1. What is an auction?
auction is a method of marketing where the items sell to the highest
bidders. Anyone in the crowd who is willing to pay the most will walk away
with the merchandise. Auctioneers market their sales to draw the most
buyers so that items will sell for top dollar.
2. Why do people sell at auctions?
choose the auction method of marketing because, through competition among
bidders, the items sell at or above current market value. There would be
no reason for people to sell at auction if their property always sold for
anyone get bargains at auctions?
but remember: a bargain is in the eye of the beholder. If you see an item
you want and are able to buy it for the price you were willing to pay for
it, then it's a bargain for you. But a bargain for one may not be a
bargain for another. For example, you may not see any value in a doll that
is for sale at an auction. However, if the person standing next to you is
a doll collector and is thrilled to make the winning bid of $3,000, he got
4. I've never been to an auction. How do I find out where and when
in your local newspaper for auction listings. Check our
schedule here for all our local auctions! We send out and post flyers
and newsletters announcing upcoming auctions. The National Auctioneers
Association also offers an Online
Calendar of Auctions which lists auctions by region.
5. How can I find out about buying a specific type of merchandise
real estate to restaurant equipment, from antiques to agriculture,
auctioneers maintain mailing lists for many various specialties. Contact
auction companies and ask to be put on the mailing list for the specialty
you're interested in.
6. What can I do if I'm confused or intimidated about buying at
these guidelines to become a confident auction consumer:
Attend a free educational seminar on auctions. Many auctioneers conduct seminars which
instruct auction newcomers on various auction terms, how to buy at
auction, and what to expect at auctions.
Attend auctions and watch how different auctioneers run their sales.
Do your homework. For example, if you are interested in buying a specific type of
merchandise, such as office equipment, research how much desks and chairs
are sold for in retail and wholesale outlets. Go to the library and refer
to price and value guides for different brands and types of office
furniture. Ask the auctioneer for information about the merchandise she is
selling that you're interested in. Then set a price you are willing to
Most auctioneers schedule a preview prior to the auction.
Attend the preview and carefully inspect the merchandise that you are
interested in, adjusting the price you have set, if necessary, according
to your inspection.
Arrive at the auction early and get a seat near the front where you can see the
merchandise as it is sold, and where the auctioneer can see you when you
Introduce yourself to the auctioneer, ask her how she runs her auctions, when
the item you want will be up for sale, and about her terms (such as
whether you need to arrange for transporting the items you bought that
day, whether a buyer's premium and/or tax applies, if checks are accepted,
Tell the auctioneer which item you are interested in buying,
and ask him to help you buy it.
When the item you want comes up for sale, bid early
so the auctioneer will see you and you won't risk being overlooked.
Don't be intimidated by other bidders (sometimes others will try scare tactics, such
as glaring at you, to get you to stop bidding on the items they want).
Stick to the price you set, and don't bid more than you intended to.
Keep track of each item you buy, including a brief description, the lot number,
and the price you paid. Remember to calculate the buyer's premium and
taxes, if applicable, so you won't be surprised at the cashier's table.
What types of claims about auctions should make me raise a red flag?
advertisements, catalogs and seminars promise easy "get rich
quick" schemes through buying at auctions. They may ask you to buy
catalogs, auction listings, or videotapes to learn where auctions are, how
to buy at auctions, and to be put on auction companies' mailing lists.
Remember, you don't have to spend money to become a savvy auction
consumer. The information these sources want to charge you for can be
found for little or no cost in your local newspaper, at the library, or
from professional auctioneers.
beware of claims that houses, cars, and other property are available at
auctions for "pennies on the dollar." Find out the rest of the
story. What condition are the items in? Would they really be a bargain?
Are there back taxes, repair bills, etc. to be paid?
the facts about auctions will help you be a smart auction consumer who
avoids spending time and money on empty promises about "get rich
are not a way to "get rich quick." But look at what auctions
are: Auctions offer a variety of interesting, unique and valuable
merchandise. Auctions allow consumers to set the price. Auctions ensure
that the price you pay is the fair market value. And auctions enable you
to find and buy your bargains.
8. If I can't get rock-bottom bargain prices,
why should I buy at auctions?
an auction, consumers are assured of buying at the fair market value,
because not only do they have a say in setting the price, they can get the
items they want for just one bid over the next interested party.
Additionally, auctions offer a wide selection of merchandise, including
many valuable or unique, one-of-a-kind items not available elsewhere.