Are you looking for the deal of a lifetime? Maybe you’re looking for cars & houses to flip? If so, it’s time to explore government & police auctions.
Police auctions work by seizing vehicles that were involved in criminal activity or impounded and the owner was unable or unwilling to pay the fee. Once the impound lot becomes crowded, police & local governments will auction off the vehicles or other assets to the public. This allows them to clear inventory and generate revenue for themselves so they’re able to continue to protect & serve their communities. People at these auctions are able to pick up vehicles, homes and other assets for well below market value.
Why is it smart to purchase at a government auction? Their motivation is liquidation of inventory, not profit. When all they’re looking to do is clear the impound lot, the consumer will win.
So where do you find local government & police auctions? Here are three websites that are good resources.
Car Auction Inc
If you’re looking for police & government car/truck/suv/commercial truck auctions this is the place for you. They focus almost entirely on the US auction market and their database of auctions is constantly updating.
They have two membership tiers. The $20 membership gives you 60 day access to their database, this is good for people looking to do one or two transactions. If you’re looking to make this a hobby or flip cars as a business, the lifetime membership is only $60.
On this website you’ll find auctions for planes, campers, RVs as well as “normal” vehicles like cars, suvs & trucks.
Although it’s not free, it’s definitely worth the money. If you find a car that’s $5,000 cheaper than you would on a car lot, I’d say that $20 or $60 membership paid for itself many times over.
One of the main reasons someone should consider this site is the free Auction Guide. If you’re new to the world of government/police auctions, it’s a helpful resource. The Auction Guide covers introduction, inspecting vehicles, tactics for bidding, how to sell cars for profit and more.
While this website focuses on vehicles, items like jewelry, boats and even cash have been known to show up at auctions. From this website you’ll have access to IRS, DEA, US Treasury & other government agency auctions.
Beyond access to government & police auctions, once you become a member you get two guides to help you navigate the world of auctions. One is a five day step-by-step tutorial for auction beginners, the other is 20 page guide to all federal property sales programs. The guides are there to help those new to the industry feel comfortable jumping in.
The website has two tiers, one for two years and the other a lifetime membership. The two year membership is a one time charge of $39.95 and the lifetime membership is only $10 more. For less than the cost of a fancy dinner you get lifetime access to a database of government auctions. Seems like a fair trade to me.
What I like about this site is the prevalence of real estate in it’s database. While it does have vehicles and other assets, I feel the two other websites reviewed in this article offered better user experiences for those products.
If you’re looking for a large database of foreclosed homes that you could pick up for well below market value, this is a great website. If instead of writing articles on obscure products & services I decided to flip houses or invest in real estate, I’d probably be a daily user.
You can activate a trial with them for only $1 and after 3 days, if you don’t cancel you’ll be billed $19.95/month. While that makes this website more expensive than the others, if you’re looking to invest in real estate it’s chump change. The trial allows you to see if you find the website useful and if it’s not, you’re only out a dollar.
The database is a decent size based on my use of the website. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota and found several foreclosures in the area (total population of 20,000). Higher populated areas should have plenty of inventory to choose from.