If you’ve always wondered how you could buy your next car at an auction, here’s your chance to learn the Do’s and Don’ts of smart buying on the block.
Essentially, there are two types of auctions:
* Public Auctions: Open to the public.
* Dealer Auctions: Restricted to licensed auto dealers.
Typically, public auctions are towing and salvage, collectible car or government auctions.
If you decide you want to try your hand at a public auto auction, here’s a checklist of things to know:
1. Bring positive ID (i.e. a driver’s license, state identification card, or passport) and proof of ability to pay for your purchase (often called a bidders card deposit).
2. Once this information is provided, you’ll need to register and receive a bidders number which you’re responsible for, so make sure you keep it in your possession at all times because bids cannot be retracted.
3. Plan to arrive early to the auction. You’ll want at least an hour or more to look at the list of available vehicles.
4. It’s a great idea to ask (and even offer to pay) a mechanic to attend the auction with you. If the mechanic agrees to go along and kick a few tires, you have some assurance that what you’re buying won’t turn out to be a lemon.
5. Bring a Kelley Blue Book or NADA guide with you. You’ll want to make sure you’re not overpaying for what you’re bidding on. You can also access the information online at www.nada.com and www.kbb.com.
6. Make sure you have funds to pay for your winnings. The last thing you want is to find the bargain of the century and not have the money to buy it.
7. Auctions require full payment on the day of the sale.
8. Bid smart because there are risks involved with buying at an auction. For example, don’t get caught up in a bidding war. If so, you may end up overpaying for a vehicle.
9. Remember, you’re buying a car “as-is,” which means there is no guarantee or warranty provided.
10. Make sure you’re buying from a reputable auction; the VIN number should match exactly on both the car and the paperwork you receive.