How to Prepare for an Upcoming Storage Auction

flea-market-1132553_960_720Whether you are looking to embark on a new career or just earn some cash on the side, storage auctions are the perfect choice. When a tenant fails to pay and/or abandons the unit, the storage facility has the legal authority to auction off his or her property. Attending these auctions can often yield valuable items like jewelry, collectible dolls, antique furniture, coin collections and more, all at a fraction of their original cost. But the secret to successfully turning a profit is preparation — something that we’re going to discuss in today’s blog post.

Map the Route

Assuming you already have the name and address of the self-storage facility that will be hosting the auction, it’s a good idea to go ahead and map your route. Using either Google Maps or a similar GPS app, plug in the facility’s address to get turn-by-turn directions. This will give you a better idea of where the facility is located, and how long it will take to get there. Waiting until the day of the auction to pull directions could turn disastrous if you are unable to locate it.

Check the Facility’s Terms

If this is your first time attending an auction at the self-storage facility, you may want to check its terms and conditions regarding auctions. Most facility’s follow a somewhat linear approach to auctions: the auctioneer cuts the lock, at which point bidders are allowed to look inside but not touch. Next, the auctioneer will start the bid, asking for higher bids in smaller increments. The person with the highest bid wins the contents of the unit.

While that’s the basic framework for storage auctions, there are subtle nuances between the different facilities that shouldn’t be ignored. Some facilities, for instance, may require a cleaning deposit of $50 to $100, which is returned if and when the unit is fully cleaned. Some facilities may also require certain items to be returned, such as photographs, firearms, and personal effects.

Bring Cash

Among the most common mistakes made by newcomers to the buy-sell storage auction business is assuming the facility will accept credit/debit cards. While there are exceptions to this rule, most self-storage facilities will only accept cash for auctions. Even if the facility accepts credit/debit card payments for renting the unit, there’s a good chance that it will only accept cash for auctions. So if you’re planning to attend an auction in the near future, bring enough cash so that you can afford the unit.


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