Government Auctions: What are they?

by tempuser

When planning your budget, what do you usually think of doing to save money? Most likely, you may try to cut some unnecessary expenses, maybe apply for assistance, or find another source of income. Although all of these sound like good ideas, there is one way of saving money that many people usually overlook – auctions! In fact, auctions allow you to buy valuable stuff at reduced prices. You can find them in a variety of settings. What you might not be aware of is that the government holds its own auctions where you can bid on government items and assets. This can be a great opportunity to get what you need at a lower cost.

How Can You Benefit From Government Auctions?

If this is your first time hearing about government auctions, you might have plenty of questions like:

  • Why Does the Government Hold Auctions?
  • What Type of Items Can I Purchase From These Auctions?
  • What are the Most Common Types of Government Auctions Available?

It’s not uncommon to be unfamiliar with government auctions. However, it’s important to learn enough about them as they can really help you cut costs. You will get the answers to the above questions through this article.

Why Does the Government Hold Auctions?

An auction is a public sale where items or property are sold to the highest bidder. It’s an efficient way to sell used or seized stuff. There are many possible reasons for a government auction sale, but here are a few typical ones:

  • Selling items that are forfeited to the United States Treasury Department because of Treasury laws.
  • Forfeited or confiscated assets from criminals are sold by law enforcement agencies.
  • When agencies dispose of stuff they no longer need.

What Type of Items Can I Purchase From These Auctions?

Government auctions can sell several types of products and assets. Most of these items typically have a high value in the conventional market. You will find that the most common types of items sold in government auctions include the following:

  • Art Work
  • Furniture
  • Computers
  • Jewelry
  • Boats
  • Motor vehicles
  • Planes
  • Trailers
  • Lab Equipment
  • Properties

What are the Most Popular Types of Government Auctions Available?

Through live and online auctions, many government agencies offer items for sale to the general public. You can purchase government-owned property across the United States and its territories at these auctions. There are plenty of auctions that may have something interesting for you. In this article, we will discuss 4 popular auctions:

Treasury Auctions

Every year, the U.S. Treasury organizes around 300 public auctions. The reason for having this type of auction is to sell the forfeited property of those who have broken Treasury laws. What’s really interesting about this auction is that you can get a brand new item for less money than the market price. 

The way of bidding will depend on the type of product. Usually, participants can bid online, in-person, or by mail. Items that have been confiscated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for breaking tax regulations may be auctioned at either live or mail-in auctions. On the other hand, real estate and other types of property are frequently sold through online auctions. Nonetheless, potential buyers can typically schedule an inspection of particular properties. This way, they can check out the items they’re buying in person. 

U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Auctions

This is an online type of government auction. Generally speaking, it is one of the most popular auctions that people tend to participate in for a bunch of reasons. One reason is that it offers various types of items for sale. Another reason is the accessibility. This auction has a user-friendly website that makes it easier for potential buyers to make their bids and review the listings. Furthermore, this auction allows you to check out the items at the physical location where they are stored to evaluate them. The GSA auctions feature a variety of products, such as:

  • Many types of vehicles like airplanes and travel trailers
  • Office equipment and furniture
  • Heavy machinery
  • Real estate and mobile homes
  • Science Equipment
  • Vessels
  • Park models

What are GSA Auto Auctions?

These auctions are also very popular because buyers can choose to participate in person or remotely. The word “Auto” in the name indicates that this auction focuses on vehicles. In fact, GSA Auto Auctions take place every year, and they sell vehicles that belong to the government. You can find multiple types of vehicles offered at these auctions, including the following:

  • Cars
  • Vans
  • Buses
  • Trucks
  • Alternative fuel vehicles

In general, the vehicles here have low mileage, are in good shape, and are ready to be driven immediately after the sale, making this auction quite popular among prospective buyers. If you want to take part in this auction, you will need to use the GSA Fleet Vehicle Sales website, whether you’re bidding online or in-person. However, each of these will be different.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Vehicle Auctions

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency is yet another government agency that holds auctions through GTB Vehicle Remarketing. People can participate in these auctions in different ways; they can place their bids online, live, or through proxy bidding. In these auctions, customers can purchase vehicles. However, when it comes to vehicle types, there isn’t as much choice. Some types of vehicles available at these auctions include the following:

  • Sedans
  • Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs)
  • Light and Medium-Duty Vans
  • Light and Medium-Duty Pickups

Before making a bid, you should keep in mind that the car—or any other type of vehicle—you will get from one of these auctions might need some repairs. That’s because you will purchase the vehicle “as is.” So, it is much safer to thoroughly inspect the vehicle for any damage before using it. 

U.S. Marshals Service Seized Assets Auctions

This auction runs under the management of the U.S. Marshals Service through the Asset Forfeiture Program. It might interest you if you are looking to purchase any of the following items:

  • Art
  • Jewelry
  • Real estate
  • Antiques and collectibles
  • Cars, planes, and boats
  • Commercial businesses

The program aims to find stolen assets and get them back to their original owners (if that is possible). When assets are sold, the revenues are typically used to fund the program’s operations, compensate victims, and support various law enforcement activities. If you are interested in bidding on government assets, there are a number of agencies you can check out, such as:

  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Fannie Mae
  • United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

In a Nutshell

Have you ever tried to buy things through an auction? If not, you should consider it, especially with government auctions. You can find lots of valuable goods that you can get for cheaper prices than usual. Some examples of the items you can bid on in government auctions include properties, art work, vehicles, and more. Many auctions use various methods of bidding including online and live processes. Most of the time, even if you prefer bidding online, you will still have the option of checking out the auctioned items on site. This will give you a better idea of their condition. When looking for auctions, you will find that many government agencies hold auctions like:

  • Treasury Auctions
  • U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Auctions
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection Vehicle Auctions
  • U.S. Marshals Service Seized Assets Auctions

Each of these auctions is unique in terms of type of items sold, bidding process, locations, etc. For this reason, it’s important to understand what each one has to offer. Overall, government auctions can save you a lot of money. So, make sure to check them out!

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