Whether you’re a seasoned attendee at jewellery auctions or you’re thinking of visiting a furniture auction for the first time, buying items at auction is definitely worth the time and effort – but there’s more to it than simply bidding on items.
In today’s post, we’re offering our expert tips for buying items at auction, breaking down the process and practises that ensure you’re getting more out of your next auction than just a good day out.
Research before you go
If you’re planning on heading to auctions, it always pays to do a little research before you go. You don’t have to be experienced auctioneers and valuers to get a gauge on what items are worth, as a little online research can go a long way in arming you with sufficient knowledge to ensure you can bag a bargain and don’t overpay.
Of course, the beauty of auctions is that items often go for more or less than you may have expected, but having a rough idea of the market value, as well as the top price you’re willing to pay, prior to the event, will ensure you get the best possible deal.
Allow time to view the lots
Nowadays, many auction houses list their upcoming lots online, in addition to providing the opportunity to view them in person before bidding begins on the day (our regular auction viewings take place on a Wednesday morning). Whether you’re hoping to purchase one or several items, allowing time to view lots beforehand will maximise your time on the day and identify the key pieces you want to bid on before you’ve even stepped into the room.
Viewing lots online will help narrow down your search and calculate a rough budget, while allowing time to view the items in person offers the chance for a closer inspection, helping to identify any concerns that may affect the price or whether you bid at all.
Set yourself a budget
Caught up in the thrill and excitement of an auction, it’s easy to get carried away during the bidding process. But it’s important to remember that once a winning bid has been accepted, you’re legally obliged to pay that price on the day, as well as the auction house commission.
With this in mind, it’s advisable to set yourself a realistic budget before you arrive – whether that’s calculating your overall budget or what you’re willing to pay for individual items. It’s also a good idea to confirm payment methods and have the cash at the ready, as not all venues will accept card payments.
Register to bid
With a budget in place and chosen items decided, you’re almost ready to begin. But first, it’s best you register with the auction house ahead of time. While you can sign up at the auction here at Featonby’s, we encourage attendees to do this in advance – as this way, we can clearly identify our bidders and you save yourself the hassle of completing additional paperwork on the day.
Depending on the setup and layout of the auction house, it can sometimes get crowded during special sales, so getting your bid noticed can be challenging – especially if you’re new to the auction process. However, where possible, maximise your chances of being seen and heard by choosing visible positions in clear view of the auctioneer so that they can register your bids with ease.
Don’t get disheartened
Whether you love to attend vintage watch auctions or you’re a first-timer heading to a collectors auction, you’ll soon realise that you won’t win every bid and may well come away with nothing – but don’t let this dampen your spirits. Most auctioneers hold regular auctions (ours are every Thursday), so you won’t have to wait long to find something else that catches your eye.
Plan for transport
With a regular stream of items coming into auction houses, it’s not surprising that sold lots have to be removed from the auction house relatively quickly. Therefore, it’s worth planning how you’re going to get items home before you buy to avoid any unnecessary stress on the day.
With some careful research, planning and budgeting, buying at auction can be a rewarding and fun experience – whether you’re a newcomer to local auctions in the North East or a seasoned buyer nationwide. So, why not come along and find out what all the fuss is about?
To find out more about buying at Featonby’s, read our online guide to the buying process.