Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated February 21, 2009)
Are you in the market for a great deal on a great vehicle? Of course you are; who isn't? Well then, why not take a look at any of the various different kinds of car auctions out there. At a car auction, you can purchase a great vehicle for a great deal. It is possible to get cars for as little as 5% of the regular retail value. Now, while this type of deal sounds great, keep in mind the simple phrase of "let the buyer beware." I say this because most auctions are conducted under an "as is" restriction. While there are some laws out there to help protect the consumer, which are collectively known as lemon laws, these don't typically cover auctions. Because of that, the potential auction member should have a set of guidelines in order to help them out.
You can find auction listings by either going online or looking in the newspaper. Beware, though, of any listing that requires you to pay money before being given information. These types of services are simply selling information that can be received for free by anyone that calls and asks. Call any local police or sheriff's department and they can give you the dates and times for the next available auction.
When going to an auction you should also find out beforehand whether or not you can inspect the vehicle prior to the auction. If you can, take a mechanic along with you to the inspection. If you are not able to do this there are some things that you can look out for that give you a pretty accurate idea of what you are going to be purchasing. Keep an eye out for any signs of rust, wear or degradation of tires, fading of upholstery, and other such tell-tale signs of neglect. These signs can offer a fairly accurate description of the care and maintenance that the car has received.
Once you have decided which vehicle that you would like to purchase, get ready to make your bid. If it is a silent auction, you won't find out if you have actually won the car until the auction is finished. In the event that it is a live auction, then you are going to be actively bidding against someone else that wants that car as well. When this happens, you need to remember that there are going to be other people that want that vehicle as much as you do, so the price can rise extremely rapidly. You should have a set budget that you can use to purchase the car, and should preferably have it on hand. By having your cash limit on hand, you ensure that you do not go over what you can spend.
Prior to going to the auction, make sure that you have a method for removing the car ready to go. Considering that you have no idea conclusively whether or not the car works, you are going to need a backup way of removing the car from the auction. Many times auction sites are going to allow you to store the vehicle for a day or two at most, so you are going to want to move quickly.
Finally, make sure that you receive all paperwork associated with the car prior to leaving the auction. This means that you are going to need the title, bill of sales and so on, to make sure that you can get the car switched into your name.
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