Storage auctions were once a poorly known tool that self storage companies used in order to encourage their delinquent tenants to bring their accounts current, and to recoup financial damages that occurred whenever these tenants failed to do so. By enforcing their state’s lien law, a self storage property that has not received a rent payment from one of their tenants for several consecutive months may repossess this tenant’s storage unit and the entirety of its contents. The sale of these contents by public auction that usually follows is intended to provide the company with some recourse and means of restoring revenue lost when non-payment of rent negatively impacts the company’s ability to make its monthly financial obligations such as payroll, maintenance, marketing and utilities.
Recently, however, an emergence of reality television programs that popularize this process and the abandoned treasures often found within them has lead to a dawning of public awareness in these storage auctions. The public response has been one of overwhelming interest, with property managers noticing dramatic surges in auction attendance. The self storage industry has been somewhat taken aback by this phenomena, since this surge of interest has brought with it everything from increased storage auction revenue to more frequent instances of property damage occurring during busy and crowded auctions. While many self storage property managers disagree about how long this trend can retain its present vigor, there is no doubt that self storage auctions have been thrust into the public eye, which has radically altered how they are perceived by industry insiders as well as by casual bargain hunters.
For the antique hunting crowd, local storage auctions provide a new and exciting means of happening upon valuable modern treasures; many of them lodged in darkness in the rear of an abandoned storage locker. The somewhat sensationalized presentations of storage auctions we see on shows like “Storage Wars” and “Auction Hunters” have lead many viewerss to believe that every single repossessed storage locker is chock full of jewels, gems, priceless collectible card sets, and vintage Coca-Cola vending machines. Unfortunately for those people that show up to local storage auctions expecting to immediately strike it rich, this is not always the case. In fact, entering into the hobby of buying up repossessed storage lockers with the expectation that dazzling valuables are the rule as opposed to the exception leads many hopeful auction buyers into frustrating experiences that see them quitting far before they’ve invested the time necessary to begin turning a profit.
The fact of the matter is that professional storage auction buyers make a living off of repossessed storage lockers by being methodical, determined and self-disciplined. Whenever they win a unit at a public storage auction, they empty the entirety of its contents into their vehicle, head home, and begin refurbishing all their winnings in preparation for reselling them. It is only through steadily buying low, carefully refurbishing, and reselling high that one can guarantee profit from local storage auctions.