Auction is not like buying something from the department store - you get it, grab the item, go to the cashier and pay for it then get out of the store with the item at hand. In auctions, there is fierce competition especially during bidding wars. There are only few items being auctioned which means that only a few people can win the bid so in most cases, even if the bidder comes well-prepared for the battle, he could still get out of the auction site with nothing in hand.
So how does auction work?
It is a must for auctioneers to have their potential bidders register before they participate in the bidding. The bidder has to give the correct information as this may be use as reference for future transactions. Typical information required are personal information such as name, address and bidding history if applicable.
Also during registration, the participant will be asked to pay a returnable deposit. Some auctioneers require large deposits, thus anyone who wants to participate in an auction should be well-equipped with knowledge on the particular type of auction.
Afterwards, the bidder will be given a bidding number which is often used to substitute for the name of the bidder as the bidding happens.
Each bidder should be given a catalogue which is a list that contains details regarding the items being auctioned. (NOTE: Under normal circumstances, viewing time is allowed which could last anywhere from a few hours to several days. This allows the potential buyer to view the items he wants to bid on before the auction begins.
For some auctions that provide catalogues though, viewing is not allowed. To be sure, it is best to confirm details regarding viewing time and catalogues before the date of the auction.)
After this, the auctioneer will announce the item being auctioned and some important details regarding the item which is usually tied with the information given on the catalog. The auctioneer will then suggest a starting bid- this is not necessarily the lowest available price for the item. In most cases, the first bid usually begins at a price below the starting bid.
On the other hand, if the item has a set reserve price, the bidding will usually start above this price until it reaches the reserve price. For guiding the bidders, the catalogues usually have guide prices.
After the announcement of the starting price, the bidders are free to outbid each other until the highest bid is reached. Bidders typically get the attention of the auctioneer by raising their hands or their bidding numbers. But clear gestures can also be used.
The auctioneer will normally return to the most active bidders for confirmation of bids. If the bidder wishes to withdraw from the bidding, he can shake his head. The one with the highest bid will win the item.
After the bidding, the final bidder will pay a deposit according to the terms and conditions of the purchase. Payment methods are normally stated in the auction catalogue.