By: Gov Auctions | 17 October 2012

How Do Different Government Auctions Work?

Auctions have become an increasingly popular way for governments to quickly sell property they no longer want or need, which in some cases provides a fantastic opportunity for average people to score some extremely good deals. The following is a brief look at government auctions and how they work.

What types are there?

There are a huge amount of government auctions, but they are for the most part always one of two types. They are generally either an auction of items that have been confiscated for whatever reason, or they involve auctioning of items that the various arms of the government no longer want or need.

How do you find out about the auctions?

These days, finding government auctions couldn’t be easier, as a simple Internet search will be able to tell you where all of your nearest options are. You may have to spend a little time researching if you are looking for something specific, but often it won’t require more than a couple of minutes online.

What kind of items are auctioned?

At government auctions you can find items including houses, cars, jewellery, furniture, boats, tables, chairs, glassware, sporting equipment, musical instruments, clothing and office equipment. Depending on the day, you could find almost anything.

Can anyone bid?

Anyone can bid on a government auction, but first you will need to register, and most auctions will have extremely quick and simple systems for doing so. If you are at all interested in bidding at the auction, register to be eligible to bid as soon as you arrive, just in case you get the urge.

Does it cost anything?

Most auctions offer free registration or at most will charge a minimal amount in exchange for the right to bid, but if you make a successful bid the auction house will generally charge a percentage fee on top of your purchase. Before you start bidding, find out what fees or charges may apply.

Are government auctions the way to go?

If you are after items that require maintenance, such as cars or other machinery, auctions of government property or fleet vehicles can be a good place to shop, as they will generally come well maintained and with thorough records.

However, if you are bidding on items that have been confiscated, there will often be no records of anything, making it just as much of a risk as at any other auction. Before you start bidding, find out where the items have come from, and regardless of the type of auction, always take a careful approach.

For those looking for a bargain, government auctions can offer some truly incredible deals, but that isn’t necessarily always the case. As with any significant purchase that you make, do your research and consider each of the important factors carefully. If you have never been to a government auction before, it is worthwhile going just for the experience -- you never know what you may find.