There are million of dollars of seized and unclaimed property auctioned by the government on an everyday basis. These potential hidden treasures include cars, houses, boats, jewelry, antiques, and more. Since the government has nothing invested and often lacks potential buyers, the amount required to purchase can be obscenely low. Auctions are a common method used to dispose of anything and everything they have accumulated.
Government auctions are held everyday all across the United States. Federal, State and Local governments all hold their own auctions on a regular basis. The following is some helpful information to get you started in your quest to find a new home, car or other property at a bargain price.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I locate a government auction near me?
— Unfortunately there is not one nice consolidated place that lists all of them for you. Local, state and federal governments tend not to operate in cooperation, but each has their own unique method of advertising their own auctions or sales. You can begin by contacting your local or state government in person, by phone, or email. Sometimes you will find listings for auctions in the local newspaper or posted at various city or county buildings. Searching the internet may also turn up listings.
Is it complicated to buy via an auction?
— No, generally there is a simple registration process. When you register, you get information about their payment and other policies, like how long you have to remove an item, once you’ve purchased it and whether or how closely you will be allowed to inspect what is up for bid, before they begin the auction.
How do I find that particular item I’m looking for?
— This is where the fun begins. It can take lots, and lots of looking. Often auction listings only mention some of the items being sold, not all of them. Checking with the local agency that would logically have the item you might want is a good idea. An agriculture related agency would be a good place to start looking for used tractors, instead of a business oriented department or agency.
Why are things so cheap?
— Simple supply and demand. The government seizes property everyday and there are a limited number of people that know how to buy it. The government is not at risk of taking a loss since they did not invest in the item to begin with.
Can you really buy a car for $100?
— Yes, there are cars that cheap, but they most likely will not be in mint condition. You should pursue this like you would when buying any used car. Kick the tires, look under the hood, and take it for a test drive if they will allow it. Try to check to make sure the car is not a “salvage car” before purchasing.
What about real estate?
— The current economic situation likely makes this the newest potential goldmine for those with some money to invest. With the housing market and mortgage market taking huge hits this year, more homes have gone into foreclosure or are being seized by the government for back taxes owed. Watch the papers and internet websites for “tax sales”. The flood of homes being seized is making it difficult to impossible for various government agencies to find buyers for a wide range of properties.
The potential is only limited by the effort you put forth. I have seen a pallet of computers go for less than the cost of a single computer, because I was in the right place at the right time, but without a truck… For those who have done the research and have prepared there truly are treasures waiting.