To Bid or Not to Bid
Not much is known about the Auction House. No one knows the story of how it actually came into existence; has it always been there? And where did they find a genie? My guess would be that a young Neopet once travelled far and wide and came upon an Auction where it bid for a genie! Returning home, the young entrepreneur decided it was high time Neopia Central also had an Auction House and so the genie became the most interesting and useful feature in the Auction House, helping Neopets and Neopet-owners auctioning off their valuables and bidding on the rare items they couldn't find anywhere else!
The Auction House, however, can be quite intimidating for the new user; all the last minute bidding and the rapidly escalating prices can prove themselves to be distracting and dangerous for your finances. So it's important to walk in well prepared.
If you're thinking about putting an item up to auction, keep a few things in mind:
1 - Your item should be a good seller.
When you put an item up for auction you risk selling if for a price that's under the market value, and once you've put an item up for auction you can't pull back until the end! So ask yourself: are you willing to risk it?
On the other hand, your item might sell really well. You'll be happy and so will your buyer!
2 - Start Price
To move things along quickly, you can ask for a start price that will put the bids on a level you're comfortable. Your start price should make the item look attractive to people willing to buy it but should also ensure you that you'll at least break even on the amount you paid for the item and how much you're selling it for.
3 - Minimum Increment
That's the minimum amount of Neopoints a buyer will have to add to the last bid. In items of great value is always helpful to keep that amount as at least a couple of thousand Neopoints, that way you can guarantee yourself to get good bids as your potential buyers fight for your precious item! But in items that sell for less, a good idea is to keep it a short number, so people don't give up on the item too quickly!
4 - Neofriends Only (optional)
This is for when you want to sell an item to a Neofriend, this way, no one but your Neofriends can bid and everything can stay in the family!
But if you're interested in bidding, here are a few strategies I picked up:
1 - Finding good bargains
You know how diamonds are forever? Some items are the same, their prices don't fluctuate much and they sell like water at the Lost Desert. Those are usually safe options and even if you end up putting a lot of money into it, you can always be sure to get it back in the future (plus interest)! I would recommend limited-edition items, specially stamps, books and wearables! Stamps and books are one-use only, which make them expensive, but when you take into consideration that the item won't be released again, the price goes way up really quick. A good idea would be to stock up on these items after an event and hold on to them for a couple of years...
2 - Keep track of your bids
Since you only have an estimated time of when the auction will end, it's your responsibility to make sure you're not outbid with 5 minutes left on the clock. Though your Neopoints will be returned to you in full once the auction is closed, it can be quite frustrating to not win an auction after devoting time and attention to it.
3 - Know when to outbid your competitor
Most of the time, you'll find you're fighting a couple of other users for that awesomely rare item, and you can find yourself outbidding each other for hours on end, while the item price rises. To avoid having the item go up to a price you aren't willing to pay, pace yourself, it's not important that you're the last bidder throughout the whole auction, as long as you're the last bidder when the auction ends. So sometimes, stop bidding, keep an eye on the clock and when the auction is coming closer to and end resume your bidding! That way you'll stop the price from going too far up and you might catch the other bidder on his toes and he might lose the auction out of distraction!
4 - Make sure you're home when it's time
My last tip for the intrepid bidder is to make sure you're by a computer and checking your auctions compulsively on the last couple of hours/minutes of the auction. Everything changes on those last 5 minutes before they close the auction for good and usually people are outbidding themselves like crazy and refreshing the auction page like it's nobody's business! My last victorious bidding, I've managed to make the last possible bid less than a minute after the other bidder! Keep in mind that luck plays a big role but you can make sure you're there for the fight!
As I sit here, finishing up this article, I'm keeping an eye on one item that's currently 30 minutes to 2 hours away from going once, twice and sold! I remember that when I first started bidding I would bid on items that were not worth the amount that was asked or I would bid and then forget to check that I wasn't outbid, so make sure to keep your eyes on the prize! Lastly, like everything in Neopets, the Auction House can be a fun and exhilarating feature, but it can also be quite competitive. Make sure you know your limits, don't bid over what you are willing to pay for an item, regret will surely follow! And make sure not to be too hasty when auctioning your precious items, there's no going back either! So have fun and happy bidding!