When it comes to either form of auction there are always winners and losers and both online and local auctions can be tricky to navigate and no matter how experienced you are you can always benefit from a refresh on some of the biggest dos and don’ts as well as a fresh perspective. Let’s kick off with online auctions.
Online auction tips
Don’t worry too much about estimates
Remember that estimates are just a guide. If I had a pound for every time an auctioneer has got an estimate wildly wrong I’d be a very wealthy man. It’s all about the competition and if you are lucky enough as a buyer or unlucky enough as a seller, a very fine item can be sold for well below its estimate.
Research is everything
Especially when buying fairly high ticket items it really does pay to go the extra mile and find out every little detail about the item you are interested in. Recent sales precedents, growth or decline in the sector the item belongs to are both important, while all the information about the make, artist or designer and their rise or fall in popularity can be very informative when it comes to making your mind up on the price you’re prepared to pay.
Set a limit
While this is important in live auctions too, of course, it is somehow far easier just to keep clicking online when bidding – somehow it feels a little more detached from reality. Therefore, I suggest writing down your limit on a sticky note and affixing it to your screen before the auction to keep your emotions in check.
Local auction tips
If you enjoy the thrill of bargain hunting but want a break from wandering around charity shops and boot sales, where most of the prime loot has already been snapped up by impossibly early and eagle-eyed dealers then local auctions are just the ticket.
Pick your time wisely
Auctions on a weekend are far better attended and the more people present the more bids you will be up against – which for sellers, of course, is fantastic! As a buyer, try to plump for midweek auctions to begin with as you will stand a far greater chance of getting what you want for a price that won’t hurt the bank balance.
Find the sore thumb
One fantastic tip for auctions is to look through the stock before the auction and try to focus on items that seem very out of place in the sale room. Chances are that attendees will focus on groups of items they are interested in, while that curio that stands out like a sore thumb could well go for a song!
Late bidders are often winning bidders for a very sound psychological reason. Let’s say two bidders have been riffing off each other with a slow war of attrition until finally one backs down. That exact moment, when the winning bidder feels he or she has won can be the best time to enter the race as they will think you’re deadly serious and begin to worry about the price.