A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Cars at Dealer Auctions

by | May 22, 2019 | Education Feature

Buying cars at an auction is a great way to source quality vehicles for a low price, whether you need them for company use or are establishing your own vehicle resale business.

The world of online auctions can seem intimidating, but with a bit of insider information, you’ll have no trouble navigating the system.

Advantages of using an online auction

Online auctions are simple and convenient. There’s no need to travel, no need to wait through the sale of vehicles you aren’t interested in, and the whole process is streamlined compared to an in-person auction experience.

And convenience isn’t the only advantage of online car auctions these days. Another important benefit is inventory; the average online auction will have a lot more for your to choose from than a live auction.

What to do first

The first step for joining any online car auctions is getting you or your company registered with the auction site. To register, you’ll need all the basic information about your business, proof of existence, and a verifiable way to pay.

Registering will save you a lot of time and effort later on. If you find the perfect vehicle, you’ll want to be able to make an offer right away. For most online auction sites, you can only bid in a real-time auction if you’ve already registered with the site.

Get as much information as you can before bidding

It’s always a good idea to source some automobile leads before you go to auction. These leads will give you an idea of what’s available, typical prices for various types of vehicles, and even the average mileage of used cars going up for sale.

If you’re acquiring cars or vans for your company, what do you need in a vehicle? Do you need space for people, or for goods? Do you need exterior space for a name or advertisement on the side of your car? What kind of gas mileage are you hoping for, and how much do you need to be able to tow or carry in your vehicle?

Ask your questions

Whether you take part in a live auction or one online, it’s very important that you ask questions before you get there. This is especially important if you don’t know a lot about cars. Your questions could be anything from “what type of vehicle will be best for my company?” to “is this particular car a good buy?”

It’s always a good idea to have a professional mechanic’s help whenever you buy a used car. In most cases, an auto auction site will be happy to let your third-party mechanic come to look at any car you’re interested in before the auction actually begins.

Don’t bid because other people are bidding

One of the temptations in any auction is to make a bid just because other people are doing so. Once people start making offers for a particular vehicle, it’s easy to think that you’re missing out in some way if you don’t join in.

Bidding on a vehicle that’s not right for you doesn’t help you at all. So make sure you’ve done your research to know what you need, what’s available, and what kind of prices you can afford.

Be ready to pay before you bid

In most online car auctions, you have to pay a percentage of the price as soon as your bid is confirmed. Typically, the whole price is due within 24 to 48 hours of making your initial bid. In most cases, your bid can’t be withdrawn.

If you make a bid on a vehicle, and your bid is accepted, you won’t be able to take it back and will be liable for the full price. It’s important to be sure you’ve made the right choice before you start bidding on any given vehicle.

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