So you’ve decided you want to attend a live auction at your local police station in hopes of snatching up a great deal on a car but you have no idea what to expect. Police auctions will contain a regular influx of vehicles that have been impounded due to road or licence violations by the drivers. Many vehicles will still be in running condition since they were probably driving before being taken off the road. Here are a couple of tips to ensure you have a successful auction experience:
(1) Inspect the Vehicle Before Bidding
Police auctions will often let bidders into their lot a few hours before the auction starts. This will give you a chance to have a look around and inspect any potential vehicles. Be sure to read the rules since they may vary from city to city – some will let you inspect the car thoroughly and even start the engine, whereas some might only let you look at it from the outside. If you have your mind set on a particular car that you’ve found, don’t forget to do a quick google search on common problems or issues with that model year. This will help you avoid any nasty surprises on expensive repairs.
(2) Plan for Repairs
Never assume that your car will be in tip top shape before you bid on it. It is much better to be ready for a repair and be pleasantly surprised than it is to be surprised with a nasty repair. Keep in mind that the reason the car is there in the first place is because the original owner wasn’t able to afford the impound fee to get it out. This means that owners of these cars likely didn’t have a lot of money to spare and keeping the vehicles in tip-top shape was probably not a very high priority for them. At minimum, expect to pay for oil changes and brakes to get the car safely on the road again.
(3) Factor in Registration Costs
Depending on what state you’re located in, you might have to pay a premium for registration and title transfer costs. Sometimes this can be a few hundred dollars so be sure to keep this in mind when making your purchasing decision.
(4) Know Your Limit, Don’t Get Emotional
Before the bidding starts, ALWAYS know your price limit for a particular vehicle and stick to it. This will ensure that you don’t get emotional about any particular car and it will prevent any post-purchase remorse later on. Your limit price should be based on the following: What is the market price for such a vehicle minus any expected repairs and common problems? Do a quick search on your phone before bidding starts to get an idea of what the vehicle is worth. There is no point in paying more for an auction vehicle when you can get the same car in guaranteed working condition from a used car dealer instead.
(5) It’s Okay To Walk Away
Sometimes the bidding will go over your price limit and you won’t win anything. Don’t feel pressured to bid on a car just for the sake of bidding. Be patient and realize that it’s okay to leave the auction without winning anything. Deal hunting requires time and commitment and you won’t be able to find a great deal every time. Be prepared to come back for a second round of auctions. Not only will they have fresh cars every time, but you also gain experience and learn something new at every auction.
With these tips you can ensure that you don’t fall into any of the common traps at live police auctions!