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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

Auction buyers are an astute group

I worked briefly for an auctioneer in Indiana in the early 1980’s. If I heard one thing more than any other — it was that the “buyers are [ignorant]” … to substitute for his more derogatory word.

I suspect this was the general feeling of many auctioneers dating back to the origins of auction marketing. In fact, I’ve seen evidence there is this feeling today in some auction markets.

For example, my aforementioned auctioneer would suggest that running the bid was fine, misrepresenting goods was standard procedure and auction advertising was more an art form.

About 2005 I started to notice that most all auction buyers (bidders) I was encountering were fairly astute. In fact, in the last 10 years, I’ve noticed and heard from auction buyers about auctioneers running the bid, misrepresenting property and auction advertising irregularities.

Since about 2010, I’ve been privy to lawsuits which have often been centered on these same issues. I’ve also noticed that most of these astute auction buyers have been surveying the Internet for auction information — and finding it.

Incidentally, they’re finding it not just via my blog; there is an abundance of auction information online on a variety of blogs, Facebook, various publications and otherwise. Too, there is more and more case law on the county and state levels, and certainly an increase in attorneys familiar with auction-related law.

Further, with the Internet, auction buyers can (and do) research prices of property, and thus by using the theory of substitution (a prudent buyer will not pay more than the price of a like substitute) sometimes limit their bidding based upon facts, rather than merely emotion.

In other words, I would submit today that auction buyers are an astute group. Generally, they know what they want, the value of what is being put up for auction, and in many cases the rules and customs which dictate how the auction should be conducted.

For auctioneers and sellers the message is clear. Not unlike any number of industries (real estate, legal, health, banking, insurance, retail …) sellers and their agents have seen the pendulum swing from them having all the information — and buyers at a disadvantage — to now buyers in the market having the information to significantly level the playing field.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.

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