Visiting a car auction can be an exhilarating experience, particularly if you’ve never visited one before, or are only familiar with online car auctions. It can also be an expensive experience, as well. Auctioneers like to create a sense of competition among auction goers, and this can lead some to pay more for a car than it is actually worth. For this reason, it pays to take your time and remain clear-headed throughout the process. For more high-end cars, like Maseratis, Porsches and Aston Martins – it is highly recommended to have a trusted classic cars servicing company on speed dial – you don’t know when their opinion and help after the purchase may come in handy.
This will keep you from making a very expensive mistake when you begin to bid. Follow these seven tips, and you’ll be assured to not only enjoy the experience but get a great deal on a car, as well.
1. Know the value of what you’re bidding on at car auctions before you begin to bid.
This means carrying a vehicle valuation guide with you and arriving at the auction early. Although auction companies may describe the vehicles being sold in some detail, they’ll leave out what it suits them to leave out. The cars will be available before the auction begins for inspection, and you can usually check them completely over so you’ll know what you’re getting into.
2. Make a list of the vehicles you plan to bid on, and what you’re willing to spend on each.
Just because car auctions sell one hundred or more vehicles doesn’t mean that you need to bid on all of them. Select only the cars you would like to own and list them, along with their identification and the amount you can spend on them. In classic car auctions, you will be given an auction program. This program makes the perfect list for you to make notes on. If you’re attending an auction overseas, it would be prudent to also have a plan on how to get your purchases back with you.
3. Understand the Auction Sheet
Cars that go through auctions are given a grade depending on its overall mechanical and cosmetic condition. Make sure to understand all aspects of the grading system to fully comprehend the value of your purchase. Small damages can cut the price by a few margins. If you have a reliable auto shop you can go to for car window repairs or windscreen replacements, you can negotiate for a lower bid and then have the damages fixed for a bargain.
4. Set a budget on how much you’re willing to spend for the day, and make sure you have enough cash to cover the deposit.
Auction companies typically require at least a 10% deposit on the vehicle you buy at the conclusion of the auction. Some auction companies allow you to pay with a check, while others require cash. Check the auction listings beforehand to make certain you have the correct payment type should you make a purchase.
5. Let someone else start the bidding.
While you may in time become savvier with the auction process, until you’re more comfortable, let someone else open the bidding. This will allow you to gauge the interest in the vehicle you want to buy, as well as how much it is likely to sell for. If five people are bidding, the price will likely go quite high. If only one person appears interested, you may be able to easily outbid them. Classic car auctions are notorious for getting expensive, so be wary of bidding on a vehicle that someone else desperately wants.
6. Don’t feel pressured to increase your maximum bid.
Auctioneers will intentionally badger auction goers to try to solicit bids, even if the value of the vehicle has been exceeded. Particularly on the opening bid, they may lead you to believe that your bid is too low. In some cases, the auctioneer themselves may bid against you. Don’t let them pressure you into a price beyond your budget, though, particularly on a vehicle on which you are the only bidder. Only online car auctions allow you to set a maximum bid without pressure.
7. Damaged Cars can be a bargain
Damaged cars may initially seem like more hassle than it’s worth but if you find an ideal car for you at an auction but it has been damaged you should try and pick it up at a bargain price. You may find you can earn a tidy return on your investment by purchasing the car solely for car salvage parts. Breaking the car and selling its parts individually may be more cost effective than repairing the car to get it running again. If you do go down that route there are a lot of car paint & body repair shops all over the UK which can do a fantastic job at restoring a car to make it look like it’s fresh from the factory. They could turn that heap of junk you got cheap at the auction into your dream car.