Heard the promises of $100 retired military Jeeps and $500 luxury cars confiscated in drug raids? You've likely seen the newspaper ads, flyers and infomercials that were so popular in recent years as part of get-rich-quick schemes, promising to show us how to buy luxury automobiles at a small fraction of their real worth through government auctions.
Internet auctions typically last seven days, and operate like eBay auctions. Each listing links to the auction house website where bids can be placed. From that site, bidders are asked to register in order to bid on a vehicle. Live auctions are public auctions held at a specific date and location and are usually published in newspapers in addition to the online listing at GovSales.
One way the federal government finances its activities is by the sale of marketable Treasury bills, notes, bonds, Floating Rate Notes (FRNs), and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) to the public. Marketable securities can be bought, sold or transferred after they are originally issued. Treasury uses an auction process to sell marketable securities and determine their rate, yield, or discount margin. The value of Treasury marketable securities fluctuates with changes in interest rates and market demand. You can participate in an auction and purchase bills, notes, bonds, FRNs, and TIPS directly from the Treasury or you can purchase them through a bank or broker. Marketable securities held in your account can be sold at current market prices through brokers and many financial institutions.
It is important to have realistic expectations when attending a government car auction. While you can find some good bargains, you are not going to find a brand new BMW for $100.00. Government auctions sell both fleet cars and vehicles that have been impounded by government agencies. The conditions of these vehicles can range from great to not running. Set your expectations and budget realistically.