How to Get Bargains at a Car Impound Lot

If you can get to a car impound lot, chances are you can get a great deal as long as you know where to go, what to buy, and how to buy.

Where to start?

The first thing you’ll need to do is find out where and when your local police agencies hold their auctions, which may, but not always, be held at your car impound lot. Most of the time, the cars go to a general auction where a section of the units are sold as seized cars.

These auctions are advertised in newspapers and online if you do a specific search. You can also find auction companies in their yellow pages and ask them when the next sale is taking place. One tip is to call your local police department, but be careful, although it sounds like a good idea, it often takes a long time to get the information you want!

Know your limitations.

Once you’ve located your nearest scheduled auction, the next tip is to decide if you’re experienced enough to judge what’s a good buy or not. If you feel unsure, try to get someone who knows a little about cars to go with you.

Another tip is to bring a Kelly Blue Book, at least to give you an idea of ​​the retail price and what the “limit” of your bid for one unit should be; after all, how will you know if you have a deal if you don’t know the ‘value’?

What you should know in advance!

Not all auctions have the same rules: some have a reserve price and some don’t. If the auction has a ‘no reserve’ rule, chances are you can start very low, even $100!

If you’re excited enough, bring a laptop and sign up for CarFax. Get the VIN (vehicle identification number) of the car which will give you information about the car’s history, accidents, etc. Remember that the vehicle is in a car impound lot for a reason, so it can be helpful from a bidding standpoint to find out why.

What to do at the Auction.

There are some real ‘pros’ at auction who can smell a deal. You are mainly competing against these guys. If you’re lucky enough that the car you’re interested in is late for auction, ‘watch and learn’ try to find out who the pros are. It’s better to bid against a professional than a private/personal bidder as you won’t go over your budget, neither should you!

If you are lucky enough to win the offer you should also have factored in the ‘buyers premium’ which will range from 5% to 15% but is usually 10% so if you win an offer of $ 1,000, your actual cost is $1,100. You should also be aware that if you get a vehicle that is auctioned off of a car impound lot, you will not get a warranty; another reason why it’s vital to have someone with you if you don’t know much about cars!