Top Ten Questions About Auctions

How would you like to buy the latest exercise machine that retails for $1500 for an auction price of $80.00? Late model cars for around $500.00? Large appliances for $50-$75?

It is a proven fact that government auctions have some of the best bargains known in our country right now. With economy being a bit sluggish, both government and bank repo auctions have become the place to find what you need at the right price.

We will discuss the top ten questions that most people have when looking into going to an auction, but never tried it.

1. How much stuff is available at these auctions?

There are billions of dollars of merchandise available every year that come from seizures, foreclosures, govt. downsize, govt. upgrades and the selling of the older model goods.

2. What kind of merchandise is available?

Computers, vehicles, like carpool inventory. T.V.’S, vcr’s, dvd players, trucks, heavy equipment, building supplies, telephones, answering machines, tools,

3. What kind of prices are we talking about here?

Having cars and trucks going from the range of $200.00-$500.00 is an extremely great deal for those on a budget. Some may go a bit more, but that beats the showroom price or used car dealer hassle.
Electronics go for mostly dirt cheap prices, especially in lots or groups. Having several friends chip in for the bidding on the lot lowers the individual price per unit greatly, that way you all share in the gain.

4. Where do the auction items come from?

The most common ways goods find their way to auction are…

Seizure auctions, various law enforcement seizures from drug dealers.

Surplus auctions,government agencies liquidating out of date, overstocked items.

Real Estate auctions, foreclosure auctions for land, commercial and residential property, loan defaults etc.

5. Who can attend the auctions?

Most all government and private auctions are open to the public. Some vehicle auctions may have restrictions to dealers only, but they may have an open day after the vehicles have been offered to the dealers and remained unsold, check up on that. Certain requirements are placed on government auctions, like registering to bid.

6. How do I register to bid?

Most have an age limit of minimum of 18 years old. Some have a small registration fee of $1-$3 dollars. Check out the fine print. Some have a buyers premium of %5- %10 of the value of sale, be prepared and check it out.

7. What is the condition of the items?

Most are sold as-is. That means if the truck won’t start, you will be responsible for getting it moved via tow truck or working on it at the yard. Check the rules on that. You have only so much time after winning the bid to pay for the item and getting a release form, and moving the item from the yard or face a possible storage charge, check it out.

8. Is there an inspection period?

Almost all auctions have a time where you may preview the items for sale. It may vary from one hour prior to sale or several days preview time. Be careful to not get to excited at any one item and be cool about it, an old auction trick is using spotters who watch for “big fish” coming in and ooing and aweing over a fancy truck or car, then using ghost bidders to up the bid on these people. It’s not as common or actually legal to do these days, just letting you know what has happened in the past.

9. If I buy a vehicle, can I drive it away?

Asking about running condition before you bid may answer that question, but in most cases, you will be able to drive the vehicle away after payment is secured. Once you have payment made and have the release statement, title arrangements may be at time of sale. Ask those questions beforehand. Like I said earlier, if the vehicle does not run, you may have to hire a tow truck to remove the vehicle.

10. What payment methods can be used?

Cash and cash equivalents like a cashiers check will be accepted. Check ahead of time for other payment methods. If you have several cashiers drawer checks in small amounts, then you should be fine. Travelers checks may be accepted, just check fine print before you bid.

Here are a few resources to check out for auctions, not always in alphabetical

ALABAMA:Alabama Surplus Property P.O. Box 210487 Montgomery, AL. 36121 (205) 277-5866

ARIZONA:Office of Surplus Property 1537 W. Jackson Street Phoenix, AZ. 85007 (602) 542-5701

CONNECTICUT:60 State St. Rear Wethersfield, CT. 06109 (203) 566-7018 (or 7190)

Vehicle auctions held the first and third Tuesday of the month. No mailing list. Registration fee.
HAWAII No state surplus auctions.

IDAHODivision of Purchasing (208) 327-7465

Auctions held as needed each year. No mailing list, but contact this office in May for a schedule.
KANSAS:State Surplus Property P.O. Box 19226 Topeka, KS. 66619-0226 (913) 296-2334

KENTUCKY:Office of Surplus Property 514 Barrett Avenue Frankfurt, KY. 40601 (502) 564-4836

MAINE:Office of Surplus Property Station 95 Augusta, ME. 04333 (207) 289-5750
Public auctions five to six times per year. Primarily vehicles. No mailing list.
No public auctions. Address above is a “retail” store for surplus property.
Public auctions six times per year, usually on Saturdays. Vehicles primarily. No mailing list.
Mailing list. Several auctions per year. Items: office furniture, household goods, machinery, livestock

MISSISSIPPI:Bureau of Surplus Property P.O. Box 5778 Jackson, MS. 39288 (601) 939-2050
Two to three auctions per year of machinery and vehicles. Mailing list.

MONTANA:Property and Supply Bureau 930 Lyndale Avenue Helena, MT. 59620 (406) 444-4514
Two auctions per year of vehicles and other property. Mailing list.
State vehicle auctions as needed. Mailing list.

NEW MEXICO:Highway & Transportation Department P.O. Box 1149 Santa Fe, N.M. 87504
Last Saturday in September. Vehicles and office equipment. Mailing list.

NORTH CAROLINA:State Surplus Property P.O. Box 33900 Raleigh, N.C. 27636 (919) 733-3889
Sealed bid auctions. Mailing list. Warehouse available to inspect items.

NORTH DAKOTA: Surplus Property Office P.O. Box 7293 Bismarck, N.D. 58507 (701) 224-2273
Several auctions throughout the year. $10 gets you on a mailing list.
Government Auctions Databases
Two auctions per year, spring and fall. Vehicles. Mailing list.
Periodic auctions of vehicles and assorted machinery. Mailing list.

UTAH:State Surplus Office 522 South 700 West Salt Lake City, UT. 84104 (801) 533-5885

VIRGINIA:State Surplus Property P.O. Box 1199 Richmond, VA. 23231 (804) 786-3876
Central warehouse open noon to 2:30 PM on Fridays. Cash only.
Auctions every month. Items: chairs, desks, telephones, computers and more. Mailing list.

WISCONSIN:Department of Transportation P.O. Box 7396 Madison, WI. 53707 (608) 266-3965

WYOMING:State Motor Pool 723 West 19th St. Cheyenne, WY. 82002 (307) 777-7247
Government & Police Auction Database
Periodic vehicle auctions. Mailing list.

The offices:

Hartford Office 330 Main Street First Floor Hartford, CT. 06106-1860 (203) 240-4523

REGION 2 New York 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278-0068 (212) 264-8053
Camden The Parkade Building 519 Federal Street Camden, N.J. 08103-9998 (609) 757-5081
Newark 60 Park Place Military Park Bldg. Newark, N.J. 07102-5504 (201) 877-1686
Charleston 405 Capitol Street Suite 708 Baltimore, MD. 21202 (410) 962-2520
Washington, D.C. 820 First Street, NE Washington, D.C. 20002-4205 (202) 275-8185
Wilmington 824 Market St. Suite 850 Wilmington, DE. 19801-3016 573-6300
Field Offices: Birmingham Beacon Ridge Tower, #300 600 Beacon Parkway West Birmingham,
Government Grants
AL. 35209-3144 (201) 290-7617
Coral Gables Gables 1 Tower 1320 South Dixie Highway Coral Gables, FL. 33146 (305) 662-4500
Louisville 601 W. Broadway P.O. Box 1044 Louisville, KY. 40201-1044 (502) 582-6255
Memphis One Memphis Place 200 Jefferson Ave. #1200 Memphis, TN. 38103-2335 (901) 544-3367
Nashville 251 Cumberland Bend Dr. #200 Nashville, TN. 37228-1803 (615) 736-5213

REGION 5 Chicago 547 W. Jackson Blvd., 7th Floor, Chicago, IL. 60661 (312) 353-5680
Flint 605 N. Saginaw St. #200 Flint, MI. 48502-2043 (313) 766-5109
Grand Rapids 2922 Fuller Avenue, NE Grand Rapids, MI. 49505 (616) 456-2137
Minneapolis-St.Paul 220 Second Street South Minneapolis, MN. 55401-2195 (612) 370-3000
Springfield 509 W. Capitol St. #206 Springfield, IL. 62704 (217) 492-4085

REGION 6 Fort Worth 1600 Throckmorton, P.O. Box 2905, Ft. Worth, TX. 76113 (817) 885-5505

Field Offices: Albuquerque 625 Truman St., NE Albuquerque, N.M. 87110-6472 (505) 262-6472

Dallas 525 Griffin St. Room 860 Dallas, TX. 75202-5007 (214) 767-8359
Houston Norfolk Tower, Suite 200 2211 Norfolk Houston, TX. 77098-4096 (713) 653-3274
San Antonio Washington Square 800 Dolorosa San Antonio, TX. 78207 (512) 229-6758
Shreveport Joe D. Waggoner Bldg. 500 Fannin St. Shreveport, LA. 71101-3077 (318) 226-5402
Tulsa Boston Place, Suite 110 1516 S. Boston St. Tulsa, OK. 74119 (918) 581-7451
Omaha Braiker/Brandeis Bldg. 210 South 16th St. Omaha, NE. 68102-1622 221-3879

REGION 8 Denver Executive Tower Bldg., 1405 Curtis Denver, CO. 80202 (303) 844-6518

San Francisco Phillip Burton Federal Bldg. and U.S. Courthouse, 450 Golden Gate P.O. Box 36003,
San Francisco, CA 94102 (415) 556-5900

Seattle Arcade Plaza Bldg., 1321 Second Ave. Seattle, WA. 98101 (206) 553-1700
This concludes the Housing & Urban Development listings.
There are auctions held every nine weeks in the following cities:
Other cities hold auctions more infrequently.

You can write to these addresses for more information about these sales:
New York:U.S. Postal Service, 380 West 33rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10199, (212) 330-3800
St. Paul:U.S. Postal Service, 443 Fillmore Street, St. Paul, MN. 55107, (612) 293-3082

The Auction Hot List Newsletter
Vermont Virginia U.S. Postal Service U.S. Post Office Garage Vehicle Maintenance Facility1001
School Street 1800 Page Blvd.Richmond, VA. 23232 Springfield, MA. 01152-9721(804) 775-6155
(413) 785-6383
(800) 829-1040

The key contacts:
The Affordable Housing Disposition Program
Resolution Trust Corporation National Assets Specific Inquiry Program: (800) 431-0600
Regional Assets Sales Hotline (800) 348-1484 For real estate: (800) 782-3006.


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