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Going...going...gone. Buying luxury cars at an auction

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/18/2006 | Auto and Trucks

Auctions are a shortcut to buy a luxury car at an affordable price. However, this exercise should be carried out carefully. You must check out the age, features, fuel efficiency and the engine power of the car before making a bid. If possible, you must take a car mechanic with you to judge the state of the car. This will place you in a better position than most other buyers. It would also enable you to do some hard bidding to get your desired car at a fair price.

The best place to start hunting for your luxury car would be a government auction. Most government auctions sell a variety of cars that range from the low end to the high end segment of cars. There is always the possibility of finding a classic BMW among the Malibus and Caravans that have been put up for auction.

It is not difficult to locate the auction dates and venues. They are listed on the IRS and the GSA sites. The state governments too auction cars that have outlived their utility or have been seized in raids. However, very few people go through these sites regularly, and miss out on some real good cars.

There is more interest in private auctions and invariably large crowds turn up for them. These auctions are well advertised in both newspapers as well as online and are usually conducted once or twice a year. The advantages of going to a private auction are that cars put on display have been checked and would fire the first time the ignition is turned. Also, as compared to government auctions, private auctions are likely to attract more luxury cars.

Another auction is the dealer auction. The auction is organized by licensed dealers and in most cases the cars sold are quite new, and are not as cheap as is the case in other auctions. Dealer auctions are not usually well advertised due to legal restrictions. Most of these auctions are known only through word of mouth, and that is why they attract small crowds.

A major risk is the fact that a damaged car that has been repaired by the in house mechanics can be sold at a high price. Similarly, the other cars that may be put for auction are those that have been lying with the dealers, and have found no buyers. Sometimes, those cars whose owners have defaulted on payments may figure in these auctions. There is a high probability that cars bought at dealer auctions may not enjoy the same kind of resale value as other cars

Patience is an important virtue to have if you are looking for a car at an auction. It is not necessary that you will find your luxury car at the first auction that you visit. Even if the model and make are available it is quite possible that the bids may be beyond your reach. Therefore it is recommended that you should visit several auctions before cutting the best deal.