5 Insider Tips for Making Money of Local Storage Auctions

Why Buy Storage Auctions?

Self storage auctions are a unique and potentially quite powerful tool for people with good self motivation to earn extra money on the side, by attending local storage auctions on the weekends and processing their spoils into profits.

Thousands of people all over the country have already bought up delinquent storage lockers and have had varying levels of success. Some folks just want to experience the spectacle of the public auction and some others just like the opportunity for finding deeply discounted household goods.

The most successful auction hunters are the ones that can develop a professional outlook on local storage auctions. These successful storage buyers consider attending public sales of delinquent storage lockers to be their side job. They also know these insider tips, which are essential for a positive experience when attending your first few storage auctions.

Tip #1 Cash in Pocket

There are two main reasons why you should come to a storage auction prepared with cash on your person. The first reason is that the auctioneer / storage company requires that you pay in full for every unit you have won at the end of the auction. You need to pay before you get a gate code or permission to access the unit, so having cash on hand just makes this entire process much simpler. You also need to be aware that many self storage companies will require a security or cleaning deposit before you are allowed to begin offloading your winnings.

This is done in order to prevent the extremely unpleasant situation that occurs when a storage auction unit buyer takes what they want and then leaves all the mess and junk for the poor manager to deal with. For this reason, you should also be aware that most every self storage company that conducts auctions on delinquent units will require you to sign an agreement stating that you will take full possession of the unit in its entirety upon purchase and that the obligation to leave it absolutely empty and clean becomes entirely yours.

The second important reason you should bring a finite amount of cash is that it will force you to stay within your budget limits. Some new auction goers find the competitive bidding process to be very exciting, but it's therefore too easy for some folks to get caught up in the action and end up exceeding their actual spending limit. Keeping a few hundred dollars in cash on your person makes it a lot easier to keep yourself reined in, especially if you tend to have an excitable nature or tendencies toward gambling behaviors.

Tip #2 - An Appropriate Get-Away

Speaking of emptying the unit in its entirety and leaving it clean so you can reclaim your security deposit, you should put some forethought into the vehicle you bring with you on auction day. If you normally drive a compact car, this might suffice if you only buy a small unit and your car is totally empty. Otherwise, you could end up with a nice big problem on your hands when you finish paying for your 10x30 garage sized unit only to realize you'll now be making about 7 trips to and from home just to get all your new things out.


Tip #3 - Creating a Storer Profile

There's no real substitute for experience and getting a firsthand feel for which units actually produce profits and which are mostly filled with junk, but you can at least know the technique that the storage buying pros use.

When the door to the repossessed storage unit gets thrown up in the beginning, everyone present will get a few moments up at the threshhold to peer around inside the unit. DON'T go inside, and DON'T touch anything. These are great ways to get yourself thrown out or permanently banned from future auctions.

What you SHOULD be doing when you get your chance to peek inside is using your imagination to assemble a "storer profile", a story that tells about the kind of customer that originally rented this delinquent unit and why they needed to do that.

If you see a bunch of garbage and loose clothes strewn all over the unit, that's a good indication that the original tenant didn't take too much pride in their things nor feel any burning obligation to organize or protect them. There may still be something of value inside, but there will also be a lot of junk you'll have to deal with.

The units you should be interested in will have labeled or organized containers - this reflects that the original owner cared a great deal about their things. Most of the time, this will translate to higher overall value.


Tip #4 - Carry a Torch

When you get your chance to peek into the unit, you can legally and rightfully double the extent of your gaze by blasting a large flashlight into the back of the unit. This can make the difference between seeing a valuable item in the back or thinking that the storage locker is far less worthwhile because you can only see the front half.


Tip #5 - eBay is Your Friend

I've talked to a lot of storage auction buyers that understand and have success with the basics of purchasing the good units, but who nevertheless won't even try eBay for reselling their collected wares. This is crazy. eBay is a vehicle that will put your items in front of the eyes of thousands and dozens of thousands more buyers than could ever come to your yard sale or see your local craigslist posting.

There are even ways of drastically reducing your fees for selling on the online marketplace. If you use only one photo of your item and you are willing to start the opening bid at 99 cents,you get to list your item for free.

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