How to Purchase Surplus Property

Property the government does not need is considered surplus. Personal property includes assets ranging from commonplace office equipment and furniture to more select products like scientific equipment, heavy machinery, airplanes, vessels, and vehicles. If this property cannot be donated to a state or public agency, or nonprofit organization, it is sold to the general public.

You can purchase surplus government property through the GSA AuctionsSM website. The site offers the general public the opportunity to bid electronically on a wide array of federal assets. The auctions are completely web-enabled, allowing all registered participants to bid on a single item or multiple items (lots) within specified time frames. Visit GSA AuctionsSM for more information.

You can review non-Internet (offline) surplus personal property by using the "Other Sales" tab at the top of the page, or by visiting this Personal Property Sales by Geographical Location, which offers scheduled sales by geographic location and sales method. 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." Customers may ask to review a copy from any of the GSA regional Sales Offices. Please carefully 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

Payment is restricted to the following instruments:

  • 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 making payment in U.S. currency, the regional Sales office responsible for a specific item must be contacted to make arrangements. 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. The government does not provide any form of financing. 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.

Purchasers are required to remove their purchases within the time prescribed for each sale but merchandise cannot be removed before payment is made. Removal is the purchaser's responsibility.

If a purchaser fails to pay for and remove the merchandise by the prescribed deadline, the government can take action to 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: 2018-08-21