By: Gov Auctions | 24 May 2013

Keeping Your Cool when Bidding at an Auction

Buying a used car at auction is a whole different ball game to buying from a dealer. There are a lot of variables that will determine whether you bid successfully and pay the price you want for your chosen vehicle. This article looks at what you need to do to be cool, calm and collected when bidding at an auction.

Do your research

The first rule is to be prepared. If you are going to be successful with your bid, you need to have done your homework beforehand. This means determining the market value of the vehicle you are interested in and what would constitute a good price at auction. Once you know the maximum you want to pay for the vehicle, make sure it is within your budget, remembering that you will have to spend extra money on registration, insurance and possibly servicing the vehicle.

Observe an auction

The next thing to do is to go along to the auction house and observe how things are done. If you’ve never bid at an auction before, it can be an adrenalin-pumping experience and a novice could easily find themselves being caught up in the moment and bidding far more than they intended. Watch a few bids and see how it works. Familiarize yourself with the environment and the atmosphere, so that when the time comes for you to bid, you’ll be totally focused on the job at hand.

Be prepared

On the day of the auction, make sure you have everything that you will need. This includes ID, which will be required when you register and enough money for the deposit that you will have to put down on the vehicle if your bid is successful. Arrive early, so you have plenty of time to inspect the vehicle you are planning to bid for. If you have a mechanically-minded friend, bring them along and have them go over the car for you. While they will not be able to take it for a test drive, they can at least give it the once-over and hopefully spot any problems.

Keep your cool

When the auction starts, make sure you are in a good position, in clear line of sight with the auctioneer. Be ready, because your lot number can come up quickly and you don’t want to miss the bidding. Bidders at car auctions are often car dealers who already know the ropes, so remain calm and focus on the auctioneer.

Sometimes another bidder will be prepared to pay more for the vehicle you want and it’s important to remember what your maximum bid is and stop when you reach it. A bidding war will only result in one of you paying too much, so don’t let it be you. If this happens, cut your losses and walk away to bid again another day. Ideally though, if you have done your homework and have a realistic price in mind for your chosen vehicle, the auction will go smoothly and the auctioneer’s hammer will come down in your favour.