Can I make money with storage unit auctions?
If you’re new to the storage auction scene, I’m sure your number one question is “can I make money doing this?” The answer is yes, but it comes with a catch. If you’ve seen the storage auction shows and it looks really easy to turn a thousand dollars into ten thousand in a matter of days, it’s not. Although these shows are entertaining, they do not depict the storage auction business in its true light. Now, I’m not saying you cant make a good living doing this, I’m just saying that the “dream units” they show on television are quite rare. You might have to buy 50-100 units for before a really good one comes along. Most storage units contain common household items like clothing, furniture, decorations, sporting goods, electronics, appliances, lawn equipment, tools & toys. The good news is, you can make a healthy profit reselling items like these, especially in a down economy where people are looking to save money. As long as you’re bidding conservatively, you can expect to double or even triple your investment on each unit. If you’re buying several units per month, that can really add up.
How often do storage auctions occur?
A lot of people are surprised when they realize that there are multiple storage auctions occurring almost every day of the week. There are usually several auctions being conducted in a typical day. On average, each storage facility is selling the contents of 3-6 storage units, although seeing 20-30 for sale at one facility, is not at all uncommon. There is no shortage of storage units on the auction block, especially in a down economy.
Are there storage auctions on weekends?
In the cities we cover, there are usually 2-7 different storage facilities holding an auction on any given Saturday. Sunday storage auctions are very rare and when they do occur it is usually because of a misprinted date in the legal notice. A majority of the auctions do occur Monday through Friday, starting as early as 8:00 AM and sometimes lasting into the evening.
Who can attend storage auctions?
Storage unit auctions are open to the public and anyone can attend. Anyone above the age of 18 may purchase a storage unit. Children under 16 years of age are discouraged by some auctioneers and facilities due to the liability; although, this is rarely enforced. If you have children you would like to bring, it is a good idea to call the storage facility in advance to find out if they are allowed to attend.
Do I need a special license or permit to attend storage auctions?
There are no special licenses or permits needed. Every now and then, you may need to show valid state identification, although this is rare as well. If you are planning on reselling the items that you purchase and you have a sales tax use permit, by all means bring it. If you don’t have one, you will need to obtain one or pay sales tax on any storage units that you buy.
What methods of payment are accepted at storage auctions?
Most self storage auctions are cash only and you don’t have time to go to the ATM after the storage auction is over. Checks are are not accepted. Some storage facilities do accept credit cards as a method of payment at their storage auctions; However, it is a good idea to call the storage facility for the specific terms and conditions of the storage sale. I have heard others say that using a credit card to buy a storage unit at auction is a bad idea. I personally feel that if you are financially responsible and being conservative on your bids, credit cards can be a great tool for getting started in the storage auction business. If you have plenty of cash, by all means, bring it. Nothing hurts worse than missing out on a great storage unit because you didn’t bring enough money with you.
Do the storage facility employees go through the units?
Storage facilities in the state of Texas are required to provide a brief description of the contents of the storage unit in the legal notice that they have published. Some storage facilities choose to ignore this as they do some of the other requirements in Chapter 59 of the Texas Property Code, but we won’t get into that at this time. Once the storage facility has made several attempts to contact the tenant for payment, with no success, they will cut the lock and usually inventory the contents of the storage unit based on what they can see from the door. Very rarely do they ever move things or open boxes. Should you be worried about this? Not really. Most storage facility managers & owners are very honest and respectable people. I’m sure there are a few bad apples, as there is in any business, that do enter the unit and remove the valuables before the auction. However, if you are only bidding on what you can see from the door, what may have been removed from the unit will not effect you.