You’re standing in a crowd of people with your flashlight ready and cash in hand. The unit door rolls open and the crowd leans forward, flashlights flashing, looking for buried treasure among brown cardboard and lawn chairs. The auctioneer starts the auction and the bidding commences. The excitement builds within you and you’re fighting with yourself on whether you should just wait this one out or take a chance and bid.
Storage auctions are risky. That’s part of the excitement. And while there’s no way to be certain that you’re bidding on a winner, here are some little details you could look for to get a feel for what treasures (or junk) might be waiting in the unit.
Cobwebs or Dust
Yes, you heard right. If you see cobwebs or dust in a storage unit, there’s a good chance the previous owners haven’t been in there to clean their unit or procure all of their (hopefully) valuable belongings.
If the unit is well organized with neatly labeled boxes, there’s a good chance they valued their belongings and, maybe, their belongings had value. It also indicates the high probability that anything in the unit of value is still intact.
This one may involve a stretch and a knack for reading people you’ve never even seen or met … but it could help you get a better idea of what might be in any given storage unit. Some things will be obvious, like movie posters or bed sheets of childhood cartoons that indicates a collector.
While none of these will guarantee a profitable locker purchase, they can sometimes give you an idea of a units’ contents. The risk is still there, but you can build up a strategy and maybe lower your chances of buying a unit full of family photos or old, mildewed clothes …
Let us know of any strategies you use at storage auctions in the comments below …