After buying a house, buying a vehicle is perhaps the next biggest purchase a person can make. But buying a vehicle at an auction can also be one of the most stressful. It’s one thing to go on test drives with friendly salespeople, kick some tires, drink their free coffee and then shop around. It’s quite another to be bidding on vehicles in a high-pressure public auction against dozens of people.
The experts at Border Buddy are all about helping you find the best deal at a vehicle auction in the US and then ensuring you can import your vehicle into Canada. To get the best deal, you have to be prepared. And here are the things you absolutely must bring with you.
1. A Knowledge of What Kind of Vehicle Auction It Is
Not every auction is the same. Some are called “government” auctions, some are “public”. Vehicles at government auctions are generally considered well-maintained with accurate documentation because the government owner had to keep their employees on the road. Public auction vehicles are often considered more suspect, so buyer beware.
2. Sharp Eyes + A Sensitive Nose
You can usually fire up a vehicle at an auction but you can’t drive it so your eyes are key in inspecting the interior and exterior for damage as well as any efforts taken to conceal that damage. Look under the hood. Check the dipstick to see oil levels. Note the VIN (vehicle identification number) on the windshield and then find another VIN, usually in the door, to ensure they match. (Sometimes, people will change them to hide a vehicle’s past.) And don’t forget to smell the interior. If there is a wet scent, that’s a sure sign to steer clear.
3. A Set Price
Do your best to have in mind a set price you are willing to pay before entering the bidding process. If you have access to “blue book” pricing, you can check what the true value of the vehicle should be so you don’t overpay.
4. Bring Cash
Not to overstate the obvious, but make sure your financing is set. If you can pay a cash deposit, many auctions will give you a discount on the final price. But it’s not just the money needed to buy the vehicle. You also need to ensure you have enough money to cover applicable taxes, title and registration fees plus shipping costs.
5. Cool Demeanor
Preparation will help you stay cool during the bidding process so you don’t get caught up in the moment. Never be first to bid. Silence will often force the auctioneer to lower the price to get more people involved.
If you have purchased a vehicle in the U.S., or if you’re considering buying one, Border Buddy is here to ensure the importation process is smooth and stress-free. Our experts know all the hoops importers are required to jump through – from inspections to documentation to various fees. We’ve helped thousands of people navigate the process and we can help you through it, too. Contact us with your questions or to get a quote!