Treasure Hunting in Storage Auctions

What is a Storage Auction?

To understand what a storage auction is, one must first understand what a storage unit is. Storage units are small spaces provided by self-storage companies to allow people with excess items access to storage space at a fee. Typically, the tenant pays monthly rent to the self-storage company for use of the space. There are many reasons why people utilize these units. They range from death to divorce, downsizing or even a change of address. Some storage companies provide packaging material, shelves, insurance, cupboards and even moving trucks to ease the process of storage for their tenants. The tenant typically has exclusive access to their belonging, are responsible for keeping them under lock and key and for their insurance. Unlike warehouses, where employees of warehousing company have access to the items, in storage units, only the owner can access their items. This agreement can, however, be breached if the tenant fails to pay their rent for a given amount of time. When this happens, the self-storage company can open the unit and auction the belonging of the tenant. This auction is known as a storage unit auction.

How do Storage Auctions work?

Storage unit auctions usually take place through live bids. In rare occasions, sealed bids can be the primary method of auction. Before the auction begins, interested parties are allowed to peek at the contents of the storage unit. It is important that an interested bidder sees the content and value them since the winning bidder would be required to take all the contents of the unit and not just one item. After viewing the content, if it is a live bidding session, the bidders are informed of the rules of the auction. Bidders are then place their bids aloud on each unit. The person who places the highest bid wins. He is required to pay for the items up front in cash or by some other means agreed to by the company. For sealed bids, envelopes are opened after the bids are placed. The person whose envelope contains the highest bid wins and pays upfront. The money obtained at the auction is used to offset losses caused by accrued rent.

Once the items have been sold, the tenant lays no claim to them. They belong to the winning bidder. The company protects itself from being sued by the tenant by issuing notices to the tenant in email or letter form just before the auction to give them time to pay the rent. The winning bidder is required to remove items from the unit within a specified period lack of which, they will be required to pay rent. The bidder can also not return goods to the storage company because of being defective. Hence, it is advisable for bidders to examine the items thoroughly before placing that bid.

Storage auctions are increasing in popularity in recent times due to many television programs dedicated to them. These auctions are fast becoming a source of income for many people. Bidders with a good eye can make colossal sums of money from such ventures. After winning a bid, the bidder can resell the items online at sites like eBay or Craig’s list. They can also sell them in stores. But to get rich in this way is not an easy feat. It takes experience, a good eye and a desire to take risks. The most successful people in this venture are those who know where the auctions are on time and know how to grab the most profitable unit.

What are the next steps?

Information on storage unit auctions can be obtained from storage company websites or auctioneer websites. These normally provide times and dates of such auctions. When allowed to peek at the unit, a bidder must look for particular signs that will indicate if the contents are valuable. These include things like plastic wrapped furniture. Of course, it would be pointless to wrap furniture in plastic if they are old and worthless. Another indicator would be professional moving boxes as well as the cleanliness of the content. If the owner takes good care of it, it is probably of value. Bottom-line is storage unit auctions can make you tons of money if you are keen on getting it right.

Resources for looking in storage units: