These days, it’s almost impossible to flip through the channels without seeing a show that has something to do with storage auctions, antiques or pawn shops. Antique & vintage items are exciting and the history behind them is quite interesting & entertaining. Storage Wars & Auction Hunters are the two new storage auction reality shows that premiered almost simultaneously. The storage auction business was rather obscure before these shows came along. Since then, the popularity of these shows has essentially taken an underground business into the limelight.
Before we go any further, I want to tell you that the storage auction business hasn’t been the same since the storage auction reality shows premiered. There have been a multitude of new buyers attending storage auctions across the country and the bid amounts have doubled, even tripled at some auctions. This being said, it has become more difficult than ever to buy a storage unit at a reasonable price.
The increase in bid amounts is directly influenced by these storage auction reality shows portraying hidden treasures in almost every storage unit. Now, I’m not suggesting that you can’t find some amazing things inside an abandoned storage unit, it just doesn’t happen as frequently one would like. You might have to buy twenty or more storage units before you find a really expensive item; but it does happen. In just the last year alone, I have purchased over 100 storage units at auction. Although it has been a lot of work, I managed to make an impressive income while also acquiring some incredible things for myself.
If you’re a treasure hunter, please take what I’m about to tell you literally. You have to pay your dues. Most storage units contain common household items, furniture & clothing. Occasionally, you will even see the remnants of a failed business or a unit that contains bulk merchandise. Although this may not be as exciting as a Civil War era rifle or a safe full of expensive jewelry, these common items can really be profitable if you have a way to resell them quickly. Most professional storage auction buyers have resale shops, internet based resale businesses, garage sales or a spot at the local flea market. These venues are all great ways to turn the common merchandise into profit.
Once in a blue moon, you will hit the jackpot. It has happened to almost everyone who has been in this business long enough. I remember the first time it happened to me and ever since then, I have been chasing that feeling. When I first got into the storage auction business, I guess you could say that I had beginners luck. At my third auction, I put every penny I had into a storage unit that I thought had a really expensive item in plain sight. What I thought was a really expensive item, turned out to be a giant piece of scrap metal; but I’m glad that I bought the unit.
After I realized that this item was almost worthless, my heart sank because I thought that I was going to lose money on the unit. After an hour or so of sorting through books, clothing & paperwork, it was beginning to look bleak. And then, a strange black case caught my eye. I open the case and there inside was a classic guitar from the 1960’s. Things were looking up. After a little more scavenging, I noticed a large fire safe in the back corner of the storage unit. The safe was locked, so I rolled it to my truck and loaded it in the back.
When I got home that day, I was still pretty excited about my finds. I got on the internet and went to Ebay to see if I could find a guitar similar to mine, in order to determine it’s value. There were several for sale just like it, and it was worth a pretty penny. The next day, I brought the safe to a local safe technician, to have it opened. I wasn’t really expecting to find much inside the safe because I had moved the safe around and all I could hear inside was some loose change. The safe technician was able to call the manufacturer and get the factory combination right over the phone. After a few turns of the tumbler, the safe door opened right up. The safe was stuffed to maximum capacity. The first box that I opened had gold jewelry inside. I immediately closed the safe and thanked the safe technician.
When I arrived at home, I opened the safe again to take inventory of it’s contents. Box after box contained gold jewelry & collectibles. After exploring a little further, I found a coin collection from the 1800’s, a stamp collection, World War 1 & 2 memorabilia and an antique revolver. I even found a box full of antique pocket watches & watches from the 1800’s through the 1950’s.Although units like this are uncommon, if you pay your dues, it’s just a matter of time before you will find a unit that will make all of your hard work worth while. If you are new to the storage auction business, it is a good idea to learn everything you can before you buy your first storage unit. Storage Auction Blog is a good source of information for newcomers & professionals alike.
So, the answer to the question “Can you really find hidden treasure at storage unit auctions” is; Yes, you can; but be prepared to invest a lot of time, money and energy and don’t expect results overnight.