A buyer’s premium is a fee added to the total cost of an item or unit auctioned. It is generally around 10%, and is added to the final bid price at the end of the auction. This normally covers the auctioneer’s expenses such as cataloging and inventory of items auctioned. Lucky for you, buyer’s premiums are not normally utilized at storage auctions. Most professional storage auction bidders will refuse to participate in a bin auction that has a buyer’s premium, because there is no valid reason to charge it.
Since buyer’s premiums are only justified if inventories and catalogs must be kept, they simply do not apply in a bin type auction setting. This is because the storage facility — in a sense — IS the auction house, so the auctioneer should not charge you a premium. The auctioneer will be paid by the storage facility, not you. Since no one knows what is in the unit, of course it cannot be cataloged until it is sold, so the only cost to the auctioneer is to be there and run the show.
That’s awesome because you don’t have to pay a buyer’s premium, so your winnings cost that much less! If you’re asked to pay a buyer’s premium, you should be suspicious. Ask exactly what it’s covering, and why you need to pay it. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions. If you feel like something fishy is going on, do not bid! Trust your gut instinct–that will be your most important tool in becoming a great storage hunter.