When looking for a great car, and a great deal, finding local car auctions should be your first step. There are a number of different types of local car auctions. Government vehicle auctions are typically scheduled to auction off property that’s been seized for some reason, often back tax liabilities or bankruptcy issues.
They can come from the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Customs, or the U.S. Marshal Police impound auctions are used by cities to get rid of property that’s been abandoned or seized by the police department for illegal activities like drug dealing. Dealer auto auctions are regularly scheduled auctions where auto dealers can buy or sell inventory automobiles, and most of the finance companies are represented at these auctions as well. The lenders sell their off-lease units and repossessed vehicles at local car auctions.
With local car auctions that regularly take place, the value for these vehicles at auction is lower than any other place. Generally, the prices are lower for those models which are plentiful at auction and higher for those that are rarer. For instance, if there are hundreds of Ford Taurus models running through an auction that are off-lease, they likely will sell at the auction inexpensively. Likely, you’ll see lots of managers from local Ford stores snapping those up at dealer auto auctions. Cars that have been confiscated and are being sold through government vehicle auctions or police impound auctions are typically unique, and the prices will be higher.
To find the best deal on the type of car you’re looking for, check out the local car auctions in your area. Local car auctions most often are not publicized, so you will have to do a little legwork to find them. The auctioneers know one thing: when there is a large crowd at local car auctions, the price for each vehicle goes down. Hence, advertising auctions is not on their priority list.
Once you find auctions, how do you get a great deal? Auction houses frequently post listings of the cars to be auctioned ahead of time, and you’ll want to get your hands on that. Then, check the NADA wholesale value of the cars that you’re interested in, so that you’ll have a good idea of what the cars are worth. If the local car auctions listing gave you VIN numbers of the cars, run those that most interest you through Carfax to determine any accident or odometer issues. This will also give you information on where the car came from, and if it has warranty time left. Go to the auction venue early and look over cars that you are particularly interested in purchasing so that there are no surprises later. Most auction houses allow pre-bid inspections.
Local car auctions start early in the morning, and you should be prepared for conditions in the auction barn. Frequently, it will be very hot or very cold, depending on outside weather, so dress accordingly. Each car, in turn, will be run through the auction lanes and be sold to the highest bidder. Keep your eyes open and pay attention, similar cars will be running, and you don’t want to buy the wrong one. One final and important thing: no matter how much you like a car, do NOT pay more than NADA wholesale value. The whole point of buying from local car auctions is to get a great deal.
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