Participating in a storage unit auction is easy. All one has to do is show up at the auction with enough money in hand to buy the contents of a delinquent storage unit maybe a few hundred dollars to start and the means to haul the winnings away. A pickup truck, van, or even a car towing a trailer will do nicely. It’s a good idea to have a helper along too, in case there is any heavy lifting to do.
The person in charge of the public sale cuts the lock on the storage unit and gives the audience five minutes to see what is behind the door. The worker opens the boxes and moves things as much as possible to allow the viewers to see what’s inside. It’s a good idea to take notes on what’s inside the unit before the bidding begins, so one does not bid a small fortune for a few dollars worth of merchandise that won’t easily sell later on. Bidders are not permitted to handle items or search through the boxes.
Once the auction gets underway, the highest bidder wins the entire contents of the unit. Some people score big with camera equipment, coin collections, and appliances. Others end up with worthless items like broken toys, bags of fertilizer, or old books. Either way, the winner is responsible for clearing out everything in the unit.
If you attend the auction, don’t bid. It’s a good way to get flagged by the auction house. Trying to get more for your item by bidding on it knowing someone else will bid higher is a huge no-no. Plus, you might end up buying your own stuff. In most cases, the auction house won’t take the time to make sure they shine and look as new as possible. They might do a quick wipe down, but when your item is actually clean, it stands out and gets noticed.
Make sure you know the real value. Be realistic and set your expectations accordingly. This is especially important if the auction house has a limit that they want the items to be worth. If your item sells for less than that, you may not get any commission. Try to make sure your items have a good chance of selling above their minimum.
It takes money to bid. Sometimes the thrill of winning overcomes new bidders. The result is a negative bank balance and a garage full of junk.
Living in a small town may be a disadvantage if a neighbor who has lost his home and job sees his belongings being sold at the local flea market.
If the idea of walking away with someone’s belongings seems cold, then buyers can turn over personal items such as family photo albums to the storage unit facility owner. There is always an outside chance a former renter will return for these. The buyer gets to keep the valuables though, and the delinquent client is not given any information as to who bought his items at auction.
Bidding on abandoned storage units is a way to make money – sometimes. Participants can increase income by selling auctioned goods that interest other buyers. Tools, appliances, furniture and even vehicles bring a good price at storage center auctions. It’s a wise idea to consider beforehand the steps for bidding at storage unit auctions.