GSA Public Auctions Offer Late Model Cars with Great Used Car Values

by Don Elliott on January 24, 2012

Government owned cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans are sold at over forty auction locations across the United States. These are three to five year old vehicles leased by government agencies. Typically, they are comfortably equipped, well maintained, and reconditioned before auction sale.

GSA Fleet Vehicle Sales is a division of the Federal Government. They go out of their way to provide a consumer friendly auto auction environment for individuals to buy vehicles below retail prices. Different from other car auctions, the GSA and their auto auction partners do not charge buyers fees or costs other than the auction block price. Buyers will also have to pay state sales tax, licensing, and title fees.

Is this some kind of government scam aimed at a few well-informed people? Absolutely not! Anyone with the ability to pay, who is over 18 years of age, and has a social security number or tax ID number can participate. Car dealers know about these auto auctions and will also attend, assuring that the bid amounts will settle in somewhere around wholesale prices.

There are a variety of online government auction websites that are a great resource for auction schedules, run lists, and answers to questions about how to participate in a GSA auction sale. Typically, bidders can attend a live auction and bid against other individuals and car dealers side by side. At some auto auctions, bidding can be done online. The rules are the same for online or live auction bidding:

  • Pre-register with the car auction before auction sale day.
  • Establish your budget and method of payment before going to the auto auction. Pre-authorize with your credit card provider if that will be your method of payment.
  • Attend the time period allotted for inspection of the vehicles.
  • Make a list of vehicles for your watch list. Use kbb.com, Edmunds.com, NADA.com other pricing guide to calculate your maximum bid.
  • Stop if the bidding goes past your maximum bid or budget amount. There will be more cars.
  • If you are the successful bidder, sign your bill of sale and prepare to pay the auction. It is required that you pay the car auction on the day of the sale.
  • The GSA will provide a Government Certificate to Obtain Title. Take the bill of sale and the Government Certificate to your state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles to pay sales taxes (if not collected by the auction) and complete the vehicle registration.

At recent GSA auctions, the bidding has been aggressive. Good quality, late model cars are in high demand. But even on the busiest GSA auction sale days, savvy bidders can find some great used car values.

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