5 Things I Wish I Knew About Storage Auctions

gavel-309599_960_720The world of buying and selling items from storage auctions has become increasingly popular in recent years, due largely in part to reality TV shows like Storage Wars. With this newfound popularity, however, has prompted many newcomers to enter the business. But if you’re thinking about taking a shot at storage auctions in an effort to turn a profit, there are a few things you should know.

Not All Units are Valuable

Wouldn’t it be great if each and every storage auction that you came across contained valuables? Well, this isn’t the case. Some of them will contain jewelry, antique furniture, name-brand electronics and other easy-to-sell items, but others will contain nothing more than trash and empty boxes.

Bidding Wars Can Be Nasty

There’s also the possibility of bidding wars occurring at storage auctions. Much like online auctions, a bidding war occurs when two or more bidders raise their bids in hopes of knocking out the competition. Nine out of ten times, the final bid price becomes so inflated that the winner isn’t able to turn a profit; thus, only the storage facility is the real winner. Keep your emotions in check and avoid getting into bidding wars when attending storage auctions.

Bring Supplies

In addition to cash, you’ll want to bring a few basic supplies when attending a storage auction. This includes a pair of gloves, trash bags, a push broom, and a padlock. Depending on how many storage auctions you intend, it’s probably a good idea to keep these supplies readily available in your vehicle.

You Have to Clean Out the Unit

Whether the storage unit contains valuables, trash or a combination thereof, the winner bidder is typically required to thoroughly clean the unit and remove all if its contents. Most self-storage facilities require the winning bidder to pay a cleaning deposit of $50 to $100. This deposit is refunded, however, after you clean the unit according to the facility’s standards. Refer to the facility’s terms and conditions to learn more about the cleaning deposit and what’s required by the winning bidder.

You’ll Need Help

Buying and reselling items through storage auctions isn’t a one-man job. If and when you come across a large item, such as a chest of drawers or dresser, you’ll need another set of hands to help you move it. This is why it’s a good idea to bring a buddy or family member along for the ride.


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