When a car doesn’t sell during a live auction, we have the option to enter into negotiations. Sometimes, when a car does not sell during a live auction, we have the option of “negotiating” – if the owner writes to us through the auction house that he can sell the car at a different price than the final price at the auction. If you decide to negotiate the price, it is important to act quickly because the first buyer often wins! To better understand this process, please read the information below.
In the event that a car does not reach the seller’s minimum expected price, there is usually an opportunity to negotiate with the buyer through the auction house. In such a situation, the starting price is either the highest bid from any buyer during the unsuccessful sale (in most cases), or a “negotiable starting price,” which is the minimum amount the buyer can offer. A purchase offer cannot be lower than the starting price of the car.
The “negotiable starting price” is not the same as the seller’s minimum expected price and usually has no relation to it. Based on our experience in car sales, the “negotiable starting price” has nothing to do with the minimum price we declared. Therefore, to determine the seller’s minimum price, the buyer must submit an offer, which cannot be withdrawn.
The seller then has three scenarios to choose from:
a) Accept the offer.
b) Provide their absolute minimum price.
c) Specify the amount they are hoping for.
In the latter case, the buyer can either provide their final maximum price, which the seller can accept or reject, or the buyer can offer a price closer to the amount the seller is hoping for. If the negotiation process reaches this stage, the buyer often states their final maximum price or accepts an increased price from the seller. The auction house facilitates the negotiation process to be as fast and efficient as possible.
Different auction houses have variations in how negotiations regarding the right to negotiate the price are conducted. For example, in some auctions, the person who submitted the highest amount in the bidding has the right to enter negotiations within a specified limited time (10 minutes) after the bidding ends and has the first right to negotiate the price. In some auctions, on-site attendees have priority over remote bidders. In USS Nagoya and USS Okayama auctions, the person who proposes the highest price for negotiation has the first right to negotiate. The amount you offer depends on the uniqueness of the specific car and the estimated demand for it.
In other auction houses, you can submit an offer equal to or above the starting price—it doesn’t matter, as priority is not determined by the offered amount but by your place in the queue. It often happens that when we want to negotiate the price, there is already another interested party, and we don’t even get a chance to negotiate. That’s why it’s important to make decisions quickly in order to have any chance at all.
According to the auction rules, there is a limited time for initiating negotiations, usually one hour after the end of the bidding. However, from our experience, if the auction house is still open and the car remains unsold, purchase offers are still accepted until an hour before closing time (3:30 or 4:30 p.m. for most auction houses).
Sometimes the negotiable starting price can change or increase. This happens when the first bidder goes through the negotiation process without reaching an agreement, and then the auction house may increase the negotiable starting price to the level set by the seller as their minimum (and this corresponds to scenario b mentioned above).
It should also be noted that the results of car sales through price negotiations are not made public, and the auction house charges an additional commission for purchases made through price negotiations (usually 10,000 JPY), which is borne by the buyer.
Finally, we should look at unsuccessful auctions with caution and consider that the seller may try to manipulate the price. Hypothetically, the seller could collaborate with another trusted participant in the auction who bids close to the