With all of the excitement surrounding car auctions, it can be difficult to source genuine bargains. This is particularly true at Alameda County car auctions because they have a tendency to become extremely large. Fortunately, it is still possible to source genuine bargains at Alameda County car auctions if you do the proper legwork beforehand and stay alert during the auction.
Why Are Alameda County Car Auctions so Large?
Becoming overwhelmed with the potential selection is the easiest way to miss a genuine bargain when it appears. Large Alameda County car auctions can include a number of highly populated areas. While this means huge listings, it also means a large amount of competing bidders who are all trying to spot bargains for themselves. Alameda County is essentially the Eastern Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. It includes Oakland, Fremont, Berkeley, and Hayward. Fortunately, for as large as Alameda County car auctions are, it is easy to argue that the surrounding San Francisco Bay area gets even more attention. This means that while it can be difficult to source genuine bargains in Alameda County, it can be even more difficult in the surrounding area.
A 3 Step Plan to Spotting a Bargain at Alameda County Car Auctions
Bringing home the best deals at a car auction is nearly impossible if you don’t have a plan. Regardless of how simple or complex your plan is that must include these three basic steps in order to set yourself up for success.
1. Learn How to Digest Auction Listings
And overlooked characteristic of successful car auction hunters is the ability to quickly and effectively digest auction listings. This is especially true in Alameda County because the listings can be quite large. You need to develop a method which allows you to quickly filter each auction listing to determine whether or not the auction is worth your time. In many situations you may find yourself in a position where you must choose between several auctions which are happening simultaneously. If you don’t take the listings into consideration, there is no way to know which auction will most likely have the best deals.
As a general rule, you want to attend auctions with listings which have multiple similar vehicles. For example, if an auction has eight mid-2000 Chevy Malibu’ s with 100,000-150,000 miles then there’s a good chance at least one of these vehicles will go unnoticed by other bidders. Bidding will likely be high on the first several units, but will slowly taper off. It is your job to identify these types of opportunities and take advantage of them when they arise.
2. Choose Your Targets and Do Your Research
Along with digesting the auction listings effectively, you also need to know how to choose your target vehicles in order to do research. Again, if you find a listing which has multiple similar vehicles, you can shorten your research time as well as gather more in-depth research about each vehicle and its history. Flexibility is an important at an auction so try not to choose targets which are overly specific. If there is only one car at the auction you are interested in, then you are much more likely to overpay. On the other hand, if you have 10 or 15 cars which are all potentially interesting, you will feel more relaxed and are more likely to take advantage of the best deal when it arises.
3. Set Your Parameters Before the Auction Begins
The final step is studying your parameters before the auction begins. In order to effectively source bargains at Alameda County auto auctions, it is imperative that you set specific parameters and stick to them. For example, if you have 10 different vehicles you are interested in then you should know the approximate value of each. To bring home the best bargain, you should set parameters which make it easy to guarantee you only purchase the vehicle if it is truly a bargain. For example, if you know all the approximate values, you could begin the auction with a rule you will not pay more than 70 percent of the estimated retail value of the vehicle. This will not only help you determine your bid ceiling, but also help you identify the best deals when they appear.
2009 Toyota Corolla S
At a recent auto auction in Hayward, a 2009 Toyota Corolla was purchased for only $4550. The estimated value of the vehicle was nearly $14,000. It had less than 46,000 miles on it. There was noticeable cosmetic damage due to vandalism, primarily dents and scratches. There were no mechanical problems because all of the cosmetic damage was minor. This four-door sedan has a 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine. These types of vehicles are great deals at auto auctions because the cosmetic damage turns many bidders away.
2008 Honda Accord EX
Another great deal found at auto auction in Alameda County was eight 2008 Honda Accord. The winning bidder paid less than $4000 for it even though the estimated retail value was closer to $17,700. There was some noticeable site damage, although the vehicle started and ran fine. The odometer read 67,300 miles. This particular car was burgundy, front-wheel-drive, with a 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine.
2003 Ford Taurus
While there are great deals on newer cars at auctions in Alameda County, there are also a number of great deals on older vehicles. Try to look for hidden gems like this 2003 Ford Taurus which had less than 70,000 miles on it. While the estimated retail value was just over $5000, the winning bidder paid less than $1000. This particular vehicle was gold with front-wheel-drive and a 3.0 liter six cylinder engine.
2003 Nissan Maxima GLE
Another example of getting a good deal on older cars was seen when a winning bidder brought home a 2003 Nissan Maxima for only $1200. The estimated retail value was $5780. It was a higher mileage vehicle, with 170,000 miles, however it included regular maintenance logs. This four-door sedan was silver and featured a 3.5 liter V-6 engine.