Storage Unit Auctions FAQs
Storage unit auctions are hardly a new phenomenon, but thanks to recent reality shows and increased media exposure, they’ve experienced explosive growth in the level of public interest toward them.
When a tenant doesn’t pay for their storage unit for a period of time (different by state), the storage unit owner’s only legal recourse to recoup the unpaid bill is to auction off the contents of the storage unit. These auctions occur on a regular basis all over the country at storage facilities, and are open to the general public.
Interested in attending or bidding at a storage auction? Here are answers to some of the questions you’re likely to have:
What’s the crowd like at a storage auction?
Most people who successfully make a profit bidding on storage unit auctions either own, have relationships with, or are active at flea markets, pawn shops, and consignment stores. With the rise in popularity of storage auction shows on television, more and more people who are simply curious or are looking for either a new hobby or a new career outlet are attending. Also, all bidders must be 18 years of age.
What happens when I arrive at the storage facility?
Typically there will be a sign-in sheet and form covering some of the legal requirements of a storage unit auction. A start time for each auction will be posted, and before commencing bidding the auctioneer will ensure that each potential bidder has signed in and been registered. They will then go over the rules of the auction before leading the group of registered bidders into the storage facility.
The door of one storage unit at a time will be opened, allowing a few minutes to look inside and size up the contents. Bidding for each storage unit will open and close individually until each unit has been auctioned off.
What should I bring as a first-timer?
Come prepared with what you’re willing to pay — you’ll be expected to pay onsite if you win a storageauction. You’ll also want to bring a flashlight, to help you identify what’s inside the storage units from the outside. Cameras and video recording equipment are not allowed.
Can I look inside a storage unit before bidding?
You can look inside, but you can’t step inside or touch the items. Storage units are auctioned off in their entirety, rather than item by item. You’re bidding on the full contents of the storage unit, and much of what’s inside won’t be visible.
Any tips on estimating whether or not a storage unit is worth bidding on?
Look for storage units that are packed neatly in an organized fashion, as opposed to thrown in and piled haphazardly. People that take care of their belongings are more likely to store more valuable items.
What are the most common valuable items found in storage units?
General household goods such as furniture, appliances, tools, high-end electronics, and occasionally, automobiles. Remember that you could find nothing but junk, or you could find a treasure.
Any other advice for a first time bidder?
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You’re required to vacate the storage unit within either 24 or 48 hours, so don’t bid on a big storage unit without a plan in place to clear it out.
Does a rookie really have a chance of competing with professionals?
It’s true that people that profit off of bidding at storage auctions and selling the contents will carry a bankroll with them to allow them to buy anything, but an auction is a free process where everyone stands on equal ground.
How do I pay if I win a storageauction?
Most storage unit auctions are cash only, and bids must be paid onsite immediately after the auction. Winning bidders may also be required to pay a security deposit to ensure that they’ll remove all items from the unit within a predetermined 24 or 48 hour time period.
If the original owner shows up after the auction concludes, do they still have rights to the storage unit’s contents?
No, with some caveats. A storage facility owner may often try to accommodate requests that occur within 48 hours of the storage auction. The buyer’s contact information will never be given out to the former tenant, but the tenant may grant permission to give their information to the buyer. Finally, the storage facility may contact the buyer to purchase items back to prevent court action with a former tenant, and the buyer agrees to sell those back at their cost plus reasonable fees.
In addition, the buyer is required to return to the storage unit facility bank and tax statements, legal records, yearbooks and photographs that are deemed to have no resale value, to be returned to the original owner.
Why does the law require storage facilities to auction unpaid units?
Every state has different ‘lien laws’ relating to storage facilities, but as a general rule, the only way for a storage facility to recoup unpaid rent is through a storage auction. Before auctioning off the contents of a storage unit, a legal notice must be mailed to the last known address of the tenant, and sometimes an advertisement is placed in local publications in print or online. With these terms met, the storage facility may proceed with an auction to satisfy unpaid debt.
How often do storage auctions occur?
At most of the storage facilities listed on Auctions-Storage.com, storage unit auctions occur roughly once each month.
How do I find out about locations and times of storage auctions?
Right here! Auctions-Storage.com is your one-stop spot to discover storage auctions close to your area.
Are storage auctions more popular now than a few years ago?
Definitely! We’ve seen storage auctions attract over 200 people. Not long ago, the same auction might draw half a dozen bidders.
Do you plan to sell your storage units via online auctions?
Maybe. The legality of that is still being hammered out at state and federal levels, so until it’s clear what’s allowed, our listings will include only traditional, in-person auctions.