Private buyer at auction - Jet
I've been to an auction to get a feel for things and have decided I want to have a go at bidding for a car from a fleet sale.

I noticed that a lot of the cars are around the 3 year old mark and as such don't have MOT's. Am I OK to phone my insurance company and insure the car before I leave the auction and book an MOT with an MOT centre before I leave the auction and drive the car directly there.

I have read that a lot of the cars don't come with a V5. So how do I stand with driving the car on the road when I leave the auction, as I won't be able to tax it without the V5 will I? Does this void my insurance?

Also, are these cars HPI checked or similar? What guarantee do I have of buying a car that hasn't got outstanding finance or been an insurance write off?
Private buyer at auction - artful dodger {P}
I know someone will give you direct answers to all your questions, but why not ask the auctioneers. It is in their interest to be able to answer these questions as it will maximise the selling price.

I read frequently, but only post when I have something useful to say.
Private buyer at auction - Vansboy
You'll pick up a booklet, at the auction How To Bid & Buy, freely available.

Most fleets have their act together regarding paperwork & not too many are actually without V5 - even if they only appear on the day of sale.

MOT isn't a points on licience - just a fine, but worth pre-booking one, if you can.

Insurance is important - as soon as the car is 'knocked down' to you, by the auctoneer, it's YOUR responsibility.

If you buy from you get free insurance, to get you home.

HPI type check, is carried out as part of the buyers premium, but shouldn't be showing anything, as you'll be buying direct from the fleet operator. It's not something you'll have a copy of, but the auctioneer will declare if insurance write off/incorrect mileage/major faults.

Private buyer at auction - local yokel
>MOT isn't a points on licience - just a fine, but worth pre-booking one, if you can.

Driving a vehicle without an MoT to a pre-booked MoT is legit, though I guess Plod would think you were taking the michael if you drove from Blackbushe to a pre-booked MoT in Glasgow.
Private buyer at auction - bell boy
any decent auction will have a sheet in the window telling you if it is hpi clear,dont forget that if it is an ex hire car then any damage may have been in house repaired and as such will not flag up on a hpi (yes they should tell swansea but how many do,would you?)
As said ask the auctioneer as everything he says is recorded for future reference.
A v5c can take 6 weeks to procur from swansea and you cannot tax the car till this has been logged into your name dont forget the £19 fee as well.
Ideally take a friend with you that will see your prospective purchase from a different angle ie your mind is saying buy buy buy but really its not a good choice for many reasons keep friend plied with tea.:)
With regards mot booking prior to collection yes you can do this if insured but be aware the car should still be road legal.
Most auction houses deliver for less than £50 to your house /garage consider this as a better alternative to driving an unknown car that may just have had some safety related bits changed prior to block.
\"a little man in a big world/\"
Private buyer at auction - pd
Most ex-fleet cars at auction will be HPI clear and will have the V5 even if the catalogue says not. The auctioneer will state this when it comes through.

Vansboy makes a very good point that when buying at auction when you buy it on the hammer it is then your responsibility. Don't forget the buyers premium either which can be hefty without a trade account.

Whilst many cars will have full or nearly full service history a lot of the ex-fleet cars I've seen at auction recently have had bodywork repairs often poorly done. Check for this very carefully.

Remember that there isn't really such a thing as a "cheap" car at auction - if none of the traders are remotely interested in it then there is usually a reason.

Don't forget the ebay option either where there are a lot of ex-fleet cars sold sometimes for less than you'll pay at auction.
Private buyer at auction - local yokel
My advice would be to use Joe Dowd - he gets trade rates on the buyer's premium, so his charge becomes very realistic, when you factor in your time, petrol and lack of expertise in the auction room.

If you are buying a decent 3 y/o car the amount you'll pay Joe will be a good investment compared to the cost of a mistake.
Private buyer at auction - Jet
Thanks for all the replies.

Does anyone have an idea how much the buyers premium would be? I'll be looking to spend around £4k on the car.
Private buyer at auction - John Doubledime

Joe Dowd has just helped me buy a £4,000 Almera. Using his account the buyers premium was £76.I strongly recommend Joe.

Private buyer at auction - Jet
And how much if I bought myself as a private buyer?

Then I can compare.
Private buyer at auction - Vin {P}
Not exactly sure, but I believe it's typically about double the trade rate for a private buyer.

I, too, recommend Joe Dowd unequivocally. I'm in no way affiliated with him, but he's bought me two terrific cars, he's done the same for firnds I have recommended him to, and he's an all round decent chap.

Private buyer at auction - MichaelR
I had dealings with Joe 2 years ago when I almost bought a Mondeo that way. I found a good one privately before he'd had a chance. He was thoroughly professional and I was very impressed even though I didn't buy a car from him.

I'm now considering buying my 5 Series through him, but have one concern (A non Joe related one I must add!).

3 year old cars, fine. Ex fleet. Know where they came from, know why they are there. But I can't afford a 3 year old 530i Sport. I'm looking at a 2000/2001 or very high mileage 2002 car instead.

Why would a car like that be at auction? Are there any big leasing companies which dispose at 4 or 5 years instead of 3? Or should I be wary at why such a car is going through auction?
Private buyer at auction - pd will give you some idea. A trade account will pay a lot less although it depends on what tier of account they have.

An auction is a good place to get the right car at the right price but it can take a lot of leg work and time plus a lot of frustration if you're after a very particular car. It is also one of the easiest places to pay through the nose for a pile of rubbish - a lot of people do.
Private buyer at auction - local yokel
There's an arguement that the person who buys at auction always overpays, after all, they've paid a higher price for the item than anyone present was prepared to pay. Why was that? Because eveyone else decided they couldn't make it pay its way on the forecourt.

Now that arguement doesn't entirely hold water, for lots of good reasons, but it's worth bearing in mind. Using Joe Dowd will get you a vehicle at a price he'd buy for a trade contact, who then has to make a retail margin. That margin might look good, but you have to self-warrant the car, prep it to showroom standard, and have the cash when the hammer falls.

Don't forget, you might actually be bidding against other private customers, so long after the trade have gone silent, you three are bidding each other up, each thinking that the other bidders are bidding for a trade purchase. Only after do you realise that you've bought at a near-retail price, with none of the comebacks.
Private buyer at auction - bell boy
what happens if Joe Dowd buys a dud?
\"a little man in a big world/\"
Private buyer at auction - Vin {P}
"what happens if Joe Dowd buys a dud? "

Never discussed it with him. I think, however, that he would sort it out. I won't say what he said to me that made me think that (as it would probably give the unscrupulous a way to con him) but in summary, he gives every impression of being an honourable man. That's one of the resons I recommend him.

Additionally, I've now bought enough cars at auction that if I had to throw a dud in a skip I'd still be ahead of the game.

Private buyer at auction - pd
Buying at auction is OK but there is no point in paying over trade. A private buyer is highly unlikely to get some sort of silly bargain at auction as (a) there are reserves! and (b) at every auction there will be a certain number of trade regular bidders the auctioneer can rely on to push the price up a bit (and failing that the fire extinguisher could chip in).

I work 5 minutes away from the largest auction in the UK and sometimes go down there at lunchtime as the canteen serves a mean bacon sandwich and it is amazing what you sometimes see. Every now and again you get two private bidders paying more for some bit of tat than they'd pay at a franchised dealer.

I generally reckon about 80% of people attending are private but 80% of bidders are trade.

My theory is that once somebody has taken the day off, got up early and then spent all day hanging around a cold auction hall they get into the mindset that they "may as well buy the car anyway" even though the car they were interested in has several different shades of colour, a missing bumper and somebody has nicked the radio. They then get carried away thinking they are getting a bargain and the auctioneer combined with a friendly regular bidder takes them to the cleaners. For some reason this seems a particularly regular occurance on base spec 3-Series and diesel Focus.

Still, if the buyer is happy perhaps it doesn't matter. The auction house and vendor will certainly be happy.

If you go to auction to buy a car make a shortlist of at least 10 cars - do not get stuck on one particular car, make or model. If you do that, 5 will pass first inspection and you might get one at the right price. Whatever you do don't travel the length of the country aiming for just one car as once you've gone to all that effort you'll probably buy it even though it is an overpriced dog.
Private buyer at auction - bell boy
agreed pd and if they upset me or try and be too clever in front of their mates etc im the first to trot them up especially if you hear how much they are willing to pay while walking round it for the 20th time.....................brightens the day up doesnt it:)
\"a little man in a big world/\"
Private buyer at auction - pd
Too true. It sometimes works a little bit the other way round though where a group of trade buyers agree to never bid against each other, pick up some cars cheap and then decide who has what at the pub down the road. ;) (Not that this ever happens of course).

I wonder if stopping at the pub to divide up the spoils could be argued a legitimate use of trade plates to the DVLA? (!).
Private buyer at auction - Vin {P}
" agreed pd and if they upset me or try and be too clever in front of their mates etc im the first to trot them up especially if you hear how much they are willing to pay while walking round it for the 20th time.....................brightens the day up doesnt it:)"

What a delightful attitude. And you wonder why car dealers have a bad reputation.

Private buyer at auction - pd
In fairness to car dealers they have no reason to be particularly keen on private buyers "cutting out the middle man" as it is their living. I doubt Vin{P} would be too keen on being cut out of whatever he/she does for a living by being bypassed so why should car dealers actually help out private buyers?

I think auctions are very much a case of if you can't stand the heat.....
Private buyer at auction - Vin {P}
"so why should car dealers actually help out private buyers?"

If you read his post, it's not a case of "not helping". He boasts of deliberately impeding them by bidding up on a vehicle he's not interested in buying. Indefensible. I'm not asking him to help them, just to live and let live.

I do get bypassed (I sell for a living). It's fair game. I don't deliberately spike someone else for the fun of it (and neither do my competitors do it to me).

I hold to my original point. With the dealers showing attitudes like that no wonder people hate motor traders.

Private buyer at auction - expat
Before you buy at auction you have to really have done your homework and know exactly what the car you are bidding on is worth. You have to be prepared to walk away as soon as it goes above that. It is a good idea to buy a car which has some of the new car warranty left on it. That takes a lot of the risk out of things.
Private buyer at auction - Xileno {P}
I don't go to auctions very much now but used to be a regular at Westbury. Best to go along a few times without any intention to buy, just to get a feel of procedings. Always go alone, these are not family day outs. Don't draw attention to yourself by having a copy of a car magazine in hand. If you want to check prices, do it discretely. Don't kick tyres, act like a professional trader.

When bidding, set your limit and stick to it. Do not get carried away in the bidding frenzy - there will always be another car. It's not hard to spot the traders, see how they act and bid.

Enjoy it though, it can be fun but not on a cold day...
Private buyer at auction - Aprilia
Its quite funny going to an auction and watching private buyers pretending to be traders!
Don't listen to all the half-baked suggestions, just go along and act natural - people will know you're a private buyer anyway.

The thing is, to get the car you really want you may have to visit quite a few auctions, it can be time consuming and boring.
Private buyer at auction - Jet
Someone went to another auction this morning to have a look for me and we learnt that some of the companies selling are actually finance companies and not ex fleet.

One car had two very large holes in the parcel shelf, which seemed a bit strange for an ex lease car! On further investigation it was a 3 year old car with 5 owners.

You are right, I think I could spend many, many hours searching for a particular make and model with the right amount of doors and engine but I think maybe I am going to have to compromise if I don't want to spend half my life searching.

Or think about employing an auction buyer.

I won't be trying to do a car dealer impersonation. I'm sure the "real" dealers would suss me out anyway. Far better to be honest than to try and look like Arthur Daly!

Value my car