Bidding at live auctions may seem pretty simple, but it can actually be rather complicated. You have to know what goes on at the auction, how the auctioneer works the crowd, and how the moderator will deal with online bidders. Being aware of certain strategies can improve your chances of being a successful bidder.
General Tips and Strategy
The best strategy of all, whether participating at an auction in person or online, is to know the auction. Preview it and read up on it, making sure you know what is being sold and the value of those items. The auctioneer is taught to work the crowd to get the most money from bidders, so if you already know the value of the item in question, you'll know what to offer. You also have to know your budget and stick to it.
The best auctions are the ones that thousands of people don't know about. You will need to search these out. When you do find one you're interested in, research the items to be auctioned. Bring a magnifying glass to the auction so you can inspect the items. And don't believe everything the auctioneer says, either. Remember, his job is to get as much money as possible from bidders.
"Bottom Feeder" Bids
The "bottom feeder" is an extremely low bid that is usually made before the auctioneer has even finished talking about the item. If you plan to issue a bottom feeder bid, it's best to be near the auctioneer and just give him a hand signal. This will put the auctioneer on notice that you're making a low bid and you'll have the item if no one else bids higher. The amounts of these bids are usually only a couple of dollars, and it's a good way to get a lot of things that no one else really wants.
Big Ticket Items
If you plan to bid for a big item that will probably go for a large sum of money, make sure you have a fixed number in your mind that you're willing to spend and that is within your budget. Ideally, it will be higher than everybody else's bid. Let everyone else participate in the bidding war, and save your bid for the last moment. If you did your homework, your bid should get you the item you desire.
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