There are things to look out for, but buying a repossessed car can provide you with an inexpensive opportunity to buy a good quality car. Virtually all makes and models of vehicle make their way through online and live auction houses, allowing buyers to bag a potential bargain.
Buy for resale, as your next vehicle, or to do up as a project. Buy cars and other vehicles at a fraction of their recommended cost, but you do need to make sure that you know what you are buying, that there is no credit or HPI left on the car, and you should follow general car auction guidelines to get the best deal and enjoy the best experience.
At TLH Auctions we feature dozens of timed auctions for seized cars every week. You can watch any of the timed car auctions, and by registering you can place a maximum bid for any of the vehicles you want to buy. You can also request a video appraisal of the vehicles before you commit to bidding.
Below, we’ve provided a guide on how to buy seized vehicles from our bailiff auctions, and have included some tips on getting the best deal and enjoying the best car auction experience.
What Are Seized Vehicle Auctions?
Seized vehicle auctions, sometimes referred to as bailiff auctions, are like any car auction, except that the vehicles have been sized by banks, bailiffs, and other groups and companies.
Anybody can bid on the cars, bikes, vans, and other vehicles for sale, and the highest confirmed bid at the end of the timed auction, walks away with a new car.
As well as seized car auctions, you will also find motorbikes, vans, campervans, caravans, and a host of other vehicles to choose from. Auctions may include any make and model of vehicle. There are repossessed luxury cars, as well as business vehicles and commercial vans.
Seized car auctions provide access to affordable vehicles including cars and bikes, vans and even motorhome, often at a fraction of the book price.
Where The Seized Vehicles Come From
Seized vehicles can come from many different sources. Police seized vehicles, which tend to be high performance and luxury cars, are often run by the police and the DVLA themselves, while some auction houses and companies may buy these seized vehicles to auction them off themselves.
When a lot of people buy cars, they rely on credit or HPI to make that purchase. If the buyer falls too far behind with payments, the lender has the right to repossess that vehicle, and they will look to resell the car as quickly as possible to recoup some of the money that they lose.
As such, repo car auctions feature vehicles that have been repossessed by banks, finance companies, and lenders.
Benefits Of Buying Seized Vehicles
The most obvious benefit of buying a repossessed vehicle is the fact that it will cost a fraction of the cost of buying the same make and model of car, in the same condition, from other sources. This means that you can buy a better quality or more prestigious vehicle than you would otherwise be able to afford.
Most finance agreements demand that a car be regularly serviced, and there may be stipulations that the car was serviced with a main dealer. These services cost money, and they are highly sought after when searching for second hand cars. Although you should take precautions when considering buying this type of car, many of them have been well maintained by people that have, unfortunately, fallen on hard times.
People use loans and HPI to buy family cars, business cars, and luxury cars. They also arrange finance for the purchase of commercial vehicles, as well as motorbikes, and even mobile caravans. This means that the range of vehicles available is extensive.
What To Look Out For
There are benefits to buying repossessed cars; not least the fact that they are available for a fraction of the cost of a similar make and model through a private sale. However, there are some points that you need to consider before jumping in and making that purchase.
· HPI Check – The biggest concern for most people is the question of outstanding finance. When buying from a seized car auction in the UK, you should first check whether there are any HPI markers. If a finance company, or other company, has a financial interest in that vehicle, they will place a marker against the car.
Effectively, if you purchase a car that has outstanding HPI, you could be held liable for that charge at a later date. A car that seemed like a bargain during the auction could end up being very costly indeed. Fortunately, it is easy to check for outstanding HPI by using a service like the RAC. If the check comes back clear, it means that you can buy the vehicle without worrying about receiving a bill at a later date.
If a vehicle does have outstanding finance, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to walk away. You will receive details of the finance company that has an interest in the vehicle. You can contact the company and confirm whether they still have an interest. If they don’t, you can ask them to remove their interest, which could leave the car finance free.
· Service History – A lot of people are put off using seized car auctions in the UK. The primary reason for this is the belief that if an owner could not afford to meet finance repayments, they couldn’t afford to pay for proper servicing and regular maintenance. However, a reputable repo car auction will list service history and MOT history.
Remember that finance companies usually demand that a car has a service at least every year. It only takes two or three months of missed payments before a finance company takes ownership of the vehicle. Check the listing details, have a look at the video appraisal, and consider the usual factors like mileage and car age to determine whether a vehicle is in good condition or not.
· Log Book – You may need to allow for some additional costs when buying a seized car from auction. For example, it is unlikely that the vehicle will have its log book. It is easy to apply for a new or replacement log book, but there is a £25 charge from the DVLA.
Also consider that you might need a 2nd key, and you won’t be able to have a full check of the car before you make your purchase. Use the listings and video appraisals that are available. If an auction offers a live viewing, consider taking the opportunity to go and have a closer inspection of the car.
So-called logbook loans, which are loans secured against the value of a car, require that the car owner hand over the V5 logbook. However, it is worth remember that owners of cars being repossessed may not be entirely forthcoming with information, and may not have handed the logbook back. As long as you have had an HPI check completed by a reputable company, you are protected.
Get an HPI check to help avoid the chance of being hit with outstanding costs from finance companies at a later date.
HPI Check offers a full check of any vehicle for £20. They say that 1 in 3 cars that they check has outstanding HPI. As well as checking for outstanding finance, they can also check whether it’s stolen, can provide details of its MOT history, and highlight whether the car has been an insurance write off in the past. If you complete a check with HPI Check, you also enjoy the benefit of a data guarantee of up to £30,000, giving you peace of mind that your new car really will be yours.
There are factors to consider when buying from seized car auctions in the UK, but at TLH Auctioneers we list as many details as possible about the vehicles on offer. You can request video appraisals of the vehicle too. While most of our auctions are timed online auctions, we do sometimes offer the opportunity to view vehicles before the auction ends. If viewing is available, this will be noted in our car auction listings.
Car auctions are popular with many different types of buyer. Private buyers can benefit from reduced prices on high quality vehicles. Trade buyers can pick up stock vehicles at a fraction of the price, and collectors and specialists can find vehicles that are otherwise difficult to come by.
How Do Car Auctions Work?
There are several types or styles of car auction that you can attend. When most people think of a car auction, they think of live auctions; rooms filled with hundreds of people all vying for the same stock. The image is one of phrenetic, non-stop action, and while some people enjoy the thrill of bidding at live car auctions, it puts a lot of people off.
Online auctions have become increasingly popular over recent years, thanks to the likes of eBay. Buyers can ask questions throughout the auction, although there is no guarantee that a private seller will answer. What’s more, there is no guarantee that a private seller is giving you all the information that they have or that you need.
What Are Timed Auctions?
At TLH Auctioneers we offer repossessed cars through timed auctions. We provide a listing, including images and a detailed description of the vehicle, and a deadline for the end of the auction.
Interested parties can bid at any time up the end of the auction, and the highest confirmed bidder wins the bid. Buyers can deal with a reputable company that has support staff and a proven track record with buyers.
If you are using timed auctions, there are several terms and features that you should understand before you consider buying anything:
· Video Appraisals – Very few timed online car auctions allow you to visit and physically see the car itself, but you want to get a good understanding of the quality and condition of the car. Some auctions may have an open viewing, when you can go and take a look at the car but, in most cases, you will only be able to go on the images and description provided as part of the listing.
Video appraisals offer a way around this. A vide appraisal of a vehicle may be readily available, or you may have to request one. Doing so means that you will effectively receive a full 360° tour of the vehicle. This may include a look under the bonnet, at the engine, and inside the car. Although the exterior condition is not necessarily the same as the interior, mechanical, or electrical working of the car, it gives a reasonable indication as to the overall quality and condition.
· Buyers’ Premium – When viewing auctions, you may notice mention of a buyers’ premium. This is normally expressed as a percentage, and it represents the amount that the buyer needs to pay following a successful bid. This is taken as a percentage of the final bid, and it needs to be paid on top of the price that is agreed when the hammer falls.
· Internet Surcharge – Another cost that you might incur is an Internet surcharge. Again usually represented as a percentage of the overall cost, this is a charge that is levied against winning bidders that bid over the Internet.
When you’re budgeting to buy a seized car at auction, ensure that you incorporate any of these additional costs, along with the cost of an HPI check and the surcharge required to get a new V5 log book. These costs are minimal, and by taking them into account when buying you can be sure that you are getting a car within your budget and at a reduced price compared to what you would normally pay.
Get a video appraisal, research the make and model of car you’re interested in buying, and ensure that it falls within budget when setting the maximum bid you’re willing to go to.
Car Auction Guide
When buying bank repossessed cars from bailiff auctions, you should be as prepared as possible. Set your budget before you start bidding and decide on the type of vehicle and any specifics that you consider essential. Watch some auctions take place so that you have a better idea of what happens, and get video appraisals as early as possible so that you can make an informed decision without rushing into anything. When the auction takes place, don’t get carried away; make sure you stick to your maximum price.
· Watch Some Auctions – Live auctions, online auctions, and timed auctions are all a little bit different, and different auction houses can have a different feel. When you’re considering buying from a seized vehicle auction, watch some of the events taking place and determine the process. Doing this can also help you determine whether bidders are more likely to enter their bids early, or try to snipe low priced deals by bidding towards the end of a timed auction. With TLH Auctioneers you do not have to deposit any money or pay any kind of deposit or fee to watch auctions. You can get to grips with the process without risking any of your money.
· Set Your Budget – You should have a very clear idea of how much you are looking to spend. Take all fees, including buyers’ premium and Internet surcharge. Remember to account for an HPI check, and incorporate any and all other costs into your budget. This will help ensure that you don’t overspend when the auction starts.
· Decide What You’re Looking For – There are many seized car auctions taking place all the time. This means that there are cars, bikes, vans, and other vehicles available for you to bid on. It also means that you can choose the style of vehicle you want, and with a little patience, you can wait for the exact model of car that you want. Alternatively, have a list of makes and models that you might be interested in, and consider whether factors like age, mileage, and trim levels are important. No matter how cheap a car is, it’s only a bargain if it’s the vehicle you’re looking for.
· Gather Information As Early As Possible – At TLH Auctioneers we aim to provide buyers with as much information as possible. Check out listings for the vehicles we have, pay for an access an HPI check, and request a video appraisal of any vehicle you are interested in bidding on. The sooner you can access the information that these checks provide, the better armed you will be to make an informed buying decision and get the car or van that you want.
· Don’t Bid Above The Price You Can Afford – Once the auction starts, you can choose when and how much to bid. With timed auctions, you have until the end of the auction to submit your maximum bid. As with any auction, you should avoid bidding above the price you can afford and want to pay. It is easy at live auctions to get caught up in the excitement and the challenge, and end up bidding too high. While this feeling isn’t as pronounced in timed online auctions, it is possible to bid too high, especially if you haven’t budgeted properly before the bidding begins.
At TLH Auctions we have seized car auctions and bailiff auctions every week. These timed auctions provide buyers with a means of buying high quality cars at a fraction of the price they would normally cost. We can provide video appraisals of lots, and for some of our car auctions we allow live viewings, although this is only available on those auctions that state it. Check our listings, read the descriptions and details, and enjoy bidding without having to place a deposit dow