Most popular auctions with expiring domains are at godaddy, namejet, snapnames. Search for expired domains name its very easy if you have domains list. With a bit luck, you can drop good one with PR5 cheaper like $200, just need to know which domain have not fake pr. List of domains are not free, but updated dailly with aprox. 50.000 new expiring domain names.
A domain name that reaches expired status and is not renewed by the owner will be listed at an auction service (see FAQ for exception to this rule). The domain name does not immediately go into auction, but is immediately listed on the partnered auction service with an auction scheduled for the near future. Such a domain name will be exclusive to that specific auction service.
If you *really* want to be sure the auction partner is NameJet (because it’s a name you cannot afford to lose in the drop), you can email the technical support team at SRSPLUS and ask them if they follow the same expiration/auction procedures as Network Solutions. Be specific and ask, “Will the domain name, (fill in), expire and be available for auction on NameJet.com as the process is listed at https://www.domainsherpa.com/how-to-grab-an-expiring-domain-name/?”
Alternatively, you can monitor a domain name for free at a number of locations. DomainTools.com offers a free domain name monitor tool, as does DomainHole.com (both available with free member registration). Once you receive an email notification that a domain has changed status from active to expired, you can follow the process listed above to enter a bid at the auction partner site.
If you buy keyword specific domains, you're really buying the type in traffic.  I use the URL builder and redirect through that URL so you can see how much traffic your getting from the keyword domain.  There seems to be no rythme or reason to what keyword domains deliver traffic and what don't.  By tracking traffic with the Google URL builder you get a feel for what names are giving you traffic and which are not. ie. the plural, the singular, two words, three words, the possessive, etc.
2) prerelease auctions.  These are domains where the auction venue has contracted with the registrar, like Fabulous or Moniker, to auction off non-renewed domains.  Just before a domain enters the pending delete process, it goes to a private auction to any person who has backordered the name.  Some people feel that back links on these type of auctions still provide a SEO benifit. My testing indicates that there is zero SEO benifit when these domains are redirected into another site.  So if you get a domain with "pink squirels" in a lot of achor text to a domain and then point it at your domain, you don't rank for "pink squirels"

What about option #4 - Redirect your existing domain to the old domain? I bought an old domain that is 100% relevant to my current domain but currently has with very little content. It did have more content fours years ago. The old domain is 13 years old, pr=3, while my current is 7 months old pr=1 and a decent amount of content. The old domain I purchased was not expired though and I do not know if this makes a difference. What are the pros and cons of option #4? Am I correct to think that option #1 would result in no benefit from the old domain's age value and if so why is it not listed as a con, a MAJOR one. Its hard to believe that a 301 using option 1 would give my existing domain 13 years credit but I'll take it if it does.
I've seen some people comment about losing the link value of domains that have expired and picked up, but what about non-expired domains?  Let's say a competitor is going out of business and they still have a year or two left, and we buy their domain and site.  Is there a risk changing registrant info and registrars, even if I keep their site up and mostly the same as before?  I was under the impression that I'd want to keep it under their name so as not to hit the uber-reset button on the domain's inbound link value.
SEO is not as easy as it used to be. The market is very saturated now, content is now incredibly easy to generate and publish. Everyone and his dog (or gran!) can make a wordpress website. The main ranking factor for Google is still backlinks and will be for the foreseeable future. Your content might be better than your competitors but if they have more links they'll simply always outrank you and receive more traffic. Fair or not, its a fact. This method can see you get the strong backlink profile you need to rank #1. Please note a PBN is considered black hat so please diversify your backlink profile and do your research first.
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Once a domain expires, the registrar will allow around 30 days for the original owner to renew it. This period depends on the registrar and can range from 2 weeks to a whole year. Once this period is over, the domain enters the "Pending Delete" status, during which it cannot be renewed, purchased or modified in any way. Once the Pending delete status is over, the domain is dropped back into the available pool, and can now be purchased by anyone.
Your course of action really depends on how much work and effort you can put into the expired domain. If you're barely able to maintain and optimize your current site, you probably want to just 301 redirect the old site (note: see my amended comment above about the link value not likely to be passed). If, however, you're more creative and have some time on your hands, you can try your hand at crafting a microsite. If you really know your stuff and are experienced at making money off various websites, you'd probably do well with the third option. 

Great post! I tried to repurpose an expired domain to build an authority site (your method 1) – but it doesn’t rank as it should. i checked the backlink profile via majestic and archive.org and it’s clean. also checked the metrics of the competition. with the amount of trust and link juice my expired domain has vs. the competition, it should be on page 1 for those keywords. is there something i’m missing here?

Social Media Authority comprises of the number of times your domain is mentioned on the social network. In regular SEO we would call that a backlink, but when it comes to social networks, it’s more common to call it a “social signal”. Google won’t consider that link as a backlink, but it will note that the domain was mentioned – meaning, it will receive a “social signal”.
Hi, I purchased a .org domain in a Godaddy auction, actually the closeout auction so it had been renewable and then available as a closeout after 36 days. I purchased the closeout domain because I was thinking of using it as a catchy anagram. I instead offered it to the Trademarked company to purchase for a nice sum of money, and now they are threatening to file legal action against me for “Domain Squatting” saying that I purchased it in bad faith. etc… The way I see it, is it was available for them to renew for 26 days, and if it was not owned by them they had a window of 10 days to purchase the name before I did in the regular auction. What’s your thoughts on this?
When searching from keyword DHG will take your list of keywords and search each one, the pages will then be crawled to find unique domains to check availability of. The process is relatively simple but very time consuming when done manually or semi automated as was necessary in the past. Luckily now the job can be set and left to work while you do something else.
So, what to do? Simply, you must use someones other hard work and thinking. People have already contemplated all possible variations, synonyms, they know how domain names are valued, know about keywords, type-in traffic etc. Every day tens of thousands domains names are expiring. Every single day. That is hell of a lot expired domains to pick from. The reasons why people "let" domains expire are various. Could be somethins as banal as forgeting to renew, could be as serious as physical death. Many let domains expire because they don't need them any more. But that is not your bussiness to think about.
I am a rather gray-hat affiliate marketer by trade, but I"m looking more into going into local SEO and blogging ventures that I feel will be most sustainable. I am having serious moral issues with using any of my link building strategies, but the one I'm struggling morally and long-term strategy-wise is the use of a manufactured link-juice-flowing-thick private blog network. I believe the majority of these will ultimately fall by the wayside in the future when their social value and content are proven to lack substance by machine reading and advanced social metrics. 
If you buy keyword specific domains, you're really buying the type in traffic.  I use the URL builder and redirect through that URL so you can see how much traffic your getting from the keyword domain.  There seems to be no rythme or reason to what keyword domains deliver traffic and what don't.  By tracking traffic with the Google URL builder you get a feel for what names are giving you traffic and which are not. ie. the plural, the singular, two words, three words, the possessive, etc.
1) pending delete auctions.  These are domains that were not renewed and are going through a pretty complicated drop process.  You can backorder these names at the auction venues and then each attempts to "catch" the dropping domain.  If one is successful you win the domain at $59 if you're the only one to backorder the name.  If more than one person backordered the domain a 3 day private auction is held.  Once the domain goes through the drop process, the back links have pretty much zero SEO benifit to the new domain owner.
This is not the case at GoDaddy Auctions, however. There, GoDaddy starts the auction before the domain names has fully expired and the registrant does have the ability to pay a one-time restoration fee to restore ownership. This is particularly frustrating to those bidding in the auction, as you may be the winning bidder and pay your winning bid price only to find out a few days later that it was restored. You then have to wait for a refund from GoDaddy.
Here's a test I have in process.  I bought an old $5 closeout domain from Godaddy TDname expired auction.  I put a quick minisite up and linked to it with a crazy anchor text phrase.  The domain is ranking for that crazy term now.  It's gone through one pagerank update and I'm waiting for a second to come.  Then I'll redirect the domain to another minisite.  I suspect the second site won't rank for the anhor text, but we'll see.  
If you are pursuing option 1, then you will want to use an automated service for the reasons mentioned in the article. Follow the process in the article to see which registrar the domain name is located at. If it’s at a Auction House like GoDaddy, NameJet or SnapNames, I believe they publicly share if there is a backorder on a domain name but not who placed that backorder. (Any interest in a domain name may be enough for someone else to place a backorder, thereby driving interest in the domain name that may be visible to the registrant.) So if the domain is at a registrar partnered with one of these companies, then you’ll have to monitor it manually (via calendar entries based on the whois expiration data) to maintain your distance.

The following TLDs are now fully supported with a deleted list and a droplist (pending delete list). .hn, .ht, .rw, .cr, .gl, .gy, .gs, .om, .qa, .ir, .pe, .com.pe, .tc, .ky, .th, .co.th, .ke, .co.ke, .uz, .kz, .pm, .re, .tf, .wf, .yt, .sx, .gd, .gi, .kg, .mu, .im, .ug, .sb, .tl, .st, .sm, .so, .sn, .pf, .nyc, .cloud, link, .ms, .mk, .af, .bi, .pr, .com.pr, .nf, .nc, .dm, .bo, .ki, .iq, .bj, .am, .as, .ax, .fo, .mg
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