Have you ever wanted to be in the middle of a buyer’s market? If you managed to stash some liquid funds, then you’re primed for this economy’s meltdown. A buyer’s market, or soft market, exists when there are more sellers than buyers. This excess of supply over demand results in lower prices, often so low that you’ll end up with your jaw dragging the floor in disbelief over the savings, which can be ten cents on the dollar at times.To help you search out these bargains, we’ve compiled some instances where you can fill your vault with some worthy investments. From artwork to wine, you’ll discover luxuries that could be worth more as the economy recovers. Or, you can relish the luxuries listed below as you sip your wine and smoke your cigars on some island far, far away.
The following list was compiled in no particular order, although the categories have been listed alphabetically for your convenience. We don’t favor or recommend any site or news stories over another in the links below.
1. Artwork: If you attended the Art Basel Miami Beach in 2008, you know that some works were marked down thirty percent from 2007 prices. But, although Sotheby’s is busy cutting staff, their antiquities market is doing well. In another venue, at Christie’s, several pieces managed to do better than expected at a sale of antiquities in early December. But, Christie’s International plans to cut estimates on the artworks it auctions by at least ten percent because of the economic slowdown. Is it truly a buyer’s market for art lovers? As with real estate, you must do your research. Look for new artists, student artworks and small-town galleries to find bargains. It’s a good idea to purchase something that you really enjoy. After all, it might be some time before you can sell the piece at a true profit. The sites listed below might help you with your search as well:
- ArtPrice.com: You must register to use this site, but the registration is a worthwhile effort. This site offers data on previous auction sales and upcoming auctions for pieces from a particular artist. For example, lists details on 37 Andy Warhol pieces and 130 Pablo Picasso pieces being sold at auction houses from New York to Milan will help you understand if you’re entering into a deal or a dud with your art piece.
- American Craft Council: Use this site to find shows and to browse artists. You’ll learn more about the artwork you like as well as your price range. This way, you can takes that list of artists and begin looking into their professional backgrounds, as well as viewing more of their work, to get a better feel for their investment potential.
- Artnet.com: This site can help you determine a reasonable price for an artist’s works as well as future potential. This site lists auction results, so if your interest hasn’t sold at auction yet, look for similar artists with similar mediums to determine potential value.
- Gallery Hopper: Use this site to learn more about up-and-coming artists and their fine art photography. This blog, written by Todd Walker, has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The San Francisco Examiner.
- Art-Collecting: This art collecting resource and online gallery guide can help you find affordable art fairs by month and provides links to their Web sites, which show some of the art being displayed. Affordable art fairs range from more regional events like Ann Arbor Street Art Fair in Michigan to the NADA Art Fair in Miami, which is populated by some of the most successful younger dealers in the country.
2. Automobiles: Amidst U.S. car manufacturer worries, the car dealerships that remain open have become very creative with their appeals to buyers. Early in December 2008, one dealership in Florida offered a “buy one get one free” offer. To be fair, there is a catch to the offer: You first must buy a new Dodge truck at full retail price before you’re eligible to receive a second truck for about $3,000 in tax, tags and dealer fees. Still, most readers will understand from that story and other anecdotes that car dealers are hurting and that the auto slump makes it a car buyer’s market. The following sites will lead you to some dream deals in this market…
- Automobile Magazine: This is the place to go to find auto shows, used cars and information about the best deals. You even can catch up on the latest rumors. Consider the state of the industry lately, there will be many rumors.
- Automotix: If you lost your job, you might have some time on your hands. In that case, this site not only lists used car bargains, but they also carry used car parts so you can fix that aging machine. You can find great bargains for both here.
- Car Bargains Weekly: Most dealers advertise a few vehicles at a discount price to attract buyers. Smart buyers take advantage of these incentives and deals. This is where Car Bargains comes in - they help you find those featured deals.
- Barrett-Jackson: Looking for rare cars, consignments and odd collectibles for rock-bottom prices? Try Barrett-Jackson to see if you’re tastes are satisfied here. You can attend the shows or buy online.
- Gov-Auctions.org: Try this site for government and police, live and online car auctions of government pre-owned and seized cars, trucks and SUVs. This site offers immediate access to 4,000+ updated auctions nationwide
3. Boats: While estimates vary, boating industry insiders say prices have dipped in the past year. This, along with falling interest rates, tax cuts and calls for the cost of petrol to be lowered further, now is as good a time as any to buy that water vehicle you’ve been craving. When some boat prices fell as much as 60 percent back in 2007, you know that it can’t tank much more in 2009. According to The Log.com, “This may not be a great time for Wall Street, but it is undeniably a great time to buy a boat.” Use the following sites to find your bargain:
- Boat Bargains at Boat Trader: Find great deals from dealers and brokers on clearance boats or damaged boats for sale. Use the search box to find discounted wholesale and clearance boats or damaged boats that are still available. Choose among all types of boats in all fifty states.
- U.S. Auctions: This site is selling off many of the boats that were damaged during Hurricane Ike. The listings are linked to eBay auctions. You can click on the boat link to learn more, or click on the “Bid Now” link at right to discover current prices. In many cases, the buyer is responsible for vehicle pick-up or shipping - look closely, as most boats are located in Texas. Scroll down for upcoming auctions.
- Yachting Partner Online: What better way to cut the price on a nice yacht than to form a partnership? Yachting Partner will help you seal such a deal through a range of the finest yachts around.
- Edminston: This site might not appeal to the person who desires a two-person used catamaran; however, for those with discriminating tastes, Edminston might fit the bill. Their most-advertised boat recently has been the Alibella, labeled by the U.K. paper, the Telegraph, as “the ultimate credit crisis bargain.”
- Brewer Brokerage Yacht Sales: Look for end-of-year bargains as well as a great deal on their new Flex Boat SR 500 LX, an inflatable reduced from $37,200 to $29,995. What a deal!
4. Cigars: Reasons to purchase cigars can range from the enjoyment of smoking a good cigar to an investment for resale when the market is ripe. Although the market for cigars may not seem down to you at the moment, all it would take is a few problems to force cigar rarity to rear its head. The reasons listed at that link are fine reasons to invest in cigars at any time. But, now that prices are a bit lower - thanks to the economy. The effects are global, as a $6-billion world cigar industry is now working through a huge inventory overhang and consolidating rapidly in a wave of asset deals driven largely by acquisitive European tobacco groups. The following sites will convince you that tobacco is the way to go if you want to invest in a commodity now.
- Buyer’s Guide to Cigars: If you don’t know the first thing about cigars, read this concise article and you’ll know what to look for in a good smoke. Then, you’ll be able to recognize a bargain when you see it.
- Cigar Secrets: Cigar Secrets was created to give both new and experienced Cigar Smokers a place to find information as well as chat about their latest cigar finds. This is the place where you can learn more about cigar markets as well.
- Cigar Aficionado:
- Friday Sampler: Each Friday, the Stogie Guys post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other snippets of interest that effect the tobacco and cigar markets. Keep an eye on how weather, politics and the economy all weigh on this commodity.
- ShopWiki: Find some great cigar bargains at this site. Users and sellers share their bargains. You also can find cigar accessories and other tobacco products here.
5. Dining Out: You might have tossed around the idea of creating your own garden and compost heap, but - really - what beats dining out? You don’t have to cook and the kitchen remains immaculate. Major cities and rural areas worldwide have experienced a downturn in diners. While some restaurants are still rocking, others are rolling with the economic punches. Thanks to most diners’ low cash flow, now is the best time to get past the doors of New York’s forbidden culinary kingdoms, and you can look for “neighborhood menus” at fine restaurants in Boston. The best way to find a fine-dining bargain is to hunt down ideas and coupons in your area through newspapers and online articles. Some examples of what you might find are listed below:
- PhillyBOYB: Bring your own bottle and enjoy the blog entries on this site. They’ll point you to all sorts of dining experiences and bargains in the Philadelphia area.
- Las Vegas Dining Deals: You can find dining deals in Las Vegas even when the economy is spilling over the top. Now? The bargains rock even harder. Where else can you find a steak, three grilled shrimp, a choice of potato or broccoli and a salad for under $8?
- Restaurant News: Want to find bottomless-pit deals and all-you-can-eat venues? Restaurant News provides readers with both and more. Investors might find this online news interesting as well, as information about market prices as well as market bargains are side-by-side.
- Chowhound: No matter where you live or what you like to eat, you can learn about the bargains and reviews at Chowhound. Food lovers everywhere gather here to swap expert tips about restaurants, foods, stores, and bars, as well as cooking, wine, beer, cookware, and more.
- Broadway Restaurant Guide for NYC: Maybe you found some discount Broadway tickets (see “Tickets” below) and cheap airfare (see “Travel” below) and you’re headed to New York City. Use this site to find some great bargains on anything from Chinese to Thai foods, all within walking distance to the theater district. This guide provides reviews, tips and a special section called, “Cheap Eats with your Cheap Seats.” What more could you ask for?
6. Real Estate: A 4.5 percent mortgage could be your personal piece of the bailout pie as mortgage rates sink and inspire buyers to sink down payments into real estate. Although rates haven’t sunk that low yet, if you’ve had your eye on a little bungalow you might want to see what it takes to hold off a few weeks. Ask your broker or loan officer whether you can lock in today’s rate but still have the ability to move down should cheaper money become available. Not all lenders can accommodate such requests, but some brokers offer 60-day locks with that option. Others may charge you. Some areas may hit bottom and begin the bounce upward sooner than others (like San Diego), so do your research. You might study auctions or foreclosure markets to learn more about current rates in various areas. Here are some examples of ‘10 cents on the dollar’ real estate property sites:
- Bargain Network Homes: Find a foreclosure for under $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 or more in all fifty states through this Web site. You can search through the site for seven days on a free trial, but you’ll pay for searches after that point. Still, if you can find a true investment at that price, the payment may be worth it.
- RealtyTrac: This is another site where foreclosure deals abound. Try their seven-day free trial, their assisted searches and more as you wander through hundreds of foreclosure options.
- Zillow: Before you make a move to buy, discover what homes are worth in the area of interest. Zillow offers an interactive site where you can punch in a Zip Code to learn more about house valuations in that area.
- HomeSales.gov: This site provides current information about single family homes for sale by the U.S. Federal Government. These previously-owned homes are for sale by public auction or other method depending on the property. Anyone can buy a home for sale by the U.S. Government, but you must work with a real estate agent, broker or servicing representative to submit an offer or bid.
- Trulia: If you search this site for real estate bargains, you might find a gem. Five million active buyers and sellers come to Trulia.com each month to start their real estate search. You can search for houses in your area and save the searches or sign up for e-mail alerts. You’ll be notified when new listings match your criteria, or you can find out when similar houses are sold.
7. Tickets - Sports and Concerts: The economy and a team’s losing season could drive football ticket prices down to more than fifty percent below previous market value. In some cases, such as with the Green Bay Packers, you could get into a game during early December for about $50. Some ticket prices might include tailgate parties or other incentives to boost ticket values. Some baseball teams are freezing prices for 2009, so fans can take advantage now of their favorite seats for the ballgame. In cases like the Hannah Montana concerts, where most tickets have been scarce and prices as high as $3,479 were paid for a single front row seat at a gig in Uniondale, N.Y., the Las Vegas venue for Hannah Montana has been reduced to $14 per ticket by overspeculation. In the Las Vegas situation, people buying up tickets in large quantities with the intent of reselling them, only to find few buyers. As with any other luxury item, research is your best bet. After all, you could easily purchase airfare for two (at reduced prices) and two Las Vegas tickets for less than that one seat in New York. Here are your best bets for finding reduced ticket prices for various events:
- Concert Ticket Bargains: Because this site list so many tickets, you can pick exactly what suits your needs, whether it’s the cheapest “get-in” ticket available or premium seats at bargain prices. Keep in mind that the price may be above the ticket’s face value, and they also have a small service fee that keeps them in business.
- Theater Ticket Bargains: This site appears to be run by the same people who run Concert Ticket Bargains above. Same deal, same great prices, same small fee for the service.
- Just Great Tickets: Just Great Tickets brings on the best deals on event tickets to the top sports, concerts, and shows and events nationwide. Their city pages feature “crown jewel destinations for in-demand entertainment, and each of them has its own unique flair and flavor for action-filled days and memorable nights.”
- Stub Hub: Buy and sell tickets to concerts, sporting events, theater and special events nationwide through StubHub. They provide a safe marketplace, with fast and reliable customer service and their “FanProtect Guarantee.”
- My Ticket Market: If you’re seeking concert, sports or theater tickets in London and Europe, this is the best spot to buy and sell those tickets online. You can find bargains galore here, and you can find a bargain seat on an airplane to get you there in the next category!
8. Travel: The economy is forcing travel bargains, and just about every news article you can find will reinforce that premise with travel bargains galore. So, search for information about bargain travel and peruse the news stories as well. Even Arthur Frommer stated back in October that, “only a chump pays full price for any travel purchase.” No matter whether you’re pressed for time, looking for the best deal or traveling internationally, you’ll find a site to fit your needs in the list below.
- Travel & Leisure Hot Deals: You can’t miss these weekly travel bargains, brought to you by the American Express Publishing Company. Sign up to receive weekly deals on hotels, airfares, cruises, even luggage.
- SideStep: Compare airfares with SideStep, the traveler’s search engine, and check out special flight offers for the best deals on airfare, discount hotels, car rentals and cruise deals to popular travel destinations worldwide. They search over 200 travel websites
to bring you the very best travel values on the web.
- Farecast: Farecast offers unique features to help you know when and where to buy from most major U.S. and Canadian cities to worldwide destinations. Their “smart travel search” also allows you to easily compare, sort, and narrow down flight and hotel results for hundreds of websites. Plus, thanks to their technology and data, you can find out if the lowest fare for a trip is rising or dropping over the next seven days.
- cFares: Known as the “Costco for Fares,” this site doesn’t sell anything. But, they do hook you up directly to airline, agency and wholesale sites to book you next travel adventure. cFares members enjoy rebates that result in “below market” fares.
- Kayak: This is another great search engine to find the widest possible choice in travel options. Book direct or with an online agency. Sign in to save searches, conduct research and have email alerts sent to you about your favored travel options.
9. Vacations: Perhaps the only vacation industry that’s doing well right now is timeshares. As late as October 2008, timeshare travelers were optimistic about the future. But, in other markets such as cruises and skiing, the bottom is in sight and deals can be made. Vacation travelers will most likely benefit the most as the power to book a hotel has swung all the way over to the buyer. Use the list below to find places to stay, ways to get there (slowly) and options for various adventures.
- HomeAway: This site lists more than 118,000 vacation homes in 118 countries, where you can enjoy your vacation just like…well, just like you were at home. Plus, priced between 50 and 80 percent less per square foot than the average hotel room in popular destinations, vacation rentals offer real value.
- Last Minute: With your busy lifestyle, who has time to book a vacation? You might change your mind when you peruse this site. Last Minute offers the best prices for booking an entire vacation as late as three hours before departure on domestic trips. Save time at the last minute by simultaneously booking airfare, hotel reservations, car rentals, activities and even airport parking.
- Luxury Link: Search an extensive collection of luxury resorts and travel auctions by keyword or by destination. LuxuryLink.com is the official source for luxury travel auctions at over 1,000 of the finest luxury hotels, resorts, and cruises around the world. Many of their customers save thousands off of retail prices here.
- Cruise Compete: If you want an easy way to book an inexpensive cruise, try this site. Find a cruise, request quotes and receive competing offers, and then contact an agent to book. It’s that simple.
- iExplore: Chicago-based iExplore is the #1 ranked website for adventure and experiential travel, with over 1,000,000 visitors per month. Given their low cost of operations as an Internet-driven business, the company is able to pass along meaningful price savings and to protect you with their low price guarantee. Not only does iExplore want to take you to the farthest corners of the earth, they want to do so in a way that preserves the local environments and communities they sell.
- SkyAuction: Although this site seems to deal with travel, they also carry great deals on vacation packages. Search for hot travel deals, vacation rentals, specialty auctions and cruises, bid on your vacation dream package and win your dream get-away.
10. Wine: Outside a global wine glut, importers have assumed smaller profit margins in the wake of the dollar’s decline, while traditional wine retailers have been forced to compete with supermarkets and Internet sites. What does this mean? It means that it’s a wine-lover’s buyer’s market right now. Sales of high-end wine are plummeting, wine merchants say, and top-rated wines have found new aficionados amongst those who could only wish for those wines two years ago. Learn more about these bargains at the sites listed below.
- Wine Values and Bargains: This site is brought to you by Wine Country Getaways. It is part of a venture by a couple who, in their retirement, share the best of their passion for wine.
- Wine Lovers Page: Not only will these folks help you to appreciate wine, you can learn about great wine bargains through the discussion group and wine community online.
- Cheap Fun Wines: This site is on a mission to find the most luscious wines on the planet for under $20. You also can find all sorts of wine accoutrements here, including wine racks, glasses and gifts.
- Wine News Review: If you’re worried that the wine you spied at $20 is way too cheap for your taste, check it out at this site. They have information on just about any wine in the universe. Plus, you can find bargains here, along with tips and trends.
- Wine Thieves: How can you resist a site with the tag line, “We steal so you don’t have to”? Wine Thieves make wine simple, fun and affordable so everyone can enjoy it. Their goal is to provide you with unique, high-quality wines from around the world, at the very best prices possible, in an environment that’s open-minded and unpretentious.