Except in Uruguay, it is a physical location and not an online 'for sale' ad. You can find any assortment of thing for sale at these remates (or auction houses). There are everything from antiques, to rugs, small appliances, farm equipment, architectural salvage and even cars. Yes, you can even buy 'normal' furniture and housewares, which is a great resource for an expat trying to set up a household here.
One of the best remates that I know of is Castells. I've been told this remate is most often frequented by Uruguayos, and as such, is not as expensive as some of the extranjero remates.
Castells is located at Galicia 1069. It's about a 10 minute cab ride from the Pocitos/Punta Carretas area. The main furniture sale is every Tuesday at 2 PM. When I've been there, this sale has been very informal and in a large back room. The front main auction room is full of antiques and fine art pieces, with everyone sitting down and was what you'd envision of a "civilized" auction. The back room was with everyone standing, crowded around a given piece of furniture and the auctioneer on a small podium. You can visit early on Tuesday or on any other day to see the sale items ahead of time. Occasionally the rooms for the separate sales are reversed, so keep your eyes open.
There are other rooms as well, one upstairs and another in a garage area, full of items that sell on different days. Some is household goods and small appliances (upstairs) and outside has everything from architectural artifacts, to farm equipment to cars and all sorts of random junk.
There are no numbers or paddles for bidding, you just raise your hand. If you are the highest bidder, someone will come over to you and take your information and a deposit on the piece (30% of the sale price). You get a receipt and can pay the balance and pick up your purchase the same day or within 24 hours.
A few notes before you hit the remate:
- The auctioneer shortens all his numbers for speed so the current bid may come out as "ochen" instead of "ochenta". Be aware- especially if your not so fluent in Spanish yet.
- The upholstered pieces can occasionally be of questionable quality and I have heard stories of items having bugs. Check out a piece carefully before bidding/buying. You wouldn't want to get it into your house and find out that you have 10,000 new friends.
- There are taxes added to the final sale price, to be paid when you pick up your purchase. This is a total of 16.5% unless otherwise specified.
Even if you're not in the market for new stuff, the remates are a great place to go and experience a part of Uruguayan culture. Have fun!