By law most Government Auctions and Sales must be advertised to the general public to give any interested parties the opportunity to participate. But many times the minimum posting requirements are woefully inadequate. There are probably dozens, if not hundreds of auctions within driving distance each month which most people have no idea are even taking place.
It could be well worth your time to learn the tricks to locating upcoming auctions and sales in your area. Government surplus, law enforcement seized property and bank foreclosed and repossessed property of all types can provide some of the best bargains you will ever see.
In addition to getting in the habit of looking within your local newspapers for Auction notices, check with the local courthouse as many times this is the first place an Auction may be posted. Just a little bit of effort on your part could result in a huge return. Don’t automatically discount the idea of a government Auction simply because they have been around a long time. There are still some amazing deals to be had.
Once you have located an auction which may have something you could be interested in, don’t forget to follow these basic tips to help you get the most value out of the experience as well as to avoid making some of the more common mistake “newbies” make.
- READ the rules and terms of the auction beforehand! Many people think there is one set of rules and procedusres which apply to all auctions. This isn’t true. Everyone can be different in very major big ways. What forms of payment are accepted by the high bidder, how soon does the merchandise have to be removed from the premises and if it can’t be removed immediately will there be extra storage fees. and a hundred other details which could cause more headache and stress than you bargained for. So take some time and READ the Terms & Conditions of EACH auction you plan to participate in.
- Determine beforehand what your absolute highest budget is and under no circumstances go over it. Auctions are designed to get bidders involved on an emotional basis. Combine this with the fact that many men are competitive by nature and you can understand how bidders can get carried away and keep bidding long after they have surpassed what they thought they would pay. Keep a cool head and always keep the numbers in mind and don’t go over. There will always be another to bid on another day.
- Could be included in tip #1 when reading the terms and conditions, but make sure you know all of the fees in addition to the actual winning bid. For example there may be sales tax or other taxes or even auction surcharges, such as for storage or if their help is needed to load or transport your merchandise.
- Make sure you have an inventory list of items well ahead of auction day so that you can do your appropriate due diligence and research the accurate value of any merchandise you are considering. This may be in the form of a catalogue or may be posted online so you can print out. For repossessed car auctions you may be interested in use online sites such as National Auto Dealer’s Association (NADA ), Edmunds, or Kelleys Blue Book, among others, to get an idea of true market value.
- Some auctions provide a chance for participants to inspect the merchandise on-site before the actual date of the sale. If this is possible, I HIGHLY recommend doing it. If you can’t, then arrive very early to the Sale to give plenty of time to look at everything closely that you are considering bidding on. Most Sales do not offer a chance to return anything if it turns out to be defective. Obviously confirm this important policy in the Terms & Conditions, but the general rule is “buyer beware”. So take heed and always allow more time than you think you need so you can inspect everything as best you can.
- Plan on how you will transport any items you successfully have the winning bid on. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t even consider how they are going to get there truck or boat or whatever home after they buy it. And in the case of repossessed cars, what about insurance? Have you covered that? I personally won’t so much as drive around the block without insurance. Let alone in many states it is illegal to do so.
- And lastly, but can be a huge help, go to several auctions simply to observe. Watch how people bid and watch how the good auctioneers are expert at creating excitement and how they drive the price up without the participants even realizing. By observing without feeling any nervousness or pressure from actually participating and bidding, you will learn a lot which will help you immensely when you actually do go to buy. You will feel much more confident and will be more likely to avoid making mistakes first-time auction participants make.
I hope can you use these tips to your advantage and I hope you take advantage of the increasing opportunities that are out there in Government and law enforcement Auctions and Sales.