Both online and live in-person auctions are a great way of getting the car you want, and often times you can find rare cars that cannot be found anywhere else. Car auctions let you avoid dealer markups—and often you can find some of the greatest values for the money you will pay at auction. But the best thing you can do before attending an auction is to be prepared. We’ve prepared the four most important tips to help you buy a car at auction:
1. Although buying a car at auction is relatively easy, you will still want to show up to the auction early—and register as a bidder right away. You wouldn’t want to show up late, face a long line, and miss getting the car you want just because you couldn’t officially bid.
2. Take advantage of the pre-auction inspection before buying a car at auction. Most auctioneers allow you to come in and inspect the vehicle before making a bid. Examine the car closely to determine if it has good paint and mileage—and determine whether there are cigarette burns or smoke smell from a previous owner. This can reduce the car’s value.
3. Do your research! Kelly Blue book is one of the most trusted resources when it comes to researching a used car. Simply enter your mileage, location, and other options, and KBB will provide you with the retail amount that you can expect if you were buying a car from a dealer.
4. Bidding can be one of the most exciting moments—and yet one of the most nerve-wracking moments of buying a car at auction. One of the best ways to make sure you get the car you want is to determine in advance, how much you are willing to pay for that car. The auctioneer won’t wait for you to make a decision on whether you want to bid higher than the last buyer. The key is to know in advance what you’ll bid—and make sure you are the last one bidding!