Buying seized cars can definitely be a hassle. While the promise of an excellent bargain is always there, especially with some of those cars selling at less than 10% their original price, you may want to look into this opportunity by attempting to buy a seized car from a local auction.
There’s a fair amount of research to be done, of course. From the largely unknown condition of most cars seized by the government or authorities, to the various requirements of the auction, you need to be well-informed before making any kind of choice.
Tips on Buying Preparations
Before jumping straight into an auction and placing the highest bid on seized cars that might not be all that great, there are several considerations you may want to keep in mind:
Find a local auction that you can physically travel to, and determine whether it’s a legal auction, open to the public (since some auctions will only be open to dealers).
Show up ahead of time, and find out exactly what the registration requirements are.
Ask for a list of the cars that are put up for sale, and inquire about whether or not you can inspect or even test drive them. This is extremely important for assessing the overall condition of the car (or cars) you may be interested in buying.
If you’re allowed to inspect the car, call on a friend who may know more about used cars to help you figure out exactly what you might find under the hood.
Make sure you have the money to pay for the car well before the time of the auction. Even though a seized car will likely be quite cheap, it won’t be entirely free, especially at a competitive auction.
Finally, you will definitely need three important things: your driver license, social security number and a solid plan that you should be able to follow through until the end.
The plan needs to focus on avoiding large bids and using intelligent strategies to know how not to get in over your head. If you’re new to car auctions, you may want to look up some extra information on how to avoid being swept up in a fast-paced auction.
Before actually showing up at the auction and buying one of those newly available seized cars, it may be a good idea to do a background check and see what you can come up with regarding the auction and even the car if possible.
First, find out if the local auction where you’ve found your car has any special requirements from attendees, and look for the original price of the exact model and make of car you’re interested in buying. It may help if the car model you’re researching is also from the exact year as the seized car.
Also, if the VIN number of the car is available, look it up to try and find out the accident history of the car. You will find that seized cars are rarely “clean”; however, you might also get lucky in a sense by finding a vehicle that has generally been kept in good condition since its first purchase.
Finally, you should also try to find out the actual reason why the car was seized and is now available at an open auction. This can be one of several, including the car having been taken by law enforcement as a result of traffic violations or a raid, or even by a court or the IRS because of various law infringements.
These methods and ideas should give you at least some idea on the background of any of the seized cars you may want to buy and help you determine exactly which one of them would provide you with the best bargain opportunity.