The Manheim dealer auction is one of the best-known car dealer auctions, with locations across the nation. But it’s far from the only game in town. If you’re looking to save big on a discount car, car dealer auctions are an excellent bet. Here’s how to find the best car dealer auctions in your area.
Know Admissions Requirements
There are two general types of car auctions: those open to the general public, and those that require special credentials. Auctions open to the general public may not offer as many good deals since more people have access and prices, therefore, get more quickly driven up. Most special credential auctions are designed for dealers. That means you’ll have to seek a dealer license.
Each state establishes its own requirements for dealer licenses. The process can be quite time-consuming, so plan ahead and apply early. Even if you don’t plan to sell, a dealer license can help you save cash at dealer auctions. If you get an amazing deal and later change your mind, your license will ensure you can legally sell the car.
If you’re new to the world of dealer auctions, get to know the people who are part of the community. Local meetups are a vital resource. Once you have a few friends in the community, ask them which auctions are best.
Consider Going Online
A car auction can be a high-stress environment, particularly for the newly initiated. If you’d like to get your feet wet with car auctions but aren’t ready to go in person, try an online dealer auction instead. These auctions feature most of the same offerings as other auctions, including salvage vehicles. But rather than bidding in person, you bid online, like you would on ebay or another auction site.
Online auction sites make it easy to review the specific terms of the auction. You may also be better equipped to resist impulse purchases, since you won’t be trapped in the high-stakes, adrenaline-fueled environment of an in-person auction.
Be Willing to Shop Around
If you’ve ever tried consignment store shopping, you already have an experience that’s substantially analogous to that of buying at a vehicle auction. You need to be willing to shop around to find something great. That means sticking around to see what goes up for sale, and also perusing multiple auctions until you find the right one.
If you don’t have the time or energy to go to numerous in-person auctions, online auctions offer a chance to shop around with the simple click of a button.
Know What You Want
Auctions prey on our competitive drives. You might find yourself bidding on a car you don’t even want just for the thrill of the win. That’s not healthy for your bank account, and can sour you on the auction experience before you even spend much time on car auctions.
Before going to an auction, make a clear list of what you want. That list should include:
- Specific types of cars.
- Whether you’re willing to purchase cars with title problems.
- The maximum price you’re willing to pay, as well as the maximum price per car.
- Any limitations on items you won’t buy.
By committing it to writing, you make it less likely that you’ll go outside of your comfort zone on an impulse buy.
Read Online Reviews and Previews
The largest online and in person car auctions typically have a significant cult following. Sites such as Reddit and Quora are home to questions about these large auctions, making them a great resource for information about any and all large auctions you might consider.
Every auction has its own unique culture, including price points, attitude of the buyers, and the type of vehicles that tend to go up for sale. Get to know the culture of each auction you plan to attend. This helps you determine whether the auction is a good fit, and prevents you from making any auction faux pas.
Know How to Get the Most Out of the Auction
Attending an auction is virtually useless if you don’t know how to get the most out of the process! A few simple tricks can help you get the best possible deal:
- Research the cars you might be interested in ahead of time, so you know their sale value and auction value.
- Explore which dealers will be there, and check out their reputations to see what types of vehicles they have previously offered.
- Go prepared to pay in cash. Lenders won’t typically finance vehicles sold at auctions, and even if they would, financing an auction car is a risky financial strategy.
- Know exactly what your state’s title laws say. In most cases, you don’t have to buy a car if you’re not given the car in a certain number of days.
- Always ask for a title report, and beware of title washing—a process of concealing previous damage by moving a car across state lines.
- Know whether you’ll be able to insure the vehicle, and at what price, ahead of time.
- Carefully read the sales contract before you sign on the dotted line. That contract, not the word of the dealer, is what will determine the terms of the sale.
- Be mindful of little-known auctions and dealers who have never sold before, since they may be selling scams.