How to buy repossessed cars before auction

Written by kimberly johnson
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How to buy repossessed cars before auction
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Repossessed cars are sold directly by the banks who own them as well as at auctions. The best time to buy a repossessed car is before it goes to an auction, where the price can be driven up by bidders.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • A CarFax report
  • Cashier's check

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Locate a repossessed car before it goes to auction. Places to look include credit unions, banks, and newspapers. Credit unions and banks often keep the cars on their property so you can see them in person.

  2. 2

    Get a loan if necessary. If you are in the market for a car, you should know in advance how much you can afford. Obtain a loan pre-approval from a bank or credit union--if possible, from the bank or credit union that owns the car you are interested in because they have an extra incentive to sell the car.

  3. 3

    Test drive the car and check it out thoroughly or have a mechanic do it. If the person selling the car is unwilling to let you check it out, then take a pass on the car. If you buy without checking the car, you have no repercussions if it turns out to be a lemon.

  4. 4

    Obtain a vehicle history report from or These sites run the VIN number of the car and tell you if it has ever been damaged or flooded, and if it has a clean title.

  5. 5

    Talk to the person or company offering the car and negotiate a selling price acceptable to both parties.

  6. 6

    If you are paying cash, get a certified cashier's check from your bank. If you are paying with a loan, obtain a check from your loan servicer.

  7. 7

    Give the payment to the person selling the vehicle and take possession of your car.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure the car you buy has a clean title. Spending a few extra dollars doing this up front can save you hassle in the long run.

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