While we may be professionals in the world of estate auctions and estate sales, the truth is that these are topics that most people don’t know a whole lot about. There’s a lot of learning to go around — both for people who wish to host these events, and for those who like to attend them.
For auction hosts, it’s important to know how to get the most out of your auction, utilizing many factors such as marketing, professional appraising, and more. Buyers, on the other hand, benefit greatly from knowing proper auction etiquette, as well as common sense tips which will prevent them from making poor financial choices.
Let’s talk about those tips and etiquette. If you are on our site because you love finding the best estate auctions and sales in the greater Kansas City area, you’ll be better off at your next auction after reading this page.
Attend the Auction Preview
While the precise timing depends on the auction in question, almost every auction has a preview period where you’re able to inspect items in-person and see what’s in store. This is something you should absolutely do if you have serious intentions to score a great deal from someone’s Kansas City estate. There are several benefits to attending an auction preview. Here is why you should make every effort to show up early:
It Allows You to See the Full Catalog: First off, when you attend an auction preview, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. This can be beneficial because you can find out beforehand if there’s enough there to hold your interest. Suppose you’re looking for high-quality antiques. You may be interested in attending the event because antiques are common at estate auctions, but if you go to the preview and find that you’re not actually interested in anything they’re selling, you’ll save yourself a lot of time.
It Allows You to Inspect the Items: It’s important to know that the vast majority of items at estate auctions are auctioned off “as-is.” This means you’re getting used products which have not had any special attention to make them salable. In most instances, this is fine — the majority of products at estate sales are usually in perfectly pleasant condition. But sometimes, an item will go up for auction that may have defects or deficiencies that not everyone is okay with. It wouldn’t be fun to bid on a beautiful record player, only to find that its sound quality is abysmal.
It Allows You to Get Registered: With most auctions, it’s not as simple as just walking in and shouting out bids wherever there’s an auctioneer. There’s typically some kind of check-in process, and you’ll usually get a bidder’s number. One huge bummer is when people attend an auction for a big-ticket item, only to be held up by logistical tasks when they get there, ultimately missing their chance to bid. Ouch! Getting there early allows you to be exactly where you want to be when the action starts.
Auctions are fun, energetic, and quite often a path to amazing deals. However, not everything is rosy. There’s a certain exciting impulse that’s triggered when you’re bidding on things, and to certain people, this is somewhat addictive, and they might find themselves excitedly bidding on items that they had zero intentions of owning, simply because they’re caught up on snagging a great deal.
While we have every interest in making the most amount of money possible for our estate auction clients, we are also lifelong residents of the Kansas City area, and we don’t want our fellow community members falling prey to dangerous impulses that could put them into an undesirable financial position.
That’s why it’s a good idea to set a spending limit before you come into an auction. Many people take a similar approach to gambling — you walk in the building with a set amount that you’re “allowed” to spend. If you go a penny over that, you’ve gotta cut yourself off.
By familiarizing yourself with auction inventory and setting that mental limit for yourself, you’ll do a lot to prevent yourself from spending a lot more than you bargained for.
While most auctions have options for credit cards and digital payments, it’s best to show up with good, old-fashioned cash. If you peek into our auction rules, you’ll find that there are certain premiums that are incurred when you successfully win an auction. These fees pay the auction company for their services rendered, but they are sometimes higher with credit and debit payments because of the complexities which are associated with digital payment processing.
Did you know that your demeanor plays a big part in how likely you are to snag the item you want? Being in an auction can be like swimming in a shark pit, and if you show nervousness, weakness, or hesitation, more experienced bidders might see it as an opportunity to walk all over you. It’s important to be calm and confident when you attend an auction — both in the way that you carry yourself, and the way that you react to other people.
Don’t Get Intimidated
The first thing you’ll want to make sure of is to not let yourself become intimidated on the auction floor. Bidding can be a hectic experience, but you’re not literally swimming with sharks. An auction is no reason to get stressed out, and if you make it a point to be present during the bidding of several items beforehand, you’ll get a good feel of what the process looks like.
People can be pretty good at reading body language — both in your composure and speech. So if you really are feeling intimidated, try not to show it. If there’s an aggressive bidder in the arena, you can bet they’ll see you as an easy target, and that’s not the kind of person you want to get in a bidding war with.
On the other hand, if you exhibit confidence yourself, you may actually intimidate other people. Having a good poker face is good for auctions — even if you’re a nervous wreck inside, people will potentially back down if you boldly pronounce your bids with confidence. This sends the message that you’re willing to go as high as possible to get your item.
If you start wavering at the prices you’re throwing out, people will see that the price is getting too high for comfort. If they have more money to burn, that’s a good opportunity to announce a fat bid to end the game for good. But if they have zero evidence to believe that you’re even close to reaching your spending limit, they might be the ones who end up backing down.
This is an important one, and it goes hand-in-hand with the preparation process we outlined above. Make sure you have a reasonably good estimation of the value of each product! As an auction company ourselves, one reason that profits are made during an auction is that many bidders don’t do their research, and actually end up paying more than market value for a hot item.
While some items are priceless and well worth exorbitant amounts of money, there are many others which are fairly easy to obtain in any store.
Are you looking at a unique Civil War rifle that has the original etched initials of a Yankee general? Yeah, that’s not something you can just go buy at any store, so it’s probably worth bidding on, even if the price gets high.
But for day-to-day projects such as TVs, tools, and game consoles, you can easily end up exceeding market value if you get caught in a bidding war. At estate auctions, you have the potential to score amazing deals, but it doesn’t always work out that way, so make sure to do your research beforehand!
Let’s not kid ourselves — for the person and auction company, the highest priority is generating a solid return from the auction. Likewise, for bidders on the floor, their primary purpose is to score items at a great value. With that being said, there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a fun experience.
It’s best to go into auctions with the expectation of having a good time. One way to do this is to not have unrealistic expectations — understand that there is a real chance you won’t end up snagging the item you want. Unfortunately, we’ve seen many auctions where this is enough to ruin someone’s day.
Estate auctions can be an entertaining and electrifying experience, but you’ll only make yourself miserable if you only go in expecting to win. Whether you end up acquiring your prized item or not, remember that there’s nothing more important than your health and happiness.
Our last auction tip? Knowing where to find ‘em. It’s not good being an auction pro if you can’t ever find good auctions to go to, and that’s where Busy Beever comes in. We host auctions all over the Greater Kansas City area. If you’re in east Kansas or West Missouri, we always have an event coming up soon, whether you’re in Olathe, Independence, Overland Park, Stilwell, Tonganoxie, or any of the other surrounding areas.
If you want to know about our upcoming auctions and estate sales, be sure to check the home page of our website and to contact us if you have any specific queries. We’ll be happy to answer your questions so that you can be adequately prepared to land some smashing bids at our next Kansas City estate auction. Can’t wait to see you there!