Storage Auction Tips for Beginners: What to Expect
A storage auction can be a fun, intriguing process that leads to the unknown. It could be a bust, but if you have the time, effort, and a bit of extra spending money, storage auctions can be well worth it. If this is the first time you plan to participate, there are a few tips and tricks to ensure you get the best possible results. Here are a few things you should know about.
You'll Have to Register First
Registering with the auction company or the storage facility allows them to ensure they know who is taking ownership of the items within the unit. You'll need to provide some identification and sign a document outlining the process's rules. The good news is it's relatively straightforward, but you'll need to know what the rules are before you get started.
Know the Storage Auction Rules
If you are registering for the auction online or in person, you will have access to a set of rules to follow. These rules outline what is expected of you and the limitations of the facility. You'll need to read these and, if you have questions, ask them beforehand. You need to know:
- When will you gain access
- If there's a preview opportunity
- What type of payment is due
- What the cleanout policies are
- What restrictions are there on the findings within the storage unit
Bidding Tips and Tricks
Once you are bidding, it is easy to get carried away or to fall behind the other bidders if you're not sure what's happening. Once the bidding starts, focus on what's occurring. You don't want distractions to occur during this process. Most bids only take a few minutes to complete, and you don't want to miss your opportunity. Consider these tips:
- Don't bid aggressively. If you bid a high value right off the bat, that means you're really hoping to win that auction, which will pique the interests of other bidders.
- Don't bid too fast. There are often a few seconds between bids. Slow things down so you don't look too interested.
- Know your budget. Again, it's easy to get carried away just outbidding the other person. However, there's a point where the unit isn't worth it.
Don't Talk About Anything of Value
Before or during the bidding process, avoid speaking about anything in the unit, even to someone you're with. People are always listening to learn as much as they can about any item. If you're allowed to take photos using Google Lens, do so, but be very cautious in that you don't want others to know what you're interested in – that's going to get them to bid you up time and time again. Try not to look at or pay any attention to items that are interesting to you.
It's Not Like on TV
Auction TV shows are all about the hype. Most units don't have anything special in them but are likely to have items that are useful. In most situations, there will be competition present, and sometimes, you will end up paying a lot for a unit. The key to know, though, is that every bid you make is a promise to pay, and you will have to do all of the cleanout work and reselling to make up for any investment you have.
Set a Spending Budget
If a storage facility has 10 units they are auctioning off, plan an overall budget. Even if you plan to bid on them all, you need a budget in mind. As you look at each unit, calculate what it is worth to you at the highest possible level. Then, stop bidding if you reach that level. Otherwise, you cannot justify the investment in the unit, and you may be losing money on it.
Know the Clean Out and Payment Rules
One of the most common misconceptions spread by TV shows on auctions is that you have all of the time in the world to clean them out. Most of the time, you have to bring your vehicle, you have to do the hauling of items out, you have to handle the trash and clean up, and you have to pay for the unit before you get the keys to it. All auction companies and storage facilities will give you advanced guidance on what the rules are for cleaning out your unit and where you can dispose of items (it may be offsite!) You may have 24 to 48 hours to clean out the unit, and not much leeway in when that can be done.
Bring a Mask and Gloves
It's not uncommon for auctions to involve units that are less-than-clean in terms of what's in them. Sometimes, they have been untouched for years. Other times, they could have dangerous chemicals and materials in them. You will not know what's in them until you have them opened up and start digging through them. Protect your health by ensuring you have a mask on throughout the process. You also want to be sure you're using cut-proof gloves if you plan to dig through boxes and move items. Be ready to go when it comes to cleaning out the unit. The more prepared you are for the entire process, the less risk there is of a problem occurring later, such as becoming sick or having to try to figure out how to clean it up. Bring along a friend or two to help you, too. You never know what's inside.
We're Your Storage Solution!
Storage Rentals of America is your convenient self-storage solution. So come into our office or give our storage experts a call at 1-800-457-5678. Our call center is available 7 days a week and can help determine which storage unit size best fits your storage needs.