Make Money Monday: Storage Unit Auction “Shopping”

StorageUnit.jpg Storage Unit image by birealestate

What is a storage unit auction?

When renters of s storage unit facility default on payments over x amount of time, the owners have the right to sell the properties contained inside the unit to recoup some of the loses.  Each facility has different guide lines as to how long they wait.

How does it work?

Each auction is basically operated in the same manner.

  1. You fill out a simple sign up sheet and receive a number. This number will be used to identify you as the buyer of the auctions you bid on and won.
  2. Auctioneer will stand in front of each unit and give the bidders an opportunity to peek inside.  Some will let you walk in if applicable but you are not to touch anything.
  3. Once all bidders have had a chance to look the bidding starts. Bids can start at as little as $5. Usually depends on the type of goods inside.
  4. The winners will have x amount of time to clear the goods out once the auction is over.
  5. Auctions won are usually required to be paid in cash.
100_1952.jpg 04/17/09 Clearlake Oaks Unit 2 image by JoesPics

Things you need to bring with you:

  • Flash light: helps see the hidden goods in dark corners.  Also handy for inside units. These typically don’t have light inside the unit, only in the hall ways.
  • Locks: You will need to lock any unit you purchase once bidding for it has ended.
  • Cash: All auctions that I’ve been too require cash only for payments.

Bid and Hold: This is term that is used when the unit’s renters have agreed to pay by a certain day which falls after the auction day.  The winner for these types ONLY get the unit IF the renter DOES NOT pay on said day.  I’m not for sure but I don’t think they are obligated to pay for the unit the day of the auction.  I’ve never won a Bid and Hold.

Under Texas State Law: All items consisting of tax information, death/birth/marriage certificates, wedding photos and all personal documentaions are to be turned into the office of the storage facility.  Other than that everything else in the unit is yours.

What to do with what you’ve won?

Keep it, sell it, donate or trash it.  It’s all your choice now.  You could end up with a ton of money makers or a bunch of junk. That’s the funny thing about “shopping” this way.

I have friend you has had a bit of both.  He has bought units with a mess of furniture and doubled his money.  He’s bought units he thought held a hidden gem and was left with nothing but junk.  You have to be careful when bidding for sure.

How to bid:

This is how I was told to bid and so far so good.  Pick one item that you know the value of. It can be something you want personally or something you know you can sell for $X.  Then don’t bid over that.  Doing this will, hopefully, prevent you from loosing money.

Where do you find these auctions?:

Most storage unit auctions are listed in the legal notices section of the paper.  You can also look on Craigslist and other such listing sites.  Want old fashioned? Just call the facilities in your area and ask.

What if you didn’t win an auction but you REALLY wanted a certain item in it?

Simply make the buyer and offer for said item.  Most of the time they will work something out with you.

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