Due to the various governmental units that supply the vehicles for auction, there's no single reason for vehicles being brought to auction. Some of the vehicles are confiscated due to the former owner's involvement in drug dealing, smuggling, or fraud, while other vehicles were simply just abandoned. On exception, separate auctions will sometimes be held for very large seizures.

Age and nationality requirements. A bidding individual must be at least 18 years old to participate in government car sales. Unlike private auctions, which sometimes require a license to bid, a government car auction is generally open to the public. No special license is needed. However, in order to transact business with the federal government, a social security number or tax identification number is needed. If purchasing the vehicle for a company, then a Power of Attorney certificate is required
Real property - Primarily, this consists of developed land with buildings, usually acquired by the federal government for a specific purpose, such as a military base or office building. This also includes some U.S. Forest Service properties, which usually consist of administrative sites and facilities. The General Services Administration (GSA) is the federal agency responsible for selling developed surplus property.  

The majority of the vehicles found at local auctions will need some work done to them in order to be deemed “road-worthy.” Knowing this before you ever set foot on the grounds is a major part of deciding if this is the right way for you to source an automobile. A low bid on a crappy car has the potential to leave you stranded on the side of the road, so if you aren’t a savvy DIY wrencher, you’d better have one hell of a trustworthy mechanic.
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