You’ve seen it on TV reality shows and now you’d like to cash in on storage unit auctions as well. Reality TV featuring auction hunters has really heated up interest in these auctions. People are excited by the idea of buying a hidden treasure for only a few hundred dollars at auction. These auctions have been around for a while but their popularity has skyrocketed as these shows have brought attention to them.
Why does it happen?
The auctions happen because the owner of the property cannot, will not, or has forgotten to pay the rental on their unit. The companies that own these units foreclose on and then sell off the contents to recover their lost rent. The property owners loss is your possible gain if you buy it right.
During the foreclosure process the owner can reclaim his property by paying the rent and fees; if not the owners of the storage facility will put an announcement in the paper about the sale. If two or three units are up for grabs, it becomes a feeding frenzy as seasoned and novice auction hunters swarm in.
Occasionally, an auction will get cancelled at the last minute if the property owner comes in and pays their back charges. The storage unit owners cannot continue an auction if the property owner pays his rent. It is only fair and in this case the auction hunters must move on.
What to expect during an auction
Storage unit auctions are informal affairs; all bids are given orally while everyone just stands around the unit being auctioned off and the highest bid wins. The winning bidder must pay right away and usually the winners only have two days or less to clear out the contents, so come prepared with a truck or large van to haul your loot away.
These storage units typically measure 5′ x 5′. A lot of stuff can get jammed into such a small space. During the auction, the unit manager, who is often also the auctioneer will open the unit and show the contents to the bidders for a short time before bidding. This means that you will possibly have only a few seconds to look in and judge your bid. You must be prepared and perhaps this preparation will only come after you have participated in a few of these.
Good signs of possible profit are large appliances and things that will easily sell online like books. Don’t blow all of your money on the first storage unit unless it is clear that it has a lot of high value items.