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Buying a Car at State Fleet Auctions
The roads are getting icier around Bismarck and Mandan, and many people are shopping for a reliable car or truck to get them through the winter. If you`re looking for a good used car and you have the money in hand, you can always check out a state fleet auction. But just like any other sale, you`ll likely face some competition.
With the weather turning sour this month, dozens of car shoppers were at the Department of Transportation in Bismarck to bid on more than 70 vehicles.
Bid caller Rod Burgad said: "The first-time buyer`s going to come out here and thinking he`s going to get a real bargain. And he`s going to get a real cheap car. And I haven`t seen it happen yet.
That`s because in recent years, the buyers themselves are facing more competition from used car dealers.
"They know exactly where the NADA price is, so if they want a vehicle and someone is bidding aggressively, they`ll bid up to that point and then say, `Let him have it,`" said Robley Kiesz, who bought an SUV at the auction.
That doesn`t mean you can`t still find a good deal at a state auction. Kiesz saved more than a thousand dollars off the market price on the SUV he bought.
"Any auction is a crap shoot," added Kiesz. "I don`t care if it`s an art auction, could be fraudulent."
One other thing shoppers should keep in mind if you are going to a state fleet auction, if you are the winning bidder, you will be writing two checks. One for the vehicle and one for the title.
"And they`ll tell you, if there`s something wrong with the car, it`ll be right on the sheet. They`ll tell you if there`s a transmission that`s bad," said Burgad.
And unlike buying a car off the sales lot, at a state auction, you pay the money up front. And you`re buying the car as is, so Kiesz says, take a close inspection of the car before you bid. But if you`re shopping for something reliable and you aren`t looking for anything fancy, you could save hundreds at an auction like this one, which means a lot more change in your pocket.