With gas prices sky high, just about everyone is rethinking how much time they spend in the car. In some cases, vacations have been changed and carpooling started. You might have considered buying a more fuel-efficient car for your many trips around town. But is it really worth another car payment? One solution is attending a free car auction and buying a government seized or surplus car. By doing this you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars on the cost of the car and reduce your expenses even more. You might be asking, what is a seized car and how do you buy them.
Every month 1000’s of cars become government, state or bank property. Some of these vehicles are seized from criminals, some are repossessions, and others are government surplus. Whatever the reason, the government and banks find them very expensive to store so they are sold as fast as possible – usually this means at a discounted price. Some cars are sold at a discount of up to 95%, sometimes as little as $200. Almost every day, there is a government auction being held in some part of the country and usually anyone can go and participate if they know where they are held. Most free car auctions are regularly held at specific places at scheduled times. There are late model cars available with low mileage and older government cars that have been kept up well. If you do a little digging you could get a steal.
There are two ways to get free car auction listings. One takes time, the other a little money. Government agencies are required to advertise auctions so you can contact each federal, state and local government agency to see if, when and where they have auctions. You should also scan local newspapers to find out the time and place for auctions in your area. Banks and other financial institutions usually have their auctions through private companies. You’ll need to contact these organizations separately to see if they have auctions and when they are.
There is always the time vs. money trade off. You can pay someone to do the work for you. There are online auction directory services that, for a fee of about $40, will give you unlimited access to seized and surplus car auction listings. These services have directories of free car auctions all over the country and will email you with auction information specific to the location you specify. The directories can give you information on previously sold cars and show locations, and descriptions of items for upcoming auctions.
What happens at a free car auction? Bidding of course! If you’ve never been to an auction before you might want to take a test drive first, they can be very fast-paced. Make sure you know the rules before you start. Usually the cars are sold ‘as is’ but inquire about warranties, and ways to pay. There is a preview period so check out a couple of cars you’re interested in and do research on them. You can get the VIN number and check CARFAX reports. Have a price limit in mind before you start bidding. Don’t get caught up in the bidding war and pay more than you expected (or more than the car is worth!) Remember used car dealers are there also, they’ve done their research and are prepared to get the cars they want.
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