Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The ins & outs of estate auctions from a CPDG

Last month, I shared with you my estate auction deals. With Spring finally here, along with my love for junk…there will be many auctions in my future.

After 3 years of auction-ing, I consider myself a professional at getting good deals at these places. Actually, I am a CPDG, Certified Professional Deal Getter* 
*self-study,self paced course, totally not made up at all certification

Today I will tell you the ins and outs of estate auctions… Because if you haven’t been estate auction-ing…you need to go!

Don't worry, it's easy. There are just 5 easy steps to a car load of goodies!

1. Find the auction
Visit auctionzip.com and type in your zip code and see sales nearby. 
This website is the main source for auctioneers to advertise their auctions, especially ones that have big ticket stuff like restored sports cars, and collector’s items.

I usually only look at the estate auctions. But there are all kinds, antiques, farm and equipment auctions, guns, real estate. Whatever floats your boat.

Our local newspaper usually has an entire page of advertisements with a portion of the sale bill listed, and sometimes even photos each week. Pick up Friday’s local paper if you don’t subscribe already.

Look for signs. We live in a rural area, so if there is an auction in town this weekend, you better believe there will be signs up. With arrows and everything--can’t miss em.

2. Scope it out
Look at the sale bill. Review the photos. Be snoopy--be sure to look at the stuff in the background of the photos too.

Read or at least skim through the sale bill. 
Auctioneers usually only take photos of the big ticket items, large collections, or large pieces of furniture--like maybe a pool table or a bedroom set. Usually (at least around here) there are wagons FULL of household items, home decor, tools, anything really.

3. Research
Ebay it, Google it. and Craigslist it. If there is an item you like: know what about it goes for second hand. How much is the pool table worth? That old Pyrex set? What would you pay on Ebay?

You need to know this so you don't get too caught up in the bidding and end up overpaying.

You also need to know if you have your eye a REALLY hot item, you may not want it as much if you see how much it could go for…or you might want it more...Plus, this usually means antique collectors and Ebay sellers in the area might be at the auction too...and they know what it will go for. Know your competition. And know what you want to spend *tops* on the item. This will keep you from getting too excited and overbid.

4. Enlist a buddy
Whether it be your significant other, a friend or a family member, auctions are more fun if you have a friend there to scope things out. There is so much stuff to sift through it helps to have another person who knows what kind of treasures you are looking for.

Plus, sometimes if it is a large estate, there are two different auction rings going on at once. An auction partner will up your chances of getting the goods you want.

It also helps to have some manpower if you plan to buy a heavy or large item. AKA my husband usually gets roped into going!

5. Bid
It's not really that scary. It’s scary if you aren’t paying attention or used to the auctioneer’s chatter at first. I usually listen to a few different items go up and follow closely so I can figure out the auctioneers style and understand who the heck’s turn it is to bid! After you listen to a few, you will pick it right up. The deals will be yours!

Are you an auction fan?
Do you have any tips to add? 


  1. Love these tips! I have actually never bid on an item myself. I always make Mike do it! I'm a wimp, haha.

  2. These are awesome tips! I've always been to intimidated to do an auction, but I should give it a try!


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