Sunday, March 26, 2006

Used Car Auctions: Do's and Dont's

by: Thomas H. Miller

This is Part 1 of a 4 part series on how to buy a car at an auction

So you are looking for a car or truck, but you're tired of running around town and finding other people selling their "headaches" through the local classifieds, or dealers offering "cream-puffs" for inflated retail prices. All you want is a good vehicle for a good price. Period. Does such a deal exist? Yes, indeed! Repossession auctions are becoming more and more popular across the country. I have been attending them for over 20 years, and have purchased many cars and trucks at bargain prices - everything from a brand new car (still with the window sticker on it and 3 miles on the odometer) for $1,100 below the sticker price, to a conversion van with 99,000 miles on it. Both of these vehicles are still in the family and running strong.

1. What I'd like to do here is share my experiences with you, and give you some tips on how you, too, can find these bargains.

First of all, how do you find the auctions? Your local paper is a good place to start. Many banks and other financial institutions (such as GMAC) list the times and places of their auctions in Sunday papers under "Auctions" or "Cars for Sale". Also, if there is a "legal publication" in your area, that publishes court proceedings, bankruptcy notices, etc., this is another source for repossession auto auction notifications. One other way to find them is to call your local banks and ask for the Installment Loan Department. They should be able to provide you with details on their particular auctions. Many even have regular mailing lists, where they will automatically send you a notification of their auction and even a listing of what vehicles will be included. While some institutions restrict their auctions to dealers only, most will allow the public to attend and bid. Once you have found an auction, be sure to get all the details BEFORE you go. You'll need to know if there are any minimum bid requirements, what type of payment they need, and what type of paperwork they provide to the purchasers. Many auctions will sell everything to the highest bidder, no matter how low the bid is. Still others may have a minimum bid they must get, or they "buy back" the car and save it for the next auction. Most institutions retain the right to bid, so be aware that you may be not only be bidding against other people interested in the vehicle, but also against the auctioneer!

While most auctions will publish their requirements for payment along with the auction notification, DON'T assume that that's all there is to it. Find out if they expect cash only, certified checks or personal checks. Also, many require full payment immediately after the sale, while others may require a non-refundable deposit with the balance due in a few days. All too often I have seen people make costly errors at auctions because they didn't understand these payment rules.

In this day and age of red tape, titles, liens, etc., the paperwork an institution provides is as important as anything else. In New York State, for example, if the institution sells the vehicle with "as-is" marked on the bill of sale, you may encounter a legal nightmare that involves a major full-vehicle inspection and an 8 to 10 week wait for a title search and registration procedure that will prevent you from putting the vehicle on the road for months. It is imperative, therefore, that you find out specifically what paperwork the institution will give you when you purchase a vehicle through their auction. If you plan on registering the car right away, tell them that and make sure you are satisfied that they will give you what you need. If in doubt, contact your local Motor Vehicle office ahead of time to insure that you'll be able to proceed with what the institution will be giving you. Laws vary dramatically from state to state. Above all, make sure that all liens have been satisfied before you purchase a repossessed vehicle. Most banks and financial institutions will give you some type of form to verify this.

OK... now you've found the auction and understand the rules and requirements. The next step is finding the vehicle that fits your needs. In order to know what the vehicle's value is before you bid on it, you'll need a good resource of wholesale and retail pricing. One good source is the NADA "Blue Book". This book lists cars and light trucks by manufacturer and body style, giving you the current average wholesale and retail for each. I have used a book called "Edmund's Used Car Prices" for the past 15 years or so, and found them to be a very reliable source. Like the NADA book, it lists the cars and light trucks by manufacturer and year (usually the past 7 model years), and provides the vehicle's original list price, current average wholesale and retail. It also provides you with a list of popular options, and what they add to the value of the car or truck. There's plenty of details in the book which I won't go into here. Just make sure you read the "How to Use This Book" section thoroughly before you start using it. Options such as air conditioning, power steering and brakes and type of transmission may dramatically affect the value of the vehicle. Also, excessive mileage for that particular year car or truck will affect the value. So, read the book and know how to use it BEFORE you get to the auction.

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About The Author

My name is Thomas Miller, I'm student here in Detroit, MI. I love to do research, I love to write and most of all I cars.

Copyright © 2001-Present

Friday, March 24, 2006

Interest runs high for largest farm auction in Sask. history

Sale will offer 83 quarters of farmland, 14 tractors

Jillian Pavlin, The StarPhoenix

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2006

The gavel will sound Friday near Stockholm on the largest single-day agricultural auction in the province's history.

Don Gillen is selling 83 quarters of land which, in itself, is 12 times larger than the average Saskatchewan farm, says the 2001 Statistics Canada farm census. Along with the land goes all the equipment needed to farm it, as well as two houses.

"It's a novelty," said Peter Kennedy, who is handling the auction for Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers. "You don't see many farm sales with six combines and 14 tractors."

Kennedy says the auction, which should run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., has attracted attention from as far away as Texas, Ireland and Scotland.

For Gillen, it's all about wiping the slate clean.

"I just think the smartest thing for us to do is to sell and hopefully do the best we can financially," he said in a phone interview from his farm, located about 60 kilometres south of Yorkton.

Gillen, 45, bought the land -- which is four hours from his home in Saskatoon -- about three years ago, intending to rent it out to other farmers.

At first interest was scarce, he says, because some of the fields needed improvement. Once the unwanted bush was removed, interest grew. But the first renter Gillen had didn't pay him for its use.

Unable to shake off his bad experience, Gillen said he'd "just as soon clean up and go in another direction," even though there are some farmers interested in renting the land today. He admits he'll be sad to see it go, but says today there's no guarantee that renters will be interested year after year.

"You can't blame (people) if they go and get an opportunity to better themselves," whether that is out of province or out of the industry, he said. "Just (not) knowing that they're going to be available from one year to the next is a concern."

An auction of this magnitude is "another symptom of the farm-income crisis," said Bill Brown, an agricultural economist for the University of Saskatchewan. About five per cent of the agricultural land in Saskatchewan is sold every year, says Brown, adding he expects to see even more turnover this year.

But "one man's pain is another one's bargain," he said. "The land will change hands and somebody else will try it."

Born and raised on a farm in the Dodsland-Kindersley area, Gillen recalls a time when farmers couldn't get their hands on farmland, as both the desire for it and price of it was so high.

He calls the area around his Stockholm farmland "a region of depression." The land is of good quality, but the "people just think, 'Well what's the bother, what's the hassle?' . . . They just feel that the government doesn't care about them."

Gillen still has a small amount of land elsewhere in the province that he'll hold onto. That is, as long as someone is willing to rent it. He says he wouldn't be surprised if this sale is a sign of things to come. But his optimism hasn't been entirely squashed.

"I hope that what comes out of this is a good thing for the people of Saskatchewan. . . . I'd like to see the farmers make a better return -- the honest farmer, and I stress honest farmer, that does good things for the land."

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2006

Machinery Pete: What will it sell for?

Greg Peterson
Publisher, F.A.C.Ts Report

3/23/2006, 2:34 PM CST


So how are your NCAA basketball tourney picks holding up?

Every March my wife and I, along with our two daughters, ages 14 and 12, each fill out a bracket and enter a large local pool run by a friend of mine. Three hundred ten (310) entries this year. Each year the girls say the same thing, "Dad, we don't know who's good and who's not."

"It's ok. Don't worry about that. Just make your picks. You've got just as good a chance as anyone else," I tell them - Not really believing it myself. Well, after the first two rounds our 14-year-old daughter Meghan is in second place. Daughter number two and my wife are positioned above the middle of the pack.


You'd think a basketball junkie like me should have a little advantage, all those late nights typing auction sale prices into our Web site while watching ball games on the tube, its got to make me a more educated guesser, right?

Nope. Machinery Pete currently resides in 294th place.

Alright, so I don't know hoops as well as I thought. Let's change gears and look at used farm equipment. Coming up for sale April 6th on a farm auction in Mondovi, Wisconson, is a 1998 CaseIH 8920 mechanical, front-wheel drive tractor. It has 5,214 hours, cab, air, three hydraulics, three point, dual PTO and duals.

What will it sell for?

Check out the accompanying data table to see what other CaseIH 8920 tractors have been selling for at auction around the country.

Focusing in on comparable 8920s to the one up for sale April 6th in Wisconsin, I'd highlight the following mechanical, front-wheel drive models that sold over the last 15 months.

• 1998 model with 4,570 hours, north-central Ohio, no sale at $43,000
• 1998 model with 3,700 hours, north-central Ohio, sold for $45,000
• 1998 model with 4,200 hours, north-central Kansas, sold for $49,000
• 1997 model with 4,217 hours, east-central North Dakota, sold for $45,000
• 1997 model with 4,056 hours, east-central North Dakota, sold for $45,250

So what do you think our 8920 will sell for April 6th?

Think I'll ask Meghan what she thinks.

Find your auctions on a google map.

Just wanted to show you some neat things about Google Maps. We have integrated their API into our site at Global Auction Guide to make it so much easier to find upcoming auction sales.

Want to see all the upcoming sales in your area?

Click on any balloon and find more details and a link to the sale.

Bored Today? Check out all the sales in North America happening today.

Looking for something in particular? See all the upcoming sales that match your sales results.