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11 Must-Know Tips For Storage Auction Buyers

Tuesday, September 1st 2015.

  1. Gather enough information about the specific unit before the auction begins. Make an educated guess about the contents of the boxes by looking at the area in which the unit is situated. Storage facilities in high-income areas tend to have much better “hidden treasure”!
  2. Arrive early the day of the auction and gather information by observing. What kind of customers come to this facility? Who are the other bidders? Start to develop an idea of how much you would be willing to bid on a unit. Being early will help you feel more prepared.
  3. Do not bid too high on a unit full of sealed boxes, unless you have a very good reason to believe that there are valuable things inside.
  4. Do not bid high just to win. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment. The professional storage auction buyers are emotionally detached; they don’t need to win any auction, and they’re always ready to walk away when the price gets too high. Decide beforehand how much you are willing to spend on a unit, and do not exceed that amount.
  5. Buying at storage auctions can be very advantageous if you are in the resale business. One storage unit may yield dozens of items that can be resold for a profit on eBay or other online outlets.
  6. Before you buy, have a number of reselling options so that you can turn over the inventory for a quick profit.
  7. Take a good look at the type of packaging if you are able to take a peek inside the unit. This might give you an idea about the contents. Some boxes might be labeled and others might have brand names. See if the unit looks like it was packed by a professional moving company. If someone paid a lot of money to have their belongings packed up, those belongings must also be worth a lot of money, right?
  8. Plan ahead for if you might win the auction. The storage facility will expect you to have the unit cleared out and swept clean in as little as 48 hours. Be prepared with your own space for sorting everything out, and make sure you have a way to transport everything.
  9. Do not pay for goods to be removed if they are not worth selling, but rather give them to charity or homeless shelters. This way, you are giving something back to the community without wasting more money and time on disposing of unwanted goods.
  10. Pay attention to how neatly the storage unit was packed. Are things strewn about haphazardly? Is it full of trash bags? Or is it full of neatly packed and labeled boxes and storage totes? Does it look like the owner really took care of their possessions?
  11. Do not try to compete with the regulars right from the start. They know more than you do, and may try to lead you to bid high on worthless units, just to discourage you. Set a budget and work at your own pace. Get a feel for the process. You will soon develop your own “sixth sense” for the best units to bid on.

It is a good idea to read as much as you can about the storage auction process so that you will feel confident about bidding on the day of the auction. At the end of the day, it all comes down to rapid judgments and decisions, so it is a good idea to develop your instincts well, and then trust those instincts.

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