Ready, Set, Go!

storage auctionThe doors of the first unit at today's storage auction go up, and you feel the mob tighten around you. Eyes everywhere go into surveillance mode, scanning the contents of the unit from top to bottom and squinting on tip-toes to inspect the mysteriously shaped object wedged between boxes in the back-left corner.  Time is limited – usually no more than five minutes per unit – and as the seconds tick away you can feel mental notes being taken and inventories being formed. At the end of minute one, a ten-car pile-up could occur on the stretch of highway in front of the facility, and no one would have noticed a thing. By minute four, half the crowd has lost interest, having decided that this unit is a bust. Then you notice that the old-timer beside you has a slight gleam in his eye and what looks to be an expression of quiet excitement on his leathered face. Does he see promise in this apparent heap? Did you miss something? You shift your gaze back to the unit just as the doors are rolled down… Time is up, and it’s on to the next.

The rush of adrenaline that accompanies these moments is the fuel that keeps auction hunters going, and learning to harness this concentrated energy will give you an edge on the competition. If you subscribe to, then you’re already ahead of the game. But to best prepare for this kick-off moment, consider your approach beforehand.

During the observation period, all eyes are peeled for a reason to buy. Everyone is searching for something compelling – something that says, “Buy me.” If you’re not doing this, you should be.

However, don’t spend all of your time on this. Take a few moments and instead of looking for reasons to buy, try looking for reasons not to buy. Here are a few:

  1. Items which are neither sentimental nor valuable, like obsolete computers, jars and baskets. These are signs of a hoarder. Ask yourself, “Why save it?” and if you can’t come up with an answer, you may want to think twice about placing a bid.
  2. Personal effects that aren’t antique or collectible (tattered dolls and toys in bad condition, cassette tapes, holiday decorations, posters of early nineties rock stars). These things may have sentimental value to their owner, but you won’t be able to sell them for a hill of beans.
  3. Trash bags, especially if they look to be filled with clothes. In general, no one is going to store valuable possessions in a something that can be easily torn or punctured.
  4. A shopping cart. This one is self-explanatory.

Be on the lookout for these red-flags, and that five minutes of observation will be well spent and informative.


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