21st century treasure hunts- Self-storage locker auctions

self-storageEver wonder what's behind those doors at the local self-storage facility? Piles of treasures or cartloads of crap? If you're willing to buy a pig in a poke, you can find out; simply take part in a self-storage locker auction.

When renters quit paying their locker rent, the self-storage company eventually is given the right to auction off the contents. At these public auctions, bidders are given the chance to scope out the contents from the open doorway of the unit, but they are not allowed to enter it or move anything to see what might buried. What remains hidden is the mystery that adds excitement to the process. The units are usually sold at a live voice auction, with immediate payment expected.

The winning bidder takes responsibility for the entire contents -- the good, the bad and the ugly -- of the storage locker. This means that they could end up having to cart dumpsters-full of trash away. On the other hand, the lucky might uncover machine tools, collectibles, jewelry, furniture, and other items that can be sold for a handsome profit.

Interested in trying your hand at an auction? Here are a few tips for the storage locker auction virgin --1. Know the resale value of items. If you've never dealt in second-hand goods and have no inkling about the cost of collectibles, you'll have a hard time figuring out your bid limit. Visit a couple of antique stores and collectibles vendors in your area.

2. Attend more than one auction before you bid. Learn the routines, the typical prices paid, and watch how others size up the offerings. Glean tips from the more experienced bidders.

3. Look for clues in the locker contents- neat packing might suggest the owner had an orderly mind, and therefor might have been less prone to pay rent to store worn-out hand-me-downs and trash.

4. Remember that you're gambling, and don't gamble more than you can afford to lose.

5. Don't count on the newspaper to list all of the upcoming auctions. Look online for active auctioneers in your area. If there are large chains of units in your area, give them a call and inquire about auctions.

6. Be prepared to do the work should you win a locker, by which I mean, sell what is sellable and dispose of the disposables. The worst outcome would be for you to have to rent a self-storage unit to store the stuff you won in a locker auction.
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