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The Beginner’s Guide to Storage Auctions

Storage facilities across the country sometimes have to hold storage auctions when self storage units are abandoned or have gone into lien. While the auctions themselves may come about for unfortunate reasons, bargain hunters of all kinds come out to bid on storage units to find unique items. But how exactly do they know what to do? If you’re getting ready to attend your first storage unit auction, we have a few tips what you need to do when you arrive!

Register for the Day

In order to keep auctions under control, storage facilities may require you to register for a bidder number ahead of auction process. This helps keep auction attendees separate from other individuals visiting the storage facility that day and ensures that only those attending the auction can bid on storage units. Typically, you’ll want to give yourself 20 to 30 minutes prior to the auction to get into the rental office and sign in. Check with the facility prior to the auction date to make sure you’re there on time.

Be Ready to Pay Up

Most self storage unit auctions require that winning bids either be paid out immediately or at the end of the day, which means you need to come prepared. Some storage facilities accept credit or debit cards, but a lot prefer cash. It’s good to ask the facility manager about the best method of payment beforehand.

Know the Rules

There’s nothing worse than walking into a storage auction without first knowing what you can and cannot do. For most auctions, self storage facilities will not let anyone enter a unit that’s being sold for liability reasons, but you can do your best to look in and try and gauge what’s inside. Speak to a facility manager before you get there to inquire about specific rules for the auction.

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Keep Everything Close to the Vest

An unwritten rule of bidding during storage auctions is to keep quiet if you see anything of great value. Not every bidder is going to notice the diamond in the rough, but astute individuals and regular auction-goers will not take kindly to someone letting everyone know what they’ve seen.

It’s Not Anything Like As Seen On TV

There are all kinds of myths about storage auctions. If you’ve ever watched one of the many storage auction TV shows, you may be surprised to learn that what you’ve seen onscreen is nothing like in real life. There isn’t as much pageantry to the situation, especially because many storage facilities don’t like going through the process of auctioning off units. So be prepared for your first auction to be a little bit underwhelming with people quietly bidding on different things for much smaller amounts of money.

Set a Budget

Similar to going to a flea market or swap meet, it’s important to set a budget for yourself so you’re not spending outside of your means. Be sure to set a strict budget for yourself before making your way to any storage auction so that you know when to get out of a bidding war or when your day is over.

Get to Work Quickly

Once you’ve purchased a storage unit, don’t wait around trying to determine what you’ve purchased. Most storage facilities require that winning buyers clear out their purchased storage units within 24 to 48 hours. By going through the unit quickly, you can also better separate trash from what you plan on selling or keeping for yourself.