In the United States, most self storage facilities hold storage auctions or lien sales to vacate non-paying tenants according to their enforcement rights that are outlined within the laws of each state. Each site will have a different amount of units or lots to offer for auction. These auctions are opened to the general public with most bidders’ buying for the purpose of reselling for profit.
Storage auctions are a great way to buy secondhand merchandise for pennies on the wholesale dollar. If you are someone who sells at flea markets, garage sales or on e-Bay, you will probably find storage auctions to be one of your best sources for merchandise.
Have you seen the show "Storage Wars?". This television show has helped increase the popularity of storage auctions in the United States and Canada. Buyers come looking to find something that might be truly valuable and therefore hope to make large profits on items.
How Does The Auction Work?
Be sure to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to a scheduled auction. Before the auction starts, the self storage facility or auctioneer will have a sign in sheet and a set of their company’s rules going over the terms and conditions of the auction. Terms and conditions will vary with each site. Most auctions are "live" or "verbal", very few are silent (sealed bids). Cash is the acceptable form of payment and sales tax will be charged if the buyer cannot show a valid resale license and proper identification. Storage auctions are very different then most types of auctions. Usually you are bidding on the entire contents of a unit or lot. Units or lots are usually viewed 1 by 1 with the viewing limited to the doorway entrance of the storage unit or container. The bidding starts after all bidders have had a viewing of the property. Bids sometimes start out as low as $1.00 and can proceed upwards with the property being sold to the highest bidder. Based on our experience average lots or units seem to sale for under $300.00. Don't forget, the high bidder must remove all contents of the unit purchased within the time specified by the self storage facility. Facilities do not allow the use of their garbage cans or dumpsters and units are expected to be broom swept clean.
What Can I Expect To Find at a Storage Auction
You really never know what you will find. Most items are general household goods, furniture, electronics, clothing and personal records. Bidders do find money, jewelry, antiques and collectibles at these auctions. It is not uncommon to find someone's whole household or business in a unit, with that in mind, you never know when you might stumble on someone's life collection of who knows what!
Remember you are usually viewing the property from an open entrance into a storage unit or container; this means that boxes and plastics storage containers can yield anything.
Some units are packed so tight that you won't have the luxury of getting a view of the items that are behind what is blocking the entrance area.
Storage Auction Questions?
Send us an email with your Storage Auction Questions and we will try to answer the best we can!