If You're in the Market for great junk...You've come to the right Place!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Here you go! As promised here is my list of AUCTION TIPS that may help you understand the auction process . Auctions are FUN but can be intimidating because of all the fast talk and the fear of paying 500.00 for a box of styro foam cups.
Please keep in mind that I am by no means and expert so some of these tips may or may not work for you.
First off let's define auction: an auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling them to the highest bidder.
My favorite auction is called an ABSOLUTE auction where all things are sold AS IS WHERE IS. Meaning you get it just like you see it. Most absolute auctions start bidding low and you can usually get great prices on things, sometimes sold in lots. In order to get the old chicken crate you are jonesing for, you may have to take a box of old magazines and a vacuum cleaner but no big deal. Take it with you and donate the excess to a thrift shop.

* Get there EARLY to be able to walk around, pick things up, ask questions. Depending on how much is there you'll understand how much time you will need for that days sale. Sometimes it's an all day deal, so be prepared.

* You may need to bring some or all of these: a chair, blanket, coffee, snacks, aspirin, sunblock,comfy shoes, hand wipes, water, measuring tape, pen, notebook, umbrella, rain coat or poncho, gloves, flash light, boots, screwdriver, wrench, hammer ,sweatshirt . Dress in layers. Eats are usually available but it's usually limited to hot dogs, burgers, chips etc....

* When looking.... ALWAYS put the item back WHERE YOU FOUND IT! Sometimes different people are participating in the auction and all THEIR stuff needs to be in THEIR space so they can get THEIR money.

* You will need to sign up for a bidding number. Locate the area where you see an office and be prepared to show your drivers license( or significant id ) and you will be asked your phone number. At that time ask them what forms of payment they accept so you are not surprised at the end when they don't take a check or debit card. Also find out if there is a BUYERS PREMIUM added to your final bill. A buyers premium is a small fee usually 10% or less added to your bill by the auction company. So if you pay 10.00 for an old quilt, an additional 1.00 will be added in. I'm not a big fan of buyers premiums but that's only cuz I'm cheap.
Buyers premiums are NOT always utilized, which is great! So just check.

* Get a good seat or place to stand! This is a VERY important tip! If you are intending to purchase items you WANT THE AUCTIONEER TO SEE YOU! Get right up there, the closer the better. At 5'3" I am not towering over anyone, let's face it. I ALWAYS make sure the auctioneer knows where I am while bidding. This goes for a traditional indoor seated auction as well as an outdoor auction where you may be walking and following the auctioneer from item to item.

* Before bidding on an item , LISTEN CAREFULLY to the auctioneers calls. It's alot of fast talking BUT most of it is simply repetition. I don't listen to anything but the number that he/she is saying. They will say the number over and over
"Can I get 5,5,5,5,5."
While this repetition is going on, even though it is fast it does give you a chance to think about upping your bid or stopping. This is where you need to have a number in mind that you want to spend and stick with it. It is sooooo easy to get caught up is a bidding war but as long as you have your magic number and YOU STICK TO IT, you'll do just fine.
With that being said, I will tell you this: There will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be somebody there who will be buying up the place. An auction is a competitive place and this can get annoying at times. So, if you have lost out on the last three items to Mr. Buys-a-Lot, keep in mind that you may be able to be flexible on what you can spend on the next item that comes up for bid. Also keep in mind that Mr. Buys-a-Lot is usually always taller than you AND usually stands or sits right in front of you. Always.

* When bidding, simply hold your buyers number up high and be obvious! Make eye contact. You may even want to be verbal...saying "YES" and so forth. If you do the same thing each time you bid, the auctioneer gets to recognize your style. There is no need to fret about pushing your hair behind your ear and the next thing you know you bought a pony.

* Once you have won an item.....GO GET IT....LOAD IT UP! Unless the runners (auctioneer helpers) hand it to you, you need to go get your item. Believe it or not, people will take stuff that is not theirs! Go figure! Be prepared with the right vehicle. If you plan on buying an antique Hoosier, don't show up with the Mini Cooper. Typically, ALL ITEMS need to be removed from the auction site THAT DAY. Since they are your responsibility after you bought it, no one is responsible for theft and if you leave something you may be charged a storage fee or it could simply be thrown out!

* Come prepared with the appropriate packing materials. If you are a glassware nut, that means boxes, newspaper, bubble wrap. If you are a furniture freak then that means, straps, bungees, moving blankets and so on. Don't expect the auction the supply any of this.

*Be respectful. Don't talk alot because people are trying to hear the auctioneer and need to pay attention. Turn your cell phone setting to vibrate. If you get a call, move away to have the conversation. Another way respect plays a part is in a different way. When at an auction remember that all that stuff used to belong to someone who cherished it, used it, depended on it etc. Alot of times these things are being sold because of a death in the family. Keep in mind that some of the family may be at the sale and are going to be bidding as well. The last thing they need to hear is how "ugly you think the sofa is" or whatever. Know what I mean?

*Once you've bid, bought and loaded now all you need to do is pay. I usually bring a note book or use the back of my bidders card to keep track of what I bought and the prices. Mistakes do happen and I like to be able to have MY list to compare to THEIR list. Assuming everything is a-ok it's time to face the damage! Here's a few things to keep in mind: CASH is always BEST. IF you use a debit or credit card there may be an additional fee ( say 3%) added to your bill. For check writing you may need a bank letter. Each auction house is different.

* Once you're done paying, check the area for any additional flyer's for other upcoming auctions and sales. Ask the clerk if that particular auction house has an email list and sign up. Other outlets in finding auctions are Auctionzip.com and look in the newspaper or speciality papers.

So there ya have it! I sure hope that some of these tips will be helpful to you and make your auction experience a good time. If you have any other questions let me know and I will try my best to help you out!
Auctions are a great place to GET A BARGAIN!!
Most important HAVE FUN AND GOOD LUCK!


Paula said...

Great tips! I am an auction junkie, to say the least. I wish someone would have shared some of these tips with me when I was first starting out! You may want to add to take some extra help or have someone who can do heavy lifting on stand-by (waiting for your call for help), because the auction houses won't help you move your stuff or load it in your car!

Sandi said...

LOVED reading your tips. Love the part about buying a pony! Too funny. lol. I don't get to many auctions, but I do love them!!

Home for 6 said...

I love auctions and have been going since I was 15. I bought my first antique trunk then and have been hooked ever since. I have gone to small ones and huge ones. They all rock. I regularly travel up to Virginia to a favorite up there from when we lived there. They are kind I go once "win" a lot. They hold it for me for about 2-4 weeks then I head back up with a uhaul trailer to get it while I bid on more..I think they know they can get me to buy more so they do this for me..

All That Jazz said...

This is a GREAT post! I have been wanting to try auctions and have attended a lot as a spectator but never a bidder! Can't wait to give it a go this summer (with someone for moral support, LOL! :-)