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How to buy a mini storage unit at auction

Updated on April 5, 2013

After twenty years of buying mini storage units I have picked up some tips. First of all realize that you must take possession of the entire contents of the unit. You must broom clean the unit when you leave. Make sure you have a place to store the contents of the mini storage unit.

When the auctioneer opens the door you can look all you want but you can't go in the unit or touch anything. It behooves you to have a good strong flash light. You may have to get down on your knees to look in to the unit.

Are you buying the unit for something you need personally or are you going to resell it for a profit? If you are going to buy it for yourself you need to know how much you can buy the item you want in the unit else ware. For example if you want a washing machine, fine out how much you can buy one on Craig's list or in your local classified ads. Do you really want all of the other things in the unit? If you are looking to keep the things in the unit for yourself you can bid more than if you were going to resell it.

If you are purchasing the unit for resale you need to add the cost of the fuel it will take to haul it from the mini storage unit to your place. I look to double my money when I purchase a mini storage unit. If I think I can sell the contents for $200 I will bid $100 to $110. You may or may not find something you didn't count on to sell for a little extra money. The show on TV is not realistic. I have bought hundreds of units and only a very few of them have had items that were worth a large amount of money. Almost all of the time what you see is what you get.

Know what chest of drawers, refrigerators, washing machines and clothes dryers are going for in your area before you bid on a mini storage unit. If you think you can get $200 for a old beat up washing machine and the local Craig's list has them for $100 you are going to be disappointed.

If you are new to purchasing mini storage units you will find out the owners of the mini storage complex only takes cash at the auction, they only give you a couple of days to empty the unit. If you purchase more than one unit they will work with you on how many days you have to empty them.

Bring a few padlocks to put on the door of any units you might purchase. When the auctioneer says sold the unit becomes your property. Protect it and put your lock on it.

Purchasing the mini storage units can be fun if you don't go wild and pay $800 for a unit that is only worth $300. It happens. You need to fix a amount in your mind that you won't go over so you can make a profit. Don't get caught up in the hype of the action of the auction. If the next bid is only $10 over your limit don't bid any more. There will always be another opportunity for another unit. There are some people that try to run up the price and then dump it on you. After you go to a few auction you can spot them. Some people that have stores will pay a lot for a units knowing they are only going to break even. They do this just to have something in their store. If you do this a lot you will go broke.

Load everything and bring it to the place you have to go thru it. If there is clothes go thru every pocket. I have found money in pockets. If they have paperwork go thru it. I have found money in birthday cards. Whatever you find before you throw it out look it up on eBay or Craig's list to see what it is worth. It may surprise you. I hope this has helped. Happy bidding.


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