Seized Property Auctions
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In today’s article we’re going to feature a quick round-up of some what we believe to be some of the most valuable resources on the internet for anyone looking to take part in the surplus business trade. The resources consist of, in our opinion, many of the best products, services and educational and training information available to individuals. Some are free information resources, and some are paid products and services. But, all, we feel, will be highly valuable to most readers of SurplusBusiness.Com.
So, please, peruse the following surplus business resource list at your lesiure. We’re sure you’ll find something within the listing that you find to be of value.
Government Auctions School — A very handy and information-packed guide for taking advantage of government auctions is available from this resource. However, it mostly focuses on how to obtain vehicles — cars, truck and SUVs at government auctions. But, some information contained within the guide is sure to be of value to those seeking to obtain other types of merchandise at government auctions.
Government Auction Tracking and Listing Service — This site offers an exceedingly valuable service to those looking to take part in government auctions. Of course, knowing just when, and exactly where, government auctions are taking place near you is absolutely key in being able to grab the best deals on government surplus merchandise. This locating and tracking system maintains an exhaustive and constantly up to date list of all of the latest announced upcoming government auctions. The auctions are searchable by area, and the resource maintains a reminder service, so you can be constantly kept abreast of any new government surplus auctions that are scheduled to take place near you — or, in any area you choose.
Auction-Resource.Org — Claims to be the internet’s #1 source for government and police seized, surplus and unclaimed property auction listings. Maintains a database of more than 4,000 live, active and upcoming public auction listings — entirely searchable by area. Along with its extensive government auction listing service, Auction-Resource.Org also offers an extensive collection of training and instructional materials.
The Auto Auction Center — Provides a live, interactive search function enabling users to perform searches for specific vehicles currently up for auction from various government sources, including local, state and federal police agencies, military, and other federal, state and local governmental departments. Also provides access to browsable and searchable lists of all such vehicle auctions.
SherrifAuctions.Org — Includes online listings of country-wide Sheriff’s department auctions for items such as seized and repossessed cars, motorcycles, trucks, SUVs, vans, RVs, and boats. Provides listings of live, ongoing, Sheriff auctions currently taking place online in real-time, as well as listings for Sheriff auctions coming up in your specific, local area.
Ultimate Surplus & Wholesale Guide — For anyone looking to get into the game of making money by snatching up bargains at surplus auctions, or purchasing items at or below wholesale prices from various surplus, wholesale and liquidation sources, this is the ultimate guide which will detail absolutely everything you need to know in order to do it. The guide details exactly where and how to find and purchase surplus, liquidation and wholesale products at prices up to, and sometimes more than, 90% off the product’s regular retail price — and then, turn around and sell those items at a substantial profit.
Wholesale Sources Online — The #1 source on the internet for searching and finding active sources, providers and distributors of wholesale, close-out and liquidation items such as jewelry, watches, designer handbags and fashion accessories, clothing items, and more. Name brands listed include labels like Gucci, Prada, Chanel. Versace, and more — all available at wholesale, or below wholesale prices.
So, you’ve started your own home business or small business — or, at least, you’ve finally made the decision to do so — and now you find yourself in need of all the required supplies. Of course, if you’re just starting out, your budget is quite likely to be somewhat on the lean side, and the cost of acquiring the necessary supplies to get your new small business off on the right foot can be somewhat costly. Luckily, there are methods for obtaining very good quality business supplies for much less than you’d regularly expect to pay — and, I do mean MUCH less! Acquiring such supplies via government surplus is one of the top options available to you.
Acquiring much needed business supplies from government surplus sources has long been a well established means of outfitting a small or home business with exceptional quality items while still managing to save a significant amount of money and, thus, going a long way in helping to keep your business’s budget from creeping into the red.
Practically anything your business might need in order to operate efficiently is regularly sold off by the government through surplus channels — if your business needs it, chances are that some government surplus outlet has it up for sale right now, or soon will. And, practically all of it is sold at or below cost, or below wholesale – sometimes significantly so. Sometimes they even practically give it away.
Whenever some government agency, either at the municipal, state, or federal level finds itself with extra items, supplies or equipment that they no longer require these items will sometimes be destroyed in some fairly rare circumstances, shipped to another government agency that may have use for the items, or, very often, sold off to non-government individuals or entities through public or private sales, or through public or private auctions.
The particular government agency offering surplus goods for sale will utilize different means and methods for selling off these goods. They may hold a public auction which members of the public may attend and place bids on the various items for sale. But, today, more and more, many government branches and departments are turning to on-line, electronic means for conducting such sales — even when their wish is to auction such items to the highest bidder. Some governmental organizations have even been known to use eBay in order to sell their wares. However, most now regularly utilize dedicated, government run services and electronic, on-line, central sales outlets.
The majority of state governments now employ the use of some sort of central auction and/or sales website that members of the public may visit, browse the items currently up for grabsm and place bids on the items they’re interested in. Many municipal governments are now doing the same sort of thing as well. However, with federal government, there is still no such entirely comprehensive, all-in-one, central on-line service maintained by any one central branch. Instead, there are a number of governmental departments responsible for the selling off of surplus goods and items from various areas of government.
The General Services Administration, or GSA, is tasked with getting rid of the bulk of items and property that a number of areas of government find themselves no longer in need of. But, the Defense Department takes care of their own surplus sales and does not use the services of the GSA in most cases. Along with that, various federal level law enforcement agencies also run their own surplus auctions, sales and property disposal.
The following information is already readily available on SurplusBusiness.Com, but we’ll include it here briefly again for easy access. Here’s a quick run-down of some government surplus related Internet sites that you’ll most certainly find exceedingly useful in helping you to save money while procuring the supplies your business requires to operate effectively and efficiently:
Govsales.Gov – This is the official on-line Federal Asset Sales Portal for the United States Federal Government. Operated by the General Services Administration, it contains a comprehensive, searchable and browseable, listing of most surplus items currently available for sale, or at auction, from a vast array of different federal government departments and sources. At any given time you’re likely to find just about anything from soup to nuts being offered up for sale from the federal government on this site — from fully functional helicopters, to pens and pencils. From high-tech medical equipment, to coffee-makers and work boots.
Gov-Auctions.Org – An exhaustive, all-in-one on-line resource comprising the largest single source of all state-level, and federal, US government surplus auctions including government surplus pre-owned and seized cars, trucks, SUVs, boats, real-estate and a wide array of personal property items — all at up to 95% off book-value on many of the individual items being offered.
DispositionServices.Dla.Mil – Home page for the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services. This website makes available surplus items, goods and property obtained from the various branches of the U.S. military. Don’t skip over this valuable resource if you’re not interested in strictly military-style items, however. The military uses a great deal of items that aren’t immediately associated with being strictly military items, and any excess goods that have been owned by any branch of the military and is now available for surplus sale is offered on this site. It is not at all uncommon to find incredible deals on things like office supplies, kitchen supplies, furniture, and much else on this site — along, of course, with all of the standard military surplus fare.
GovernmentAuctions.Org – An incredible and valuable private government auctions listing service. This powerful resource keeps track of all upcoming federal, state an local government surplus auctions and keeps you informed, ahead of time, on all such events that will be taking place in your area, and elsewhere. If you’re thinking of making money by acquiring surplus goods and flipping them for a profit, this resource is absolutely indispensable for providing you with the upper edge you’ll need to maximize your chances of success — get a leg up on the competition by being kept informed of the most obscure of government sales in order to take advantage of the very lowest of surplus prices.
U.S. Marshals Service Assets Forfeiture Service – Home page for information regarding the sales of seized and forfeited property available through the U.S. Marshall’s Service. This Internet site contains listings of currently available seized and forfeited real estate, vehicles and other property that the U.S. Marshall’s Service has available for public auction.
Insider Wholesale & Surplus Products – Government agencies aren’t the only places available to you for acquiring goods, items and property at incredible, far-below wholesale surplus prices. There is a wealth of commercial retail and private sources that you should be informed regarding. This site contains all of the information you’ll need to learn about such avenues and take advantages of the incredible deals available through them.
United States Treasury Real Property Auctions – This website is operated by the U.S. Treasury Department and lists auctions of seized Real Property currently for sale throughout the country. Listings regularly include all manner of both residential and commercial buildings, land and property — including single and multi-family dwellings, commercial warehouse buildings, commercial retail properties, even fully operating businesses that you can purchase and take over.
IRS Real and Personal Property Sales – This website, operated by the United States Internal Revenue Agency lists all items currently up for sale or auction to the public that have been seized due to tax defaults. Items regularly offered include just about anything you can think of — from clothing, to jewelry, to automobiles, office equipment, furniture, artwork, real estate, etc., etc., Anything that has value and has been seized by the IRS can be found offered for sale to the public on this website.
At the average customs auction, one is quite likely to locate surprising bargains on a wide array of items, providing that the interested buyer does two things correctly. The first thing, of course, is finding out exactly where and when the customs auction is taking place. The second thing is to know as much as you can about the particular items that you’re interested in bidding on.
Conducting a simple online search, using the right search terms, is sure to bring up a host of websites announcing such upcoming customs auctions — almost all of them being open to members of the public. The problem, however, as I’m sure you’ll find if attempting to locate public customs auctions via this method, is that the vast majority of the information you find will very likely be outdated — announcing ‘upcoming customs auctions’ that have already taken place. Internet search engines are great tools for tracking down information. But, due to their nature, they’re often not great tools for ‘timely’ information.
What is a customs auction?
Customs auctions are pretty much what the term implies. Every day in this country border agencies and other customs services seize a wealth of goods that are being imported into the country. The importers may not have gone through the correct channels, or otherwise not properly followed the correct procedures, when attempting to import certain goods into the country. If the matter can not be settled with the importer, for whatever reason, (and it’s not uncommon that it actually can’t), the customs agency will take possession of the goods through seizure. Every so often they will attempt to clear out their stock of such items. They do this, in large part, by holding public customs auctions where such goods are made available to bidders.
Not too long ago a friend of mine, who regularly attends customs auctions, was able to purchase an entire lot of assorted electric lamps at one of these auctions. He managed to place the high bid on the lot at a price of $950.00. The lot contained exactly one-hundred and fifty electric desk lamps — brand new, right from the manufacturer — that regularly retail for $49.95. His cost, per lamp, was about $6.33. Within a week he found a buyer for the entire lot at a price of $3,800.00 — for a total, quick profit of $2,850.00. He could have made a fair bit more if he had chosen to piece the lamps out instead of selling them off all at once, but the opportunity to move them all at once presented itself and he took it. The lamps were being auctioned off in the first place, it seems, merely because an Asian importer had failed to file the proper paperwork, and had failed to follow up with the customs agency in a timely manner. The customs agency had difficulty establishing contact with the importer and, after a time, the items were put up for bid at auction.
There are so many stories like the one above when it comes to these customs auctions, I could literally fill an entire volume of books just relating them. These customs auctions are going on all the time, and a fair number of people are earning a good living from them — just buying and re-selling items they obtain at these customs auctions for a profit. Oddly enough, however, it seems as though not all that many people, in the grand scheme of things, actually know about them. And, of course, even fewer people are aware of how to locate when and where customs auctions, which the’re able to participate in, are actually happening.
How do you find customs auctions?
A lot of people with a casual interest in attending such customs auctions tend to quickly become frustrated if and when attempting to locate them. Such people might hear about such auctions from various sources, become excited about attending one, and simply hit Google, Bing, or some other such search engine in an attempt to locate a customs auction which might be taking place near them at some time in the future. As mentioned above, however, they quickly discover that they need to wade through a sea of useless, outdated information. They quickly become frustrated and give up — usually thinking that finding customs auctions requires some sort of insider information, or special experience or know-how.
So, how do you find customs auctions that you can attend? By far, the most effective way of locating and keeping apprised of any such upcoming auctions in your area (or, any area you choose to apprised of) is to join a qualified auction listing service. Such services keep constant tabs on all public auctions that are taking place around the country. They use their pool of established contacts to maintain extensive and exhaustive lists and notices of any customs auctions, and other types of auctions as well, that are upcoming. The auction listing service will then provide its members with on-line search functionality that will allow you to perform exacting searches by area, time, location, etc. The better services will even allow you search by the specific type of merchandise you’re interested in bidding on. You can also use the listing service to send out e-mail alerts to you whenever an auction is announced to be coming up within the boundaries of a geographical area you specify.
There are a number of such services currently in operation. Here’s a short list of some of the tops ones, listed in order of our recommendation:
As with most people, it’s very likely that you’ve heard of federal government organizations like the Department of Justice’s U.S. Marshals Service, the IRS, the FBI, the ATF, DEA, and many other such agencies, actually seizing things like automobiles, houses, boats, and all sorts of consumer goods and merchandise and then holding auctions to move these items to the highest bidders at public auction for incredibly low prices. Just about everyone knows this goes on. Ask just about anybody and they’ll tell you that they’re aware that such activities are commonplace. Then, ask them if they know how one might go about participating in such customs auctions and they’ll tell you that they have no idea. This is the common experience of most people. Of course, they’d be very surprised to learn that all that is required is to take advantage of one of these qualified auction locating services that will actually do all of the work for them, and they too could be acquiring incredible merchandise at public customs auctions, and a myriad of other types of auctions, at up to 90% off the regular retail price of such goods.
A practice very much related to the surplus business is the field of real estate foreclosure investing — the buying and selling of foreclosure or pre-foreclosure properties. It is quite common to find those running successful surplus businesses to be dabbling in real estate foreclosure investing. And, as a way to diversify your income streams if you’re currently, or thinking about becoming, involved in making money in the surplus business game, you’d be well advised to investigate the possible opportunities which present themselves in the area of foreclosure investing.
How does the process of foreclosure investing work?
To begin with, when someone obtains a mortgage for the purpose of purchasing a home or other property, a bank will provide to that person a loan for the amount of the house or property. This loan is secured by the bank, in almost all cases, by the very property which is to be mortgaged. Therefore, when someone obtains a mortgage from a bank in order to purchase a new house, the buyer, in practical terms, enters into two agreements with the lending bank. The first of these is the actual mortgage agreement itself. The second is a security agreement. This security agreement specifies that, if the buyer should have the misfortune of defaulting on their mortgage payments, the issuer of the mortgage may then foreclose on property being mortgaged in order to recoup the outstanding debt owing to the lender.
In the event that a homeowner, still owing on a mortgage, does come to find themselves in the unfortunate situation of being unable to continue their mortgage payments, and they allow the debt to go unpaid, the issuer will, at some point, file a legal notice known as a Notice of Default, or sometimes what’s known as a ‘Lis Pendens‘ (Latin for ‘suit pending’). Depending in which state the foreclosure is occurring, the lender will file at least one of these two documents. These legal documents, once filed, allow the public to know that an action of foreclosure on the property has commenced.
Foreclosure Investing Explained – Pre-Forclosure
Prior to the property entering into full foreclosure, there is a period of time which exists, after the Notice of Default, or Lis Pendens has been officially filed, but before the actual foreclosure auction takes place, which is known as the pre-foreclosure phase of the foreclosure process. During this pre-foreclosure period, interested members of the general public receive their first opportunity to attempt the acquirement of such properties. This is done by contacting the property owner directly — the current holder of the mortgage in default — with an offer to buy the property from them and take it out of foreclosure.
Such an offer can be attractive for both the party making the offer, and the current owner of the property. If the house goes to full foreclosure while in their possession, the current owner loses it completely. They walk away with nothing and must simply absorb the entire loss of the money they’ve already paid into the equity of the property. The bank seizes the property, sells it, and retains all proceeds in order to recoup their investment. For this reason, knowing that they are currently on track to lose their property entirely with pretty much nothing to show for it, an owner, at this stage, will be primed to give serious consideration to an offer which may well be below the market-value of the property in question, or even below the amount of equity they currently have in the property.
The owner of a home currently in the pre-foreclosure stage, very often, may be highly anxious to sell the house at a significantly undervalued cost. In doing so, they may avoid losing their property entirely, and actually gain walking away from the mess they’ve found themselves in with at least some amount of money from the deal. They can avoid having their credit rating destroyed by holding a property that goes to full foreclosure. And, if their property does end up going to full foreclosure while in their possession, and the mortgage lender, upon selling the foreclosed property, is unable to fetch a price that fully covers their losses, the mortgage lender then has the ability to bring a civil action against the borrower in order to gain judgment for the difference. All of this can be avoided by the unfortunate home owner by unloading the property while it’s still in the pre-foreclosure phase. And so, of course, there exists, at this point in the process, a strong incentive to sell off the property.
Full Foreclosure — The Foreclosure Auction
In the event, for whatever reason, the current owner does not sell off the property prior to the date of full foreclosure and the occurrence of the foreclosure auction, or if default hasn’t been cured via some other means, then the foreclosure sale will go forward and a trustee will attempt to sell the property at auction to the highest bidder. The trustee will attempt to garner a final price at auction which recovers any outstanding balance on the mortgage owing, plus any related expenses associated with the process.
Just before the auction for the property takes place, in most cases, the lender will pay-off any secondary debts or liens which may be owing on the property. This might include things like outstanding property taxes, or other related taxes. The reason for doing this is so the property can be sold off at auction with a clear title — otherwise, the new owner obtaining the property at auction would also be taking upon themselves the responsibility for those outstanding debts. The lender, very often, at this time, will submit what’s known as a ‘credit bid‘. This bid is the amount still owing on the mortgage, along with any related expenses the lender may have incurred. This can sort of be seen as a bid the bank enters, in which they will purchase their own property being sold — as in, any bid lower than this amount would make the sale pointless and undesirable for them, so they themselves will bid this amount in order to keep the property. In reality it acts as an opening bid. So, the bidding process does not start at $1.00, or some such other low, arbitrary figure, but instead it begins at this ‘credit bid‘ amount.
In some legal jurisdictions, previous owners enjoy what’s known as a ‘right of redemption.’ This affords the previous owner of the property a set time limit, the length of which varies from area to area, in which they may redeem the property if they are able to come up with the money that the property was sold for. Although this very rarely occurs, one should be aware of the possibility and investigate what the specific law is regarding a right of redemption in the area in which you may be interested in bidding on a foreclosed property. If you do end up placing a winning bid on a foreclosed property, it could be that the previous owner may show up within 30, 90 days, 6 months, or what have you (again, depending on the laws of the area) after the date you acquired the property with the amount of cash that you paid for the property. In such a case, you would be legally required to hand the property back to the original owner in exchange for being reimbursed your purchasing price.
Along with the original owners right of redemption — which may, or may not, be in effect in the area in which you’re bidding on a property — the IRS also enjoys the ability to be able to redeem the real estate if there are back taxes still owing on the property. This too, however, is quite rare, as in most cases the lender, for the purpose of fetching a higher price and attracting more bidders, will have cleared such outstanding debts before putting the property up for auction. Properties wherein a buyer, once acquiring the property, will take upon themselves a claim against them by the tax man tend to scare people away. Because of this, it’s quite rare that such properties are put up for auction with such debts still attached to the property. But, in rare cases it can, and does happen. So, one should be aware of this, do their due diligence in attempting to discover the exact nature and financial standing of the property on which they’re bidding, and factor such things into their bidding decisions.
FORECLOSURE INVESTING EXPLAINED — REO Properties
The final phase which may, or may not, take place in the foreclosure process is what’s known as the ‘REO’ stage. REO is an initialism which stands for ‘Real Estate Owned‘. When a property which has entered into foreclosure and has been put up for auction fails to attract a high enough price to cover the lenders losses on the property, the mortgage lender will take control of the property. If the lender happens to be an institutional lender, the property in question will become an REO property.
The REO property is basically just a real estate property that is owned, held and is being managed by a bank. Lending institutions, however, are usually quite eager to liquidate these properties as quickly as they possibly can. Banks are in the business of lending money, they’re not in the business of managing and holding real estate, and doing so is seen as an unprofitable distraction. The money that is tied up in the value of the property which itself is, basically, just sitting there, is money they could be using to loan out at interest. So, banks holding REO properties are usually quite motivated to move the properties swiftly. For this reason, a solid investment deal also presents itself to interested property buyers at this final stage of property foreclosure.
To search through a comprehensive listing by area of properties currently either in the pre-foreclosure, or full foreclosure stage and scheduled come up for auction, visit this online resource, and, once there, click on the ‘foreclosure’ tab located near the top-right of the screen.
(Title photo credit: Jeff Turner)
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!