Most people are completely unaware of the bargains that can be found in the most unlikely of places: the government! We’re used to reading about the Pentagon paying $59.00 for a wrench, about the national debt rising higher and higher, so it’s excusable to not think of government and “sales” in the same sentence.
Yet nearly every level of government from city and town on up through county, state and federal, has possession of excess property that must be disposed of. If this can be accomplished and money raised at the same time, why not? We want government to be fiscally responsible, right?
The most common method of parting with this overage of property is through auction sales. These affairs offer a unique opportunity to the right person– purchases at bargain basement prices which you can turn around and sell at a profit! The money to be made staggers the imagination.
From property seized by police officers or customs officials to repossessions by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are thousands of items of all types available at rock-bottom prices. Whether you’re merely buying for yourself or seeing this as a line of business that could make you a substantial profit, the key is to identify and locate these auctions.
You name it! Houses, cars, jewelry, yachts, government farm equipment, computers, firewood– it’s there for the bidding… and the buying! And, eventually– the selling for profit!
You don’t need much experience for this. You are familiar with what many of these items cost today on the open market. If you buy it far enough below market value, you can still sell the property yourself at a discount and make a handsome profit.
If you yourself have always wanted to own a luxury yacht, here’s your chance. You’ll never find your dream purchase at a lower price.
You could even start a second-hand store or set up shop at a flea market or swap shop to peddle your merchandise after you’ve acquired it. Many of these places are havens for shoppers. You’ve simply gone them one better by obtaining the good(s) at an even lower price than they’ll pay– and they’ll be pleased with their “bargain”.
Kinds of Auction Sales
There are open-bidding auctions, where you shout out the dollar value you’re willing to pay following a minimum bid requirement called by the auctioneer. There are also sealed-bid auctions where you submit the price you’re willing to pay. You get only one shot at that type of bidding.
Be careful with the open bid auctions. You can become so focused on a particular piece of property that you end up in a “bidding war” that ends up with your paying more than you should and cutting well into your eventual profit. Be disciplined! Set a dollar limit ahead of time so that you can let certain items go if the bidding goes too high. This is a business now, so common money sense is important. You must now think in terms of expenses vs. revenue.
If you have a certain hobby or interest, property in this area may be your natural market. If you specialize, it can help you concentrate on only those items in the large auction areas where there are hundreds of people bidding for thousands of goods. Your focus will be in your area and you’ll soon be an expert on costs, prices and resale’s of this commodity.
Auctions can be hyped up– to the point of temptation to overbid. Don’t do it! Remember your goal, your budget and your knowledge of what things cost and you’ll do very well. Find out where the surplus property offices of your state is. Contact them and ask to be included on a regular mailing list of government auctions. Often, with the notice, you’ll receive a catalog of the items to be sold and approximately what time they’ll be auctioned. This will allow you to budget your time wisely at these affairs and not get lost in the shuffle.
If you are interested in looking at government auctions, start with the following websites:
- U.S. General Services Administration GSA Auctions
- GovSales.gov (federal government surplus and seized property sales)
- State and Local Surplus properties
- IRS Auctions
- Treasury Auctions
- Government Auction and Sales by Agency
There are also a number of non-government websites that you can check out for government auctions and sales:
- PropertyRoom.com = works with the police departments across the country to auction off confiscated items
- GovernmentAuctions.org = offers a comprehensive listing of government auctions
- Government Liquidation = sells the Department of Defense’s surplus materials from aircraft parts to trucks and vehicles
- UnclaimedBaggage.com = allows you to buy lost luggage in an auction
- Fr8auctions = auctions for overshipped, damaged or items lost in freight transit
- GovDeals.com = a site that allows government agencies to put surplus and confiscated items up for bid.
- Robertson Auto Auctions = executes auctions for vehicles acquired in the Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Program run by the Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.