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I'm thinking of hiring a dealer/broker to find that perfect 2003-2005 E46 at wholesale price + commission. Has anyone ever gone this route before? Any experiences? One dealer told me all the good cars in that year range are being sold at retail on someone's lot, and all the rotten/problem ones will be headed to the auction. The broker thing isn't really his business, and I think he may have just been wanting to sell me one of his own cars.
 

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I just got my 05 330ci like that. Body is mint and the car had extended cpo warranty Until 100k. So far no issues. Runs great. I paid 11500 for it. Plus taxes and all that ****. Get recs, my broker was a friend who has done this for other friends as well.
 

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My uncle buys auction cars all the time. Maybe it's because I live in the midwest, but he's never been able to find the BMW I was looking for at any given time. If I needed a Honda or a Ford, sure, he can find a mint deal. From my observations (attending auctions and logging into auction websites), Astheros' experience is pretty rare. Most of the BMWs, at least, fit what your dealer described. They tend to be abused or repo'ed. These are the cars that other people don't think they can sell on their own lots, so they try to unload them on someone else. They auction's have inspectors who will report dents and obvious mechanical stuff, but they won't do anything like an inspection two and will probably miss a lot of flaws. If you do hire a broker/dealer, I suggest you have him find a promising option on the auction sites, and then go see the car in person.

Oddly, though, the last two cars I bought happened to be from other people who had purchased them at an auction and then fixed them up. In both cases, the cars had no records and were borderline neglected. But they were still cheap so I was OK with putting in some TLC.
 

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You're going to swap out so many parts before or after they break anyway that I don't see how anyone can be against this.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for your input. I'm thinking I'll probably end up researching a good broker (thanks for the rec, Astheros), do as much due diligence as possible up front (inspections, etc...), hope that the car is as nice as it seems once I get it, and simply accept that my reward of paying wholesale + commission, etc. goes with the risk of relying on 3rd parties to get what I need. Now the search begins...
 

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It all depends. Seriously. I cannot really say it any other way. I have bought cars from auction that were one owner dealer maintained fantastic automobiles, and some from the auction that have had all sorts of additives and quick fixes done so that they can pull through the lane. Carfax is not a reliable indicator of future problems. The only advice I can offer is to make sure the vehicle is being run "green light" and then take full advantage of having the inspection done. We once passed on a S600 due to a blown headgasket that exhibited no problems through the lane, only showed up upon inspection-would have been a very costly mistake.

I've only bought one of my personal cars from the auction, it was a 99.5 audi a4 quattro 2.8 and it was a miserable, miserable mistake. Most unreliable car i've ever owned. For me, after knowing the used car business and running a used dealership for about two years, I don't buy my cars from the auction. Not saying you can't get a great car for a great price that way, but there are some serious risks. Just my .02c
 

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My family owns an auction. Started 35 years ago by my grandfather. Almost every car I've owned I've gotten through this auction. The biggest thing I can tell you is patience. The right car for you will come along eventually. The one car(awd eagle talon) I rushed to find I got off Craigslist and it had a bad engine(wrist pins were shot and the piston would hit the bottom of the spark plug). I ended up selling that car at auction though. I bought my 2000 323i through auction and have had nothing but good things from it. I did have to search for almost 4 months driving all sorts of different cars looking for the one i wanted before I found this one. I also got it $2500 under blue book value and the car fax only shows me as the second owner.

What Benny minn said about the BMWs that come to auction is true. The dealer is having a hard time selling the vehicle on his lot or doesn't want to put the necessary work into the vehicle. But on the other hand, many of the big dealer chains will consolidate their trade ins and run them through an auction to unload them. That's how I got my car. The PO was meticulous and always had it maintained by the dealer.

Patience is key. If you want to get a car from an auction don't expect to have it in a few weeks. The car for you will come along just maybe not right away.
 

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The majority of the dealership used cars come through auctions.

Many of the newer/lower mileage cars are also cars that come off lease and are then sent to auctions as well.

Nothing wrong with them, EXCEPT, I would be very aware that many, many cars that ended up getting flooded during Hurricane Sandy that may find their way from salvage to the mainstream car auctions that likely should be scrapped or in junkyards.

I think there are close to 20k cars that were written off and purchased by insurance companies that are likely now getting into circulation.
 

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I obtained mine indirectly thru an auction. I was following my car for a few months at a dealer up in Bellevue, WA. It was initially priced too high. Price came down to a point where I was considering going up to look at it. It then disappeared and thought I had waited too long. Two weeks later, it appeared at the Audi dealership in Wilsonville, OR. They had bought it at auction, put quite a bit of money into it (thru the local BMW dealership). I made a ridiculously low offer and they showed me what they paid for it and the cost of the work put into it. So I made a fair offer which was still way below their asking price and they took it. Couldn't be happier!
 

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The majority of the dealership used cars come through auctions.

Many of the newer/lower mileage cars are also cars that come off lease and are then sent to auctions as well.

Nothing wrong with them, EXCEPT, I would be very aware that many, many cars that ended up getting flooded during Hurricane Sandy that may find their way from salvage to the mainstream car auctions that likely should be scrapped or in junkyards.

I think there are close to 20k cars that were written off and purchased by insurance companies that are likely now getting into circulation.
You may be right about this. But there was a law mandating all the cars damaged by the hurricane were to be destroyed(crushed/scrap metal). I'm not saying that some wont find their way back into the system but you shouldn't be worried that much about that. It's usually pretty obvious if a car has been in a flood.
 

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I'm thinking of hiring a dealer/broker to find that perfect 2003-2005 E46 at wholesale price + commission. Has anyone ever gone this route before? Any experiences? One dealer told me all the good cars in that year range are being sold at retail on someone's lot, and all the rotten/problem ones will be headed to the auction. The broker thing isn't really his business, and I think he may have just been wanting to sell me one of his own cars.
Cars get traded in for new cars. The dealership looks them over and keeps the good ones to put out on the Used Car side of the store. Those are the cream of the crop.

There are wholesalers that cruise around town looking for the second tier cars. These are generally good cars with scratches or a few too many miles -- things that detract from cream of the crop status. A wholesaler will take a BMW trade from the Ford or Chevy dealership that might be a nice car at a BMW store but not the car that Ford or Chevy wants on the lot for any number of reasons. This car might be a borderline cream of the crop car that the BMW Used Car Manager might want so the wholesaler will take it there.

A wholesaler will buy a car at or below KBB wholesale book value, take it to a dealership where the car might be more desirable, and sell it for a few hundred dollars above wholesale book. This is how the wholesaler makes his living. The dealer buys for the few hundred above wholesale book and puts the car out for full retail book, where customers come in off the street and make a purchase. The dealer makes his profit on the spread between wholesale and retail book. Obviously, if the dealer takes the car in on trade and sells it on his own lot, then he makes the greatest spread, if he takes it on trade and sells it to a wholesaler then he makes the smallest spread, and if he buys from a wholesaler and sells the car then his spread is somewhere in the middle.

The cars that the wholesaler does not want go to auction.
 

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New car dealers actually make more profit from the used car department than selling new cars!!

So if you ever deal with a car dealer in the used car side, there is far more fat in these cars as compared to what is in new car inventory.
 

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