BitLife is now nearing its fifth anniversary, and it just keeps getting bigger and better. What was already a full-featured life simulator for iOS devices is now available for Android users (and has long been available), and thanks to a constant stream of updates, expansion packs, or whatever you want to call them, the game now has so many things that simply weren’t unimaginable when it first rolled out in late 2018.
The latest major BitLife update, of course, is the Black Market Expansion Pack, and with this update, you now have a wide array of, let’s just say, controversial items you can purchase from different dealers.
Whether you’re looking for a stolen painting or a rare gemstone acquired through nefarious means, or perhaps wanting to own an exotic pet instead of the usual dogs or cats, the Black Market has it all. It even has certain illicit substances that could give your characters the statistical boost they need, at least for a little while.
But before jumping into this wild and crazy world of contraband, we strongly suggest you check out this BitLife strategy guide, which contains everything you need to know about the new update and expansion pack — what to do, what not to do, and how to maximize the new features introduced through the update.
Black Market Overview
The centerpiece of BitLife’s latest major update is the Black Market, which allows you to buy a variety of contraband items from random antiques to stolen artwork to illegal drugs. You can access this by tapping on Activities and scrolling down to Black Market. But what’s in it for you should you choose one of the six available options in this menu?
Regardless of the type of black market item you’re trying to buy, each of the sellers will have an Attitude bar, which determines how professional they may behave when dealing with their customers — someone with a red or orange Attitude Bar, for instance, may be more likely to sell you fakes, may be more likely to refuse your offer and may bother you more often as you go through the random scenarios after hitting the “age” button.
The first choice is Antique Peddler, which is where you can go if you want to purchase stolen household items and decorations from years gone by. Arms Dealer lets you purchase unique and ostensibly deadly weapons — we’ll get to the “ostensibly” part later. Art Thief, of course, lets you buy stolen paintings and other artwork.
Jewel Fencer, again, is self-explanatory, as this is where to go to buy stolen jewels. Street Chemist lets you buy illegal substances that could alter your stats in one way or another. And finally, Wildlife Smuggler offers a range of exotic pets you cannot find at the neighborhood pet store.
Regardless of the type of contraband you’re purchasing, the different illegal peddlers you deal with may pop up in the dialog boxes, asking for your help with one illegal thing or another or enlisting your assistance as they try to hide from the law. Based on our playthroughs, we haven’t gotten arrested for helping these people out, but it pays to act on the side of caution when making decisions in Black Market-related situations.
In most, but not all cases, the items available for sale with the Black Market dealers could cost you an arm and a leg — we’re talking about the hundred thousands, and in many instances, millions and millions of dollars worth of stolen antiques, art, etc. As such, this might be something to invest in if you become a celebrity of some sort in the BitLife universe and need something to spend those mega bucks on.
But the Street Chemist’s wares come comparatively much cheaper, and you will surely stumble upon an affordable deal at some point even if you’re an average working Joe. Just remember that you get what you pay for, and when it comes to contraband vendors, the adage of buyer beware also applies.
All items purchased via the Black Market or won via auction (which we’ll be discussing below) go to the Belongings tab under Assets, where they are grouped according to the type of item — you can also use these to view heirlooms, sports trophies, taxidermies of dead relatives, and other items you may acquire throughout your BitLife adventure playing as that character (or their descendants/ancestors).
The Black Market Expansion Pack, as explained in BitLife’s official changelog, includes three primary elements — the Black Market, Auction Houses, and the Mafia Job Pack. As the Mafia Job Pack was previously released as a standalone update and has already been covered here, we won’t delve into that topic. But we will certainly shed some light on Auction Houses, which can be found under Assets, right underneath Collectibles.
There are three different auction houses you can choose from, but the ones you will be able to access immediately are the lower two. Choose one of the two houses and you will first see the auction house’s Reputation bar — again, a green bar suggests a good chance of landing an authentic item, and a red or orange bar serves as a warning regarding potentially counterfeit items.
Next, you will be briefed on the entry bid and the type of item on showcase, as well as the expected crowd. A red or orange Crowd bar suggests some tough competition among a plethora of bidders, while a green one hints at a more relaxed auction with less aggressive competition.
The auction house on top of the list won’t be available to you until you’ve proven your mettle as a successful bidder in regular auctions. That’s because this isn’t a traditional auction house, but rather a storage unit auction, where, upon being approved to join, you’ll be informed about the job of the deceased individual whose storage unit is being auctioned off. And you will again be shown the introductory bid, to give you an idea if you can even afford to join the auction.
We’ll dive deeper into storage unit auctions a little later on, but let’s first tackle the bidding process, which applies to all types of transactions introduced via the BitLife Black Market Expansion Pack.
Don’t Bid Too Aggressively, and Take As Much Time as Needed
In each instance where you’re expected to make a bid for an item, may you be shopping the Black Market and interrupted by a customer who wants to pay more, or bidding on something that’s up for auction, you will be given 20 seconds to decide on whether you want to bid for the item or not. If you agree to take the plunge, you’ll be asked how much you want to submit as a counter-offer — just move the slider to adjust the amount of money for your bid, then submit it.
That all sounds pretty straightforward, but in order not to drive the price up too high and in order not to arouse a seller’s suspicion, it’s best to keep your counter-bids reasonable — don’t accept the default amount that BitLife suggests, but move the slider a bit to your left until your new bid is about 20 to 30 percent higher than that of the other bidder.
Anything higher than that could make the final price unreasonably high — or you might find yourself getting priced out entirely. And if you develop a tendency to make huge bids to trump the other guy, the sellers might get suspicious and throw you out of the auction, thinking that you may be an undercover cop due to how your offer sounds too good to be true.
All in all, 20 seconds is a reasonable amount of time to decide on whether to bid on an item or not, so take advantage of that, and if you choose not to bid, don’t fret if the seller scolds you for not being a serious buyer — you can always come back after quitting and restarting the game or aging up one year!
Make Sure to Have Your Items Appraised
At some point, you may decide that you need more money to purchase expensive contraband items, and your first instinct may be to sell an item or two. You can certainly do that by going to the Belongings section and choosing which items to sell, but before actually selling the items, you need to have them appraised first.
Having an item appraised is quite affordable — the game has it set at $100 per item, which is typically just a fraction of your average contraband antique, painting, or jewel. The main purpose of having an item appraised is so that you can get an idea of its monetary value and price it accordingly when the time comes for you to sell it.
We did mention “buyer beware” above, and it is also during the appraisal process that you will learn whether the item is authentic or not. Authentic items, of course, will be valued close to what you purchased them for, and if you’re lucky, they may be worth considerably more than your winning bid, thus allowing you to make a tidy profit upon selling them.
Replicas or fakes, meanwhile, may cost even less than it cost you to pay for the appraisal — this is where a seller’s Attitude, as noted above, may come back to bite you in the you-know-where!
Storage Lockers at Estate Auctions Are Usually Filled with Junk
While there is still a clear element of gambling when bidding on items at a conventional auction house, you still have a solid chance of getting something authentic if the house’s reputation is similarly strong. But when it comes to those estate auctions where you’re bidding on a dead person’s storage locker, the odds get steeper while the introductory price, in many a case, goes up — these lockers are usually given an introductory value of $50,000 and up, and the ensuing bidding wars will naturally drive that price up as the auction continues.
Much like in Storage Wars and other similar reality shows, none of you know what’s actually inside the storage lockers until the lockers are opened. That means you’re bidding blindly and hoping against hope there’s something — anything — of value inside the lockers.
And we regret to inform you that in most cases, there won’t be anything of value. It’s an all too common sight in the BitLife universe for someone to bid at least $100,000 on a storage locker, only to find that the items inside are only worth a few hundred — or even less.
There doesn’t seem to be a way to guard against this, but one thing you can try is to only make a bid if the locker’s owner worked a high-paying job.
There is a reason why storage unit auctions are only accessible to veterans of the regular auctions, and that reason is the generally low chance of getting something of relevance when the lockers are opened and the items within are appraised.
Haggling at the Black Market
It doesn’t matter what type of contraband you’re in the market for, but just as it is in the real world, you have the option to haggle for a lower price. The chances of the vendor agreeing to the lower price would depend on their Attitude — those with a good Attitude will be more willing to make an exception or two, while those with a poor Attitude will likely insist on the list price and might even throw you out for having the audacity to haggle.
What happens after you make your offer to the dealer? The first thing that could happen is that they may turn it down and offer a discounted rate. That’s why it pays to make a ridiculously unrealistic offer when haggling — assuming the dealer’s Attitude isn’t especially bad (i.e. the bar is red), they likely won’t throw you out for it. You can then opt for the discounted rate if it sounds more to your liking. It’s also possible that the vendor will accept your offer right off the bat, thus allowing you to pay for the item.
Threatening and Attacking — When Bidders Get Aggressive, Should You Use Force?
So you’ve just successfully purchased an item from any of the non-chemist vendors in the BitLife Black Market. You may have even haggled successfully to get that item at a lower price.
But wait a minute, is that an NPC Bitizen stepping in at the last second and offering a higher price just as you’re about to seal the deal? Yes, that is very much possible in the Black Market, and the same options will be available to you — outbid them with a higher offer, threaten them, or attack them.
This is where doing the latter two may come in handy, though aside from potentially ending up on the receiving end of a retaliatory attack from the rival bidder, the dealer may or may not throw you out of their store! Even if the dealer’s Attitude bar is mostly green, you still could get thrown out, especially if you were the one who made the first violent move.
Take note, however, that dealers, may see things the other way and also throw the other bidder out for fighting, thereby making you the owner of the item you haggled for or purchased.
You Can Use Weapons to Attack Black Market Bidders
Compared to artwork or antiques, weapons tend to go much cheaper when purchased from the Arms Dealer, but you can still get into fierce bidding wars with random NPCs who also take interest in the item you want, regardless of the vendor — just as we explained above. And that’s actually where those weapons can come in handy — those oh-so-common bidding wars that take place when you’re buying stuff at the BitLife Black Market. As auctions are far genteel events, you cannot attack bidders at auction houses or estate auctions, but you can certainly do so in a Black Market setting.
See a random TikToker or bougie woman trying to outbid you on a diamond or a grandfather clock? Use one of the weapons you purchased via the Arms Dealer to force them to withdraw their bid.
While it might sound like a novel new way to attack someone else in the BitLife universe, using a weapon isn’t as effective as, say, using your martial arts skills on that guy who cut in line at the club. We’ve noticed that while some weapons can inflict a lot of pain, others can inflict rather negligible damage and that even includes authentic items that can otherwise kill in the real world, such as William Wallace’s sword and a guillotine, as we tried during various playthroughs.
It would seem their main purpose is to serve as a threat to other bidders, who have a corresponding Threat bar that indicates how likely they are to retaliate. And you’ll need to be ready for a fight if that’s the case — you can even get attacked by losing bidders even if you don’t use force during the bidding process!
What to Remember When Purchasing Stuff from the Street Chemist
While the Witch Doctor can be used as a last resort for Bitizens with illnesses that conventional doctors can’t cure, Street Chemists offer substances that provide a different type of high from what you can normally get from random strangers at the club.
Over at the club, illegal substances can get you hooked and you can fatally overdose on them. It would seem that Street Chemist drugs are safer in the sense that we haven’t seen a character fatally OD on them yet, but they can still be very, very bad for your Health, which can take a serious dip after several transactions with the Street Chemist. Furthermore, the effects of these drugs, aside from the negative effect on your health, are only short-term — they promise a temporary boost to certain stats but wear off after a year or two, usually leaving the impacted stat worse off than it was before you consumed the substance.
Always pay close attention to the Street Chemist’s Attitude (potential of selling you fake or overly deadly stuff) and the Risk involved in taking the drug. If a drug is particularly high-risk, then there’s a chance you may see a stat or two get negatively impacted when it shouldn’t be, and the drop-off when the drug’s effects wear off may be more severe.
Lower-risk drugs, meanwhile, offer a good chance of a positive effect on a secondary stat, and lower chances of serious damage to a long-term stat after wearing off.
Another thing to look out for is the possibility of the Street Chemist bugging you each time you hit the Age button — more so than the other contraband vendors, Street Chemists tend to involve you more in their illegal activities even when you’d rather not be bothered.
There’s also the possibility of the police getting suspicious and arresting you if they don’t buy your attempts to play it cool or lie about the fact you’ve been consuming illegal substances. It’s a risky endeavor, to be sure, but if anything, you won’t lose as much money as you normally would if you, say, purchased a storage unit full of junk or got duped into buying a fake painting or memorabilia.
Is it Worth it to Refurbish Your Valuables?
Regardless if it’s an artwork, antique, or weapon, BitLife gives you the option to refurbish it, much as you would other items that were previously available in the game — this applies to most items of this kind but not all, and gemstones obviously cannot be refurbished.
This, in theory, allows you to maintain its condition and protect it from wear and tear, similar to having maintenance done on your car or having your house renovated to increase its value. However, we noticed that refurbishing items rarely has an effect worth the money you’d pay for it.
You may only see a marginally positive effect after refurbishing, and sometimes none at all — heck, there were even times when we’re pretty sure refurbishing the item only left it in worse condition, albeit not by that much.
It’s a fair guess that this is a quirk with the Black Market Expansion Pack that has yet to be sorted out, but in the meantime, we suggest doing away with the refurbishing and selling unneeded items as is — we noticed that even those in very poor condition still fetch a high value in the market when appraised, so save yourself a few hundred dollars and don’t worry about selling a piece of junk if the appraiser still values it in the millions.
Beware of Low Ballers All Around!
Throughout all these years we’ve been playing BitLife and selling all sorts of “normal” items like cars and houses, We’ve seen our share of low-balling NPCs who make insultingly low offers when such an item is up for sale.
With the Black Market Expansion Pack, these characters are essentially making offers you can’t refuse compared to the ones you may typically get when selling something you purchased via the Black Market or auction.
It doesn’t seem to be uncommon for prospective buyers to make offers that are about 50 to 60 percent of the selling price, even if the item has been confirmed to be authentic. Granted, these are presumably consumers who are also regulars at the Black Market or the Auction Houses, so it should be understandable that they’re offering so little money and leaving you with no choice but to sell the item at a loss — unless, of course, you turn them down.
Speaking of turning these buyers down, you can also insist on your selling price. However, the chances of them playing along when you stand your ground seem to be even lower than they are for those who insist on selling their vehicles or houses for the listed price. It’s still worth a try, but if you’re low on cash, you just might have to take the “L” and move on to another item that you may be planning to sell.
Watch a Video for “Exclusive” Invite-Only Displays
Black Market dealers tend to be an elusive lot — it’s all part of their job description as they try to stay on the good side of the law and keep their business dealings on the hush-hush. Of course, that won’t seem like the case as you tap on the various Black Market stores, but there may be times when you’ve already made your token one visit per store per year of your virtual life, and the dealer is asking if you’d like to attend their invite-only exhibit.
We suggest taking them up on their offer, as this is a great way to get yourself some free items that may normally cost you an arm and a leg.
If the items are free, there certainly has to be a catch, right? That is correct, but it’s not much of a catch or a caveat if you come to think about it. For these invite-only displays, you will need to watch a 30-to-45-second advertisement video, similar to the ones you can watch to instantly break out of prison or perform any other otherwise difficult task in BitLife.
Do not exit the video until it’s completely done — considering that ad videos are longer than they used to be, this might not be to everybody’s liking. However, it will all be worth it in the end, as you will receive a free antique, weapon, gemstone, or painting simply for watching the clip.
We’ve seen something similar as well for auctions, so don’t pass up this chance when it comes up. You have nothing to lose here, as even if the item turns out to be a replica, at least you didn’t pay a single cent of your virtual money to have it.
You Can Earn Money and Display Your Items at a Museum
When everything is said and done, what greater purpose do all those rare (and oftentimes hot) items serve in the grander BitLife scheme of things? Can they make up the net worth your heirs will inherit when your character dies? Yes, they can, but a better idea to help you make the most out of those items would be to invest $5 million (initially) to create your museum and open it to customers.
As noted above, the initial cost of opening a museum would be five million dollars, which isn’t too bad if you’re a BitLife celebrity athlete, actor, or musician, but the drawback here is that you can only display six items.
Not to worry, though — as long as the items are authentic and truly worth viewing, e.g. a rare 1997 Porsche and a basketball autographed by Kobe Bryant during one of our playthroughs, people will come to your museum and it could make you a nice amount of money even if there isn’t that much to show. You have the option to open additional wings that display up to six more items each, but obviously, you’ll only want to open a new wing when you have the items to display.
Also, it bears repeating that each item should be appraised before displaying because displaying counterfeit items will only hurt the Appeal of the wing in question and the overall Traffic of your museum, both of which are measured to determine how profitable the establishment will be.
Additionally, you can set ticket prices and make your pricing decisions based on Appeal and Traffic. If the Appeal bars for most of your wings are 75 percent full or greater and Traffic is likewise at a similar level, then you can raise prices a bit.
Slower Traffic, meanwhile, maybe a good reason to momentarily slash prices. But be careful of pricing your tickets too low or too high — if the prices are too low, then your museum won’t be as profitable as it should be, and if they’re too high, you may be turning interested customers away, thus affecting the Traffic stat regardless whether your museum’s wings have good Appeal or not.
Buying Contraband Items Could Attract Police Attention
It should go without saying that buying “hot” items can potentially catch the attention of the law, and that too applies in the world of BitLife. And we only mention this now because putting your contraband items on display at your museum is one good way to get the cops on your trail.
Granted, this can happen at any other time in the game as long as you’re a regular Black Market customer. But when your items bought from the Black Market dealers are on display for everyone to see, you just might be courting trouble.
When it comes to police officers interrogating Bitizens over contraband goods, each would have a Suspicion bar that determines how likely they are to believe your attempts to play it cool or deny that you bought the items from an illegal vendor.
At the moment, it seems likelier than not that the cops will let you walk away scot-free, but as BitLife continues to receive small updates that tweak existing features, especially the new ones, there’s a good chance that you might not be too lucky next time if the cops let you walk the last time they questioned you about contraband goods.