We encourage people to explore auctions by attending one as a spectator. There is no better way to learn about auctions than to watch one firsthand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn More About How an Auction Works
We Are Usually Asked These Questions
Who's the person yelling in the audience at an auction?
The person you see and hear working amongst the crowd of bidders is known as a ringman. This individual is part of the auction team and is an extension of the auctioneer. The job of the ringman is to convey bids back to the auctioneer from the crowd.
When bids are received in the crowd, the ringman will yelp to signal the auctioneer that they have received a bid and to increase the bid amount. These individuals are also there to help answer questions you may have while the auction is being conducted.
What is the auctioneer saying?
The art of perfecting the auctioneer’s cry take years of practice, but understanding what auctioneers are saying is simple. The auctioneer’s bid call can be broken into two parts:
– Statement (The Current Bid) – I have five dollars.
– Question (The Next Bid) – Would you bid 10?
Example: I have 5 dollars, would you bid 10, would you bid 10? Now 10, I have 10 dollars, would you bid 15…
The cadence and repetition of words and use of “filler words” vary from one auctioneer to another, but the format is usually the same. Always remember that the number the auctioneer keeps repeating is the dollar amount they are wanting.
If I scratch my nose or wave at a friend, will the auctioneer think I'm bidding?
We hear this misconception a lot! In fact, to bid at an auction or for your bid to be received by the auctioneer, you typically need a bid paddle or bid card. You will receive this bid paddle or card at registration and it will have a number on it. This number allows the auction company to know who is bidding from the list of registered bidders.
If you mistakenly bid or the auctioneer misinterprets your movement as a bid, immediately notify either the auctioneer or their staff.
Am I required to have cash on hand at the auction?
It is important that prospective bidders read all documents regarding the sale prior to auction day. Cash payment is commonly not required at auctions. Auction companies may accept multiple forms of payment: cash, check or credit card. When attending real estate auctions, auction companies may at times require a specific down payment on-site in the form of a cashiers check to qualify as a bidder.
Are auctions only for distressed or discounted property?
This is a major misconception about auctions. The fact is auctions are the primary sales method when selling valuable assets such as vintage vehicles, multi-million dollar homes and priceless pieces of art. The competitive bidding of an auction and the bidding of prospective bidders sets the price and market value of an asset.
The item will not sell for more than the highest bid and will not sell for less than the high bid. You, the consumer, and other bidders determine the market value of an item when you buy at auction.
What are the differences between an absolute and reserve auction?
There are two different type of auctions: those with reserve and those without reserve (sometimes referred to as absolute). NAA Auction Professionals should consult with their seller(s) to determine the best method suited to the seller.
– Absolute Auction: An “absolute auction” is an auction where the property is sold to the highest bidder. There is not a minimum or reserve price that must be met to complete the auction sale.
– Reserve Auction: A “reserve” auction means that a price has been set between the seller and the auctioneer that must be met to complete the sale. Reserves are often used to provide the seller with security that they receive at certain amount of money to meet their sale goal.
What is a Buyer's Premium?
A buyer’s premium is commonly used in auctions today as a form of payment for the auction company conducting the auction. The buyer’s premium is an advertised percentage of the high bid or flat fee added on to the high bid to determine the total contract price to be paid by the buyer.
What does "As Is, Where Is" mean?
One of the most common statements made at auction, “as is, where is,” simply means the property is being sold without warranty and that there are no contingencies based on the status of the asset being sold. It is important that you inspect all auction properties before you bid, both real estate and personal property.
Photos may not show all the details or potential faults with the asset and it is your job as a well informed bidder to thoroughly inspect and know what you are bidding on BEFORE the start of the auction. Once you bid and buy an asset at auction, you are the new owner.
Can I inspect the property I'm interested in bidding on before the auction?
We encourage you to view the property before auction day. Due diligence on the part of the bidder is important with auctions. Contact us and inquire about times when open houses will take place, as well as any paperwork available on the property. Auctioneers want you to feel comfortable on auction day. Always feel free to call and ask questions.
What is a minimum bid?
Minimum bids are routinely used at auctions to provide prospective buyers with an initial price range of where bidding will begin. If an auction has a “minimum bid” of $50,000, prospective bidders will know that the auction will start with an opening bid of $50,000 and that the asset will not sell for anything less than $50,000. Often times, auctions are advertised with an “opening bid”, but this should not be confused with a “minimum bid”. An “opening bid” simply means a price where the bidding opens.
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