The Truth About Public Car Auctions

The Truth About Public Car Auctions

Geez, there's just so little "real" information on open-to-the-public car auctions and​ the​ many web sites that claim you can buy cars for​ as​ little as​ $100 ... or​ pay just 90% of​ retail. You've probably seen them ... lots of​ hype.

It's a​ shame they oversell themselves because there are indeed opportunities to​ save a​ lot of​ money.

And while I happen to​ be a​ member at​ four of​ these sites, and​ they're most definitely worthwhile (some more than the​ others), the​ marketing hype can't help but create false expectations for​ many people outside the​ industry.

And if​ you do a​ search on Google to​ try to​ find some information or​ reviews of​ these sites, it's unlikely you'll find anything realistic ... just alot of​ "click here to​ save 90%" hoopla. I've tried extensively and​ the​ results have been pathetic.

But again, I'm not saying that there's not really good deals at​ these auctions. There are. But they make it​ sound like you join today, either bid on an​ online auction or​ go to​ an​ auction this afternoon and​ then drive off in​ your beautiful 2018 Audi TT for​ $500 ... zip, zap, zoom, you're done.

I can tell you from experience that this just isn't going to​ happen in​ the​ real world. Can you get a​ great deal on the​ Audi TT? Absolutely. But it​ will likely take some time and​ it's not going to​ be practically free.

So, lets talk reality here. Auctions CAN fit into your strategy for​ getting a​ great price on a​ car. and​ these auction web sites CAN make this easier for​ you. But let's look at​ both the​ pros and​ cons to​ establish realistic expectations. Then you can be in​ a​ better position to​ decide if​ this is​ something you'd like to​ pursue or​ not.

First of​ all, there aren't a​ ton of​ open-to-the-public auctions to​ begin with. This means it's likely you're going to​ need at​ least some amount of​ patience. Some auctions are quarterly, some are monthly and​ there are a​ few that are weekly. They've got to​ build up an​ inventory of​ cars so it​ justifies the​ cost of​ putting on an​ auction. and​ this takes time.

So, unless you're a​ bit lucky, you probably won't run out to​ an​ auction to​ get your car this afternoon. I guess what I'm saying is​ it's not like visiting as​ many Dealerships as​ you want in​ a​ single weekend.

Next is​ pricing. There's going to​ be other shoppers bidding ... maybe even some Dealers. You're not going to​ get a​ "good", late-model car for​ a​ few hundred dollars. That being said, it's not unheard of​ to​ get a​ $20,000 car for​ $10,000 to​ $14,000 ... or​ a​ $15,000 car for​ $7,000 to​ $9,000. You can indeed get excellent buys below trade-in values, and​ sometimes way below. But just forget about real nice cars for​ "under $500", as​ is​ often the​ hype.

Are there cars for​ under $500? of​ course there are. and​ often good buys too. But they are not the​ late-model cars.

Next, you may have to​ go a​ distance. the​ good auctions may not be right next door to​ you. Many auctions do not have online bidding. They're at​ a​ physical location. So, bear in​ mind that it​ may not be be particularly convenient.

All of​ this being said, it​ is​ true that there are excellent, money-saving deals at​ public car auctions. But please be prepared to​ both spend some time at​ it​ and​ to​ pay more than the​ hype implies.

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