Bidding is a fundamental part of the buy-sell storage auction. As you probably know already, self-storage facilities host auctions, during which individuals can bid on the contents of abandoned units. The process may sound simply enough, but many newcomers are guilty of making one or more of the following mistakes.
Getting into Bidding Wars
What is a bidding war? This occurs when multiple bidders continue to raise their bids in hopes of knowing out the competition. When your bids are based on emotion instead of realistic expectations, you generally come out on the losing end — even if you “win” the unit. Keep your emotions in check and avoid getting into bidding wars. Because even if you do win, it’s doubtful you’ll be able to turn a profit.
Not Taking into Account Depreciation
When bidding on a storage auction, you need to consider the depreciation of its contents. If you see a TV that originally cost $1,200 buried inside the unit, for instance, don’t assume that you can resell the TV for $1,200. Assuming it’s a couple years old, the price has likely been slashed in half (or more). For help pricing your items, use your smartphone to look up similar models on auction websites like eBay.
Bidding When There’s too Much Competition
Sometimes it’s best to pass on a unit, especially if there’s too much competition. Conventional wisdom should tell you that prices for auctioned units will increase if there’s a lot of people bidding on the units. You can expect at least some competition at most storage auctions. If there’s 30+ people waiting around to bid, however, it’s probably best to save your money for a different auction or unit.
Not Bringing Cash
When it comes to storage auctions, cash is king. In fact, most facilities only accept cash payments for auctions. And failure to bring cash could result in forfeiture of the unit.
Bidding on What You Hope to Find
Another major mistake that newcomers make is bidding on what they hope is inside the unit rather than what actually inside. Granted, most self-storage facilities prohibit bidders from rummaging through the contents of a unit before bidding. You can, however, peek inside to see what it contains. Once the auctioneer cuts the lock, look inside to determine how much the unit is worth. You should base your final bid on what you can see, not what you hope to find inside the unit.