Tag - Q&A

Storage Auction Q&A


If you have a question about storage auctions or our service, feel free to ask it here. You are also welcome to answer questions or add your opinion. Please post all questions and answers in the comments section below.


From: Nolton 

Subject: Question About Buyer's Premium Fees

You have mentioned cleaning deposits in your blogs. I have also noticed that some of the auction notices have a buyer's premium fee. What are the amounts of the typical premiums and what percentage of auctions do and do not charge this fee? Are there any other additional fees a storage unit buyer might have?

Response from Travis Lane / AuctionsTX.com

About 30% of storage auctions will have a buyer's premium. Buyer's premiums are less common at storage auctions than other types of auctions. I have never seen a buyer's premium be less than or more than 10% at a storage auction.

Other than a clean out deposit and a buyer's premium, you will also need to pay state sales tax, unless you have a valid sales tax use permit. Also, in extremely rare cases, the auctioneer may charge a admission fee.


From: Nolton

Subject: Question About Merchandise You Can't Keep Or Resell 

What are the laws or rules concerning stolen or leased items in a unit? For example; you purchase a unit and you happen to have an item that was reported stolen or an item that was supposed to be repossessed but was hidden there. What other types of items might you find that you may not have the right to keep or resell?

Response from Travis Lane / AuctionsTX.com

Before I answer this question, I would like to advise you that I am not an attorney. Please speak with an attorney before relying on any of the following information.

Other than guns and vehicles, it may be difficult to determine whether an item is stolen. If an item is obviously stolen, you should contact the authorities and let them search for the rightful owner. If the rightful owner cannot be located, there is a chance that you may get the merchandise back. If an item is leased, it may have markings on it which identify the lessor. I would recommend calling the leasing company in order to determine whether the merchandise has been purchased outright or whether it was never returned by the lessee. A lot of rental equipment/merchandise is sold after it has exceeded it's rental life. It is not uncommon to find power equipment, furniture, electronics & appliances that still have the leasing company's markings inside a storage unit.

If the storage facility is aware that there is a vehicle inside the storage unit, they will perform a title search and if a lien holder exists, they will notify them and give them an opportunity to satisfy the delinquent rent. If the lien holder doesn't satisfy the delinquent rent, the vehicle can be legally sold. Although most storage facilities sell vehicles like this for parts and without warranties of any kind, in most cases you can obtain a title.

If you find vehicle inside a storage unit that the storage facility was unaware of, I believe you can keep it; however, you won't get a clear title to it until you satisfy the lien. I am unsure whether the lien holder can still repossess the vehicle but I believe that your claim to it does not supersede the lien.

Guns, illegal drugs & hazardous chemicals are examples of things you may not be able to keep or resell. It is the buyer’s obligation to familiarize themselves with federal, state and local laws relating to the purchase, transportation and possession of their merchandise.

From: Leo

Subject: Is there a service similar to yours in San Antonio

Is there a service similar to yours in San Antonio, TX. or do you offer this service in San Antonio and surrounding areas, like Austin, San Marcos, New Braunfels?
Thanks and look forward to your reply.

Response from Travis Lane / AuctionsTX.com

We currently offer our storage auction schedules to the Houston, Dallas / Fort Worth and San Antonio markets; However, we do have plans to expand into the Austin market by May 1st, 2012. New Braunfels is included in our San Antonio coverage area. San Marcos is not currently in our coverage area, because it is located in between Austin and San Antonio. Since I have received numerous requests to include San Marcos, I will have it added to our Austin coverage area. Update: The Austin schedule is now live.

FAQ’s About Storage Auctions


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.