Auction Tips

Auction Tips

For auction beginners

Bidding at auctions can be exciting & fun. There is nothing better than feeling of victory when winning that special item that you have had your eye on. The following is a list of helpful hints & general tips for those who are new to attending traditional live household and estate auctions…

  • First try attending a couple of local auctions just to observe the going’s on. You do not have to bid on anything. Each auctioneer has their own way of handling an auction. Make sure that you are comfortable with the auctioneers style of doing business.
  • Find out what the “Terms & Conditions” are for the auction you are attending. Usually you will find the “Terms:” within the auction advertising display ad, on the individual auction sale bill, or posted near the registration area.
  • Know and understand the terms of the auction before bidding. The auctioneer will usually read off any additional terms for the particular auction prior to starting the auction. It is a good idea to be present and to hear the opening announcements at the start of the auction. Listen carefully. Things you should pay close attention to are: The manner of payment accepted, ex. (CASH, Type of Checks, Debit or Credit cards). Weather or not they will accept out of state checks? Weather or not a “Bidders fee”, “Buyers fee” or Buyers premium…is added to the high bid to establish the final selling price? Weather or not sales tax applies? When does the merchandise have to be removed by?
  • Many auctions have a preview time for buyers inspection of the articles being offered at auction. At an on-site out-door auction this preview time is shortly before the start of the sale usually one hour. Take advantage of the inspection. Due to the fact that most everything being sold has had some use many auctioneers will sell everything in as-is and where-is condition unless announced otherwise by the auctioneer. When you want to take a closer look at an item feel free to walk up and examine it more carefully. Ask questions if you are unsure about something. Some times the seller is available and can answer a question about the over all condition or the history of an item. Let us know if this is your First auction you will be bidding at. We will work with you until you get the swing of it.
  • During your inspection it is a good idea to list the articles that you are interested in bidding on and the dollar amount that you will being willing to pay for each item or lot. Many buyers use the back side of their bid cards to list the items with the price they hope to buy it for. Know what you can afford to spend for the day. Sometimes when you get the First item bought for far less then you were willing to pay, you may consider going a little higher on another item when it goes above your original price.
  • Where the proper clothing for the day’s weather conditions. Dress in layers on cold days. Wear boots on damp days. Rain gear on wet day’s. Be prepared to make a day of it. At out-door sales some people will bring along a lawn chair which is usually just fine.
  • Come prepared to haul your purchases the day of the auction. When you are planning to buy furniture be sure to bring the proper vehicle, some packing blankets to prevent damage, and possibly a friend to help you with loading and moving. Many on-site auctions require that the items be removed the same day. Some in-door auctions may be able to make arrangements to hold your items for a short time.
  • When planning on buying porcelain, fine glassware, or anything that could be broken and or damaged be prepared to protect your valuables with newspapers, disposable diapers, and some boxes.
  • Upon registration most auction services will require positive photo ID in order to register to receive a bid card number. You will need this numbered bid card in order to bid. A current picture drivers license will usually do for ID. Out of state buyers may be asked to show a current bank letter of guarantee addressed to the auctioneer for that individual auction.
  • A bid number card is used by the auctioneer to recognize your bidding and to record your number as the purchaser. You are responsible for this number and items purchased that day with it. Always have it ready to show the auctioneer when you become the successful high bidder. This keeps the auction moving right along.
  • Be sure that you signal with your bid card to the auctioneer or make it obvious to the ring help that you are biding on something. Do not be shy. Shout out if necessary. We do not want to miss your bid. Be sure to raise your card up high enough so that we see it. We can not see someone winking a bid at us when they are wearing sun glasses even when they are staring at us.
  • Listen carefully to the auctioneers description of how the items are being sold on each item / lot before he asks for the opening bid. The following Three terms are commonly used when selling at auction.
  • High bidders choice, choice out or your choice: When selling similar items some auctioneers will give you a choice out of several like items / lots. The highest successful bidder will have the First right to pick One, or more of the items / lots being offered and bid on at that selling price per item, multiplied by the number of items that are chosen.
  • “All to go”, or “Everything goes”, or “All for One money”: When selling matching sets or items sold as a grouping you may hear the auctioneer say, “All For One Money” or selling “All To Go”. (This means that you are buying the items together for one price).
  • “So much (each, a piece) and ( x ) many times your money”: This is often done with matching chairs. Ex. you are bidding on (4) chairs, So much a piece at $35.00 each and the quantity (4) x your money would look like 4 x $35.00 = $140.00
  • Do not bid an amount that you are not willing to pay. When you become the winning bidder, you will be expected to pay that amount. If you are unclear about something ask before bidding.
  • Dropping Out of Bidding: Should you wish to drop out of the bidding process, when the auctioneer looks to you for your next bid, simply shake your head “no”. This will help to speed up the process as the auctioneer will not need to wait on your decision.
  • Once the auctioneer has said sold you become responsible for that item and paying for it, and prior to leaving the premises for the day. It is a good practice to keep track of the whereabouts of your purchases. Some people bring a friend to help carry items to their vehicles.
  • Another good practice is to keep track of your purchases during an auction. Many people record their purchases and the selling price on the back of their bid cards.
  • At an auction all sales are final. Once the auctioneer recognizes you as the highest successful bidder and said sold, a legally binding contract has been established.
  • Before leaving the premises, all purchases must be settled for in full with the cashier. You will receive a receipt for each item. Like any other business, leaving the premises with out paying for your purchases or writing bad checks is frowned upon by auction services and violators are prosecuted to the fullest letter of the law.
  • For those who can not stay for the auction some auction services offer a courtesy absentee bidder service. These auction services usually recommend that the buyer First inspect the items they want to bid on, then leave a reasonable opening bid and also the top bid that they would be willing to pay with the auction staff. Each Auctioneer has their own individual policies regarding (proxy bidding) or absentee bids. Not all auctioneers extend this service.
  • Many auctions that last over Two an a half hours will have a lunch service on the premises when & where permitted. They offer sandwiches, soft drinks, coffee and snacks to auction goers so that they do not miss anything selling by leaving the auction sale site.

Auctions offer buyers a great opportunity to acquire great merchandise at the prices that they are willing to pay. Ultimately, it is the competition between the bidders present that day that will set the selling prices. The only way to be sure you do not miss the bargains is to actually be there and to be part of the action.

Happy Hunting…