Self Storage Auctions

When people fail to pay the rent on self-storage units, the facility owners can confiscate the content and in most communities, it is auctioned to the highest bidder, enabling the storage owner to recoup some, if not all of the money lost on unpaid rent. This has turned into a treasure hunt for those seeking items of value that they can use for themselves or can be resold in used-merchandise stores, at other auctions and has sparked a television show about those that buy storage unit content for a living.

In many states, if the renter fails to pay on their self storage unit the law allows the owners to place a lien on the content in order to recoup any losses. Once the owners have received the required notice the units are put up for auction to the public. In most instances auctioneers are brought in and the contents sold to the highest bidder. Very few auctioneers will accept anything less than cash for payment for the unit’s content and everything must be removed the same day.

Determining Value before Bidding

Many people head to self storage auctions in hopes of finding treasures they can convert to cash to recover the cash spent on the content. Those that attend storage auctions take many things into consideration before bidding on the content. In most auctions, a quick look at the content is all that is available and bidders only have a few minutes in which to decide if they want to spend money on the content.

Most are well-versed in the used merchandise market and can generally determine if there is any money to be made on the content. As a rule of thumb, they will consider the value of the visible goods to be representative of about 20 percent of the unit’s value and bid accordingly. They must also take into consideration the cost of moving the items from the unit and preparing it for sale.

As a general rule, they will quickly determine if the visible content has any value and will then come up with a “guestimate” of the value of the unseen content. Experienced auction goers have a good idea of the value based on the quick view while others take the location and the quality of life of the area when deciding if they even want to attend the auctions.

Communities with a high average income will generally entice more potential buyers as they believe the higher income households will have higher value goods in storage. They may also consider the immediate location when trying to determine the potential value of any unit’s content. The condition of the unit as well as the condition of the items in the unit is taken into consideration before placing a bid.

On rare occasions, antiques and other valuable items have been stored and forgotten providing a hefty payday for the buyer of the self storage unit. They can then take the items to a buyer interested in the type of merchandise they have found or place it for sale through a variety of media, including general merchandise auctions or through newspaper advertisements.

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