#350 Go to an Auction

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Go to an Auction

Have you ever been to an auction? You’ve probably at least seen a dramatic version on television. Someone unintentionally raises a hand and winds up having purchased an expensive, unwanted item. In reality, that doesn’t happen – at least not in an average auction. It may be that way at Christie’s in New York with items that cost tens of thousands of dollars but not at your typical local auction house.

An auction can be great fun. It’s bargain shopping at it finest. Generally speaking you get there a little early and browse through the items to see if there is anything that you want. Once you decide you’ll bid on something, check it out. Usually, when you buy something at auction – you buy it ‘as is’. Consider a top range budget for your item but always, always start as low as possible. In a lot of local auctions that means $1.00. I can’t tell you how many chairs I’ve bought over time for a single dollar because they were basically ugly and no one else wanted them. They were great additions to my basement teen den and a simple slipcover handled the ugly.

Perhaps the most important note about bidding on items at an auction is to honor your top price limit. From time to time you may find yourself in a bidding war with someone else who has decided to take home the one thing you wanted. Since you don’t know their limit – honor yours. It’s super frustrating to get home and realize you completely overpaid for something just because you wanted to ‘win’. A little internet research prior to the bidding for your item is helpful.

Sometimes, time is an drawback at auctions. You may get there in time to browse the offering but then wait all morning for the item you want to come up for bid. Take a book and settle in. Most of the time there are dining areas or at least coffee and donuts so that you’ve not starve.

My favorite auctions are estate sales on premises. An auctioneer moves around the property selling boxes of items collected from the home. You bid on the entire box of ‘smalls’ even though you may only want one thing in the box. You take it all if you win. Many of my yard sales were for the ‘other things’ that I inadvertently obtained by bidding on a box lot. It may be everything that came out from under the kitchen sink – a box filled with cleaning supplies and I start the bidding at $1. Most people are not there for the cleaning supplies and so I win the box… grab a bargain… and end up with random items that may or may not end up in the trash.

Auction house also sell box lots. They tend to be more organized and related, meaning that there are less ‘random’ elements. If you are bidding on a box because there is a vase you like… chances are the whole box is related to flowers or decorating. Prices may go higher at auction houses as well because resale dealers ten to get merchandise there. If there are antiques, you can be sure people with retail space are there supplying their inventory.

It’s an experience though and can be an adventure that reaps rewards. Hop online and find out when and where an estate sale is being conducted to you and…

Go to an auction.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.


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