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Buying A Car At Auction

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Buying A Car At Auction

Levi Quinn
January 7, 2011

Levi Quinn

The excitement of a bidding war is easy to get caught up in. When bidding at an auction, it is of paramount importance that you understand exactly how much money you are bidding and how much you can realistically afford to spend. This is especially true when bidding at a car auction, where the exhilaration of getting a great deal can become an overwhelmingly driving force. Drivers can purchase cars in a number of ways. Dealerships are the most convenient, as they offer a large selection of vehicles in one place. Private sellers are also popular among drivers, especially those in the market for a used car.

While these sources often offer the ability for consumers to negotiate with the seller, the auction setting is unique because the price is determined not by what the seller wants, but by how much the bidders are willing to spend. If you have decided to purchase a car at an auction you need to be aware of many things before arriving at the auction house. If you follow these simple steps you should be prepared for a wonderful and successful auction experience.

• Know the value of the cars you will be bidding on. The point of an auction is to get a car at a great price. In order to know how much is too much when bidding on a vehicle it is important that you bring your own information pertaining to the cars that will be offered on the auction block. The excitement of the crowd can serve as a catalyst for high bids; don't let yourself get caught up in the energy of the auction. Before bidding starts, consult your research and determine the highest bids you are comfortable making.

• NEVER make a bid you are even slightly uncomfortable with. By raising your number you are indicating that you are willing and able to purchase the car at the price you have offered. This means that, if you win the auction, you must follow through and purchase the vehicle.

• Know what you want to bid on. Oftentimes, if you arrive at the auction house early enough, you will be able to look at the items for sale and determine which ones would best suit your needs. Make a list of the cars you are interested in and stick to it. This will prevent you from making unnecessary bids and, possibly, buying a car you don't really want.

• Make sure the car has a title. Going through the DMV to obtain a new title is a stressful and long process that no one really wants to be involved with. In order to avoid purchasing a stolen or damaged vehicle only buy cars that have titles readily available. If the title isn't present, the owner may be trying to divert your attention away from the history of the car. Buying a car at an auction can be a great experience and can result in wonderful deals. To ensure a successful trip to the auction house, remember to keep your head on straight and not get caught up in the fast talking of the auctioneers or the excitement of bidding wars.

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