Auctions are experiencing a surge in popularity and are now regarded as an ideal place to pick-up a variety of novel finds, from items of antique jewellery, to vintage furniture and coveted pieces of fine art. Auctions are also a great means of selling items you have in your home that are no longer of use to you but may be of interest to others. If you’ve never set foot in an auction before, here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you on your way.
Can I view the items?
The simple answer is that, yes, you can view the items on sale, but how you view the items will depend entirely on the style of auction. If you are intending to visit an auction and bid in the room, you will probably be invited to physically view the items prior to the sale, or immediately before the bidding commences. If you’re bidding over the telephone, you may be able to ask someone to attend the actual auction on your behalf and view the items for you. An increasingly popular form of auctioneering is online auction rooms; if you’re bidding online, you won’t be able to view the items physically, but you will be able to see photographs of the item and read a detailed description of the item. It’s worth remembering that regardless of how you shop at auction, whether online or in places like Ross’s Auctioneers, all items are sold as is – that is, they are sold as they are presented, with no guarantees or waivers.
What charges are likely to be incurred if I buy/sell at auction?
If you buy an item at auction, as well as paying the price that the item settled at, you will also be expected to pay VAT, and a Buyer’s Premium amounting to 20% of your item’s sale price. If you sell at auction, you’ll have to pay a fee to the auction – known as a commission – for selling the item on your behalf. If you have your item valued by the auctioneer prior to selling it, you will also have to pay a valuation fee. Instead of demanding an outright fee, many auction houses conquer to take a cut off the item after it has been sold in return for valuing it. If you are worried that you won’t make enough money on an item you are selling to make the validate the costs you will incur by selling your item, you can set a reserve price on your item and agree with the auctioneer that the item is not to be sold unless the reserve price is met.
How do I pay?
The method of payment will depend somewhat on your style of auctioneering, but most auctions will take card. If you’re buying via an online auction, you will have to use your card to make your purchase. If you are collecting your item, you may have to pay a deposit on the day of the auction to secure your item, and pay the remainder of the balance when you pick your item up.