Thursday, 4 November 2010

Top 10 Tips for Bidding at the Car Auction

Ok, so by now, you should have a shortlist of cars, with notes on what they may need doing to them and a maximum price. The auction will be well underway, and everything has started to hustle. Here's 10 quick tips to keep you safe!

1. Stay calm, you'll notice that when the auction starts, there will suddenly be people everywhere, rushing, pushing and shoving and waving their arms around. There will be an instant increase in noise, both from car engines and the auctioneers. This is where the excitement begins, and a cool head is needed to stay focused on your objective.

2.Try to follow each of your chosen cars into the hall, noting as much about them as you can. Listen to them and look in as much detail as possible. Don't get caught out watching the action and miss the driver starting your target vehicle.

3. When you get into the hall, try to listen to the auctioneer. He may seem to be speaking a different language, but if you can decipher it you may learn things about the car that are not on the windscreen ticket. Pay particular attention if you hear him say " catalogue change " or something similar. Remember, at car auctions, the Sale of Goods Act does not apply, and if you haven't heard the auctioneer declare that the car has actually been written off, that's you hard luck!

4.Despite what other advice articles may tell you, don't worry too much about trying to look like you know what you're doing. The auctioneers know virtually every trader, and they know each other. Anybody who cares will spot you for a private, no matter where you stand, or how cool you look!

5. Stick to your budget! If you get involved in the bidding, it is unlikely you'll be able to tell who you're up against. It may be another private buyer, several traders, or even the bin in the corner! Yes, it's true, at car auctions, auctioneers will " run up " the bidding, traders may run you up for fun, or be competing against you because they have a real need for that particular car. Whatever the case, if you don't get carried away, and you do win the bidding, you'll come away with the car at a price you are happy with.

6. Don't jump in too early - hold back and observe. It's useful to see how much interest there is in the car, but don't let this impair your judgement. If you've done your homework right, you can make your own decision on the car. Wait till the bidding slows right down before you register your interest. Don't leave it too long, but as a rule, if the auctioneer says "selling once", or "selling for the first", there will still be time for a few last bids. Don't forget, it's the auctioneer's job to maximise each lot, so he's looking for further bids.

7. When the time's right, raise your hand, catalogue, or whatever and wait for the auctioneer to spot you. At this point, it will be useful to be somewhere he can easily see you. Once he acknowledges your bid, he will return to you if someone else outbids you. This is the point where your blood will really be pumping, so refer to tip 1. Stay calm! Stick to your budget! The feeling of excitement and competition in aar auction environment can be overwhelming. It may only be just one more £25 bid, but these soon add up. Ask yourself if you would have paid the extra before the auction started. You wouldn't, otherwise that would be your maximum bid!

8. Be patient. Some of my best auction buys have been right at the end of the sale, when I haven't bought anything else all day. Stick to your plan, and stick to your budget. Be prepared to wait for the next car and start the process all over again. You may even need to come back at the next sale. As well as being a euphoric buzz if you buy a gem, it can be massively demoralising if you don't buy anything. Don't allow this to make you buy something for the sake of it, and certainly don't go for something you haven't checked out. If it's cheap beyond reason, there probably IS a reason!

9. If you have reservations, LEAVE IT ALONE. If one of your target cars sounds a bit rough, or the driver suggests it doesn't feel right ( It's a good idea to talk to them, by the way ), take it off your list, unless you KNOW how to fix it. Then, adjust your maximum bid accordingly and proceed with caution. Problem cars at a car auction can have MASSIVE problems!

10. Stay calm! Ok, I've already used this one, but in my view it's the most important. If you do this, then you can keep sight of everything else, stick to your budget, and avoid making mistakes. If you are the winning bidder, the auctioneer will either bang the hammer, in which case you've bought it, or "hold your bid". This is what's known as a provisional bid. In this case, your bid is below the seller's reserve, so the auction will contact the vendor to see if they will accept your bid, or negotiate on your behalf. In either case, you will need to give your details to the clerk at the rostrum and hand over your cash deposit ( usually £500 ).

If you've bought the car, you will then be directed to the front office, where they will take your balance, complete all the registration details etc, and finally issue you with a "pass-out", which you present at the key office to get your keys, and give to the gatekeeper to let you out.

If you bid has been provisional, you will have to wait for the vendor's answer. When the provisional clerk comes back to you, they will either inform you that your bid has been accepted, or tell you how much more the vendor wants. At this point, again, stay calm and think about it. Is the figure within your budget for the car? ( don't forget those buyer's fees! ).The car didn't make the reserve because nobody outbid you, so what does this tell you about it's value. If the difference is significant, you need to make a decision about whether you feel it is worth paying the asking price, or see if it goes back through next time. Don't be afraid, of course to go back with a counter - offer. You can tell the provisional clerk how much is the maximum you are prepared to pay and see what happens.

On a final note, I would say " Have fun ", but a car auction is a risky place to spend money, so don't lose sight of the fact that you are there to do business. Regardless of the outcome, you will no doubt have an experience to remember.

Good Luck!

1 comment:

  1. Nice post! Thanks for sharing this helpful steps. Some of the car donation charity bring the donated cars to the auction to raise money for the less fortunate people.


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