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The Truth about Repo Auction Sales and Savings

Aug 17, 2007
Buying a used car can be a heart wrenching and overly pricey ordeal. With the cost of new cars constantly on the rise, it's very likely to pay as much for a vehicle today as you did your first home a few decades ago. But, there are ways to avoid paying too much to simply get around. Repossessions purchased at auction can be one of those ways.

Repossessions are cars that have been financed by banks or other lenders that have been taken back. The reasons cars, trucks and vans are repossessed cover the gamut. It could be the person who financed hit a patch of bad luck and just couldn't afford to make the payments, despite a love for the vehicle. Or, the financed person maybe just decided not to pay or passed away before it could be paid off. Whatever the case, when a bank takes back a vehicle, it very often turns to repossession auctions to unload it.

This is good news for consumers for a number of reasons. The bank is looking to make back the money it will lose on the deal and perhaps some of the repossession costs, but not much more. So, for example, if a car is partially paid off, you might end up with a very sweet price tag for a car that would otherwise cost a lot more. For the bank, it's all about covering the loss, not necessarily making top dollar. This means you can really walk away with a great deal.

As you look for good repossessions at auction or for direct purchase from a bank, there are a few things to keep in mind:

* If possible, try to inspect the cars up for auction in person before bidding. You might not be able to do more than look under the hood and maybe even fire it up, but that's better than buying sight unseen.

* If you must buy sight unseen, consider sending a proxy to check out the vehicles on the auction block. If this is at all possible, it could help you from making a bad buy.

* Research the value of the types of cars you're interested in beforehand. This way, you'll know when you're getting a deal and won't engage in bidding wars that could take place.

* Ask to see or obtain copies of maintenance records if they are available. This won't always be possible, but if they can be perused, you can see how well the car was cared for prior to repossession. The visuals will help with this, but few things can replace solid records to prove proper upkeep.

* Be certain you understand the makes and models you're looking at. If it's a live auction you're attending, consider bringing a pricing guide along with you.

It might seem a little odd looking to benefit off others' misfortune, but the fact is repossessions can be very good purchases. If you do a little homework in advance of bidding or even seeking out cars, you are likely to find that repos at auction cost a whole lot less than buying from a used car lot directly.
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