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5 steps of buying a car at an auctions

Buying a vehicle at a car auction can become a rather frustrating experience if you come unprepared for the bargain or don’t know what to expect. At Dellcy auto transport we do plenty of seamless vehicle transportation, including associated with car auction purchases. Hence here are out 5 steps to mastering car auction buying:

Step 1: Research and register in advance

Of course even a bargain requires a sense of purpose, therefore you need to decide prior to the purchase what car make and model you are looking for, and whether you plan on researching, finding, and buying the car all by yourself or would rather contract a specialized company intermediating and assisting you with the process. There are quite a few options online so you only need an easy online search before figuring out what are the biggest online car auction platforms, such as Copart, Manheim, and Adesa and the intermediating online service providers out there, such as Caromoto (useful fact, this provider can even ensure end-to-end service intermediation, shipping your car all the way to you country in Europe or Asia). Please mind that second hand cars, and auction cars especially, are famous for the ‘market for lemons’ euphemism, that’s why it will take quite a bit of savvy and homework to avoid those lemons, because in the case of car auction purchases, lemonade is not an option. Web search the car auction platform to find your desired vehicle in your desired area (keep in mind you will have to have the vehicle eventually transported and as a general rule the further away from you it is, the more expensive its transportation could be) and once you find what you are interested in, by checking their vehicle listings, register with them in order to be able to bid for the car auctioned. Make sure to check in great detail the vehicle information provided, if you choose to do the bidding yourself. Register with the specific car auction or provider platforms, as your registration data will be used for ID verification, vehicle paperwork, and for sending and receiving documents by mail or email depending on the format. Should you apply for the service intermediation option, you would as a rule be required to make a refundable deposit amounting to circa 10% of the desired vehicle cost;

Step 2: Vehicle search and inspection

Once you have decided your model and means of participation in the auction, make use of the unique auction search engine to find vehicles to your desired specifications. Ideally, especially in the case of damaged or totalled vehicles, you’d want to inspect them personally or have them inspected as part of the service of intermediation prior to starting the bidding process. If possible, look thoroughly at the interior and exterior of the car to check for defects, such as signs of previous accidents, rust or broken and missing parts. Check for registration papers as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN). The VIN can typically be found on the dashboard in the lower part of the windshield and across other locations in the vehicle, such as under the passenger seat and somewhere in the engine bay. Make sure the numbers match, otherwise you risk bidding for a stolen car. You can then use the car’s VIN to look up the vehicle history report, which verifies ownership history, accidents and repairs;

Step 3: Bidding

This is perhaps the most intimidating part to the unexperienced auction car buyers, when the actual bargaining for the car starts. You are facing off other people interested in purchasing the same car as you. Vehicles typically come with a reserve price, which is the lowest bid that will be accepted in order to execute a sale. If no bid reaches the reserve price, the seller can choose not to sell the vehicle. But if a bid is above the reserve price, the seller must accept it if it is the winning, i.e. highest bind. If you have the highest bid at or above the reserve price, you’re required to complete the sale. For whichever car you’re interested in buying, keep the average market value in mind to determine if you’re actually getting a good deal. This is even more important in case of damaged or totalled vehicles, where you would want to have a full understanding of the extend of the damage and the repair costs involved in order to assess the feasibility of the project and the bid you are considering. In case of intermediation platforms, such as Caromoto, you need to simply use its integrated auction search engine (it currently provides one of the widest auction search on the market) to select vehicles and the appropriate lot. Go to the car card and press the “MAKE BID” button, then specify the maximum amount in US dollars you’re ready to pay for the car. When placing a bid, use Auction Sales Statistics will determine a more accurate maximum bid amount. You can check and change the status of your bid from your account, in the BIDS section. Additionally, you could request their team to look up and find a vehicle as per your specifications and ensure all paperwork, the bidding, and transportation on your behalf, at a cost. We’d advice resorting to their service at least in the beginning before you get a taste of the car auction process and its caveats;

Step 4: Payment and title transfer

If you’ve bid successfully, you will generally be asked to make a payment of at the end of the auction. If you are financing your purchase this down payment usually amounts to circa 10% of the total purchase price, and it is a good idea to ensure you have a preapproval financing offer from a few different lenders to prove you have the funds available to pay for the vehicle. In case of Caromoto car auction service intermediation after receiving confirmation of your winning bid at auction, you will receive an invoice and instruction on bank transfer to complete your purchase. The invoice includes the cost of the car at the auction, the auction fee, transportation from the auction to the port or domestic destination, ocean shipping (freight) and any applicable document shipping fees. Payment for the purchased car must be credited to the bank account of CAROMOTO within 2 (two) business days after the end of the auction. All necessary amounts for payment, as well as received payments, are indicated in the client’s personal account in the BALANCE section of their profile;

Step 5: Car shipping

Once it is all done it’s time to pick up your car in person or have it shipped to you destination, which is most of the time the more common case. You can resort to our seamless car transportation service to have your vehicle transported anywhere in the US, and get an instant quote by registering the shipping details on our website With Caromoto they will take care of delivering your purchased vehicle even to the port of your residence overseas, issue all the necessary documents, and send it to the destination you specified. After receiving your full payment, they organize the transportation of your vehicle to the US port or domestic destination,  for US residents. Their delivery time is from 2 to 10 days, depending on the location of the vehicle. Make sure to follow our 7 tips for preparing your car for auto transportation and we will take care of the rest. In the meantime you can also read our posts on how many vehicles you can have hauled at once, as well as the items you can put in your car during transportation.”


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