By Meghan M.M. Trimm
Sponsored by Beloit Auction
Auctions are a one-of-a-kind buying experience that has a lot of perks. Yet, only 26% of consumers take advantage of the auction process on annual indicator days such as Black Friday. The good news is there are a million reasons to jump in and realize the benefits of buying at auction. Read on to discover eight reasons why to buy anything and everything at auction.
The chief rule of auction buying is never pay more than you want. Unlike retail buying where prices are set in stone, auction prices are set by how much buyers are willing to pay. At auctions and in retail, all buyers have a super power–the power to walk away.
A buyer walks into the auction knowing how much they want to pay for an item. If the bidding goes above that price, the bidder walks away and the item goes home with someone who got it for the price they wanted.
If you follow that principle, you will never pay more than you want for an item at auction, and you might just pay less. If you miss out on the item of your choice, hold onto your shorts; a similar item will always come back to the auction sooner or later.
Retail does not work that way. If you walk away because the item costs too much, that item will just sit on the shelf and wait for you to give in and come back for it. This is why Amazon has a wish list tool. The prices don’t get better, but buyers might get softer.
Also, buying at auction can be very convenient via online websites like E-Bay, Proxibid and Auctions.com. Proxibid, for example, has a feature where you can leave a maximum bid, but it will only post a dollar more than the next highest bidder. Here’s an example. I wanted to bid on a sewing machine on Proxibid. I set a $40 maximum, outbid one person, and won the hammer price at $11. Not too shabby.
I got a great deal, and I didn’t have to watch every single bid as the lot was closing. I knew how much I was willing to pay and let the computer do the work.
Auctions are transparent. Every sale, from tiny trinkets to dream homes, happens in public in front of all interested parties usually with terms of sale clearly laid out in accessible written form. The price is set right before your eyes, not in a corporate office or a real estate agent’s private meeting.
This is especially important in real estate; but it’s also true for other kinds of auctions as well. In a traditional real estate sale, buyers and agents don’t like to talk about the other offers they’re considering. They especially do not want to discuss how they came up with their price point.
Sometimes deals close with other buyers even though you were willing to bid more. Some buyers have been left out in the cold by the privacy of traditional real estate deals.
Like retail shopping, you get to take home your winnings the same day. Auctioning a single item takes merely minutes. There is nothing like instant gratification.
The speed holds true for bigger sales like real estate too. Closing a real estate deal can take months due to negotiation of the terms. At auction the terms are set prior to sale and properties are sold ‘as is.’ That means if you’re working with an experienced auctioneer, you’ll close the deal on your new home within one month of the winning bid.
Buying at auction is exciting because they are fast-paced and competitive. Like sports, auctions are great live entertainment. Each item grabs your attention as you listen with all your senses to figure out who bid how much, and who got what deal, before they move onto the next item.
Beyond sheer entertainment they can satisfy that competitive bone some people have in their bodies. You can use your competitive edge to beat your friends and miff your enemies without actually tackling anybody. It’s easier on the back.
Some auction house schedules are extremely reliable. Meaning, they hold auctions on a regular predictable schedule. Resellers appreciate reliability so they can always stock up on new merchandise. It also comes in handy for the average shopper. Check your auction for the best deals every week, and then finish up at your favorite retail spots.
Free Family Fun
This reliability can also be a relief for families in need of non-screen entertainment on week nights.
When I was a kid, sometimes we went to the mall just to walk around. Sometimes we bought, sometimes we didn’t. It was just a place to escape the house with the added benefit of window shopping. Malls are not really the oases they used to be, but a reliable auction is a nice alternative. Join the fun or blend into the crowd; enjoy concessions and marvel at the many wondrous and weird items. Talk nostalgia. Watch the pickers compete. Give it a try yourself.
A great example local to me is Beloit Auction. They hold an auction EVERY Wednesday rain or shine every week of the year, barring Christmas and New Years. They are also family-run and family-friendly.
Deal in the rare and unique
Personal property auctions deal in the rare, unique, and priceless as well as staples like kitchen appliances. Mixed amongst the toaster ovens, sturdy oak tables, and vinyl records are gems for every taste.
This is where the notion of “picking” comes from. Pickers search through the everyday items for the surprising stuff. From diamond jewelry to ancient Central American beer pottery, from Hot Wheels to Model T’s – auctions sell it all. Once you learn to see it, you’ll find novelty everywhere.
Auctions are one of the oldest ways to buy. They were very popular in the Roman economy and have had two thousand years to sort out how they work and make them better. In the 20th and 21st Centuries the process has been refined by associations like NAA to be fair, efficient, transparent, fast, convenient, and reliable. Combine that exceptional process with great deals and continuous novelty and entertainment– you can’t go wrong.
So, find an auction house near you, and give it a try.
See you at the auction!