In recent years, more and more people have been turning to auctions to grab themselves a bargain or find some unusual and much sought after treasure. They have been a method of buying and selling for hundreds and possibly even thousands of years, but with the cost of living crisis fully taking hold, more people are now using them to buy homes, cars and all sorts of other items at a fraction of their normal costs.
There are now all sorts of auctions available, with some specialising in certain goods and others offering more general sales. Whilst the thought of an auction can conjure up the image of a busy auction house and a man with a hammer, most of us have probably also encountered some form of online auction as well.
In this article, Auction News, specialists in industrial and commercial auctions look at the difference between online and in-person auctions and analyse which type might come out on top.
A traditional in-person auction will either have all of the items on sale laid out in the sale room, or in the case of property, there will be brochures and leaflets available to peruse. This gives the buyer the chance to walk around and have a close look at the items that they are considering buying.
This means that they can look for defects and damage, as well as marks and unique features that might tell them more about the item. In a car auction, they have the opportunity to inspect under the bonnet and they can hear the engine when it is driven into the sale room.
There is often also the opportunity to speak to the seller, find out more about the item and ask any questions that you might have in order to make a more informed buying decision. By holding an auction in-person, it can make communication much easier, and a lot of questions can be answered in a short space of time.
When the auction gets underway, it can be a very exciting time, and most people who attend them find that they have great fun. A live auction can get extremely competitive and it creates a lively and social environment.
However, it is important to remember that an in-person auction can be very daunting for some, who might feel that they lack the confidence to show their hand and bid on something that they really wanted. It is also very easy to get caught up in the moment and spend a lot more money that you might have intended to.
One of the biggest limitations of in-person auctions is that they tend to be limited to people in the local area. As you have to be physically present, it can mean that you miss out on items that are simply too far away for you to get to.
An in-person auction can also be a very time consuming event, particularly if you intend on bidding for more than one item. You will need to allow travel time as well as time to inspect the items before then sitting through the bidding of each lot until you get to the one that you are interested in.
Online auctions have been a feature for many years, as most of us are familiar with sites like eBay.
This type of technology allows auction houses or individuals to list their items online and let people from all over the world bid on them. The sellers are required to upload photographs and a description of each item, giving as much detail as possible. Any potential buyer can send messages to ask any questions that they might have, but they are not guaranteed to get a response.
The item will be put up for sale and will often have a reserve or starting price attached to it, and a closing date will be set. This could be a matter of hours, days or even weeks, so buyers have plenty of time to assess the item and make a decision on whether or not they want to buy it. As there may only be one or two photographs to view, it can be difficult to determine the quality of an item or verify its authenticity, which means that people should approach these online auction sites with a degree of trepidation.
As each auction is held online, it does open the sale up to the whole world, meaning that it can be much more accessible for many. Even though the auction can last for weeks, there is much less time required by the seller who simply needs to view the item and post a bid. They will then receive notifications to tell them that they have been out-bid or that they have been successful, and so they need to invest a lot less time in the process.
With a much wider audience, it does mean that there is a potential for prices to be pushed a lot higher, as there are likely to be many more people competing for a single thing.
Which One is Better?
Both types of auctions have their merits, and they can each work for different types of people. Whilst there are concerns about the quality of items that are listed on online auction sites, the sites themselves are constantly working to put systems in place to protect sellers if things do not live up to their promise.
An in-person auction can help to ensure that wrong purchases are not made, as there is a much better chance to inspect and verify what you are looking at. The atmosphere of an auction house can be fantastic, but it is not for everyone, and so still needs to be taken seriously.
Online and in-person auctions are both here to stay, and whichever one you prefer to use, you can still rest assured that there are some great bargains to be had if you are careful, do your research, set a budget and come up with a plan that you can stick to.