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Art Buyer’s Guide: How to Buy Art as an Investment

Whether you’re new to the world of art or are a seasoned collector, it’s no secret that there’s something thrilling — and a little nerve-wracking — about placing the winning bid on a stunning piece of art. Each work of art has its own rich history and tells its own story, which is why some people are willing to pay high prices for one-of-a-kind works. Because valuable art is always in demand, buying art can be a smart investment tool if you approach it the right way. While it can be fickle, the art market can also be extremely profitable. Estate auctions like those at Everything But The House provide a great opportunity to purchase rare, hard-to-find art pieces that can pay off in the long run. If you’re just learning how to buy fine art online, be sure to do your homework and follow these guidelines before you pounce on that seemingly perfect find.

Know Your Art Market

The phrase “knowledge is power” certainly holds true in the art investing world. If you aren’t knowledgeable about the world of art, it helps to find an advisor you trust to guide you through the process. Like any investment, purchasing art with the hope of a high return is a risk. It can also be an expensive one upfront, so the more you know going into the process, the better. Take a few months to learn as much as you can and study the trends before making your first purchase.

Take into account which artists are noteworthy and which artists were popular in the past. Art trends tend to run in cycles, which means that you might expect artists who have fallen out of favor to become popular again in the future. In fact, buying out of style may be a wise investment strategy. Purchasing a piece now when it isn’t as popular increases the chance that you can get it for a lower price and eventually get a higher return on your investment. Thorough knowledge or a trusted advisor can help you determine what to purchase and what to pass up.

Diversify, Diversify, Diversify

Diversification might be a word you’re used to hearing describe a stock portfolio, but it can (and should!) also pertain to your art investment strategy. If you’re interested in seriously pursuing art as an investment, your art collection needs to represent a wide scope of artists and movements. Market fluctuations can often affect the values of artists with similar styles or within a certain artistic movement, so you don’t want your art portfolio to be too homogenous. For instance, if you only own abstract expressionist pieces and the movement falls out of favor, you could face a serious loss on your investment.

When you purchase art as an investment, you have to think outside your tastes. If you’re buying solely for investment, you may find yourself purchasing pieces that you don’t even like. While there’s nothing wrong with purchasing a piece to place on your living room wall or to add to a collection you already have, art collectors have different incentives when buying art. As an investor learning how to buy art, you might have to school yourself to forgo your initial instinct and shop not with your heart, but with your head. This can be hard to master at first — especially if you’re forking over big bucks for something you don’t care for.

Consider the Long Run

Investing in art is much more of a long-term strategy than a short-term flip. There may be instances in which you want to quickly sell a piece for a profit, but most art investors overall tend to hang on to pieces for many years. This may mean bypassing art that’s currently trending in favor of more unfashionable pieces that still have intrinsic value. Keeping a long-term view without getting swept up in the trends of the moment can pay off.

Caring Is Crucial

If you want a good return on your art investment, the work isn’t over after you’ve made the purchase. It’s crucial to treat your art right because the condition plays a huge role in the fair market value of a piece. Hanging art should be out of direct sunlight with nothing nearby that could damage the canvas. Occasionally dust the work with a soft rag if it’s under glass, and be sure to hang the piece in a room that’s free of cooking oils or other similar airborne particles. Otherwise, artwork should only be cleaned by a professional if it’s deemed necessary. If you live in a humid climate, put a dehumidifier in the room to prevent excess moisture from damaging the artwork. If you want your art buying to pay off, the pieces should be in top condition.

How to Buy Fine Art Online

While it can be fickle, the art market can also be extremely profitable. Estate auctions like those at EBTH are excellent places to purchase high-quality, authentic pieces that span every movement and period. Estate auctions and sales also offer an excellent chance to acquire art that’s been well cared for at lower price points than customary auctions — EBTH starts every online item at $1, unlike traditional auction companies that determine a reserve price before the item is auctioned off. Whether you’re a first-time investor or you’re looking to add to your portfolio, you have a good chance of finding valuable artwork online to add to your investment collection at EBTH.

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