Tips to buying at Car Auctions – Enthusiast Motor Insurance

August 17th, 2021

Lots of us during this time of travel bans and zero interest rates will have toyed with the idea of acquiring another ‘hobby’ vehicle. Or perhaps buying our very first.

Throughout our post-2019 world, the prices being sought and sometimes realised by interesting vehicles have been behaving in strangeish ways. However, the numbers on the windscreen or seen when the gavel falls at auction shouldn’t deter a committed acquirer of classic models.

Vendors rarely know the eventual value of a vehicle they have for sale. They look at online classifieds or magazine value charts or they log into an online auction to see a pristine example of their model set a new record.

‘Mine’s not too bad, it could make that much’ might guide their thinking before cobbling together an advertisement that makes the car sound way better than it actually is, accompanied by an eye-watering asking price.

Auction sales present different challenges, because the vehicle that catches your eye will have a similar impact on others. Getting caught in a bidding duel, whether in person on the auction-house floor or at home with your cursor hovering above ‘Bid Now’, is possible and often costly.

Avoiding paying too much for a specialist vehicle is not always easy, especially if it is something rarely seen in the market. However, there are ways to make the process a little less hazardous.

Do Your Research  

Backtracking through auction reports and following blogs relating to the vehicle you are trying to buy can be very useful. Sometimes a vehicle coming up for auction will have apparently been ‘sold’ before and you may be able to secure it second time around for a better price.

Knowing what the world market is doing can be some help as well, especially since countries where particular vehicles are common may sell them for a lot less than local vendors. It may even prove cheaper to buy offshore.

Don’t Be Scared To Haggle  

Anyone who puts a silly price on a vehicle and refuses to negotiate isn’t serious about selling. Nor is the auction vendor who sets an excessive reserve. However, auction houses won’t tolerate such activity for long because repeat ‘no sales’ on the same lot is bad for their public image.

If a car at auction doesn’t meet reserve you can leave a written offer for the vendor. Don’t expect an answer immediately but often a seller will accept the lower offer in preference to taking their chances on the next sale.

Dealers always build a decent margin into their asking prices, so if you don’t have a trade-in that owes the finance company more than it’s worth, there will be room for movement.

Private vendors can be more difficult, especially if they have seen cars similar to theirs sell for hefty money. Point out if you can, areas where the example they are selling needs restoration or repair and have some idea what those kinds of repairs might cost.   

Avoid Obsession

Anyone who has engaged in online bidding knows there is a point at which you should let the object go and find another one.  Then the human desire to win kicks in and can prove costly.

If you think you might be tempted to spend beyond your limit, put a trusted and level headed friend in charge of the Bid button.

If the car is being sold privately then a second pair of eyes and the voice of reason can help when inspecting a prospective purchase and when the time comes to talk price.

Once the deal is done, the vehicle is yours and so is the risk. This can be of particular concern if buying at a distance then needing to get your purchase delivered by road, rail or a combination of both.

Enthusiast Insurance is able to cover virtually any vehicle being transported anywhere within Australia and do it within minutes of your purchase being concluded.

All you need do is head to the Enthusiast website any time of the day or night and obtain a Quick Quote. Accepting is easy and so is arranging payment, in easy monthly instalments at no extra cost.