Storage Auctions for More Than Curiosity

Storage auctions, also called storage unit auctions, are held by storage unit owners when a tenant fails to pay their rent. Operators of storage facilities have the legal right to sell off all of a renter’s items in their shed if the default on their rent. Many people find these auctions to be a great opportunity to make money and have plenty of opportunities to do so in the estimated 9000 auctions held per year in the United States.

Anatomy of an Auction

The legal process for how storage auctions are carried out varies from state-to-state. Traditionally, auctions begin with bidders viewing the contents of a unit from a distance. Then a live auction takes place where the person with the highest bid wins the unit. Most transaction must be paid for in cash. Sometimes the customs change. In some instances, bids are taken via sealed bids. It is most common that the contents of a storage shed are sold all together, but occasionally are sold as individual items.

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Contents of Storage Units

A wide variety of items are found in storage units. Common household items such as appliances, furniture, and personal items make up the majority of what is found in a storage unit. Occasionally sheds contain high-value items such as jewelry, antiques, or collectables. There have even been instances of people finding cars inside abandoned units.

Finding Auctions

Auctions are found in a variety of locations. Most auctions are published in newspapers as legal notices. Auctioneers also publish listings of auctions that they conduct. Additional listings are found on auction websites or sold through email subscriptions.

Making Money from Auctions

The most common reason for participation in storage auctions is to make a profit. Most people attending the auctions are looking to buy the contents at the lowest price possible and then sell all of the contents to make a profit. The steps to becoming successful at making money from auctions include:

• Attending auctions – The experience gained from this step will enable you to become more educated with what to look for when considering purchasing a storage unit. Often people become frustrated because they don’t find a high profit item inside their shed, but experience can allow you to discover ways to make a profit even without a high-yield item.
• Educate yourself – Knowing how much antiques and other items sell for can be helpful when determining how much to bid.
• Increase Powers of Observation – Organization of a storage unit can assist in evaluating the value of items. It is unlikely that a tenant would just pile a bunch of boxes on top of a high value item.
• Marketing – Once you have purchased a storage unit, you must decide what to sell, how much to sell it for, and where to sell it. Properly pricing items is the most crucial step in making a profit.

Downsides of Auctions

Not all auction experiences are positive, and you may experience one or all of these at some point:

• Cancellations – Some auctions are cancelled due to last minute payments by renters who don’t want to lose their items.
• Poor Value – It is a possibility that a storage unit may only contain personal items such as photo albums, school memories and, broken bits and pieces that have no value to anybody else.
• Cost of Removal – The winner of an auction must remove the items from the storage facility within a designated amount of time. If you find that your unit contains nothing of value, this could be a time and money consuming activity.

Participation in these auctions can be both frustrating and exciting. Storage auctions may not make you rich, but it creates an exciting way to generate an income.

Pat Fisher is an accomplished finish carpenter and auction-lover, who shares his knowledge and experience in and

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