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4 Useful Tips for Property Auction Beginners from a Plainfield Expert

Jul 20, 2017 01:46PM ● By Linda Ditch
Auctions are a great way to get something you want at a good price. This is especially true for antiques, collectables, and older pieces that are hard to find new in a store, or business and restaurant fixtures that are more expensive when purchased new.

W.A. Smith, Inc auctioneers out of Plainfield, New Hampshire, offer some great advice on their website ( for first timers. 

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Get to the auction early or attend the preview time to closely inspect not only the item you want but also anything else that catches your eye. A smartphone comes in handy to check out information on a piece you haven’t researched ahead of time. If you can’t attend a preview, the Smith staff will give you as much information as possible either over the phone or by email.
  2. Be sure to register to get your bidding number. You will need to show an ID and give your name, address, and telephone number before you can bid on anything. Be prepared to pay at the end of the auction. You can use cash or a check, and some auction companies take credit cards.
  3. Take a moment to get accustomed to the auctioneer’s chant once he starts. If you’re having trouble understanding, don’t be afraid to ask the auctioneer to repeat what he or she said or to slow down.
  4. If you can’t attend the auction, Smith offers two ways you can still bid on the item. With your written permission, they can act as your representative and purchase the item for you at the lowest possible price. You will set the maximum price you’re willing to pay. Another way is by bidding on the phone with one of their staff members. Details for both absentee and phone bidding are available on their website.

Remember, the starting bid is typically on the high side, so wait a minute to see if the auctioneer comes down to a lower price. When you’re ready to jump in, raise your hand or hold up your number card to catch the auctioneer’s attention. Once you start bidding, the auctioneer will keep looking back at you to see if you want to continue should someone else is also bidding. If the price gets higher than you want to pay, just shake your head to signal you are finished bidding.

One heads up before auction day: Pay a visit to the auction company’s website for the most complete list of items up for bid, often times with photos of the pieces. Also, read the auction’s terms and condition. This can sometimes be found in the advertisement or on the auction company’s website. The terms will tell you if you can use a credit card or if you have to pay with cash or check, and if there is a minimum purchase amount and an additional charge for using a credit card.

Auctions can be a fun way to spend the day and get what you want for a good price. A little preparation and planning with help ensure you make a good run at what you’re buying and avoid buyer’s remorse at the end of the day.

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