How to Find a Great Live Auction

This article discusses how to find live auctions that are fun and profitable.


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    Visit the genre of shops in the area that apply to the type of auction you want to attend. For example, if you're looking for a good antique auction to start attending, stop in the local antiques shops and ask if there are good auctions in the area. Sounds obvious right? But here is what to listen for; listen to what the dealer doesn't say. The more a dealer speaks poorly or negatively about an auction they attend, the more likely they are trying to keep a good thing secret. Think for a moment, why would a dealer keep attending a lousy auction?
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    Newspaper ads. Ads in the classified section are just as good, and sometimes better, as the flashy, display ads. Flashy ads are indicative of an auction that will be high priced, may have reserves (a set price on an item), and usually a very enormous crowd. While any auction can be profitable to attend, it is usually best to steer clear of the glitzy ones, at least for the beginners.
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    What to find out before you go: If there is a phone number in the ad, find out the terms. Is it an absolute auction? An absolute auction is one that has no minimum or reserve bids on items. These are the best auctions to attend! Is there a buyers premium? A buyers premium is like a tax that everyone who purchases at that auction must pay above the winning bid price. Most auctions in our days do charge a buyers premium, 10% is not unreasonable but more than that is greedy. Sometimes, using your credit card will cost you more. A 13% buyer's premium can be discounted for cash or check payments, hence a 2 or 3 % percent penalty for using your credit card. Don't you already pay enough interest when you use a credit card?
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    A good auction will have ample time to inspect the merchandise, usually 2 or 3 hours. Find out when inspection starts and attend! Never attend an auction if you can't make the inspection, never, unless you're prepared to gamble. Most auctioneers sell at a rate of about 100 items per hour, which is why they sell them "as is." They simply don't have the time to give a detailed description of all the items. Since almost all items at auction are sold as is, there are sure to be some damaged, refinished, fake and incomplete items at any given auction. Beware of any auctions that offer very little or no inspection time.
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    A good auction will usually have 150 to 400 lots. A lot may be one item or a group of items. The exception to this are specialty auctions, auto auctions, real estate auctions etc.
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    When you attend your first sale, take note of the 1/2 dozen or so dealers that buy the most often. Ask them where there are other auctions in the area that they attend.
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    When you do find a good auction, attend it as often as possible. By frequenting good sales you help increase the bottom line of that business helping to ensure that they'll stay in business. It's tough for many auctioneers to keep the quality of merchandise consistent, so good attendance certainly helps. And when an auctioneer gets to know you as a buyer, they will go out of the way to accommodate you, and keep you coming back.


  • Do not over-deal, so you do not end up losing everything.

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Categories: Purchasing