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Know This About Bank Repossessed Vehicles Before Buying One

Are you thinking about buying a bank repossessed vehicle from a dealer or considering buying a few as a business? Here’s some useful information from a car dealer in the business that can be enlightening if you are considering either of the above.


Repossessed Cars

Buying a repo vehicle is a risky endeavor--both for a car dealer looking to make a profit and for the used car buyer looking for a good deal. If you’ve ever heard of some of the horror stories of neglect, spite or outright maliciousness by a repossessed home’s previous owner, you can imagine the same thing can and does happen on occasion when it comes to repossessed cars.

With that in mind, here's an interesting video recently posted by a car dealer who talks about the business of fixing up and selling repossessed vehicles that offers a useful view of what goes on with repossessed cars that eventually make it back onto the sales lot.

Related article: Consumer Reports Warns Used Car Buyers About Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Car Scams

How Bad are Bank Repo Vehicles? Buying and Selling Cars for Profit

Why This Topic and Video

The usefulness of this video for someone considering going into the used car business with a focus on bank repossessed cars is that it shows it is tough, demanding work. As the host demonstrated you must have a system in place that is affordable to get a repossessed vehicle into cosmetic selling shape to make a profit.

The usefulness of this video for the used car shopper is that it is a good reminder that cosmetic work done before being resold can give a misleading impression of just how good of a deal a repossessed car might be. In other words, you can tell a lot about a car and how well (or not) it was kept by its appearance when presented as-is in real life.

Related article: Mechanic Talks Candidly About the Best Used Car You Should Not Buy

Now this is not meant to be a slam on any dealership selling repossessed vehicles---we all have to make a living--- however, when a car is cosmetically transformed to put its best face forward, it can be misleading if the potential buyer is unaware of its ownership history and what has been done to it.

In fact, the host of the video admits that repossessed cars are often neglected by their previous owners.

I bought this thing from a bank, it’s a bank repo, which sucks because people stop taking care of their cars. The first thing they stop doing is taking care of their payments, and then they stop maintaining their vehicle, and then the bank repossesses it.

From the video we can see that the GMC Denali was in bad shape cosmetically, that the wheels had presumably been switched for cheaper (and the wrong) tires before repossession, poor mods were done, and there was no evidence that the previous owner had shown any love for his vehicle.

Which begs the question: Would you have paid the price the host got for the resale if you knew what it looked like before the cosmetic fixes?

But more importantly, the point here is that regardless of how good or bad any used vehicle looks…you must have it checked out by a qualified mechanic before buying it to find out if the engine and transmission are sound and will not turn into a money pit down the road.

Related article: The Most Important Used Car Test You Should Do Before Deciding to Buy a Used Car

And finally…

For additional articles about used car shopping, here are a few that are germane to the article’s message:

Toyota Dealership Shows What Really Happens When Previously Owned Cars Are Inspected and Certified

Consumer Reports Warns Used Car Buyers About Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Car Scams

Consumer Reports Reveals How to Find Hidden Problems in a Used Car Before Buying It

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Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Pexels


jg (not verified)    October 18, 2022 - 12:33PM

This should be grouped with buying from rental agencies as well. Sometimes as trashed as the rental cars are, they are better than the damage (hidden and obvious) that repo drivers do when stealing vehicles back. There were some really good articles about the more advanced repo agencies using license plate readers and accumulating tons and tons of data on driver/personal behavior in entire cities, not just the cars they were looking for. This is Google-level data that can be mined for so much marketing-based and nefarious intentions (just like Google does).