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Search GovSpot or Google |   Great Must-See sites   |   Read Articles and Lists | Find answers | Did you know?  
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Government Auctions

Who sells luxury cars for thousands less than any dealer? Who offers boats, planes, houses and jewelry for unbelievable prices?

The government, that's who.

Each year, millions of dollars in possessions are seized, repossessed or ordered in surplus by the U.S. government. Fortunately, the law requires the government to offer these items to the public. Auction shoppers can find everything from household tools to luxury items previously owned by drug dealers.

While some auctions are making their way onto the Internet, it is still necessary to attend most events in person. The Web offers many ways to research auctions and their intricacies.

FirstGov Auctions is the official government portal for asset sales. Subscribe to a free mailing list to receive auction updates and news. The site lists financial assets, real property and personal property that is for sale by the federal government. You'll also find links to state agencies for seized-property and surplus items.

Some surplus government items are for sale at GSA Auctions. The auctions are conducted entirely online. Assets for sale include personal property, scientific equipment and heavy machinery.




The Office of Real Property Utilization and Disposal is a directory of surplus real property owned by the federal government. While some of the property is sold to state and local governments, individuals can purchase some property through auctions.

New notices of proposed government procurement actions, contract awards and sales of government property are available from Commerce Business Daily.

The Government Auction Page explains how auctions work and provides advice on many aspects of the process. Be sure to check out The Ten Most Asked Questions About Auctions. The site also produces the Government Auction News Digest, available by subscription only. With articles, classified ads and auction listings, this is one of the most comprehensive conduits of government auction information.

Agency Auctions and Sales

  • Department of Treasury
    Check the schedule of upcoming seized-property auctions and request to be notified of future auctions in your area.

  • IRS
    The Internal Revenue Service sells property seized for nonpayment of income taxes. Browse the list of items for sale, which include vehicles and real estate.

  • Department of Defense
    The Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service
    sells overstocked and unneeded military resources to the general public through auctions, bids and negotiated sales. It is the first place to look for military surplus goods.

  • FDIC
    The FDIC owns assets, including homes, which it sells to the public. Browse the Real Estate Sales listings, which include bargain properties that are sold as is.

  • HUD
    Make your dream of owning a home come true with HUD Homes. These houses are sold at reduced prices through authorized real estate brokers.

  • United States Postal Service
    USPS holds Postal Auctions of Damaged and Unclaimed Items. For more information, call or write to the mail recovery centers in San Francisco and Atlanta.

  • Small Business Administration
    In the process of granting loans, the SBA acquires real estate, machinery, furniture and other items. Search the Property for Sale database or contact your local SBA office to make a purchase.

  • Bureau of Land Management
    The federal government occasionally sells public land that it deems suitable for private ownership. The majority of undeveloped land for sale is available in the western states. Contact your state BLM office to find out what is available.



   --- A. and J. Britten

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