What Are Public Storage Auctions and Why Do You Care?

Public self storage facilities are generally large facilities where people can rent various sized units to keep their belongings safe and secure while they are traveling, moving into a new house, or waiting for major renovations on their current home to be completed. Storage facilities usually have a property manager on site that handles the accounting and billing, as well as customer service, maintaining the property, overseeing the security of the premises and handling delinquent tenants. Storage auctions actually occur because of delinquent tenants. When a storage customer keeping their things at a facility fails to pay his or her rent for long enough (usually 3 months) that customer is so delinquent that the storage company can enforce a lien on their belongings. A lien is a legal tool used also by auto mechanics, and other providers of services, that helps these companies recuperate money and time they lose when someone takes their services but does not pay them. Essentially this means that if a person does not pay their storage rent for long enough, their belongings can be sold by the company in order to recuperate their financial losses from allowing the tenant to use their facility and services without paying. However, what's one person's loss can, and has been, another person's profit.

What's Interesting About Self Storage Auctions?

This becomes interesting because certain lien laws and applicable property laws stipulate that these auctions must be publicized - essentially anyone from the general public can attend, bid on the auction units' contents, and try to win them. To satisfy legal obligations, storage companies usually need to publish an announcement in a local newspaper of general circulation in order to notify the public, and the customer whose things will be sold, that an auction will be held soon. Lately, more and more bargain hunters have been using these storage auctions as an opportunity to buy up massive quantities of belongings at a discount, then take all of them home, sort the valuables from the garbage, and then sell the valuables piece by piece at yard sales or over the internet in order to turn a profit.

Once someone learns the tips and tricks of the trade, it's not impossible for them to make several thousand dollars per month buying storage auction units and re-selling their contents for a profit. Keep in mind that it's not always immediately profitable to start buying up self storage auction units, and that it is indeed possible to lose money in this venture. Becoming good at identifying and winning valuable self storage auctions takes time, practice, patience, skill, and a bit of a cash outlay.

However, once you understand the basic processes of self storage auctions, how they work, how to determine what is likely to be a valuable storage auction unit and what is likely to only contain trash, you, too, can start carefully buying up auction units and re-selling their contents for a profit. It just takes patience, learning, some cash, and a little bit of luck!

What's the Best Way to Get Started Buying and Selling Storage Auction Units?

The best way to break into this potentially profitable pastime is to keep your eye out for the public announcements as to the time and location of the next upcoming public storage auction. Show up at the designated time and place, and don't even bring along any money. Just sign up to be a bidder, and follow the group and auctioneer from unit to unit. Start studying the bidders and how they determine whether or not they want to buy a unit. Watch the auctioneer and try to get comfortable with the rapidity with which he does business and tries to create excitement in order to hike up the final price. Take special note of the kinds of final prices that various kinds and sizes of auction units are achieving.

Observe as much as you can and ask yourself if you think you could realistically break into this hobby. If so, you can show up to the next auction with some cash in your pocket and hop into the bidding war yourself!