4 Tips For Buying Cars At Auction

blue toy car on a block of letters spelling auction and a gavel about to hit them

4 Tips For Buying A Car At Auction

Buying a car at auction has the potential to save you thousands of dollars, but it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for so that you can get the best possible deal. Here are some tips for first-time buyers to help you make the most out of buying a car at auction.

Do Your Research

When going to an auction it’s important to know beforehand the types of makes and models you’re interested in, as well as having an indication of prices that suit your budget. There are plenty of tools online that you can use to gain an understanding of prices, however be aware that many of these reflect only the listing price and not what the car actually sold for.

When doing your research consider using a site like Prices People Pay, which gives you access to prices that cars sold for at auction over the latest 12 months. Prices People Pay provides you with actual sales data, rather than just listing prices, with multiple filters including make, model, badge, model year, kilometres and more to narrow your search to only what you want to see. Having access to digital tools like this, even while you’re participating at the auction, can give you that added confidence in deciding what to bid.

Attend a pre-auction viewing and inspect the car as best as possible

Before an auction, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a viewing where you can inspect any cars you are interested in buying. Make sure you thoroughly inspect the car and check for damage, any other faults and any service history.  A viewing is also a good time to learn if the vehicle is registered or has a pink slip.

It’s important to also consider the origin of the vehicle. Cars at auction come from a range of sources, each with their own pros and cons. Generally, ex-government, council and fleet cars will be in the best condition and come with complete service histories. If you’re not confident attending by yourself, consider asking a relative or friend to come along with you for a second opinion.

Understand Cost

Before working out the final budget for your new car, ensure you understand the fees associated with buying at auction. Most auction houses will charge processing, administration and buying fees. It’s important that you are aware of these before you bid at auction, so you can factor them into your budget. You’ll also need to consider stamp duty, depending on the type of car you decide to buy, as well as the cost of registering the car if it is not already registered.

Car Auction car yard with hundreds of new cars

Know When To Buy

Did you know that the time of year you buy at auction has an impact on price? To get the best deal, look at buying a car during the Winter months, where cars are often cheapest. Like the property market, there are generally less bidders active during the winter months. Additionally, there are generally an influx of cars from the rental industry that add to the supply of cars to choose from.

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