Auction Buying Tips
Anyone above the age of 18 holding
a photo ID can buy a vehicle from any government auction - it's not only for dealers, although many dealers take
advantage of the bargains on offer. There are indeed auctions which are not open for the public and that require
a special license to bid. However, most auctions available via Gov-Auctions are
open to the general public and requires no special licenses.
Click here for a list of the top rated
are also various online government related vehicle auctions ALL accessible online. These online auctions
usually display ALL their current vehicle listings/cars online which are available for bidding and where these
vehicles are located, these listings are usually searchable per manufacturer, e.g BMWs, and US state.
Buying a vehicle at a government
car auction is not difficult once you know how it all works and the savings can be very substantial. With
10,000s of vehicles sold each week, the saying "there's always tomorrow" applies perfectly to car auctions
because if you don't find the right vehicle today there is every chance you will tomorrow. With so many vehicles
going through each week the odds are on your side.
Pre-owned government vehicles come
from a wide variety of places, but the general rule is as follows:
vehicle was purchased under a federal or state government contract, then it is eligible to be sold at a
you think of all the different departments and levels of government across the United States, you get the
picture of just how many vehicles are up for auction. Some examples of where your new vehicle might have served
Police Services/departments incl.
& Emergency Services
Religious Groups & other
Universities & other Education
Hospitals & Ambulance
pre-owned government vehicles are typically 2-3 years old, and come with perfect service documentation and
approx 25,000 -40,000 miles on the meter (addressed more in tutorial Day 2). Many still have transferable
factory warranty. Importantly, 10,000s of seized or repossessed vehicles are also auctioned off at these
auctions. Many have full service history, some don't. Most auctions offers a complimentary "Carfax" report or
similar for vehicle history and title status check.
how do you go about buying a vehicle at government auctions? - Follow these 8 simple steps.
Step 1 - Do Your
Decide on the make of vehicle
you're interested in, and check the car press for a guide to prices from dealers and private sellers. Then take
a look at the sold and listed cars of the week at the auction of your choice and realise the difference! Don't
be overly disappointed if exactly the car you want is not listed - new cars are received all day, every
your finances organised prior to inspections, this way you know exactly what your bidding capacity
Remember to bring a photo ID
(drivers licence or passport) and a form of payment (cash, bank cheque or similar) to cover your deposit.
Deposit can be as high as 10% of purchase price, or minimum $500, Usually you are required to settle the balance
within 24-48 hours using bank cheque, money order, cash or similar, proof of wire transfer. Importantly the
vehicle must be paid in full before you are allowed to take possession of it.
Step 2 - Auction day -
Inspect the Vehicles
out to the auto auction well in time before the actual auction begins. Allow at least 1.5 hours and have a good
look around at the stock either being prepared or auctioned. Before you leave home, make sure you have the
correct address and a good map as many of the auctions are in industrial /semi industrial areas which can be
somewhat difficult to find. If you arrive late and feel stressed it's not a good start on what can easily be a
day of joy and fulfilment.
auction days it is likely you will be greeted by the uction consultants, but if they are all busy with other
customers, ask the doorman for a copy of a "Guide to Bidding" leaflet or similar which will identify the auction
consultants and the layout of the premises. There may also be signs pointing towards the "registration office",
then follow the signs and follow given instructions for registration. If you have any queries do not hesitate to
find and ask one of the consultants. They are there to help you and make you feel at ease with the auction
process. If you have questions try to contact the auction prior to auction day to have them
first surprise will probably be the size of the auction room - it can often be as long as a football field and
it will be full of vehicles. Enjoy the moment and don't be overwhelmed about all your options. A consultant will
help you locate the type of vehicle you are looking for.
next surprise will be the excellent condition of the vehicles. Every vehicle (with a few noted exceptions)
undergoes a series of tests. A registered passenger vehicle is
usually accompanied by an "Inspection Report" or similar that advises any known faults . If you have any
queries, call on a consultant.
Government bodies not only take
great pride in the upkeep and maintenance of their vehicles but its also part of their organisational
responsibility to comply with work safety legislation etc. You will find most of the vehicles come with stamped
log books, complete with service history. Also many of them are still under manufacturer�s warranty. Most cars are only 2-3
yrs old and majority have travelled between or 25,000 - 40,000 miles (or 40,000 - 60,000 kms).
Step 3 - Price Range and
you have selected a vehicle or a number of vehicles, find an auction consultant and ask for an indication of the
expected price or maybe even a reserve price. On occasion some vehicles are offered with no reserve. As a
general rule of thumb don't bid much higher than the "bluebook" trade in price
auction consultants will also be able to give you an idea of what time the vehicle will come up for
Step 4 - Preparing to
you haven't ever taken part in an auction before, it's a good idea to attend an auction first and observe how it
all happens. Watch the auctioneer and his/her staff, and the bidding process. There are a few tips and a few conditions to taking part in an auction that
our consultants will help you with. These include:
* Incremental bids. Bidding usually increases by $100, $250, or
$500 at the discretion of the auctioneer.
* Your commitment to purchase.
* Understanding what the auctioneer means.
* Your obligations when you bid. Once you have made a bid you
cannot withdraw it.
Step 5 - Making your
"your" vehicle is driven onto the auction area, here is what you should keep in mind:
* Be sure you are bidding on the correct vehicle by noting the lot
number or engine number.
* It is sometimes wise to let someone else start the
* Use the amount of activity as a guide to the vehicle's
* When you're ready and you feel the time is right, make your bid
confidently so as not to be overlooked as many vehicles are auctioned in a short timeframe.
* Attract the attention of the auctioneer by holding up your hand
or your bidder registration number.
* Make sure the auctioneer notices your first bid - he will then
watch you for further bids.
Step 6 - Once you are the
* Once the auctioneer's hammer has fallen to your
* Take your identification and part payment to the Sales Office to
secure your wholesale purchase.
* You can pay with cash, bank cheque, major credit card or
similar. It is smart to ask the auction house about their accepted payment methods beforehand when you call to
confirm times and current listings.
* Important: a "buyers premium" fee (i.e. the auction house'
income) of approx 5% of purchase price is usually payable on top of purchase price. Take this into consideration
when you work out your bidding limit.
* Complete the necessary purchase documents.
* Take your receipt as Proof of Purchase and Guarantee of
Step 7 - Return to
you can finalize everything here and now, most people choose to have lunch or a coffee break while contemplating
the savings you have made at the cafe or bistro often located with the auction. Remember it is a positive event
for you, so enjoy it! Even of you don't buy anything during your first visit you will now have a much better
understanding for next time.
your refreshments return to the Sales Office to finalize the payment and you will be given registration papers
to prove it's yours! The balance typically must be paid within 2 working days by cash or bank cheque. Most
auction houses will usually allow temporary storage/holding while final transport is organised. Speak to the
representative at the site as they are usually accommodating for such requirements.
of the most important things to remember at this point is to have your car insurance situation addressed, as you
are now responsible for your vehicle. There are also a few really good options available for extended warranties
worthwhile consideration should the vehicle be slightly older.
Step 8 - Happy
Collect your new vehicle at the
security gate and drive away safe with our best wishes for happy motoring in the future. It was fun and easy