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What happens at a storage auction?

What happens at a storage auction?
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All about self-storage auctions

Storage auctions have been getting a lot of publicity lately, particularly on day-time TV, where shows like Storage Wars and Storage Hunters make compelling viewing. Canny folks buy up the contents of abandoned storage units and sell it on for a profit.

What is a storage auction?

Storage auctions are a way of processing abandoned or delinquent units. These are units that the renter has simply stopped paying for. Some stop paying because they don’t want the stuff inside any more. Others stop paying because of financial difficulties. Either way, the storage company wants that space back so they can let it to people who will pay. And ideally, they would like to recoup some of the money owed.

An auction is a way of clearing the storage locker or unit and it (with any luck) makes a bit of money for the storage company.

What happens at a storage auction?

At a live storage auction, bidders generally inspect the contents of a unit on look but don’t touch basis, and often only from the doorway.

Some auctions are held only online. With an online auction, you may be sent a photo of the storage unit (taken from the doorway), and then you can bid based on that.

When you join a storage auction, you are bidding on the entire contents of the unit – you can’t pick and choose. However, the storage company will quickly check the contents for obvious personal items and keep these back to return to the defaulting owner.

At the end of the auction, the winner generally has a limited amount of time to clear out the contents (perhaps 24 or 48 hours).

There is often an obligation to return personal items (bills, photos, tax records) to the storage company’s office.

How do I find out about storage auctions?

You’d think this would be easy to answer. But it’s not, as auctions are not often publicised in the UK.

Storage providers take their responsibility to look after their client’s possessions very seriously and they see storage auctions as a last resort. They would very much prefer to avoid the effort and time taken to hold them, too, particularly if they only have a few delinquent storage units.

Some storage companies have an auction mailing list, and it may be worth asking your local storage companies if they have such a thing.

How do I make a profit on a storage auction?

Luck, and persistence is the way to make a profit on storage auctions! Not all unpaid units will contain anything of value, and you may have to try and fail a few times before you get a good one.

Have a plan for disposing of your haul from a storage unit auction. This may include a trip to the recycling centre. Or it may include a few quick refurbishments. Or it might be some eBay listings. The important thing is to get the items moving on quickly: while it’s sitting in your garage (or your own storage unit!) it’s not making money for you. Storage Auctions Kings have plenty of tips to help those new to auctions.