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Be Bold, It's Sold: Keeping Yourself Informed Before an Auction

08/20/2013 05:26 EDT | Updated 10/20/2013 05:12 EDT

After fifteen years on the auction circuit, we know how to turn a single night of work into thousands of dollars in profit. In fact, we've bankrolled family vacations, our daughter's tuition, and a complete home Reno with auction earnings alone. And we just keep coming back for more.

When it comes to auction hunting, knowledge is power. Good research means the difference between a stud and a sucker. You need to learn as much as you can about the value of an item and know what you can sell it for.

We once bought an item without doing proper research; it was a pickup truck suspension kit that we paid hundreds for and sold it for $1700. We shipped it only to have the customer tell us that it was missing an important part, which we did not have. We had to refund the $1700 and took a major hit. The moral of the story? Do your research and make sure the items you buy are complete.

Know your s***

The Internet is an excellent resource. Before the auction, go online to find out what an item RETAILS for and then visits sites like eBay to find out what it's SOLD for, and how much money you can make when selling it. Only then will you know exactly what you should BID on an item.

You can also go to an appraiser, but appraisers will give you their opinion on what the items could be worth and often use the Internet themselves to get a value, so this can be a waste of time and you will have to pay an appraisal fee to boot.

Beware of hidden fees

This is crucial, as it will help determine how much you can bid on an item in order to make a profit. Most auction houses have a 10 per cent 'Buyer's Premium', which is tacked onto your bill at the end of the night in addition to applicable taxes. This can add up to 25 per cent to your costs; eating into your profits.

Zero in

When you're just starting out, identify two or three items that you really want before the auction begins and focus your efforts on winning just those items. Remember this type of sale is fast and furious; focusing on only three items will keep you on track. If you don't start small you may end up feeling overwhelmed, which could lead to you overpaying. The last thing you want is to leave the auction feeling frustrated and discouraged.

Ultimately, each auction is an opportunity to cash in, and the pros know that thorough research is the "secret to auction success". Do your homework and you're sure to walk away a winner.

Watch Mr. & Mrs. Hollywood on their new auction hunting series, Lost & Sold, premiering on Slice on September 2nd with back-to-back episodes starting at 10PM ET.