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Although not a new venue, self storage auctions are now getting swamped with attendees -- due mostly to the popularity of reality shows such as A & E's "Storage Wars"and
While the offerings at local auctions may not be as lucrative as those seen on the reality shows (bidders have unveiled treasures valued at several hundreds and thousands dollars) attendees are not disappointed with their finds.
"I've found good, quality stuff -- not millions of dollars worth, but good quality items," said
The owners of two local storage businesses have noticed the increased interest in auctions and both attribute it to the reality shows.
"Here lately we have received more calls about when we're holding an auction," said
"There's never anything there to amount to anything; if there was, they (owners) wouldn't let it go," Nobles said. "But sometimes there are some antique items."
It is no surprise that reality shows about storage auctions have had a positive affect as far as interest, but what about the storage industry at large?
According to the blog Storitz (blog.storitz.com), the popularity of the shows can definitely skew the public's perspective on the self-storage industry in that they will think a unit being auctioned off is common place and something they might have to worry about if they ever decided to rent self-storage. But considering the fact that, as we mentioned, only 1-2 percent of all the rented storage units in the country ever go to auction, this really isn't the case.
However, Nobles did note an increase in the number of units on the bidding block than in previous years.
"The economy is hurting people and I've got about 15 units (for an upcoming sale). That's an unreasonable number to have; you usually have three or four in a sale," he said.
"You always have a certain number of people who abandon the unit, ignore it or just don't pay their bill. But now you have a lot more who are unable to keep up their storage payments."
Because of the increased popularity of self storage auctions, several websites have been set up to assist storage owners as well as storage auction bidders.
StorageTreasures.com acts as a clearinghouse for self storage auctions all over the country so that potential bidders can actually evaluate auctions and units that are being put up to auction. Not only does this assist potential bidders, but also helps keep the numbers of bidders at auctions under control for the storage owners and generally streamlines the process for everyone involved.
StorageAuctionDepot.com actually hosts the auctions on their site so there is no need for bidders to even visit the storage facility. If an auction is listed on the site, bidders can actually bid on units through the site rather than physically attend an auction. Pimley explains, "the process enables the storage facilities to hold their public auctions without the enormous amounts of bidders showing up" which represents a liability to the facility.
Storage Auction Tips
The following Dos and Donts for Storage Auctions from The WWW Directory (www.the-www-directory.com) may help make your auction experience more worthwhile.
--DON'T go unprepared. If a phone number is provided call ahead of time to see what you need. Most likely, cash will be the only accepted method of payment. Ask if you can arrive early to look around. Know if you have to pay a fee to participate in the auction.
--DO anticipate on winning a storage unit auction, even if you do not. This is important, as you usually have 24 to 48 hours to remove all items. For that reason, it may be best to arrive with a truck or a van. At the very least, bring a padlock to secure the unit until you are able to return.
--DON'T try to buy back your belongings at a mini storage auction. If you are behind on your bill and find that your items are being sold, talk to the owner right away. Some will cancel the auction up to a few hours before if you are willing to pay your overdue bill.
--DON'T bid too high on sealed bins or closed storage units. Yes, you may walk away with a lot of valuables, but you may also walk away with nothing more than family photographs and personal documents. Even if you can't look around, you should be able to take a quick peek inside a storage unit from outside the door.
--DO look for signs that you have hit the jackpot. This can also give you a good bid idea of how much to bid. Look for storage units that are packed full, filled with home appliances, furniture, name brand products, and antiques.
--DON'T bid high just to win. Unfortunately, it is easy to get caught up in the moment at mini storage auctions. Yes, losing to a higher bidder does stink, but don't let the competitive environment cause you to lose money. Remember, there is always next time.
--DO try to resell what you can. If you must, get creative. Do you have a lot of poor quality or stained clothes? Cut up the clothes to create scraps for sewing. Sell them by the boxful. Do you have a broken piece of furniture? Try to fix it before opting to throw it away.
--DON'T pay to dispose of items you can give away for free or donate to a charity. Remember your main goal is to make a profit. This involves limiting your expenses, including trash removal costs.
--DO know that you have a number of different reselling methods. Hosting a yard sale may be your first idea, but that is not your only option. Many successfully use yard sales, flea markets, online classified ads, newspaper classified ads, and
--DON'T give up if you have a bad experience the first time around. Did you pay
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Copyright (c) 2011, The Meridian Star, Miss.
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