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How To Buy A Used Car At An Auction

Friday, February 5th, 2016
benefits of car auctions

Updated on 10/6/2020

You may associate auctions with antiques, artwork, or farm equipment, but did you know that you can also buy a used car at these events? If you are looking for a quality used vehicle, an auction can be an easy and secure way to find one. It is best to prepare before attending this type of event. There are a number of steps you can take to make sure you are ready.

Go to the right auction

Some auctions can be better than others when it comes to getting a used car. For example, big-name websites do offer some good deals, but local auction houses can provide more vehicles for better prices. You will want to look for public events that don’t require a dealer’s license. Also, ask about fees and deposits before attending the auction you choose.

Figure out the value of the cars you want

Before you head to a vehicle auction, it is important to take a look at the catalog to see what types of cars are available. Once you see something you are interested in, you can refer to a vehicle value listing or book. These will give you a solid idea of what to bid at the auction and ensure you don’t pay too much for a vehicle. Keep the information with you while you are at the event in case you need to look at it during bidding.

Know your budget

Auctions are fast-paced and exciting, so it can be easy to get caught up in the moment. Not setting a budget could cause you to bid more than you can afford. Be sure to set a budget that you can stick with. You should account for any fees or premiums you will have to pay the auction house after the event closes.

Know how to pay

Some recommend that you always attend used car auctions with cash. But, payment methods have changed with technology. You can pay with cash if you like, but other methods include checks, financing, and credit cards. Before you go to an auction, call to verify what payment methods are available.

Get the history of the vehicles you like

Just as you would with any used car, get the vehicle’s history and backstory before you bid on it. Get to the auction a little early and speak to the seller if you can. You can also research the cars at the auction before you get to the event. Getting the history of the car ensures you know everything that has happened to it including changes, upgrades, accidents, or repairs.

Make sure you will get the title after the auction

It is vital to remember to get the title of the vehicle after the car auction. Ensure that you are going to be receiving the title once your payment has cleared for the vehicle, if you are paying with a check. For most banks, this process usually takes about ten business days.

Not having access to the title within that time frame could mean there is something wrong with the used car or its history. The vehicle could be stolen or there may be information the owner does not want you to know. A clean sale means you will have the title in your hand if you paid with cash or check.

Want to learn more about used car auctions?

Contact High Plains Auctioneers at (806) 244-6776 to learn more about selling or buying at auctions. You can also view our Upcoming Auctions to see what we will have available!