheaply on a per-item basis, they still buy, and buy, and buy, and buy. And, they will buy items that casual buyers just wont bid on — pallets full of industrial machine parts, and what have you — because the professional buyers have the contacts and the means to resell such items. Casual buyers — members of the general public — just don’t. They have no interest in acquiring such things.
So, if by over publicizing such auctions the agency drives away the professional buyers and are left with a room full of average people — people who merely saw an ad somewhere and decided to go and try to grab a bargain or two on some piece of merchandise they might want to acquire for their own use, there’s a much greater chance the auction is going to conclude and that the agency conducting the auction, while, on a per-item basis having received higher prices on the items that did sell than they otherwise would have, are left stuck with a ton of excess goods that didn’t move. And, this is exactly what the agency doesn’t want. They want rid of the stuff. They don’t want to have to deal with it any longer. They need to make room. That is their primary concern.
Due to this tendency to under-publicize these auctions, most people don’t have time, dedication and know-how that’s required to hunt them down and discover exactly when and where these auctions are taking place. They might attend one if they, by chance, happen across a small notice in their local paper, or something. But they wont go out of their way to actually seek out the information — which is what is required, really, if you wish to attend these auctions on anything approaching a regular basis.
So, what must you do to put forth the effort in actually locating these auctions? Well, there really are two methods. You can do all of the footwork yourself — keep browsing the classified sections by daily routine in local papers, find and contact auction services that handle such auctions on a regular basis and ask them to notify you of any scheduled auctions, and do the same with the government agencies directly. Or, you could incorporate the services of an organization that does all of that work for you. Services such as the one located here.
Such a service will provide you with a comprehensive and frequently updated database of all upcoming government surplus auctions that are scheduled to take place in your specific area. You can set the service to notify you through e-mail whenever a new auction, in any area you specify, has been scheduled. Or, you can search through their database any time you choose. Their service will provide you with dates, times, locations, contact information for representatives involved in running the auctions, and in most cases even detailed and comprehensive listings of the specific items that will be available for bidding on at those auctions. You can even browse the auction listing by state, or conduct searches based on Zip code and choose to have results returned based on a specific radius in which you’re willing to travel to in order to attend such government surplus auctions.
The particular government surplus auction locating service mentioned above, that you can visit by clicking here, will even allow you to search by a specific item that you’re interested in and will then return results for any upcoming auction that is selling that item — it will provide you with the date, location, information you need to know about the auction itself, and specific, detailed information regarding the particular item that’s up for sale. Along with that, they maintain a nationwide database of foreclosure and pre-foreclosure properties — if you’re interested in purchasing real-estate at surplus auction prices. They also provide a wealth of educational materials — including a library of videos of actual surplus auctions being conducted — in order to familiarize you with the process of taking part in a government surplus auction. They maintain a list of recent surplus auction results and sale prices — providing you with an idea of what to expect to pay in order to actually win bids at any auction you might be interested in attending. A good auction locating service, such as the one linked to above, will provide all of these features and more.
There’s no doubt at all that making money with government surplus auctions is a very workable avenue toward real revenue generation for just about any individual. And, there’s also no doubt that taking advantage of a qualified locating service is practically a must for anyone with an interest in really making money with government surplus auctions on a regular basis.
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.