As an appraisal business, we at Jane Campbell-Chambliss & Associates, LLC know all there is to know about auctions. In fact, we even have more than one auctioneer on staff, in the case of major estate auctions. If you are planning on attending an auction for the first time soon, it is certainly worth it to learn a bit about how auctions work, and what the dos and don’ts are for the occasion. Straight from a professional auctioneer in Maryland, here are a few tips and etiquette guidelines to help get you through your first auction:
- How to bid: Typically, there are two main ways to let an auctioneer know that you want to bid on an item: either raise your hand, or nod your head. Raising your hand is generally appropriate in large crowds, while nodding your head is perfectly acceptable in smaller crowds. Just remember that the main objective is always to make sure the auctioneer sees your bid.
- Proxy bids: If you cannot attend an auction yourself, often you will be allowed to send a proxy bidder to bid on a specific item. When you hire a proxy bidder, make it very clear what your top price is. Also, you should check with the auction venue to ensure that proxy bids will be allowed at that specific auction.
- “As is where is”: Sometimes, the item you purchase at an auction might end up not living up to your expectations. Whether that means it is damaged or just not how you pictured it, you might be tempted to try and get your money back. However, most auctions go by the “as is where is” rule, meaning you cannot get your money back unless you can prove that the auctioneer purposely misled you.
- Midweek versus weekends: Weekend auctions tend to be very crowded, while midweek auctions are usually a bit more subdued. If you want to go to an auction mainly for the entertainment and excitement factor, go to a weekend auction. If you are more interested in finding good deals, a midweek auction is less likely to have competitive bidding wars, meaning you can buy what you want for less money.
- “Sold!”: Most auctions operate on a “no take-backs” rule. That means that once an auctioneer yells, “Sold!” after you place a bid, you are obligated to make that purchase. For this reason, it is wise for first time auction attendees not to get into any high stakes bidding wars. Have a price in mind that you are willing to pay, and stick to that number.
- Talking with your neighbors: If you are seated next to auction experts, you might want advice about what to bid on. But most serious auction attendees hold their knowledge close to the cuff to avoid bringing new people into a bidding war. Striking up a conversation with your seat neighbor is not against the rules, but don’t take it personally if they are a bit standoffish.
If you are interested in holding an auction and require the services of an auctioneer in Maryland, please get in touch with Jane Campbell-Chambliss & Associates, LLC for more information.