On Auctions

Author’s note: Just some of my notes and thoughts on doing homework before an auction

Check VIN number from wind shield to compare to VIN number in other locations such as door and trunk. They should all match.

Check the dip stick.

Flooded cars should be avoided

Edmunds – tends to give an overall average. Prices are usually somewhere in between what a private seller and a dealership would offer for it.

[damaged, rouge, average, clean, outstanding]

Kelley Blue Book – favors car values towards the dealer. So people will start at the KBB price and negotiate down based on depreciation and other factors. Prices tend to be higher than what private seller would sell for. Don’t expect to pay the KBB value in most cases.

[fair, good, very good, excellent]

National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)

Dealership trade in value for cars use

* Wholsale Blue Book – the most money a dealer would pay for a car

*The Manheim Market Report – averages 1k’s of sells of cars sold in auctions.

There’s also a Black Bluebook, but this uses weekly wholesale auction values. These prices are lower than trade-in values.

Because, you, me, and everyone else has a life, we don’t want waste time searching through endless pages and dealing with ad consuming page downloads.

TNT auction –

there is no preview of airport lost and found.

They uploaded their car listings to

this view gives the items under their sell order. e.g. (Sale Order: 6 of 325)

* not everything is a car. Some trailers are listed too.
This is the .pdf for the miscellaneous items listings

Clark County holds a surplus auction three times a year. They contract TNT Auctions to do this for them. Two auctions are held simultaneously. One is the miscellaneous items auction and the other is the car auction. One may register as a bidder on-site from the TNT trailer. There’s no registration fee. Just show a valid form of ID to receive a bidder’s card. Miscellaneous items like electronics or office equipment cannot be bid on online, only in person. If you bid in the car auction in person, you must register in person. If you want to bid for the car auction online, you need to register online in the TNT Auction website. There’s same day registration, but you’re encouraged to register during the preview and pre-registration period.

For those bidding on a vehicles, the preview period is the time to inspect the vehicle. Inspect engine, put the vehicle into gear (they allow you to get in?), listen to the motor run, and check the gear. Individuals may not move the vehicle. Raise hand into air, or raise your bidder’s card.

10% buyer’s fee when bidding live

13% buyer’s fee when bidding online. The extra 3% probably covers banking fees, but if that’s the case, what difference would it make compared to using your credit/debt card in person? In which case, it probably covers some fee the TNT website adds for their ‘internet services’.

After you win the bid, you must deposit $300 for vehicle by the end of the same day. By the following Monday before 2PM. You must pay the remaining balance. With that done, you’re handed the keys and the vehicle title. It’s up to the winner to smog check the vehicle and to register it with the DMV. Miscellaneous items winners must pay in full and remove the item from the same day.

There seems to be an understanding that car auctioneers will lie about the condition of the vehicle. There’s also concern that you might get a ‘flood’ car, which might require investments to get fixed if it’s even possible. Basically, “as if” is the phrase to remember when buying.

What I’m doing right now:

1) I was going to do some wget magick to automate the process of getting the entire listing of what’s up for auction.

2) Then I was going to phrase the data and export it in a spreadsheet friendly format

3) Then I was going to conduct analysis cross referencing each Car’s Make, Year, Model to averaged values from the above “blue book” websites (which I would also have a set-up to automate retrieval using their APIs or through less respectful methods)

4) Then I was going to use a report I wrote on calculating depreciation using this year’s interest rate, and run Monte Carlo simulations to… to…

Was* is the take away word. For now, I’m just going to manually select a few items from the listings, and get a blue sky value for them. That report on calculating depreciation, I did write it (along with a co author). I’ll find it later. Was it depreciation? Maybe it was on financing a loan? I forget these things sometimes. Anyways, that’s all for today.