How to Purchase Surplus Property

Surplus property is property the government does not need. Personal property includes assets ranging from office equipment and furniture to scientific equipment, heavy machinery, airplanes, vessels, and vehicles. If this property cannot be donated to a state or public agency, or nonprofit organization, the general public can buy it.

You can purchase surplus government property through GSA AuctionsSM. The site offers the general public the chance to bid electronically on federal assets. All registered participants can bid on a single item or multiple items (lots) within specified time frames.

When no federal agencies need real property, it is determined to be surplus and may be made available for other uses through public benefit conveyances, including homeless use, negotiated sales, or public sales, based on GSA's determination of the property’s highest and best use.

You can review surplus personal property offline by using the "Other Sales" tab at the top of the page. Or you can visit the Personal Property Sales by Geographical Location, which offers scheduled sales by geographic location and sales method. For sales methods, non-Internet includes live auction, fixed price, drop-by, negotiated sealed bid, and spot bid.

Terms and Conditions of Sale

GSA sells used personal property according to the U.S. Government's Standard Form 114C April 2001, "General Sale Terms and Conditions." You may ask to review a copy from any of the GSA regional Sales Offices. Please study the terms and conditions in the Invitation for Bid and in any notices provided at auctions and other sales. Be sure you understand any special terms.

Payment Methods

You can pay using the following ways:

  • U.S. currency (no greater than $10,000).
  • Bank cashier's check.
  • Credit union (cashier's check issued by a federal or state chartered credit union).
  • U.S. Postal Service or commercial money order.
  • Traveler's checks.
  • U.S. federal, state, or local government checks.
  • MasterCard, VISA, Discover (Novus), and American Express processed manually or online through the Department of Treasury's electronic payment service via GSA AuctionsSM. (Credit card purchases are restricted to a maximum of $49,999.99, and one card per transaction.)

If paying in U.S. currency, you must contact the regional Sales office responsible for a specific item to arrange payment. Some of our regional offices are not equipped to accept cash and other walk-in payments.

Certified checks, bank drafts, and debit cards with dollar limitations and/or PIN Number requirements, are not acceptable. All checks and money orders must be made payable to GSA. A personal or company check will be accepted only when accompanied by a bank letter guaranteeing payment. This letter must be on a bank letterhead and must state that:

  • Payment is guaranteed;
  • It is valid for 30-days after the bid opening date; and
  • That the purchase is for U.S. government personal property only.

The letter must also include the:

  • Date,
  • Bidder's name,
  • Amount of the guarantee,
  • Date of sale, and
  • Signature of a bank official authorized to guarantee payment.

The government does not provide any form of financing.

Purchasers must remove their purchases within the time prescribed for each sale, but they cannot remove merchandise before paying. You are responsible for removing your purchase after you pay.

If you fail to pay for and remove your merchandise by the deadline, the government can collect damages.

If the award amount is less than $325, the fee will equal to the award amount. If the award amount is between $325 and $100,000, the fee assessed will be $325. If the award amount is greater than $100,000, the fee will be equal to five percent (5%) of the award amount.

Last Reviewed: 2021-01-20