Art Investment Tips: How to Avoid an Impulse or Emotional Purchase

Art Investment Tips: How to Avoid an Impulse or Emotional Purchase

Have you ever purchased something on a whim that seemed like a really good idea at the time and then realised you had made a mistake purchasing the item once you got it home? I know I have. A recent survey found that 70% of all supermarket purchases take place at the shelf which means that the chances of making an impulse purchase are very high (much higher than the 40% of people who actually admit to impulse buying)

black_friday.jpgEmotional, or impulse buying, is something that pretty much everyone is guilty of at one time or another which usually involves a situation where a sense of urgency and appeal over-ride sensibility and reason. With art investment involving the purchase of an object, the potential to make an impulsive and emotional purchase is quite high especially when combined with the excitement, emotion, urgency and atmosphere of an auction. Although emotive decisions may seem like an unavoidable obstacle of investing in art there are several measures that you can take to avoid or minimise the risk of making a decision based on impulse or emotion.

-Never purchase an artwork for investment on a first viewing

-Physically view the actual artwork at least twice before making a decision (if you are unable to physically view the actual artwork more than once then you should ask permission to take photos of the artwork or get a brochure or catalogue that depicts the artwork to take with you after the initial viewing)

-Leave at least one day between the first viewing and making a purchase to leave time to research and rationalise your decision

-If you are looking at purchasing an artwork from an auction then you should attend the auction viewing (preview) prior to the auction where available or request a private viewing of the works you are interested in.

-If you are purchasing an artwork from an exhibition opening then you should request a private viewing prior to the opening if possible or obtain a catalogue of works with pictures prior to the opening.

-Before you begin looking for a suitable artwork to invest in create a list of the criteria that the artwork needs to have in order to be a good investment with a brief reminder of the dangers of impulse buying that can be refered to at any time.

-If you are convinced that you have found the ultimate artwork to invest in and feel pressured to purchase without a cooling off period (because you may miss out etc.) then you should get the work put on hold until at least the next day.

-To alleviate the urge to make a purchase you should treat yourself to an indulgent coffee or a piece of cake instead of a $10,000 artwork.

There are plenty of unscrupulous art dealers out there who will put pressure on you to part with your money before you are ready so you should keep in mind that there will always be plenty of fantastic artworks available to invest in and be prepared to walk away if you feel pressured or uncertain no matter how fantastic the artwork may seem at the time.

Nick**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

2 Responses

  1. Well done, great blog and great posts!!!

  2. for me this article illustrates a difference between the art investor and the art lover… the advice is appropriate for anyone buying property or a mutual fund or other financial products… in some ways it is sad that people see art in this way, so much is missed, could you fall in love in this way? or be opened to a larger reality within yourself? one will end up with the art one deserves, i.e. art made as a product, or as an exercise, rather than art made from the deepest place within, ready to send a song into your heart… when living becomes commodified, or monetized, something irreplaceable is lost… enjoying profit is shallow compared to enjoying the sublime, from my point of view… regards

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