So we know there are highly profitable units out there but we also know the typical auction profit isn't life changing. Here are a few things to think about on auction day to make sure every unit is profitable. Stay tuned for more red flag warnings next week!
What if someone rifles through the units before auction day? This is both against the law and unethical but it does happen on occasion. So how can you avoid bad units?
#1 Ask the facility manager and owner to post detailed inventories, unit photos, and especially lock cut videos online. Even if facilities don't want to post on StorageTreasures, ask them to post photos and videos on YouTube or Facebook. This gives you confidence in the unit and is added protection if a former tenant claims the unit was auctioned improperly. View a lock cut video.
#2 Let the dust be your first clue. If a unit appears really dusty but has footprints, and fingerprints all over the boxes or plastic bins, then it's possible the unit has been searched. But don't jump to the conclusion that there has been wrongdoing, because in most states facilities are required by law to enter and inventory units and this may include opening boxes to see the contents. Know your state's self storage lien laws.
What if the unit was staged prior to the auction? Again, this is unethical but it inevitably happens from time to time. Follow your instincts to avoid staged units.
#1 Gauge whether the unit looks staged. Are valuables conveniently in view while other items seem purposefully hidden? Does the unit look different from the typical unorganized unit packed to the brim? Does it look too good to be true?
#2 Ask the facility manager and owner to explain their company policy. Ask the facility whether they staged units. Also ask whether all the units are liened units, because facilities are starting to use public storage auctions to sell personal items they place in empty units. Know as much as you can about the facility's lien process and what happens when they inventory a unit.
#3 Consider the risk that a unit is staged and avoid such units. Walk away ... there is no shortage of good units.
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Here are a few links you might find useful:
Professional Self Storage Auction Tips
How To Locate A Storage Auction
Self Storage Units Containing Cars