What to Look For At An Auction

Dear %First Name%

Ok ... so you pull up to your first storage auction and head inside. The auctioneer rolls up that storage unit door and the hunt is on!box.jpg

First, figure out whether the unit is even worth bidding on.  Every experienced buyer has their own clues they use to get a feel for whether a unit is full of treasure or trash. Below are a few of ours. For more advice on spotting a good storage unit click here.

Go Big!:
All things being equal, larger units are better than smaller units. More people tend to bid on smaller units, driving up their relative cost. So grab the big units if your budget permits.

Get Dirty! Or at Least Dusty:
The likelihood a unit has good stuff grows exponentially with the depth of the dust. The longer storage has been untouched the more likely it may contain older and perhaps more valuable items. Someone thought it was worth the cost to store it for that long.

Cold Equals Gold:
A climate controlled storage facility, which generally costs the renter more money, is more likely to contain valuable contents worth protecting. Goods stored in a climate controlled unit will also suffer less damage and deterioration over long periods of time.

Multiple Units Belonging to the Same Renter:
Determine whether multiple units belong to the same renter. There may be paired or coupled items in different units. For example, you might find a sofa frame in one unit, but the cushions in another.  Grab all the units rented by the same owner if possible.

Just Like Sales, Auction Hunting is a Numbers Game:
Always play the numbers.  When the unit is opened and it looks like there may be 25 or more boxes inside there is a good chance you can find something of value. “More is more" when it comes to a storage unit.  It is also a good sign if the boxes sit heavily upon one another, crushing the boxes below, because it indicates a lot of items within that box. Again … more is more.

The shape and size of boxes are indicators of what is stored inside. What if a unit is opened for auction and you see stacks of boxes that appear as if they have been collected from the grocery store?  Generally this means that a person has probably moved residences and rather than purchasing cardboard boxes and rushing to get everything into storage, has taken more time in collecting boxes. This is usually a good sign that you may be about to uncover something, since someone has taken the time to collect boxes and wrap items to be saved rather than discarded.  Typically boxes that were purchased all at one time (from a moving company or storage facility) wouldn’t be as likely to contain higher value items.

Another Reason to Pay Attention to Dust:
If you see fresh handprints or footprints in the dust it may mean that the unit has been pilfered or violated prior to the auction.  Avoid bidding much on a unit like this unless you can see something of value out in the open.  And if valuables seem too visible determine whether the unit looks staged.

Need more auction hunting advice?  Check out our forum here: http://www.storagetreasures.com/forum/
Have a good auction hunting tip you’d like to share?  You can do that here: http://www.storagetreasures.com/forum/Auction-Hunter-Tips--Tricks/6/

Happy Hunting,
Your Storage Treasures Team


Here are a few links you might find useful:

How StorageTreasures Works
How Storage Auctions Work
Real Life Stories of Storage Auctions