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How to Buy Government Surplus

Business Start Up Guides

A Small Business Guide to Government Auctions and Sales

Purchasing surplus goods from the government is an easy and affordable way to equip your new and expanding business. From computers to cars to gently used medical equipment, just about anything you can think of that your business might need is sold by the government at or below cost or fair market value.

Here's how it works. When a federal or state agency has extra equipment, seized goods, or forecloses on a piece of property, it is either transferred to another government agency or sold to the public. These goods are sold "as is" by auction or negotiated sale, either online, in-person or both. Online auctions work much the same way as other auction sites, such as E-Bay. You visit an agency's auction site, register your name, and place your bid.

Unlike most state governments, there is no single online auction web site in the federal government.. Federal agencies responsible for disposing of excess government property such the General Services Administration or Department of Defense have their own auction sites. Federal law enforcement agencies also run auction sites for seized property.

The following web sites offer government surplus goods and real estate for sale.

Auction Sites

  • aims to be a single catalog to all surplus items and real estate for sale by the federal government. From cars to commercial real estate to furniture, computers, and office equipment, find what you need for your small business in one place.
  • Military Surplus
    The U.S. Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service is responsible for the disposal of excess/surplus property received from the U.S. military services. You won't find an F-16, land, building or real estate for sale here, but you will find a whole lot of other items including furniture, appliances, camping gear, jeeps, computers, office supplies, and radios.
  • U.S. Marshals Service - Seized Asset Information
    The U.S. Marshals Service sells property to the public that has been seized by federal law enforcement agencies. The property for sale can be residential and commercial real estate, business establishments, and a variety of personal property such as motor vehicles, boats, aircraft, jewelry, art, antiques, and collectibles.
  • U.S. Treasury - Seized Vehicles Sales
    U.S. Treasury seized vehicles are usually offered for sale at the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale-Florida, Edison-New Jersey, Los Angeles-California, El Paso-Texas, Nogales-Arizona, and Chula Vista-California auction sales centers. Vehicle auctions take place in other states depending on availability.
  • U.S. Treasury - IRS
    Defaulted on your taxes? Well, the U.S. government might seize your property. Benefit from someone else's misfortune, and find hidden treasures at the IRS auction.
  • Bid4Assets
    Bid4Assets is an online auction marketplace used by federal, state, and local governments to sell a wide variety of forfeited, surplus, tax-defaulted and foreclosed property online. Agencies selling goods include the U.S. Marshall Service, U.S. Dept of Treasury, U.S. Dept of Energy, the State of New Jersey and more than 40 counties nationwide.

Guides to Government Auctions

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How to Buy Government Surplus