Golden rules to bag yourself a bargain under the hammer…
Local auction houses can be a treasure trove of bargains if you need some new furniture, so long as you are willing to put a bit of time in to study the catalogue beforehand.
You can find your nearest auction house at UKauctioneers.com, as well as a list of online auctions that are worth a look.
Tracy Martin, a collectables and antiques expert, advises: ‘Brown furniture is going really cheaply right now — the Victoriana, heavy furniture and also pieces from the 1920s as long as they don’t scream ‘art deco’, as that tends to cost more.
‘The mid-century stuff is really popular (1960s and 70s), but you can still pick up some bargains. Tables and chairs from that era are a good bet, plus glassware and ceramics which are not so expensive.’
Local auction houses can be a treasure trove of bargains if you need some new furniture, so long as you are willing to put a bit of time in to study the catalogue beforehand
She cautions, though, that it’s important to know what you’re doing and to get used to auction rooms before you start bidding on something.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of bidding and buy something unsuitable and overpriced.
‘I have a few rules,’ she says. ‘Go to the viewing so that you can look at the item yourself as you want to make sure you like it, and also you can make sure there’s no damage. The auctioneers can give you more information on its back story.’
You can do a lot of research online, too. Using The-saleroom.com you can browse through items for sale in auctions around the country.
For its handy guide, click here.
At the sale room, you can ask for a condition report of anything you’re interested in. You can bid online at live auctions.
But if you’re just starting out, you’re better off attending some in-person sales first.
Tracy suggests looking through job lots to find the real bargains. ‘Stuff such as glass items and framed photographs are put into job lots,’ she says.
‘The auctioneers haven’t the time to check it all. If you have a rummage, you could pick up a bargain.’
Unless you’re looking for things to sell on for a profit, it’s a good idea to have a list of things you want before you go to an auction, to avoid the temptation of bidding on objects just because they are there and seem cheap.
An auction can be like the January sales or Black Friday: it’s far too easy to get carried away!
Good auction houses will publish an online catalogue before a sale, so you can look at what’s on offer and decide what you want to bid on and how much you might be prepared to pay.
If you are looking at a high-ticket item (that is expensive and/or valuable), it’s important to look at things such as the sales history, previous owners and even seek advice from an expert.
You should also ask questions, like how they decided the price.
Once you buy at auction, you will become aware of the extra costs. Usually you need to register to bid. Some are free to register; others charge a fee.
And, of course, auction houses charge commission so the ‘hammer price’ isn’t the final amount.
Most auctioneers add 15-20 per cent commission plus VAT. So check the charges against your budget.
If you’re looking for a new bike, computer or even some jewellery, police auctions can be worth a look.
Here the forces sell recovered stolen goods where they couldn’t find the owners.
Traditionally, people have gone to Bumblebee auctions for this. These used to be in- person but increasingly they’ve gone online.
The listings seem to be a bit erratic and you need to register with Nochex and connect it with your bank account for a £3 fee before you can bid.
Alternatively, see Auction-Detective.com for current police auctions.
When I looked there was an electric hybrid bike going for £97, a Ford Ranger 2017 headlight for £6 and a cordless circular saw for £52.
Check the location of the police force that has listed the items as the majority are collection-only.
Once you’ve got a taste for it, you might like to try more speculative events like storage unit auctions.
These are when storage unit renters fail to make payments or the units have been abandoned. Some contain rubbish but others have furniture or even cars in them.
The sales can be a bit hit and miss. Auctioneers will take a picture of the contents but they usually aren’t very detailed so, you might have to take a punt.
If you win a unit you have to take everything in it and you have to clear it out yourself so you might need a van, especially if the unit is full.
Sites such as baggageauctions.co.uk and corbyselfstorage.co.uk have details on storage auctions.
Got a question for Jasmine? Email her at [email protected].
Book now, pay later for summer breaks
Want to book a holiday but your finances are still feeling the pinch from Christmas? Then consider these ways to spread the cost of your holiday.
Lots of the big travel companies let you put down a deposit to secure your booking which gives you a few months to pay off the difference.
Ask the tour operator or hotel firm if they offer this service when you book. Tui is also advertising £0 or very low deposit holidays with three months to pay the balance via direct debit.
Its ‘book-now-pay-later’ scheme is a cost-effective way to bag your break. Please note, though it only offers this option for holidays booked well in advance.
So if you book today it would be for holidays in August and beyond. All the information you need is on its website.
Lots of the big travel companies let you put down a deposit to secure your booking which gives you a few months to pay off the difference
Adventure travel company Rat Race offers customers an option to pay via a monthly instalment plan and an option to pay interest-free over as many months as you need.
Apparently, 72 per cent of its customers pay monthly with average payments starting at £41.67.
Finally, a word of warning. There are apps that come up if you search online with such terms as ‘fly now pay later’.
They offer you the chance to buy a single-use card to book your trip then set your own repayment plan. But they can charge up to 42 per cent APR.
If you are tempted by something like this, please always read the small print to see what the extra charges would be.
£5 of FREE petrol at Morrisons this week
Vodafone is offering customers £5 worth of petrol for free at Morrisons this week. Get the discount code through the Vodafone rewards app VeryMe and present it at a Morrisons petrol station to get the free fuel.
Also at Morrisons, Weight Watchers is offering WW pre-prepared meals at under 400 calories per meal for £2.50 until tomorrow.
Meanwhile, at ASDA, anyone can take advantage of the seven-day meal plan for a family of four for £20.
The meal plans include sausage and mash, frittata and tuna pasta. Customers can also follow the recipes on the ASDA Good Living website.
Get 20 per cent off warm and cosy items from Kudd.ly such as weighted blankets, hoodie blankets and heated slippers.
Just use the code MAIL20 at the checkout. Only one voucher code can be used per order. Offer is available until February 4.
Get 20 per cent off warm and cosy items from Kudd.ly such as weighted blankets, hoodie blankets and heated slippers
Caboodle is offering 100 people the chance to have a free copy of Stacey Thomas’s debut novel The Revels before its official release in July.
Perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Bridget Collins, all you need to be in with a chance of getting a free copy is click on this link and fill in your name and address.
Car-maker Dacia is offering a free ‘Heated Seat Saviour’ hot water bottle to car owners who turn up at one of its showrooms between February 1-2.
It has outlets at Staples Corner in London, in Manchester and one in Swansea.