When you are bidding for a car in an auction, you just do not want a deal—you are looking for the best one.
Nothing will ever prepare you to the craziness and excitement of bidding in car auctions, but you can be more confident with these tips in mind:
- Start with small car auctions. Big ones can be very daunting and overwhelming, especially for someone who is new to bidding. While you are trying to learn the ropes, begin small, such as those organized by private local auctions. Normally, their minimum bid price is small; so is the bid fee. Moreover, you have a much bigger chance of getting the vehicle since you have fewer competitors to deal with.
- Attend the inspection. These vehicles are going to be sold as is. However, auctions usually give you enough time to inspect them. Some even allow you to perform a test drive. These inspections are normally held at least a few hours to a day before the actual auction. If the auction is not clear, do not forget to ask.
During the inspection, be as critical as you can. Keep in mind that should you not push through with the sale, you cannot get back your deposit. Although you can always perform the inspection yourself, it is always better to have a professional mechanic with you.
- Compare values. If you think that you have already won price-wise by joining an auction, you are wrong. You may still end up paying more than you should, but this happens only when you have not done your research properly.
To know how much to bid for a particular vehicle, search for the book values using NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) or Kelley’s Blue Book. Both of these are already accessible online, so you can check while you are doing the inspection or even in the middle of the bidding process.
- Make sure that your vehicle has not been tampered. Many of the vehicles sold at auctions are a steal because of their mint condition. However, it is still possible for lemon cars to be part of the lot simply because the previous owners have tampered with the records. The best way to check for vehicle tampering is to know its VIN, which is located in certain parts of the car.
- Focus. When you are bidding, make sure that your entire attention is onto it. The process can be very short, and you can miss out on a golden opportunity, or you can end up spending money on a car that you do not really like. Either way, you have already lost.
- Be ready for other expenses. There are other expenses associated with bidding. These include the bidding fee, which you pay to participate, a fee in case you win, and value-added tax, among others. You may also have to pay for the transport of the vehicle, though some auctions can assist you in this area. Needless to say, always consider these other expenses when determining your bid price.