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The do’s and don’ts of bidding at auction’s

For those collectors and bargain hunters out there, there’s nothing like the excitement that is produced in the crowd when you’re bidding at a live auction. Auctions can be for many things from a property, artwork, collectibles, surplus options, vintage pieces, ex-government and police related auctions and more. It’s the excitement of picking up a real bargain for fraction of the price what would be paid out there in the marketplace.

Here’s a quick checklist of the dos and don’ts before you start bidding at an auction:

  1. Check the payment terms before the auction day. Make sure the auction house can accept the payment terms that you wish to pay whether it be cheque, cash, credit card. You need to also ask about the extra chargesas some option companies require a refundable deposit when you registered to bid and others may add a buyers premium to the fall of the hammers price which is the bid price that you won the item at.
  2. Find out what the pickup and delivery options are. Some auctions require you to take possession immediately or within days and pick up the items from the location of the auction. So it’s no point in say bidding for an item online that is located in Sydney and you find that they cannot post the item to you and say Melbourne. There may be storage charges also if you don’t take possession of the item within the required time and awesome penalties.
  3. Attend the previews and inspect the goods before you bid. I’m not really one from bidding on photographs and live auctions and would rather attend physically to see the goods that I’m bidding on. You need to look at such things such as repairing of damage and make a note of the box lot items for example how many items there are in there if you’re planning to bid on them and making sure that the contents in number are what is described. I have seen an American situation where bidders could not inspect the product they went about bidding for, a jet ski which didn’t have a motor (so they found out after winning the bid!), so be careful to make sure that you know what you’re bidding on prior to the auction. If you have that gut feeling is something wrong is wrong then it probably is.
  4. During the preview of the items that you want bid on you need to show that poker face and be discreet so as not to announce your intentions to the other bidders that may be also looking at the same items. You may end up increasing your competition on the bidding day if you are calling to the attention of the other bidders the specific pieces that you will be bidding on. You don’t want to give those bidders reason to go back for second look as to what you are gasping at with excitement.
  5. On the day of the auction do a doublecheck of any box lot items between what was there on inspection day and on auction day when you inspected the items during the preview. It is not unheard of for items to be switched from box to box by unscrupulous bidders etc.
  6. You’ll need to register as a bidder and do this early soon as you arrive. You cannot participate in the auction without being registered and having a bidders registration card or number.
  7. Always set a maximum price you are willing to pay for the item that you are interested in and stick to it. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the fever of the auction and bid for more than you intended but remember you have to pay a bidders premium on top of the fall of the hammer price.  Maybe if you have any problems with your willpower sticking to your maximum price you can arrange something with a friendly the bid on your behalf keep you in check to remind you of that price is preagreed.
  8. Do your homework on price, know what the product sells for eg. cars are selling for in the used car lots.
  9. Always be prepared to walk away. Don’t get caught in a bidding war with other buyers. There’s nothing worse than paying over the top for something and especially paying more than your maximum by price.
  10. If there’s a lot of goods going for auction, and it is lasting all day sometimes a best deals are often had in the afternoon as the early-morning bidders may be the run out of money or energy, as soon as the bidding begins don’t shout your maximum price. The auctioneer will increase the price incrementally until there is no more bids and sometimes going to quick to fast will mean that you end up paying more than you should have.  But, you need to jump in on the bidding when the item is on as auctions move fast and if you hesitate the hammer may come down before you’ve worked up the courage to bid on the item.
  11. Take position of the items as soon as possible and take them to your vehicle and lock them away.
  12. Don’t bid if you’re not absolutely sure you won’t buy, you don’t have an idea in price, because if you are the winning bidder you’re committed to purchase and you cannot change your mind after the hammer falls.

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