Participating in an Online Auction

In the past we have talked about preparing an item for an online auction, but what steps have you taken in preparation for participating in an auction? Surely there must be more to it than entering an online auction site and throwing bids around – especially since there are a variety of MN auctions, items, and protocol for each event. When you decide to enter the world of online auctions, you need to take certain steps before you place your first bid.

  1. Scope out the auctions in which you want to participate. Make sure the kinds of items you are looking for are available. If you have a specific item in mind, don’t assume it will be one of the available items – check the inventory.
  2. Decide what type of auction you are willing and able to participate in – English, Vickrey, Reverse, and more – and know the mindset of the other people you will be bidding against.
  3. Understand the financial structure and how payment works. Can you make multiple payments or are you expected to pay one lump sum? The last thing you want to happen is thinking you have won the item you bid on only to find out the payment scheme is not what you had thought.
  4. Always be on the look out for potential investments. Follow auction houses or websites through their twitter accounts or newsletters so you know when the best items are available.
  5. Research prices of similar items with similar use so you don’t overpay or get caught in a useless bidding battle.