Chances are you first learned about storage auctions from the popular reality TV show Storage Wars. While this introduced the exciting world of storage auctions, it’s also had the side effect of making them much more competitive with more people than ever going to local auctions.
Whether you’re looking to make your fortune, find some collectibles, or just find a good deal on some decent furniture to fill out a new house, there’s a lot to like about the potential that storage auctions bring. However, it should come as no surprise that things aren’t always like they appear on TV. Read on to learn some things you need to know before hitting your first storage auction.
The crowds are huge now
You’re not the only one who has been watching Storage Wars, or the seeming fifty-some spin-offs it has spawned. No matter what storage auction you go to, chances are that the crowds will be bigger than you expect. Plenty of people are jumping on board looking for a new source of income, or hoping to strike it rich with their own rare treasure find.
You need to be prepared for this and make sure you don’t get caught up in a bidding war. Don’t bid for the sake of getting something, but get to any auction early and follow the rules to keep yourself ingratiated with the auctioneer.
You need to know what you’re looking for
Any auction aficionado can tell you that it is very easy to get caught up in the bidding during an auction and end up spending your entire budget on a locker you might not really want. Have an idea of what you’re looking for before the first bid even begins. Are you looking for new furniture? Sporting goods? A locker that looks like it might have some serious antiques?
The clearer an idea you have of whatever you’re looking for, the more likely you’ll be to avoid buyer’s remorse.
There are dishonest auctioneers/storage unit owners
You always hope you can trust people, but unfortunately there have been many reports of people buying storage units with boxes marked “baseball cards,” “collectibles,” “fishing gear,” or even “antiques” and then the person who buys the locker finds the boxes are empty or just full of newspaper.
Most places don’t do this, but it happens often enough that you need to be careful. If a storage locker looks way too good to be true, or if there are a lot of boxes marked with something valuable but nothing showing, trust those red flags and don’t get sucked in.
Check out your online bidding options
What about when it’s winter and snow is coming in? Or what if you just don’t want to go out into the horrid heat? There are actually websites that specialize in setting up online bidding so you can see clear pictures taken from the door of the storage unit (so you can see what people there can see) and you can put in your maximum bid from online.
This has some definite pros and cons, but it provides another option that definitely warrants at least some basic consideration.
Don’t let these tips prevent you from dipping a toe into the world of storage auctions. While you do want to be cautious about how you go about bidding, you still never know when you might find the perfect deal.