Tips for Buyers

One of the biggest auction advantages for buyers is control and transparency. As a buyer, you are in control, deciding when to bid and how high or low you are willing to go. Auctions allow you to buy property and items at a price achieved competitively against other bidders in a transparent process. Auction results are also immediate. If your bid is successful, the property or item belongs to you. We have some tips below that will help buyers have a successful experience at auctions.

Auctions are different from Retail Sales

The two have very little in common. Auctions are different from retail because auctions are governed by federal laws, state laws, Uniform Commercial Codes and city ordinances. When you bid at an auction you actually enter a legal contract.

Register for the Auction

To bid at an auction, you need to register before the auction begins. You give your name, address and phone number and may have to make a deposit if you are bidding on real estate. In return, you receive a bidding number. This helps us keep track of who won what item.

Be careful when you bid on lots

Know how much you are bidding and whether you are bidding against your spouse, parent, sibling or friend. Although you can retract a bid while the bidding is open, you cannot retract it once the auctioneer has said "sold." Auctioneers expect you to take full responsibility for your bids.

Before the auction, preview the items you’ll bid on

Know what you are bidding on by closely inspecting each item before the auction. Use your own evaluation of the item, rather than comments by the auctioneer or other bidders. Auction items are sold “as is” with no guarantees of any kind from the seller or auctioneer.

Auction Momentum

Both buyers and sellers benefit from good auction momentum. Auctioneers have the right to reject any bid amount that would slow the bidding. Auctioneers cannot wait for slow bidders, so know in advance what you want to buy and how much your bid limit is. You could miss out on an item you wanted if you don’t stay with the auction pace.

Make it clear that you are bidding

Don’t be shy about bidding loud and large. Make certain the auctioneer is aware you are bidding because the auctioneer may be taking bids from someone in front of or behind you. Once the auctioneer says "sold," the item is gone even if you are willing to continue bidding. While spotters are there to help the auctioneer spot bids and will signal your bid to the auctioneer, make sure it is apparent that you are bidding.

A Winning Bid

When the auction starts, you will hear a ringman call out a lot number and give a brief description of the item. The auctioneer will begin selling the item and will ask for you to bid. The auctioneer continues to go up in increments until the item has been sold. Once the bidding has closed, the auctioneer will say "sold" and state the winning bidder’s number and the final selling price.

During the auction, clerks record the description of your items and your buyer number as well as the amount you paid for the item.

Money Transactions

Auctions are generally cash only transactions so you will be required to pay for your purchases with cash, good check or certified funds check. If you have questions about what forms of payment are accepted, make sure you contact the auctioneer prior to the auction.