What you need to know about buying a car at an online auction

What you need to know about buying a car at an online auction

Buying a car does not always have to mean trawling dealership yards or looking through the online classifieds for private sellers. You can also look at buying a car from an online auction, which can be an efficient process if you know how to bid correctly. Below is everything you need to know about buying a car at an online auction.

Research is key

Online car auctions with Wesbank repossessed cars for sale offer a plethora of options to choose from.  Because of this, it is vital to research what is on offer from the auction and which cars you are interested in. If you enter the auction with this knowledge, you will better be able to win the bid.

You should request vehicle history if this is not listed in the catalogue. This is especially important as with an online auction, you will not be able to inspect the car in person, and will need to rely on these reports to get a full picture of the vehicle you are looking at bidding on. You may be able to arrange an in-person inspection for some online bidding sites, but be warned that you may have to pay a fee for this.

Keep your options open

One of the most beneficial reasons for taking part in an online car auction is that you are able to leave the auction easily because if the bidding becomes too steep, there is most likely another deal just around the corner. It is also important not to hem yourself in by not looking at other cars or auctions.

Be willing to look at other options, as you may not be able to bid high enough on the car that has caught your eye. You should always look for more than one auction that is happening, in case you find the car of your dreams and are able to bid on it in a different auction. You may have to compromise in order to find a car that suits your needs, thus taking an earlier model over the latest one.

Know car values before you bid

One of the perks of bidding online means that you can research the value of the cars before the auction starts, so you are aware of whether the asking price is too high or if it is a real bargain. As with a live auction, do not fake your knowledge as this could mean you pay more than what the car is worth.

There are several sites you can visit online to find out the value of a car before you start bidding. You may find that the asking bid of the car is too high or that it is way under the value, which can be a huge bargain. Equipping yourself with this knowledge will allow you to budget as well, as the auction houses may be offering high-quality cars for prices within your budget and price range.

Make use of available help

Many online auction sites understand that some of their clientele are new to buying at auction, and so have helpers in place on their site to assist you with queries before, during and after the auction.

These auction specialists are experts in helping people find, bid on and win vehicles and their help should not be underestimated. Instead of assuming that because an auction is online it will be ‘easier’ to win, rather ask for as much help as possible in order to make your first online auction a success. Their services are usually free and can be highly effective if you are competing against other more experienced bidders.

Do not get caught up in the bidding

It can be easy to become caught up in the bidding, but this could cause you to spend hundreds or even thousands more than what a car is worth. Try not to pin all of your hope onto one vehicle, as this will cause you to become competitive and bid over your budget.

Be ready to leave an auction if you are unable to win the car of your dreams or if you feel that the bidding is becoming too extreme for you. It can be exciting to see that you are becoming closer to winning the car, but if you are out of your depth it is best to walk away and save yourself from overspending.

Online auctions are much more efficient than attending live auction, but you will still have to remember auction etiquette and keep your wits about you when bidding. It is important to remember that the auctioneer is most likely in control of both a live and online auction at the same time, so remain patient while you place bids. Always research the value of a car and make use of the auction specialists who are in place to help you along the way. Before you know it, you will be collecting your new car and riding out into the sunset.


Authored by: Pete Anderson

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