Things You Shouldn't do at Storage Auctions

gavel-309599_960_720Storage auctions offer a unique and lucrative way to earn money. If you've ever watched a reality TV show like Storage Wars or Auction Hunters, you probably have a general idea of how the process works: self-storage facilities hold auctions in which they auction off the contents of abandoned units to the highest bidder. The process sounds simple enough, but many beginners make some rather common mistakes. So if you're thinking about participating in a storage auction, here are some things you shouldn't do.

Bidding Wars

The single most common mistake that newcomers make when attending storage auctions is getting into bidding wars. A bidding war, as the name suggests, occurs when two or more bidders raise their bids in an attempt to knock out the competition. Unfortunately, the final bid prices becomes so inflated that even the winner is unable to turn a profit. The bottom line is that you need to avoid bidding wars by keeping your emotions in check at all times.

Bidding on What You Hope is Inside

Never bid on what you hope is inside the storage unit. Instead, base your bids on what you can see. Normally, the auctioneer will cut the lock, allowing all bidders to look inside for a couple of minutes. You should use this time wisely to determine the fair-market value of everything that you can see. Granted, there's probably some other valuables hidden and tucked away, but it's best to base your bids solely on what you can see. Doing so ensures that you can turn a profit if you are the winning bidder.

Not Bringing Cash

While there are some exceptions to this rule, most self-storage facilities only accept cash for auctions. So if you're planning to attend an auction, don't make the mistake of bringing your checkbook. Or if you do bring a checkbook, also bring cash just in case. There's nothing worse than having to forfeit a unit because you didn't bring an accepted form of payment.

Make Enemies with Other Bidders

Try to keep a professional and friendly demeanor when attending storage auctions. I know this is easier said than done, especially when other bidders are anything but friendly, but you want to avoid making enemies in this business. You'll probably see familiar faces as you attend different storage auctions. And making enemies with other bidders will set you up for hardship later down the road. On the other hand, befriending other bidders can prove useful in creating lasting professional relationships.

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