If you have a PA Sales Tax Exemption Number and are purchasing items to be resold, Click on the "Download File" (it is a ..pdf file) above, print it, fill it out and bring it with you to the pick up. We will then amend your invoice upon check out.
If you are actively involved in buying items and then reselling them for a profit, you may want to consider filing for a PA sales tax number, this will allow you to purchase items from our auctions and not have to pay, the otherwise mandatory, 6% sales tax.
This link may get you headed in the right direction for applying for a number with the state.
Parking is often at a premium, you will want to be able to pick and choose your parking spots, this will make loading easier. Also, it is not at all uncommon for neighbors at an estate auction to call in the police for people parking on the edge of their lawns. You don't want to be one of these people.
Arriving early also allows you the ability to really take a good look at the items before you bid. We in the auction industry, usually call this a “preview”. If you arrive just before the start of the auction, you will be competing against a much larger crowd for access to inspect key items. This extra time also provides you with some extra time to pull out your smart phone and do some all-important research before bidding.
Get a Bidder Number.
At every auction I have attended, a bidder number was required to bid. Usually, there is a dedicated group of cashiers with whom you check in with first. You don't want to miss your item, because the auctioneer did not accept your bid because you had failed to obtain a bidder's number. This is another reason to arrive early, it stinks waiting in a long line just to get registered, you may even miss the first few items of the auction.
Know the Terms.
Auctioneer's generally post their terms in print ahead of the sale in their advertisements. But, just about any time you read the small print, you will see a clause similar to “Announcements made by Auctioneer just prior to the sale trump any other declarations and will take precedence.” These announcements usually take place just a minute or two before the first item sells. Things may have changed from the time the ads were placed and the sale day, do not make assumptions.
This is extremely important on big-ticket items like real-estate. Often, all sorts of stipulations can be attached and it's necessary for you to know what's going on, exactly.
Don't be Shy!
Auctions are often, chaotic, noisy and crowded. It's quite easy for novice bidders to get confused at what item is actually being sold and how much the current bid is up to. The auctioneer wants to keep the pace of the auction going at a clip, but even more important to them is NOT MISSING YOUR BID. Don't be shy to waive your hands, ask for a pause, and seek clear confirmation on what's going on. The auctioneer will always prefer you to briefly halt the auction and seek clarity before the hammer is dropped, as opposed to having to deal with an awkward situation after the fact.
Wait A Little to Bid.
You don't want to raise your hand to bid as soon as an item as soon as it is presented.
Auctioneers often follow this pattern on when auctioning an item. They start the bidding high, sometimes unrealistically high on an item. Then they gradually reduce the opening bid in increments until someone raises their hand or paddle to bid.
Something like this for an item that may end up selling for $50.00...
Do I hear $100, Do I hear $100 for this xxx?
I need $100, who will give me $100?
Okay, how about $75, do I hear $75?
$50, I need $50.
This will continue down until somebody raises their hand. Even if your willing to pay the $50, wait until the price drops down to a relatively low number before jumping in. If it were me, I'd probably raise my hand at $20 or so.
Advanced Tip: Don't let the opening bid drop to an embarrassingly low amount. The auctioneer may be inclined to just yell out “PASS” and continue on to the next item. It is their job to get the most money for their clients and instead of selling an item for a ridiculously low amount, they may elect to rather not sell that item altogether. This is definitely a means of gaining the attention of the crowd. This generally happens more at the start and near the of the auction.
Lastly, Come Prepared.
If you have a truck or trailer available, bring it! Even if your not planning on making any larger purchases, you just never know and will kick yourself later. Also, don't forget boxes, blankets, and perhaps most importantly for outdoor estate auctions... a comfortable chair!
We hope you have fun at your next auction!
In the auction world, Absolute means that all of the items offered for sale are going to get sold regardless of how much they get bid up to.
Plainly said, absolute auctions are far and away the most fun type of auction you can be a part of, the chance for scoring a great deal is greatly augmented when you know that everything needs to be sold, it just heightens the overall experience.
Although, sometimes it is the Auctioneers responsibility to institute the use of Reserves.
Reserves are a method of protecting the consignor's liability regarding the selling price of their assets. If used, the reserve price is agreed upon between the consignor and the auctioneer ahead of the event. Reserves are especially important if there is a mismatch between the types of items regularly sold at a specific auction house and this particular item. A genuine Picasso is most likely going to get dramatically undersold at a local farm auction, conversely, your $20,000 John Deere tractor is not going to do too well down on 5th Ave. This is definitely an acceptable time for the Auctioneer to implement a reserve price, quite frankly, it should be their obligation.
Reserves may also be used when the buyer has a specific value in mind, but it is questionable if the market is willing to match that expectation.
At least here in PA (Pittsburgh area), all auctions should be expected to have reserves (whether explicitly stated or not) unless they are specifically advertised as "Absolute". If the term "Absolute" is found in any advertising, there should not be any reserves in place.
Reserves may be encountered in several different forms per the discretion of the auctioneer. Sometimes the auctioneer may announce that some items have reserves in place, they may let the audience bid freely and then announce to the crowd that the "reserve has been met", or if bidding does not go high enough, they may say something like "item is passed".
At our auction company, Bid On Estates, we rarely implement any reserves, we just don't like them. Although, from time to time, we may find them necessary to use. In these rare cases, instead of a hidden reserve, we will just clearly state that the opening bid is "x" amount. We believe this is the easiest and most transparent method to handling these special scenarios.
We strongly believe in the power of the free market. Our approach to conducting auctions relies upon the broad reach of the internet for all of our bids, so we are not limited to receive bids solely from the people that happen to be in the room on that particular day.
Feel free to comment, would love to hear your thoughts.
"Bidder's Choice" is a phrase your going to hear a lot of when you attend an auction, but it's not always clearly defined, as it is so common in auctions that I think many auctioneers just assume you are familiar with the term.
Bidder's Choice is a grouping strategy used by auctioneers when there are a lot of relatively similar items, i.e. a table full of books, or several box lots of tools. If the auctioneer sold each item individually, it could end up taking a great deal of time and if they grouped all of the items together into one big lot, they probably would be losing revenue. So, Bidder's Choice get implemented.
So, let's use that table full of books as an example. There could be 200 books of relatively little value, several interesting books about art, a couple of niche books about woodworking, and three or four rare first editions that to laymen eye appear unassuming and common.
The Auctioneer may not be an authority on the values, so he'll announce the parameters of the bidder's choice. In this case he would say any single book on top of this specific table and then start the bidding.
Bidders will compete against each other until someone has the high and unchallenged bid. It is now their right to choose as many books at this price as they wish. They may only take 1, perhaps 2. After their selection is made, the auctioneer will start a new round of bidding.
It's always fun bidding bidder's choice, because quite often you really want an item but give up bidding and someone else wins, but they don't take the item you wanted! So, you jump back in on the second round and purchase that book for much less than expected. But few things are more heartbreaking than watching that other bidder walk up and grab your title right in front of your eyes....
Usually the auctioneer will commence a few rounds of this procedure until the bids start to become very low, at that point, they may group all of the remaining unpicked books into one lot and then auction that as a whole.
Bidder's Choice is one of the few things that doesn't lend itself all that well to online auctions like we conduct here at Bid On Estates, it just becomes too confusing. Instead, we usually just take the long road and break up all the lots into reasonable chunks and then let free market do it's work.
Best of luck and hope to see you at the next BidOnEstates.com auction!
A buyer's premium is effectively a service fee paid by the high bidder of an item sold at auction to the auctioneer. A buyer's fee of 10% would imply that if you are the high bidder on a lot that sold for $100.00, you would be responsible to pay $110.00 at check out. ($100.00 bid plus 10% for a total of $110.00).
Buyer's premiums were introduced by the larger NYC auction companies a few decades ago as a way to entice consignor's of high end goods to choose their company to represent them. The model proliferated out and is now practiced by the FAR majority of auctioneers. Buyer's premiums (in our area, outside Pittsburgh, PA) generally range from around 10% up to about 20%. Some of the largest auction houses now rarely charge a commission to sellers and can charge the buyer up to 40% in buyer's premiums!
It is very important to read the auction announcements slowly, not all auctioneers do a great job of making their policies clear, you want to be aware of your end responsibilities. It is extremely common for their to be just a one line announcement "15% buyer's premium". That can end up being a lot of money.
Many local auctioneers discount a couple of percentage points off of the buyer's premium for those paying with cash or check, as credit card service fees are not incurred.