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I look at many auction advertisements almost every day. For example, I’ll see a car advertised for auction with a certain engine, certain transmission, certain injection …

I almost assume since all this auction information is listed, it’s all good news. However, is it always good news? Let’s look at a particular example:

Above is a 1982 Cadillac Couple DeVille with just over 2,000 miles. Here’s the data on engine, transmission, injection, horsepower, etc:

High Technology (HT-4100 cc) LT8, 4.1 L, 249.4 cu in, Aluminum/Cast Iron Block/Head, OHV 2 valves x cyl, 135 HP at 4400 RPM, Water Cooled, ECM, Throttle-Body Fuel Injection, Turbo-Hydramatic transmission

I can almost hear Trey Morris or Barrett Bray reading this description from the block with their usual enthusiasm and crisp delivery … thinking I may want to buy this car. Actually, I’ve owned this car and others like it and I’m not in the market.

As I look at (or hear) the description, I process the words like “High Technology,” “ECM,” “Turbo,” and the like — so what’s not to like? In fact, this car is probably not on the road today with well-known engine, injection, head and valve issues.

Further, is that actually only 135 horsepower? If by chance one of these 1982 Cadillac automobiles is on the road, it’s likely in the right lane, if not off to the side of the road with the hood up — rarely did I ever pass anyone other than when I was being transported by a rollback.

The difference may be hearing versus listening? Maybe reading versus comprehending? Possibly we’re all optimists and tend to think any property description is positive by default?

Auctioneers identify property — advertise property — market property — and ultimately proper presentation matters. Particularly for a live auction, it is the sound, voice, cadence, inflection, enthusiasm and clarity that all make a difference.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.