A few years ago, many people had never heard of the concept of storage unit auctions, but the trend was shot to popularity by reality television shows like A&E’s Storage Wars. If you are thinking about getting into the storage unit auction business, here are a few things to keep in mind:
What Is a Storage Unit Auction?
When storage tenants abandon their units or withhold payment and don’t respond within a certain period of time, the storage facility owners are legally able to sell the contents. The easiest way for them to recoup lost revenue from non-paying tenants and clear the items out is through a storage unit auction, which can sometimes be a blind auction (the bidders cannot see what is inside the unit until they win it).
Can I Get Rich Through a Storage Unit Auction?
Of course there is always a chance that the items inside the unit could be of great value, but in most cases the contents are everyday belongings. Though shows like Storage Wars give the impression that people can “get rich quick” by bidding storage units, that is usually far from the truth. You can make money by reselling the abandoned storage unit items—but it is unlikely it will turn you into a millionaire overnight. Making a good deal of money from storage unit auctions typically requires a person to turn it into their (risky) full-time job.
Still, you can find some cool items that you can sell for a profit.
What Can I Expect During a Storage Unit Auction?
There are usually several storage unit auctions that occur in the same day at the same facility, and if you attend more than one, you have better chances of actually winning one. Here are some tips to make the most of a storage unit auction:
- Call first. Be sure to confirm the date and location of the storage unit auction before you make the decision to go. Some auctions are called off last-minute when owners become current on accounts.
- Wear the right clothing. You will likely be digging through a lot of stuff and some of the items could be heavy, dirty, or even broken. Wear work clothing and shoes.
- Be prepared to take your haul with you. Bring a truck or trailer that is big enough to take all of your new belongings with you that day.
- Take a flashlight. In most cases, bidders will have a few minutes to view the contents of the unit before the auction begins, so take a flashlight so you can really get a look at what is inside. Bidders are not normally permitted inside the units so you will not be able to move anything to see what is hiding in the piles, but with the right light, you can at least get a better idea.
- Take cash. This will likely be the only accepted form of payment for the storage unit contents, so be sure you have enough with you—and have set a budget for yourself.
If you like the auction process and have the savvy to resell items, storage unit auctions could be a good fit for you. If you are hoping to find someone’s abandoned treasure, however, you may be disappointed—but you never know!