5 Things to Know Before Attending Your First Storage Auction
Most self-storage facilities have a strict cash-only policies for auctions. If you arrive with nothing but credit cards or your checkbook, you may be forced to turn around and go back home to pick up cash. While you may find a select few self-storage facilities that accept alternative methods of payment, the vast majority will only accept cash. So just to be on the safe side, bring cash when attending auctions.
Firearms and Other 'Controlled' Items
Depending on the jurisdiction under which the auction is taking place, the facility may be authorized to remove visible firearms and other controlled items from the unit. Laws governing this practice vary from state to state and city to city. This is why it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with your city's respective storage auction laws. Using this information, you'll have a better understanding of what to expect.
Storage Auctions are Open to the Public
It's a common assumption that storage auctions are restricted to special "members;" however, this statement simply isn't true. Storage auctions are typically open the public, meaning anyone and everyone can participate. Before auctioning off the contents of an abandoned unit, the facility must first notify the public, which is usually done via a newspaper ad. Once this announcement has been made, a date and time is scheduled for the auction, and then everyone places their bids in an attempt to win the contents of the unit.
Contents Sold 'As Is'
The contents of a storage unit at auction are typically sold "as is," meaning the winning bidder receives everything within the unit with no guarantees of its quality. Some units may contain a treasure trove of valuables, consisting of antique furniture, high-end musical instruments, and even motorcycles or other small vehicles. Other units, however, may contain nothing more than junk. This is why it's essential that bidders look inside the unit before bidding to determine an approximate value.
You May be Required to Put Down a Cleaning Deposit
Depending on the storage facility and its respective rules, the winning bidder may be required to put down a cleaning deposit, usually ranging from between $50 and $100. You'll receive this deposit back once you clean out the unit. Some facilities have begun requesting a cleaning deposits from bidders to encourage them to clean out the unit. Regardless of what the unit contains, you must clean it out in order to retrieve your cleaning deposit.