Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Hi. I am Josh Levine...and I got a questions. Is it about to be your first time going to a Live Auction or just thinking about it ? Do you know you are missing out on amazing American Sub Culture and the best way to shop in the world.
Okay, if you are a fan of my blog or YouTube channel, Josh Levine Speaks, you know I do my best to write & build shows & series around things I hope you find interesting. And, what is more than interesting than The Auction World and it's subculture....its a favorite mine.
So in this Series I am going to take...or talk, you thru your first time...Going to a Live Auction
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Anyway, So its Your First Time...going to a live auction...
Oh wait...How do you Find That First Auction You are going to go ?
In many parts of the country, they are still in the Paper, or legal section....but, its 2020 and of course, There are several sites for that...and no matter where you live.
Here are the Best Sites...
These will make it super easy for you to find a sale
(1) close by you, (2) on a day you can go & (3) has stuff you may be interested in buying. Isn't that the point.
I generally use auctionzip.com - Just go to their site, enter your zip code, pick a date and distance you are willing to travel....for your first time, I am going to suggest you pick.... a general, personal property Auction.
These are going on all the time and all around you and you don't even know it...and you are missing out on Crazy Deals ! But caution....once you start shopping this way and I will convert you, its hard to buy new, ever again !
These are typically estate, downsizing or moving sales, that have all the things you might want or need, plus...whatever the sellers, specifically collected. You will definitely find this all very educational and also...remember, when it all comes down to it, It's all just stuff. (That's a Shameless plug for my book.)
So search the around the site....around....around until you find 1 that looks interesting.....i.e.has lots of cool stuff....
So now we are ready. Its about to be your first time, going to a live auction...but wait...did you do your homework. (Don't dread this step....its fun.) Read the fine print and don't let it scare you. You are looking to see....
(1) Where is the sale...sometimes the auction house or company and where the sale is being held are 2 different places. Thats a fun trip if you make that mistake...I have several times. I have always struggled with reading comprehension.
(2) What time is the auction preview....because you have to preview...remember that fine print. You need to go inspect things for any unseen issues and I tell you....I've gone early to see the 1 thing I was interest in only to come home with all sorts of other things I did know they even had...as preview is were you really get to see what's there.
Note: Every auction company is different...some take amazing pictures, have online catalogs & there are no secret stashes....Some just shoot a group shot as a teaser to make you go to the sale. That's really my favorite kind. (Where you can find sleepers and deals...) That will be another video.
(3) What are the terms ? Do I have to remove items immediately, or do I have time. Cash, Check, Charge and is there Buyers Premium....A buyer's premium is a charge in addition to the hammer price of an auction item, or lot. The winning bidder is required to pay both the hammer price and the percentage of that price called for by the buyer's premium. So if an auction company advertises a 10% BP....remember when you bid $100, you are bidding $110....also....what the sales tax rate were you are located. Some states don't have sales tax on estate auctions. Just look and ask if its not there.
(4) Who is the Auctioneer and or Company.... and read a few reviews....but honestly. Take these with a grain of salt....just get the vibe. Have they been around a long time, do they have a following, etc. Do they have alot of sales. I seriously warn you about the reviews...auctioneers get such a bad wrap, as they are the devil in the deep blue sea. If the seller loves them, then the buyers hate them...if the buyers love them...(you'll probably love them) because there's good deals...but the sellers will give them a bad review. Take that all in to mind, but be your own judge.
So now....now we are ready for your 1st time...let go to the Auction Preview...and here, I got more work for you....
I suggest when you 1st get there ----Go register to bid if, Registration is Open. Look for signs, generally posted all around or ask anyone around. If the company is ready to register you, aka, hand out bid cards (get your number) go get it now before the lines of last minute or regular bidders show up. Its much more relaxing, especially if its your first time. Most auction houses want a drivers license, perhaps a credit card on file or small refundable deposit...its not a big deal, it just to make sure you don't bid on a bunch of stuff and go home. Its also a great time to meet the staff, when they are calm, find out their dos and don't, etc. This is probably the most awkward you will feel at an auction and where most people find it intimidating, as everyone else seems to know everyone and your a stranger....trust me...go twice and you'll be like family too.
So you have your number, now you go in to inspection mode....check out the goodies they got. Determine what you are interested in and here's were an important question you should ask comes up. WHAT IS THE ORDER OF SALE ? Are the lots numbered and sold in order, or does this auctioneer jump around. Everyones got their thing. Make note of box lot numbers and contents if you’re planning to bid on them. CAN I PAY AND TAKE IT HOME when I am done bidding...some auctions are automated and you can, and some, you have to wait. Just ask, so you are not surprised. Also, important that if you are bidding on a Lot often called a BOX LOT (large group of goodies in a box and super fun) double-check box lot contents right before they sell it. Many unscrupulous bidders have switch the contents from box to box, right before the auctioneer gets there. Some auctioneers will throw someone out for this or worse. You have to understand until its sold, its there responsibility and very important to their seller and most of the time there are multiple sellers and if you move something in to another box & its someone elses.... the right person may not get paid for their sale.
TIP - When previewing, don’t show excitement over a lot or item. Stay calm during the preview, especially when you find items you really want. People are always watching...always watching. You don’t want to announce your intentions to other bidders. You may end up increasing your competition if you call attention to specific pieces. If they didn’t notice your favorites at first glance, don’t give them a reason to go back for a second look. Also....here's another tip.
DO NOT LISTEN TO KNOCK AND BUY BIDDERS....what's a knock and buy bidder.
It's someone that states out loud, or at least loud enough, that's somethings broken, or fake or crap....to deter other bidders or tarnish the item, they themselves plan on bidding on....Knock it, and buy it....there are so many more tricks like this.
Anyway, back to the fun. You found a sale, you got your bid card, you previewed the items...you got your eye on a few goodies.
A here's where I suggest you set a maximum you’re willing to spend in your head. Or on a piece of paper....that you guard with your life. Seriously. Anyway...Just your personal limit for each item of interest, and then stick to it. It’s all too easy to get caught up in auction fever and bid far more than you intended. If you doubt your willpower, attend with a friend so you can keep each other accountable. Make sure it not "That Friend" that will talk you into spending more....got it...and now we wait for the master of ceremonies.
The Auctioneer...Auctioneers come in all shapes, sizes and sexes and some are from Texas... and each have their own particular style. I like to watch for a few lots to get their chant figured out. The chant is the "ariba, beeda, reba thing:....and If you don't understand and there are a few out there, that damn...whats that guy saying, but trust me, even with them....you'll lock in and get it. If not....ask a neighbor to help. Again, some people find this intimidating but once you watch a few things go, you'll get it.
So here comes your lot. The first lot and finally its your time. You will get excited and its only natural but this is "Poker People"...I need your poker face. An auctioneer can smell a newbie from a mile a away. Most will be very understanding and welcome you to this wonderful industry....however, some may be gruff and just want to "get'r done" and move quickly, so breathe. That's why you watch for a while, you'll know what you are dealing with.
Its a fact that New bidders can slow an auctioneers pace so they may try to "teach you" by moving quickly...Auctioneers have so much on their minds, while they are bid calling the sale....like lots per hour, the crowds vibe, the sellers glare, not losing the crowd by it taking to long to get to the things they are interested in and so on....but a Major Tip for a Newbie.... Don’t jump the gun. Don't shout out your maximum bid as soon as the bidding starts. The auctioneer will increase the price incrementally until there are no more bids...you will have probably noticed this already but when your adrenaline is flowing...you may not.
TOP SECRET - An auctioneer is trained to start calling an item at the price he believes its worth or would like it to realize....its called a price anchor in marketing. It supposed to set a value in your head subliminally...so he or she says $100...then cuts to $50...when now one raises a hand, they drop to $25....someone bids and up we go. Therefore in theory, the person getting the item for anything less than $100 generally thinks they got a deal. I love when you see an auctioneer actually blown away by the finally price. They get shocked too, often. The market determines the value....
Here's were I hope you were paying attention to the auctioneer earlier. What's his or her bid increment...What numbers do the call or chant in. And at what number do the change. Everyone is different and can alter as they see fit. Again, you'l probably have the rhythm of it but....do they count in $5s up to $100 then switch to $10s, or just go in $25s, $50s....it really depends on what they are selling and where it is at. But again ASK ! Most auctioneers will tell you and like when you ask and its good to make friends with them early. Sometimes so they notice you in a large crowd of bidders.
So okay...lets assume you din't win that lot, for what ever reason. How did that loss feel? Notice, I called it a loss. Some people really take it that way. I always say, there will be another one next week. And for most things that is true. Pick your battles. You remember that site we searched on...and how many of these auction things are going on each and every day. Keep it cool. There's more & was there a lesson in the lost bid ?
Just as I told you to watch the auctioneer and learn they style. TIP - Watch the bidders and see what they buy. After a few sales you will learn who the dealers are. The dealers are looking to buy and make a profit. Take that in to assessment when you a bidding and know your motivation. If you are buying for your home and You out bid a dealer, you probably still got a great deal. They most likely wanted to double or triple their money...they have over head. You just wanted a new dresser. But also, remember, they are old pros and love to chase off newbies that bid against them and may teach you buy making you over spend if they think you are using their knowledge against them. Are we having fun yet. I am serious. It is alot of fun and you will see all walks of life and everything you can ever or never have imagined.
Let's go later in to our hypothetical sale with your next lot of interest. You now have a bid under your belt and you are a pro. You will be much more calm. You go head to head with a salty seasoned dealer and your bid wins. Yes ! How did that feel....how was Your First Time ?
I already gave you a ton....but here are few more tips I didn't cover.
TIP 1 - Expect the best deals in the afternoon. As it tends the early-morning bidders run out of money and energy, you’ll have less competition for the winning bid. Not always true, but it can be a test of stamina....
TIP 2 - Pack a folding chair...Just have one in your car just in case there are no chairs or all the seats are taken.
and that leads me to TIP 3 - dress appropriately, especially if the auction is being held outdoors or in a garage, etc. Dress in layers if there’s no temperature control, and shoes people...be prepared to stand on concrete for hours, walk in the mud or who knows...be prepared. If I can ever afford to get back East for a visit....i'll shoot at Perky. Its the Perkiomenville Auction Monday Mornings 7AM Rain or Shine Outside....year round.
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Until next time....
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