Live auctions can be a lot of fun and a great way to find items at great prices, provided you know where to find them. If you're interested in flipping items for sale either as a full-time business or as a side hustle, auctions are a great place to start. Many auction houses run weekly or monthly auctions, while estate auctions and storage auctions are held only when the necessary occasion arises.
Finding Local Auctions Today
Anyone hosting an auction wants you to find it just as much as you do. In most cases, all you need is a web browser and a Google account. Open your web browser and log in to Google so that Google can identify where you are right now. Then, type any of the following:
- "local auctions"
- "local estate auctions"
- "local silent auctions"
The results will vary depending on the area and what is happening that week, but you should get a list of auctions and their dates listed in chronological order. Click on any link to view the details.
Finding Estate Auctions and Auction Houses
Estate auctions, where furniture and personal belongings are sold after someone passes away, are almost always held by auction houses. The auction may be at the person's home or at the auction house itself. In some communities, auction houses will have a regular auction held weekly or monthly.
To find these auctions, you can look at the classified ads in your local newspaper or go to the auction houses' websites. A quick way to find local auction houses is to simply type "auction" in Google Maps at maps.google.com. The auction house's website should list upcoming auctions or give you an option to subscribe to announcements or newsletters via email.
Finding Government Auctions
Government auctions can be a great source of good deals. Governments may auction their own surplus items as well as property seized by the local police department or the U.S. treasury department. To find these auctions, you check all levels of government, including your city, town or county government and state government.
The federal government often has auctions held throughout the country, which are posted on their websites. Another source of auction information is GovDeals.com, which lists government auctions across the country. You can search for items by location and then bid on them directly from the GovDeals website after you register your account.
Finding Storage Auctions
If you're a fan of "Storage Wars," then you know storage unit auctions can hold some great deals (along with some that aren't so great). The premise of these auctions is simple: When someone stops paying for a storage locker, the company puts the contents up for auction. You usually get to look inside, but you don't always get a chance to open all the boxes.
To find a storage auction, you can try contacting local storage unit companies to find out if they have any auctions coming up, keep an eye on local newspapers or search online. If you want to start browsing storage lockers today, another option is an online storage auction, like those hosted by Bid13.com. You can look at photos of the contents and then place a bid.
Finding Silent Auctions
Silent auctions are usually held by charities or local organizations as a way of raising donations for a cause. In most cases, the items up for auction have been donated and include things like sports tickets, original paintings, free consultations or even weekend getaways to a spa. Beside every item you'll find a silent auction bid sheet, where you can place your bid (which should be more than the last bid) and your contact information.
Silent auctions may be at charity events for an evening or may be at churches, community centers, schools or even the local mall for a week at a time. To find these, do a search for "charity auctions" in your area. Because these auctions are for charity, however, don't be surprised if many people bid more for an item than its retail value.
A published author, David Weedmark has advised businesses on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years and used to teach computer science at Algonquin College. He is currently the owner of Mad Hat Labs, a web design and media consultancy business. David has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines and websites including American Express, Samsung, Re/Max and the New York Times' About.com.