Live Auctions vs. Online Auctions | Frequently Asked Questions & More!
online vs live auction

Live Auctions vs. Online Auctions

Frequently Asked Questions, Information, & More!

Live and online auctions are so very different – but how so? The end result is the same for both of them, a user or person bids on an item, and after a succession of bids between other people who also want to buy the same item, someone bids the highest price and takes ownership of the new item. Besides the obvious difference of one taking place online and one taking place in person, what are some of the factors that differentiate a live auction and a online auction? Here are some FAQ’s for both live and online auctions that might help you see how the processes vary and also are similar

How Do I Register?

Live Auction

For a live auction, you will generally need to bring a valid form of identification such as a state id, passport, current driver’s license or government ID. You will likely need to fill out a few basic lines of information as well as provide a form of payment and you should be all set to start bidding! You should receive a buyers number or some sort of id so that you can show you are registered.

Online Auction

To register for an online auction is generally very simple. Specifically for the Miedema Companies, you can visit our auction website such as and click any logo at the top and follow by clicking the “register” icon at the top of the page. There are four simple steps including choosing a username and password, a security question, entering your email, contact information, and payment information. Once you are registered you are all set to begin bidding!

online auction vs live auction

How Do I Bid?

Live Auction

In the case of a live auction bidding is simple, there will be an auctioneer that is going through items selling each one or lot individually. As a bidder, you simply need to raise up your arm, or buyer ID card as the auctioneer is asking for bidders for a certain price. This will continue on until people stop bidding – the winner is then last person to have bid on the item.

Online Auction

To bid on an online auction you must be registered. Once you have registered, and logged in, click the “bid here” link on the specific item that you are wanting to bid on. Be sure to review the terms of the auction and accept them. Once you have done so you can access the bidding screen. With online bidding you can either enter in your maximum bid and allow the computer to bid for you as needed, or simply just enter in the next incremental bid as you watch the progression of the auction yourself.

Must I Be Present To Bid On The Item?

Live Auction

Believe it or not, you do NOT have to be present to bid on an item at a live auction. In order to bid on items at a live auction when you cannot be present requires a little bit of planning. You will have to contact the auction firm and request that a staff member bids on an item up to a certain price, or you can send someone in your place, maybe a friend or family member that will have the time and ability to bid on the items in your place. Not all auction companies process is the same for an “absentee bid” so be sure to make contact and request more information on how to absentee bid.

Online Auction

If you are not able to be online during the auction time, most online auctions have the ability to ‘pre-bid’ on any item. A pre-bid will be a specific dollar amount chosen by you, the buyer, before the auction even begins. This will allow you to establish a maximum bid that you’re willing to pay for the item. Until the bidding reaches a point that is higher than your specified amount your name and bid will remain the highest.

How Can I Be Notified Of Upcoming Auctions?

Live Auction

In order to receive notices of upcoming auctions, it’s important that you talk to one of the staff facilitating at the live auction. This gives you an opportunity to sign up in person for email auction notices or mail notices if applicable. If you are not AT a live auction but would like to receive a notice when a new live auction is happening, visit the auction company’s website or give them a call to receive direction on how to sign up for auction notifications.

Online Auction

Generally, in the registration process of any online auction you will be prompted or asked if you want to receive notifications for any upcoming auctions. Choosing yes will automatically allow you to be notified about upcoming auctions. If you selected no, and would like to change your preferences, go to your account page or call the customer service line for help getting your preferences changes so that you will be notified of auctions going forward.

What Is A Buyers Premium?

Live Auctions & Online Auctions

A Buyers premium definition is the same for both a live and online auction. It is a transaction fee that is added to the high bid, this is paid by the buyer as part of the Auctioneers compensation. A buyer’s premium is always explained in the auction terms and conditions of each auction. The premium is unique to each company – but in some live auction cases, the auction house will waive the buyer’s premium if you are paying in cash, cashiers check, wire transfer or guaranteed check. (This is not always the case)

As you can see, both live and online auctions, although the result may be the same, the processes can be different depending on what type of auction you choose to utilize to score the item that you want. Some other things that you might want to consider are previewing the items as well as how you will pick up the items. When it comes to previewing auction items, if you are buying something from an online auction, you will have to check the preview times or set up an appointment to go view the specific items you are hoping to buy. With a live auction, you are in person there already previewing the items that you might want to bid on. When thinking about picking up your items, if you are bidding at a live auction, chances are you already have a plan or a vehicle available or ready to take your items home – whereas when you are bidding on an online auction, be sure to review where the auction items are located and when the pickup times are! This is an important factor when considering what items to purchase and bid on!

We hope that you have a better understanding of all of the similarities and differences that are a part of both online and live auctions and hopefully you will be able to go into your purchase process with a better understanding of which ways might work best for you!

If you have any questions about live and online auctions, please contact us today – to see our upcoming live AND online auctions Click Here!