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How to Bid at Storage Auctions

Before walking into your first self storage unit auction, it’s good to know a few ways to make the most of your auction experience, including how to bid on a unit, when to bid, and which units to bid on. Below, we share some tips for bidding at storage unit auctions!

How to Bid on Storage Units

If you’ve ever attended a storage auction—or an auction at an estate sale—you’ll know that the bidding process is relatively simple. As with any auction, the auctioneer will set the opening bid on the storage unit and will then open bidding to attendees. Most storage facilities set guidelines for whether or not you’re able to enter self storage units prior to bidding, so depending on what you were able to see in the unit, it’s best to start with low bids.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a storage auction, but not every auction is going to have competition and the surprise wins you’ve seen on TV. That’s why it’s good to be realistic and keep your budget in mind when bidding. Self storage units with tons of visible items with good resale value will go for a higher price more often than not, but they might not be worth blowing your entire budget on.

When to Bid on Storage Units

Typically, it’s recommended to bid when bidding stalls. If the auctioneer is left asking for bids multiple times, you may have a better opportunity to grab a low-priced unit with little competition. That said, take into account where you are in the proceedings. Unlike larger auction houses, there’s no real understanding of what’s going to be in every self storage unit, so it’s hard to gauge when you may be coming up on a highly sought-after item.

Be aware of how many storage units you’ve seen and how many are left, too. Other people at the auction may be more willing to spend money right at the beginning and end of the day to get the “big wins.” But if you bide your time and try to get in on units with less interest, you may end up spending less.

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Which Storage Units to Bid On

It can be hard to know which storage units are worth bidding on, especially in situations where you can’t see inside the unit first. Obviously, the best units are going to be the ones that have a lot of visible items. However, this also means they’ll be the most popular for bids. Other units to consider bidding on are ones that are well-packed with items, as this means there are more chances of finding good items.

Another way to determine which units are best to bid on is to think about the location of the storage facility. In the heart of the suburbs? The storage units will most likely be filled with household items and seasonal decorations. In the middle of the city? You might encounter more furniture, recreational gear, and business items. This isn’t an exact science, of course, but it can be a good starting point.

Storage unit auctions aren’t always widely advertised, so be on the lookout for auctions taking place near you to try your luck at finding valuable items hidden away. Also, be mindful of common storage auction myths before you attend a storage auction!