How to Profit from Storage Auctions
The business of buying and selling property acquired through storage auctions has become an increasingly popular venture, thanks largely in part to TV shows like Auction Hunters and Storage Wars. When a tenant of a self-storage unit fails to pay his or her rent, the facility has the legal authority to auction off the contents of the unit in an effort to recoup their lost revenue. The great thing about storage auctions is that you can often acquire some high-dollar items for a fraction of their original price, making this a lucrative endeavour when done correctly.
Locate Storage Auctions
First and foremost, you'll need to find storage auctions that are taking place in your area. According to Wikipedia, there are more than 46,000 self-storage facilities operating in the United States. But not all of these facilities host auctions, so you'll need to do a little investigative research to find ones that are holding auctions. This can be done by calling around and asking, or you can purchase a list of storage auctions, such as the service offered here at StorageAuctionList.
Create a Plan
Which storage auctions will you attend first? How do you plan on transporting these items? Do you have enough capital to outbid competitors? These are just a few of the many questions that you'll need answer before jumping head-first into the storage auction business. By creating your plan of attack beforehand, you'll have an easier time turning a profit. Of course, there are some elements of this business that cannot be accurately predicted -- and that's okay. The bottom line, however, is that you need a general outline to keep you on track.
When you arrive at your first storage auction, the auctioneer will typically cut the unit's lock so that everyone can look inside. You should use this opportunity to look around, seeing if the unit contains any valuable items. A good rule of thumb is to base your bids on the value of what you can see. If you notice $500 worth of items inside the unit, for instance, you should bid no more than $500.
After acquiring the items from a storage auction, you'll need to resell them. There are dozens of different ways to approach this: you can open your own brick-and-mortar store; sell the items through a third-party "broker;" sell them online (eBay, Craigslist, etc.), or find independent buyers. Seasoned buy-sell storage auction hunters may open their own stores, but selling online is easier and less time-consuming.