Tag - storage auctions

Should Children Be Allowed To Attend Storage Auctions?


As storage auctions gain in popularity, they begin to draw a wider audience than its usual clientele. Auctions are more crowded than ever, and it's becoming much more common for families to attend auctions together. In some cases, parents even allow their children to bid on units as a lesson in money management and responsibility.

While bringing your kids to a storage auction isn't illegal, some auctioneers, storage facilities and other bidders may frown upon it. Before choosing to bring your children to an auction, it's a good idea to understand the pros and cons.

Benefits of Bringing Children to Auctions:

  • You don't have to worry about arranging childcare and can spend all day at the auction if necessary
  • Your older children can help you clean out the unit and load merchandise
  • Auctions give you an opportunity to teach your kids about responsibility or even help them make their own money with a small resale business

Drawbacks of Bringing Children to Auctions:

  • Many storage facilities do not allow children on their premises due to liability concerns. Their insurance policies might not cover accidents, so they'd want to reduce the likelihood of accidents by forbidding children or requiring them to be closely watched.
  • Many fellow bidders may disapprove of children at auctions because they can disrupt the proceedings.
  • Younger children might slow you down and make if difficult to get your unit cleaned and all of the items loaded and removed from the unit.
  • Auction hunting is often long, exhausting work. You'll be on your feet for several hours and may need to endure hot weather or other inconveniences that your children may not be prepared for.

It's best to check with the auctioneer in advance whenever possible to see if there will be any issues with bringing your kids to the auction. If in doubt, it might be a good idea to find someone to watch your children while you're bidding, at least the first few times you scope out a fresh auction. As you get more comfortable with the storage facility, auctioneers and fellow bidders, you might feel more comfortable bringing your entire family.

So, how do you feel about children being at storage auctions? Leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below.

Online Storage Auctions Spark a Technological Revolution

Online Storage AUctions

For years, the storage auction business operated in much the same way: A storage unit would go into default, the property manager would send out legal notices, then it would set up a live auction to sell off the unit’s contents. Traditionally, these auctions were always advertised through local newspapers, with the sales generally being attended by the same group of people week after week. Storage unit auctions were a small, little-known business that made some decent money for the handful of regulars who knew what they were doing.

All of that started to change once the storage auction reality shows opened up a window to this world for anyone who wanted to peek into it. Suddenly, fueled by dreams of found treasures and a desire to beat the recession, scores of new auction hunters flooded local auctions, hoping to replicate the successes they’d seen on TV. In response to this new demand, the storage auction business took off, and technology helped speed along the process.

The Internet has been crucial in the evolution of the storage auction business. Storage facilities began using their websites to advertise upcoming auctions, moving away from print media. Auction listing services started aggregating this information, making it easier than ever to find upcoming sales.

The most dramatic change, however, has been the development of online storage auctions.

These virtual auctions take place over the Internet, following the familiar format of eBay or similar auction sites. Facilities can post photos and descriptions of their for-sale units, allowing interested bidders to view them and bid from the comfort of home. This dramatically widens the audience for any particular sale and is much more convenient for buyers and sellers alike. It also opened up the doors for private sellers to put their own units up for auction, allowing them to pay off their storage bill or simply make some extra money from unwanted items in storage.

Online auctions are great for buyers because they’re convenient. Instead of driving around town to see units that may not even be worth bidding on, you can browse auctions at your convenience throughout your day. You’ll only need to leave the house once you’ve won a unit. These sales are great for sellers, too, since they generally bring in greater profits and are much less of a hassle to put together.

Once the online storage auction revolution was underway, plenty of people have tried to get on the bandwagon by offering web space for these auctions to occur. In most cases, the sites would make their profit by charging fees to buyers or sellers. Others would work on a subscription basis, charging a flat fee per month for the benefit of having access to all of the ongoing sales.

You don’t have to pay a premium to get in on the virtual storage action, however. OnlineStorageAuctions.com is an entirely free service that offers all of the benefits of other sites without the price tag. The site allows you to buy and sell with no additional fees, and it sports a massive community and plenty of auction variety from across the country.

If you’ve never tried your luck with a storage auction before, now is your chance. With mobile bidding available straight from your smart phone, you can literally start buying from anywhere, no matter how busy your schedule may be.

So, what do you think about online storage auctions? Which storage auction format do you prefer, online or live?

Storage Auction Forums: A Resource for Newbies and Veterans Alike

Storage Auction Forums

The Online Storage Auctions Forum is the web's largest storage auction community, and it has over 4,000 active users and nearly 35 thousand posts. Many of these users come and go, but a core population remains to discuss the nitty gritty reality of the storage auction and resale lifestyle. If you're involved in storage unit auctions and want to learn more as a beginner or share your experience as a pro, StorageAuctionForums.com is an invaluable resource for news, information and socialization.

There are obvious benefits in joining the forum when you're an auction newcomer:

-- You can ask the questions you're too embarrassed to ask in person

-- You can do research in advance and save yourself the trouble later

-- You can figure out and emulate the habits of successful resellers

-- You'll find links to other resources and information that can help you become a pro

The "Noobie Center" is one of the most active places on the forum and for good reason. Many newcomers join just to ask questions here before going on their way; others stick around to provide their own insight to fellow newbies as they gain more experience.

Of course, newbies aren't the only ones who can benefit from the forum. Most of the regular membes who check in frequently are long-time storage auction veterans, and they've discovered the many benefits of using this forum:

-- You can share advanced tips and tricks with other users

-- You can catch the first glimpse of industry news and gossip

-- You can network with other buyers and sellers

-- You get the satisfaction of showing newbies the ropes

Being a long-term member, you're bound to make friends and start to establish StorageAuctionForums.com as your "home" on the Internet. Because the forums cover so many topics, you're sure to find something to interest or surprise you, even if you consider yourself a well-seasoned professional.

The forum covers multiple topics of interest to auction-goers, including places to share auction experiences, discuss weird and wacky finds, and show off your best discoveries. You can also take advantage of our knowledgeable network of members to get information about auction questions that you may be unfamiliar with, like how vehicles are handled at an auction or what to expect at your first shipping container sale. There's even sections dedicated to reality TV and storage auction news so you can stay on top of the newest developments.

One of the most valuable resources offered by the forum is the opportunity to network with other buyers and sellers. Local forums for regions across the U.S. and around the world provide a way to meet others in your area, and sections of the forum are devoted to every kind of sales method imaginable from Craigslist to flea markets. You might even find a buyer among the fellow forum-goers looking to add to his collection!

What Can You Find at a Storage Auction?

Find Storage AuctionBy now, you’ve probably guessed that the reality shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters are exaggerated and fictionalized. The odds of coming across an incredibly rare artifact, signed one-of-a-kind memorabilia or historically significant document in a storage unit are pretty low, although such things do occasionally happen and tend to make headlines when they do. Just because you’re not likely to become a millionaire from the contents of a single storage unit, though, doesn’t mean it’s not worth attending an auction. Smaller items can and do add up, and storage units can be filled with a number of valuables if you know what to look for.

The type of items stored in a facility will depend in part on the neighborhood the unit is in. People store things for many reasons, and their reasons might affect what they’re keeping inside. For example, if the storage unit is in a common vacation town, it might belong to someone who summers there rather than living there full-time. If so, it might be filled with more sporting, fishing, hunting or other specialty equipment than housewares. Storage units in Hollywood do have a higher chance of holding celebrity memorabilia, although don’t get your hopes up too much.

Most of the time, the items you find will be more mundane. There are a few main reasons people get storage units:

-- They’re moving and need a place to keep things while they’re settling in.

-- They moved from a bigger house to a smaller one and need extra space.

-- They’re undergoing a divorce or other life change and need to keep their items tucked out of the way.

-- They simply have too much stuff to keep in their home.

Of course, for a storage unit to come up on auction, it must be abandoned. The tenant must have ceased paying rent; the auction can only proceed if no other method of settling the debt is available. Units are abandoned for several reasons:

-- The tenant passed away.

-- The tenant went to prison, was deployed or otherwise had to leave his belongings in the care of relatives, who forgot about them.

-- The tenant fell on hard times financially and couldn’t afford to make rent.

Most of the time, there are a few items you can count on being in some or all of your units: furniture, small appliances, electronics, household items and clothes. Antiques, artwork, office equipment and tools are also not uncommon. All of these can be resold if you’re patient. Some of the more valuable items can be sold individually on Craigslist or eBay; smaller items are better sold in bulk at a yard sale. Other common items, like tax records and family photos, pop up in most storage units. These can often be left with the facility manager to be returned to the tenant if he ever comes back looking for them.

The tenant’s circumstances will affect what type of things you’ll find in a unit. A unit rented by an elderly man with a lot of extra belongings and no heirs will look very different from one rented by college student who couldn’t afford her rent. This element of suspense is what makes this sort of modern treasure-hunting so exciting. So approach your first few auctions with an open mind and you might be surprised by the types of treasures you might find.

Making a Living with Storage Auctions

Making Living Storage AuctionsAlthough jobs are picking up around the country, the economy is still uncertain for many people. You may be working a less fulfilling job than you wanted or are still looking for work. Whatever the situation, you may want to try creating a job for yourself. One excellent place to get started is by going to storage auctions to gather items for resale.

Resale businesses have many benefits. You can set your own hours, pursue your interests and be your own boss. It’s not an easy line of work, but it can be very fun and very rewarding. When you look for profitable items within storage units, you can find yourself acting the part of a modern-day treasure hunter.

Of course, some treasures are worth more than others, and you’ll need to be prepared to sift through ample amounts of trash to reach those valuable treasures. The average storage unit will contain a lot of tax document, old clothes, family photos and other items that will hold no value for you. However, many will also contain electronics, furniture, antiques and valuables that can be resold for a tidy profit.

The trick to succeeding with storage auctions is to bid conservatively and never spend more than you know you can make back in profits. This requires some research into what items sell the best and what items are worth on the resale market, and you may make some mistakes at first. As you gain proficiency, however, you will swiftly become more competent at profiting from every auction you attend. Soon you may find that your resale profits can supplement or even replace the income from your day job.

Storage Auctions for Family Bonding

Family Bonding at storage auctionWhen you think of family friendly activities, storage auctions probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind. And it’s certainly true that these auctions are no place for children. All the same, there’s real value in bringing your family along with you to auctions, especially if you have teenage children who are interested in finding their place in the world and making a bit of extra money. With the economy undergoing major changes, it’s no surprise that the younger generation will need to blaze their own paths more than their ancestors did, and learning the basics of a resale business at a young age can make that much easier.
If you are thinking of bringing your kids to a few storage auctions, be smart about it:
-- Participate in a few auctions yourself first so that you know what to expect.
-- Don’t bring very young children; your kids need to be quiet, well-behaved and able to stand in the sun for hours without too much complaint.
-- Don’t bring your kids unless they’re able to complete physical labor like hauling trash, picking up boxes or sweeping out a unit.
-- Discuss what you’re doing with them in advance, particularly when it comes to the money aspects, so that the trip can be educational in more than one way.
By discussing bidding strategies and the basics of resale to your kids, you establish a solid framework for them to build upon into adulthood. You gain a few extra sets of strong arms to help out at storage auctions, and your kids learn valuable lessons about the value of hard work. Overall, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Should You Attend Auctions With Only One or Two Available Units?

Small Storage Auctions

Some storage facilities choose to hold onto their units for several months and hold a few large auctions per year. Others want to have their units emptied as quickly as possible, so they hold auctions on a monthly or as-needed basis. This means that, depending on the size of the facility and how many delinquent tenants it might have had, any given auction could be quite small.


When you find a notice of an upcoming storage auction, you'll be able to see quickly how many units are up for sale. You'll then have a choice: Do you bother with the small auction, or do you only attend the larger storage auctions? There's pros and cons to each method, so putting some thought into it will help you make the right choice for your needs.


Benefits to Small Storage Auctions:


  • Less competition. Since fewer people will be there, you don't have to deal with crowds or over-eager newbies. Most people won't bother with small auctions, which means you might have first pick of anything good you find.

  • Lower prices. Since there are fewer people competing with you at a small auction, the units typically sell for less. You might be able to get the unit for next to nothing if the other bidders aren't interested in it.

  • More time to talk with the facility manager. A smaller auction is likely to have a more relaxed atmosphere, which gives you more time to chat with the facility manager, auctioneer and other people who might be full of useful information about upcoming auctions. This networking opportunity might make a trip worthwhile even if nothing good is found.

  • You won't be tempted to buy more units than you can deal with. Attending small auctions can be a good idea if you're just starting out or have a limited budget. Since only one or two units will be available, you won't be able to load up on a half-dozen units and then get completely overwhelmed.


Drawbacks to Small Storage Auctions:


  • You might not find anything. Since only a small percentage of storage units have valuable contents, the units at a small auction may not fall into that category.

  • You might waste gas and time. If you're attending multiple small auctions in one day, you might strike out on all of them. If you'll be visiting just one auction, that's still gas and time you would otherwise not have spent.

  • You could miss out on a better auction. If you're at a small auction, you might miss a larger auction happening elsewhere, and that one could have some better opportunities.


Overall, the question of whether to attend a small storage auction depends on how much time and resources you have available and how willing you are to gamble. While there's no guarantees that visiting the smaller auction will pay off, there's also never any guarantee that a larger auction will yield any better results. Considering the pros and cons and taking a calculated risk might just pay off.


So which do you prefer: large auctions with lots of units and lots of people or smaller auctions with only a few units and a few people? Leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below.


Top 3 Storage Auction Forums

Storage Auction Forum

Storage Auction Forums are not a dime a dozen. In fact, there are only a few which generate huge traffic by the interest of real life auction hunters.

First let me inform you the difference between a Storage Auction Blog and a Storage Auction Forum.

Currently there are many storage auction blogs which spill the latest news and information on storage auctions.

Blogs may also recap your favorite television storage auction reality series.

Most blogs however are either opinions or factual articles written either by the owner of the website; or the owner hires freelance writers to write for the blog.

A forum is a community that contains a list of “categories” in which forum members may create a post or reply to a post within that category.

That’s the difference.

Here are the Top 3 Storage Forum Communities.

#1 Storage Auction Forums

A true blue storage auction community with 42 categories that includes overseas topics for the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

Stats currently with 3,016 members with 25,534 posts in 3,348 topics. Of all the forums this makes the top billing because it has the most content.

Most users ever online 586 on March 05, 2013.

Categories include: Noobie Center, Storage Auction Reality Shows, Storage Auction Stories, Treasure Chest, Weird & Wacky Finds, Vehicle Auctions, In the News, Picker’s Find, and much more.

Hottest specific topic currently is “Storage Auction Stories” with 310 topics and 3,932 replies. One topic in this category is “Jackpot in the Safe” with 27,780 views!

#2 Storage Treasures Forum

Pure auction storage chatter with over 60 active categories. Reached 500,000 members in May. They however have only 6,886 posts in the community.

Categories include: Auction Hunters Tips & Tricks, Ask the Experts, Auction Stories, What’s it Worth, Picker’s Corner, Auctioneer’s Podium, Treasure Chest, and much more.

Top tier of the community boards contains a plethora of information, news, stories, and tips.

#3 Auction Zip Forum

They have only 15 categories on their forum with membership at 385,052.  At this writing their stats include 2,421 topics with 19,372 posts.

Categories include: Antiques & Collectibles, Real Estate, Online Bidding, Heavy Equipment, Car Auctions, Farm & Agriculture, Commercial & Business Liquidations, Storage Auctions, Charity, and Appraisals.

Most users ever online were 346 members on April 09, 2010.

Now while they seem to be an auction community for every possible venture, their have only one storage auction category that currently contains 58 topics with 468 posts. I know, you think that’s small beans, but the entire website just hit 1 million unique “views.”

A storage auction post titled, “Few Questions for Experienced Buyers” currently has only 17 replies yet has 9,140 views!

Storage auction forums, unlike blogs, allow the auction hunter to feel a part of a community. While there are other forums online, these Top 3 storage auction forums hold the most information and generate the most traffic.

Remember, in a forum not every member will post a topic or even post a reply. Many members “lurk” to gather information.

Surf through each forum and see which one is best for you, or join them all.

Piece-by-Piece Storage Auctions

Piece by Piece Storage Auction

Most storage auctions sell their units whole: The auctioneer opens up the unit and the winning bidder walks away with all of the contents, including any trash or treasure inside. But this sales model is increasingly being replaced by piecemeal auctions, where the facility sorts through the unit and sells each item one by one. This allows bidders to pick and choose the items they wish to take home and skip the unpleasant task of sorting through things after the sale. But it's also an obvious way to price-gouge bidders, and it takes some of the excitement out of the treasure hunt. All in all, piece-by-piece auctions are a mixed bag.

These pieced-out auctions aren't new, but they do seem to be gaining prevalence in some places lately. Auction-hunters have mentioned running into them throughout the past few years, but they remain fairly rare. In many cases, the storage facility may choose to piece-out only a few of the units while selling others whole. This might be because a particular unit contains several valuable items that the facility believes will sell better separately.

Large items are easy to sell individually. Smaller items may be sold in clusters. For example, a unit filled with boxes might have each box up for sale individually, or a group of boxes could be sold as one small “lot.” The bidders would be allowed to examine the contents of each box, which does allow for substantially more research time than they'd otherwise have with a whole unit. On the other hand, all of this sorting, examining and bidding can take a long time; a single unit may take hours to sell.

Right now, these auctions make up only a small percentage of the total number of storage auctions held across the country. But if they start gaining in popularity, they may become more frequent. This is especially true now that many facilities are choosing to hold virtual auctions; since they're already in the unit taking photos, it's easy to separate out the items into individual lots.

The most likely case is that storage facilities may start removing key high-profile items to sell separately while auctioning off the rest of the unit in bulk. This helps increase the overall profits from a particular unit while avoiding the pitfall of unsold small items.

So what do you think of piece by piece storage auctions? Leave you interesting and creative response in the comments section below.

Are Storage Facilities Resisting the Status Quo?

Storage Auction Scams

Across the country, storage auctions are finally starting to settle down after the Storage Wars craze. Most of the newcomers quickly realized that the work wasn't nearly as glamorous as it seemed on TV, and allegations of faked units on the show have helped discourage a new wave of fans from trying. Things aren't completely back to where they were before auctions stepped into the spotlight, and they may never return to that point – but on the whole, attendance is lower and units are cheaper than they were a year or two ago.


For the most part, this is all good news. Overcrowded auctions were as big a headache for facilities as for auction hunters, and inflated prices meant extra paperwork and further attempts to contact the tenant. Nevertheless, a few less-than-scrupulous storage facility managers aren't so eager to go back to the good old days.


On the whole, most storage facilities are owned and operated by honest people looking to make a modest living. Every so often, though, someone at a facility will decide to try gaming the system for a few extra dollars. Now that auctions are smaller, this type of deceit is easier to notice. Recently, even as other parts of the business have improved, many auction hunters have discovered that a few local storage facilities are behaving badly. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:


  • Proxy bidders. Occasionally, storage facilities will employ someone to make fake bids and raise up the prices. This is more commonly associated with online auctions, but it does happen in life auctions as well. Keep an eye out for any regulars who seem to attend only auctions from a single facility or anyone who seems to have deeper pockets than sense. Of course, not everybody who out-bids you at every auction is going to be a fraud, but it pays to pay attention to patterns.


  • Picked-over units. Some storage facilities go over units and stage them to make them more enticing before an auction. Others remove items for themselves before selling the unit, which is illegal, but most offenders figure that the odds are too unlikely that they'd ever be caught. Again, pay attention to patterns. If you see something suspicious in the way a particular facility's units always seem to be staged, you may want to avoid it or proceed with extreme caution.


  • Illegal sales. There are a few things that storage facilities have to do before selling a person's storage unit, such as sending letters and posting a public notice of the sale. Failure to do any of these things will make the sale invalid, and you could get wrapped up in a legal battle if the former owner files suit. It may not always be possible to know if the facility is doing everything as it should, but you should at least be able to confirm that the sale was announced publicly. If a unit comes up for bidding unannounced without having been mentioned in the ad, treat it with suspicion.


In some cases, a reputable auctioneer can help put your mind at ease. Most auctioneers are too professional to get involved in this sort of activity, especially as it can tank their career if they go down with the facility's ship. Since the auctioneer sees a lot of what goes on in local auctions, he can be a good barometer of how trustworthy a particular facility might be.


This is not to say that all auctioneers are honest, or that they can't be bought and kept in a dishonest facility owner's pocket. All the same, getting to know your auctioneers and researching whether they're generally viewed as trustworthy can help you gauge how safe an auction might be. Facilities are much more likely to try something if they're hosting the auction themselves or hired a “nobody” auctioneer.


It pays to be safe, and taking the time to get to know your local auction community – auctioneers, facilities and fellow bidders – will help you sidestep the occasional money-grabbing scheme.