A Guide To Buying Farm Equipment Via Auctions

You can buy farm equipment at dealerships or through private sellers, but have you considered buying farm equipment and machinery at an auction?

Oftentimes, farmers like buying equipment and machinery at auctions because they get a great deal for a low price. Who doesn’t appreciate a quality bargain?

Time to Plan and Formulate a “Want” and “Need” List

Auctions generally include time for you to see what’s for sale, inspect the “as is” equipment, register for the auction, place bids, and pay money if you’re the highest bidder. Then you get to bring the invoice and your identification to the pick-up area, where you get what you bought and take it back to your farm.

In-Person and Virtual Buying Options

Some auctions are done on-site at farms. There can also be online auctions in this “virtual world” we’re living in, such that you could buy stuff from the comfort of your own home, sitting at the computer in your underwear. There are also wholesale auctions and on-site dealer auctions.

If you have good timing, you can get good deals. If you buy “off-season,” for example, you can expect to save money on the machinery you want. If an item is in high-demand and will be used as soon as it gets back to the farm, then expect to pay more for it. But if you buy something that’s “not really needed ‘til next Fall,” then expect a lower price.

What to Value

Ideally, at an auction you want to concentrate on getting the right aged and branded machinery that’ll suit your needs. If you’re all about John Deere, then just be on the lookout for John Deere equipment. If you know you want something that’s between 3 and 5 years old, bid on it. If it’s too old, don’t. If it’s a brand you don’t really like or trust, avoid it! Some of the best brands to buy are Caterpillar, Deere, Case and Komatsu. You can research these brands beforehand, and ask other farmers what they use and like, if you need some advice on what to buy.

Map Out a Budget and Find “Value”

When you attend a farm auction, go in with clear intentions. Have in mind what you want to buy and how much you’re willing to spend on that item or those items. This will help you stay focused and also allow you to take emotions out of it. Just because you really like an expensive tractor because of the color, the style, the “extras,” or the wheels doesn’t mean you have to own it– especially if you don’t have the money to truly afford it. If possible, before the auction happens, find out “how much such-and-such is going for these days.” When you know a particular tractor is worth, say $7,000, then you know not to pay $12,000 for it.

Scout Out Your Options

While many people look online before auction day to see what’s available, it does help to view machinery and such in person before the auction day. Photos show you what sellers want you to see. Your eyes, however, show you the real deal and the complete picture. If possible, arrange a time to see what you’re interested in before the auction day occurs. Even better, if they’ll let you try out a piece of equipment for yourself, do so! That way you’ll see how it handles and whether or not you think it would be the right fit for what you want/need.

With farm auctions, check the warranty and servicing history. You should be able to take a look at the service or log book history of a machine at auction. That gives you perspective– you can see if it was overused and/or if it received upgraded parts or fittings.

Know When to Pass

Finally, if you’re thinking of buying farm equipment or machinery at an auction, know your deal breakers. What would cause you to back away from a deal? Things like component issues, structural problems or the fact that it’s from a manufacturer that’s out-of-business could be deal breakers. Know when to “not bid.”

Wilson Auction & Realty Co. can hold live auctions for agricultural equipment, but also offers online auctions which helps increase the scope of potential buyers. Some of the items our company auctions off include farm tractors, excavators, loader backhoes, skid steers, motor & pull scrapers, and harvesting equipment.

Are you looking to auction off old agricultural equipment and farm machinery in Ohio, Michigan, or Indiana? Let Wilson Auction & Realty Co. handle everything for you by calling toll-free at 866-870-5500. And if you’re looking for upcoming auctions where you can buy items, check out this page and the online auction page, too.