Starting a Resale Business

starting a resale business

The resale market in the United States has snowballed in recent years. Reselling is when you source a product second-hand to resell for a profit. ThredUp, a popular website to resell clothing items, reports the resale market, now valued at around $28 billion, will grow to $64 billion by 2025. There are many theories about why the resale business is exploding. The global pandemic is producing cost-conscious shoppers. The rising unemployment rate means many buyers are looking for bargains. Another theory is that the younger millennial consumer base cares deeply about resources used to make clothing and find second-hand shopping more comfortable. Finally, widespread access to technology to resell items has made the industry much more mainstream and efficient.

Storage auction bidders have been reselling items for decades. Reselling is their business, and they were doing it long before the internet provided easily accessible places to resell items. Storage bidders have been sourcing goods to sell since before eBay and the dot-com bubble. Their success and the popularity of storage auction TV shows led to an explosion in the resale trade. Unfortunately, the TV shows glamorized a business that is much more than an easy side hustle. Many people don’t realize when they start bidding on storage units; buying and selling items from storage auctions is a material, legitimate business. It is a resale business. Here, we will share some tips with you to be a successful reseller.

 

Setting Up Your Resale Business

Success in any business requires a lot of pre-planning. First, you will want to obtain your business license from your state. See here for a state-by-state guide for obtaining a business license. If you plan to have a second-hand store or sell items in person, you might want to consider getting liability insurance. Liability insurance provides protection against claims due to injuries or damage. Insurance will protect you, your employees, and anyone who visits your shop. You will also need a resale permit. This permit allows you not to pay sales tax when you buy your inventory. You will need to charge sales tax when you sell the items and then report your sales tax collection each year. You can get a resale permit from your state’s Department of Revenue.

Besides licenses and insurance, you will need a way to track all of your purchases and sales. Think about purchasing an accounting program, like QuickBooks or Zoho Books. You should have a business bank account separate from your personal account. Co-mingling your personal finances and your business finances could lead to a tax nightmare in the event of an audit. It is important to know which purchases were made for your personal use and which ones were made for the business.

You will also need an inventory management system. When you are ready to file your taxes, you will need to know what sold and for how much. Additionally, you will need to know what you purchased that did not sell. Zoho offers an inventory management system with a free edition. eBay also offers the Easy Auctions Tracker. The Easy Auctions Tracker is an Excel-based spreadsheet, but it is sophisticated and robust.

Do Your Research

What are you planning to sell? Do you know what typical prices are? Some reseller pros recommend finding a niche market. Still, as storage auction bidders, it is difficult for you to pre-plan your inventory, so you might need to become an expert on selling many different types of items. Below is a list of things you might find in a storage unit to resell:

    • Electronics
    • Video games
    • Clothing & shoes (especially sneakers)
    • Collectibles
    • Sports equipment (varies by season)
    • Kitchen appliances and parts
    • Auto parts
    • Legos
    • Plush toys

Resellers can get overwhelmed when it comes to shipping items to their items. One problem is there are so many shipping methods to choose from. Another problem is online sites, like eBay, have shipping fees built into their platform. If you don’t have a clear understanding of how these fees work, you can end up overpaying.  Do you want to set up used fixed shipping fees or use a shipping calculator? You also do not want to price yourself out of the sale if your shipping rate isn’t competitive. It is worthwhile to learn about how shipping works unless you plan only to sell locally. You can consult the United States Postal Service about the weight of shipments and shipping rates. You can get free boxes and mailing envelopes from the USPS. Many of the online resale programs also offer guidance on shipping. For example, you can find out about shipping with eBay here.

Where to Sell

There are so many websites you can use to resell items. Some sites, like OfferUp or Letgo, allow you to sell almost anything. However, several sites like Poshmark and Etsy have specific requirements for what you can sell. Other sites specialize in a certain type of goods. You could get more money selling on the specialty sites than you might on a general resell site. Be sure to look at all different places to see where you might get the best return for your items.

  • Poshmark – designer brands, on-trend fashions, and shoes
  • ThredUp – new and used women’s and kids clothing and accessories
  • The Real Real – jewelry and designer goods
  • Kidzien – kid’s clothing
  • Etsy – vintage or hand-made goods
  • Ruby Lane – antiques and collectibles
  • Chairish – high-end furniture and décor
  • Swappa – tech gadgets
  • 5miles – sell within a 5-mile radius

The most important thing you can do to be successful is to treat reselling like a real business. Be active and consistent with your postings. Post often and follow through with all requests. You might find other resellers in your area and network with them. They might be willing to share their experiences and tips with you. If you want to get started right away, check out our two-part blog series Reselling Clothing: Best Practices. You can find part one here.

There is endless information about reselling that you can find on the internet. We are going to share several tips and tricks of the trade here on our blog. For example, do you know how the descriptions in your product listings become keywords for shoppers to find your items? Check back next month for marketing tips to enhance your listings.

Be sure to visit our website to see what great units await you to jumpstart your resale business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valuable Vintage Board Games: Part 1

Charles Darrow Monopoly

Valuable Vintage Board Games – Part 1

Those of us in the storage auction business see board games in storage lockers all the time. They seem to be a staple of abandoned units, just like artificial Christmas trees. Unlike artificial Christmas trees, vintage board games can be precious and highly desirable. According to Research and Markets, The World’s Largest Market Research Store, the world board games market will grow to 10% by 2024. This estimated growth equates to $12 Billion in revenue.

Do you know how to determine if a board game is valuable and how you should resell them? There are many, many things to look for to determine the value of a board game. See some tips below to see if you can get top dollar for your vintage board game finds.

Rarity

How challenging is the game to find?  How many copies did the publisher release? Board games dated back to pre-historic times and were handmade and painted. A complete set of a pre-historic game would be invaluable.  Games produced in the late 1800s and early 1900s were often made of wood and paper. The ones available are very pricey.

Because a game is old does not mean it is rare or valuable. Parker Brothers produced thousands of monopoly games in the 1950s and 1960.  Likely, the only old versions of Monopoly that would be valuable would be first editions or first copies. New games can also be valuable. Limited edition games produce in the last ten years are valuable.

Condition

Board games, like most things, will likely fetch more money if they are in good condition. It is often hard to find board games that have not been opened or played with, but these games would sell at a premium.  Collectors like to display the box as part of their collection, so a game box in good condition is more valuable.

Does the game have all the pieces? Collectors usually look for a complete set of the game. Simple missing pieces are easy to find or replicate. Intricately designed missing pieces, specialized pieces will lower the value. If you do find an incomplete board game, there is a market for selling the parts by themselves to others looking to complete a set.

There are a few key terms collectors use when talking about the condition of a board game.

  • OOP – Out of Print
  • P/UP – Punched or Unpunched
  • Mint or Mint in Sealed Box (MISB)
  • NRFB

Graphics, Lithography, and Illustrations

Details are key. Collectors consider box covers a work of art. Games with more intricate details and vivid colors are more likely to be valuable. For instance, games made before 1860 are often hand-colored and considered extremely rare and valuable. Different styles of design are also important, such as Art Deco or Futurism. Collectors looking for the artistic element of valuable vintage board games often care less if the game is good or fun to play.

Genre

Specific genres of games are more valuable. Namely, the following examples.

  • War Games
  • Miniature Games
  • Games depicting personalities or cartoon characters
  • Sports Games
  • Movies
  • TV Shows

Have you had had a big win with a vintage board game? Head over to our Facebook [link ttps://www.facebook.com/storagetreasures] page and tell us all about it. Revisit our blog next month for part two of this series, which will feature specific games and why they are so valuable.

Have you found what you think might be a valuable vintage board game? Check out BoardGameGeek.com or TheBigGameHunter.com to learn more about your game.

Do you hope to find a valuable vintage board game? Head over to StorageTreasures and see if you get lucky!

Are you new to storage auctions or thinking about bidding on a storage auction? Find out HERE What Happens After You Win a Storage Auction.

Featured image source: The Saturday Evening Post sourced from, The Strong National Museum of Play, Rochester, New York.

Canceled Storage Auctions: 4 Most Common Reasons

StorageTreasures canceled storage auction email

Bidding on storage units is fun and exciting, but you might notice many canceled storage auctions as you get started. Canceled storage auctions are frustrating for buyers (it is the number one complaint we hear from bidders.) Many bidders think storage operators cancel units because the top bid did not go high enough, or maybe the manager decided to sell it to somebody else, under the table. They worry the sellers know who is bidding on their units, and they don’t want to sell the unit to certain people (the delinquent tenant).

Bidders, especially those new to storage auctions, don’t realize a lot happens behind the scenes before a unit goes to sale. There is paperwork, payment plans, legal ads, last-minute payments, and many other things that could result in canceled units. Last year, 47% of all units posted on StorageTreasures were canceled for many different reasons. Here are four of the most common reasons storage auctions get canceled.

The Tenant Pays Their Bill

Tenant payments absolutely, 100% happen — and often at the very last minute. An auction could be canceled minutes before it closes, or the sale could even be canceled before you arrive at the facility to claim a unit you won at auction and take possession. Legally, the property still belongs to the tenant until you pay for your bid and place a lock on the unit. This is why it is crucial to call the facility before you go to pick up your unit. To see more about taking possession of a storage unit, click here.

I have worked in the self storage industry for 12 years, and I have seen many, many tenants pay their bills at the last minute. In the case of live auctions, they even show up during the auction to try to pay their bill. I once saw a woman throw herself on the floor in front of her units to stop the auction in progress. Last-minute payments are widespread. They likely made up the majority of the 47% of canceled storage auctions on StorageTreasures last year.

 

An Error in the Lien Enforcement Process

The steps a storage operator must go through to sell a delinquent tenant’s unit are lengthy and complicated. The laws are vague and must be followed precisely. As you might have guessed, most storage facility managers do not come with a law degree, so mistakes are very easy to make. For example, many states require 15 days between the first legal ad and the date of sale. Easy enough, but do you count the day of the ad and the day of the sale? What happens if a holiday jumps in there and the newspaper is not posting legal ads that week? What happens if the newspaper spells the tenant’s name wrong? There are so many places for error in the process.

Operators do not want to have canceled storage auctions. Processing a tenant for auction is a cumbersome, expensive process. If they have an error in the paperwork, they have to start the entire process over from the beginning. There are fees for sending letters, legal ads and hiring an auction company. In addition to all of this, they still cannot re-rent the unit to a paying tenant. A paperwork error is a lose-lose situation for a storage operator.

 

Unauthorized Items in a Storage Unit

Often, a facility manager will open a unit door, take a quick inventory, and not realize that something they cannot sell might be in the unit. After they list the unit, they might see a headlight for a vehicle in the back of the unit. They will now need to perform a VIN search with the local motor vehicle department before listing the unit for vehicle sales. Other examples of items that cannot be sold are modified shotguns or assault rifles. The facility manager may have posted the units online without knowing these things are in the unit, and a supervisor later sees the prohibited items and cancels the auction.

 

The Auction Listing is Incorrect

In addition to following the lien process strictly, the storage operator has an obligation to you, as a buyer, to present correct information on the auction listing. The facility manager might post a unit and realize they put the wrong auction date or time. They can edit the auction up until the time the first bid is placed. After the first bid is placed, they can no longer edit the listing. They will have to cancel the unit and repost it. This is why you might see the unit pop back up on StorageTreasures a few days or weeks later.

Pictures can be wrong as well. To err is human. Managers might have hundreds of unit pictures on their computers and quickly select the wrong one when uploading units. Hopefully, they find the mistake and cancel the unit BEFORE you bid on it and win. They will likely need to cancel the unit and repost it with the correct pictures if they do.

Buyers successfully bought over 100,000 units last year and many of them for excellent prices, even after many units were canceled. Go to www.StorageTreasures.com NOW to find your next big win!

 

 

Is Reselling on Etsy Good for Storage Auctions?

Etsy for reselling items

There are many places for reselling items found in a storage unit in today’s digital marketplace. From eBay to Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up and so, so many more, your resale options are endless. However, some platforms may prove a better place to sell your storage auction finds. Etsy describes itself as a shop for hand-made, vintage, custom, and unique gifts. Have you found items like these in a storage unit you won at auction? Is Etsy the right place for you to resell items you find in a storage unit?

Etsy is a website where you can find homemade items such as birthday cake toppers, hand-made cards, costumes, wedding décor, pre-made scrapbook pages, and so many more special items. It is the go-to place for busy Moms who want to provide that special touch to their gifts or home. Etsy is not just for women. I have purchased several music-related items for my husband on the site as well. It is a great place to sell or find vintage t-shirts and clothing. Again, I ask, is Etsy the right place for reselling items you find in a storage unit? Let’s take a more in-depth look at the platform to find out.

Etsy Fees

Etsy is very user-friendly, and they have a mobile app for you to use. The first thing you should do is learn about the fees that Etsy charges. They have listing fees, transaction fees, advertising fees, and more. You can learn about all of Etsy’s charges here.

Setting Up Your Shop

Setting up an Etsy shop is easy. You will need to create a shop name and fill out some background information. You are not required to have a business license to list items on Etsy, but they do expect you to follow all applicable state and federal laws regarding commercial transactions.

The following is a list of other items you will need to set up your Etsy shop.

  • A banner and shop logo
  • Shop announcement – a brief welcome message to shoppers
  • About section – a place to upload videos or stories behind your products
  • Shop members – if you have other members on your team
  • Shop policies for shipping, returns, exchanges, downloads, and other guidelines
Marketing & Optimizing Your Shop

This part of the process is what will probably be most difficult for you. You have to promote your shop personally. Etsy does offer advertising space for an additional fee, but otherwise, you will need to rely on your network. You can link your social media accounts and use the location search to help people find you, but ultimately, it comes down to making your listing stand out and get recognized.

Just like eBay and Facebook, there are ways you can optimize your listing for Etsy search. Below, you will find optimization items to consider.

  • Tag and title relevancy
  • Item attribute relevancy
  • Listing quality
  • Customer experience

You can read more about Etsy’s recommendations for optimizing your shop here.

In 2019, Etsy reported over 45.7 million buyers worldwide and a sales volume of $4.97 billion.* It would be a shame to leave this market untapped when reselling your storage finds. If you need to hunt for more items to list in your Etsy shop, go to www.StorageTreasures.com now.

RELATED ARTICLE – If you are interested in being an eBay seller, check out our recent article, Storage Auction Winnings: Become an eBay Pro.

*Source: https://www.veeqo.com/us/blog/etsy-statistics

Winning an Auction: What Happens Next?

moving after online storage auction

Buying a unit at a storage auction is more complicated than it might seem. Television shows make it look so easy – find an auction, outbid the competition, discover epic treasure! However, storage auctions are just like any other business in the world; there are rules. Familiarize yourself with these rules to be successful.

Bidding is a fascinating part of the auction process, but winning is the ultimate goal. Once you’ve landed your first unit, everything moves very quickly. First thing, you will get your winning bidder email. You will only have 24 to 72 hours from the sale’s close to empty the unit. Plan early to get into the office to pay your winning bid amount. After you pay, remove the unit’s contents (without using the facility dumpster), and devise a plan to resell your winnings. It might be easy to overlook some essential steps. See below for tips to follow after you win an auction on StorageTreasures.

Contact the Facility

After you win a unit, the first thing you should do is contact the facility to confirm the unit is still available. A very frustrating, albeit legally required, part of online storage auctions is the delinquent tenant gets a little extra time to pay their bill. In an online auction, the tenant can pay up until you take possession of the unit. To take possession, you go to the facility, pay the bid amount, and place your lock on the unit. If you win a great unit and think there is a possibility the tenant might make a last-minute payment, you will want to get to the facility as quickly as possible.

Bring Items Needed to Claim the Unit

There are a few items you will need to be able to pick up your unit. Always bring a copy of your driver’s license or other identification. You can have other people pick up your units for you, but you will need to list them as an authorized pickup person on your account. If an authorized pickup person goes in your place to claim the unit, they will need to show their ID. See the image below for where to enter a person authorized for pickup.

StorageTreasures Authorized Pickup Person

 

You will also need to bring cash for the bid amount, possible sales tax, and a cleaning deposit. Some facilities allow credit card payments. Be sure to check the Additional Information section on the auction listing for all facility rules and online auction regulations. If you have a Sales and Use Tax Resale Certificate, have a copy on hand you can give to the facility to remove the sales tax. You will get your money back once you have cleaned the unit to a swept condition.

Remember to bring a lock to secure the unit. You do not legally take possession of the unit until you have placed your lock on the door. Storage facilities often have different types of locking systems. When you call to verify the unit is still available, ask the facility manager what kind of lock you need to bring.

Check out this previous post titled “4 Things to Bring to a Storage Auction” for more information about what you need for a successful auction.

Clean the Unit to a Swept Condition

Swept condition is precisely what it sounds like, swept clean. Swept clean means you have to remove all items from the unit and sweep up any remaining debris. There is a thing in storage auctions called “cherry-picking.” This is when the buyer takes what they want from the unit and leaves the rest behind.

I have heard some buyers say, “it was worth it to lose the cleaning deposit not to clean it out.” Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Failing to empty the unit can result in you being banned from bidding on auctions on StorageTreasures.com. Our rules (and most all storage auction rules) state you must remove the unit’s entire contents from the premises.

You also cannot use the facility dumpster. This rule isn’t because the facility manager doesn’t like you. It is because storage facilities have small dumpsters that can’t handle the entire contents of storage units. Seasoned auction buyers get passes to the local dump to dispose of the unwanted items from online storage auctions. It is wise to keep the clean-out process in mind when buying multiple units.

Recover Your Cleaning Deposit

Once the unit is empty, you will need to have it inspected by the facility manager to get your cleaning deposit back. Keep in mind; the manager will only be available to return your cleaning deposit during office hours. If you are traveling from a far distance to claim the unit, you should plan ahead to secure your cleaning deposit return.

Some storage companies require you to put your cleaning deposit on a credit card. If that is the case, you likely won’t get your deposit back for 3-5 business days due to the nature of credit card processing. Be sure to read the Additional Information section of the auction listing for any rules concerning the cleaning deposit.

If you want to find out more about storage auctions and prepare for your first auction, here is an excellent article from Side Hustle Nation that gives you a more in-depth perspective from an experienced auction buyer.

Now that you know what to do after you win a unit, head over to www.StorageTreasures.com to find your next big win! If you have any questions about how an auction works, reach out to us on Facebook or contact our Customer Support Team. You can reach them at (480) 397-6503 or support@storagetreasures.com.

Best Selling Storage Auctions of 2020

best selling storage auctions

2020 was a strange year for most people, and the same was valid for online storage auctions. Unless you were born IN the year 2020, you heard all about COVID 19 and the “new normal” we all needed to navigate. For the first time, storage auctions were either banned or suspended due to state mandates and a massive unemployment crisis. There were little to no storage units sold from March through June of 2020. Storage operators, auctioneers, online websites, and bidders all felt the impact of the virus.

Thankfully, bidders and operators were able to rally during the second half of the year, when we saw record-breaking unit prices. Below, you will see the top-selling units on StorageTreasures last year and one honorable mention unit for reaching new heights in the first half of 2020 during a global pandemic.

 

10. Water Filtration Systems in Newark, NJ – Sale Price $17,120

: Storage unit auction containing unopened water filtration systemsA 10×10 unit was full of unopened boxes of water filtration systems. The boxes were labeled Brondell, H20+ for better water. A quick search of these items shows they sometimes sell for up to $400. The unit was full of unopened, wrapped boxes. The facility description also listed household furniture, mattresses & bedding, and personal effects. Those additional items were icing on the cake for this unit.

 

 

9. Disney Collectibles in Franklin Park, IL – Sale Price $17,810

10x20 online storage auction unit with Disney collectibles and household itemsWhen first looking at this unit, a large stack of beautiful teal boxes stands out. Once zoomed in, you can see the boxes are labeled “Classics Walt Disney Collection.” Classic and Disney is always a winning combination. In addition to the potentially hundreds of Disney collectibles boxes, this large 10×20 also contained household items and other décor. All of the belongings in the unit appeared to be in excellent condition. Items in the front of the unit were covered in dust, indicating nobody had entered the unit in quite some time. Units with dust are always a bidder favorite.

 

8. Funko Toys in Broadview, IL – Sale Price $18,020

Online storage auction unit filled with Funko ToysFunko Pop Toy Chester CheetahI had to do a quick internet search of “Funko Toys.” I recognized them immediately as the small, plastic figurines representing pop culture characters. Funko toys represent popular characters from hockey players to characters from the TV show, The Office. Amazingly, these little toys are incredibly valuable. The company that makes the toys claimed $686 million in sales in 2018. The most valuable Funko Pop toys sell for thousands of dollars. This 10×30 unit was filled with pallets of neatly wrapped Funko Toy boxes. It probably took a while to resell all of these toys, but it surely brought a nice, tidy profit.

 

7. Golf Equipment and Apparel in Buffalo Grove, IL – Sale Price $18,110

20x10 storage unit full of golf equipment, accessories and apparelThis unit was one of those units in which experienced buyers of storage auctions could see something I could not.  There are some visible boxes and a golf bag; nothing that grabbed my eye. Several bidders felt the items inside were worth almost $20,0000 as 127 unique bidders bid on this unit. There were some hats and golf shoes visible, and they all seemed to be great brands of good quality. The boxes were numbered as if they might have been inventory to be sold. Hopefully, the right buyer got top dollar for the items in this unit.

 

6. Unique Home Décor in Sarasota, FL – Sale Price $20,010

Large 20x10 storage auction unit filled with unique home décor itemsAfter seeing three Illinois units, we finally move south to the Sunshine State, and wow, this unit did not disappoint. The sixth highest-selling storage unit of 2020 was filled with large, colorful home décor and art pieces. The furniture in the unit appeared to be of very high quality. All of the items were carefully stored, with some items still inside moving crates. If you are the lucky winning bidder of this unit, we would love to know how well you did after the sale.

 

 

5. Paintings and Murals in Hicksville, NY – Sale Price $23,150

Storage unit filled with stacks of artwork and muralsThis unit was one that required the heart of a gambler to win. There are stacks of framed artwork, but they could all be Bart Simpson from what I can see. There are some beautiful pieces standing alone that you can see with exquisite, professional frames. The storage unit itself is well lit and looks more like an office. It is almost sure the monthly rent was higher than a typical storage unit. It’s likely the overall quantity of artwork is what drove the price of this unit to over $20,000.

 

 

4. Food Truck in Austin, Texas – Sale Price – $23,550

Food truck sold at an online storage auctionThe description of this truck is listed as a Freightliner Van. In theory, it could be used as something other than a food truck, but inside it has an area for preparing food, cooking stations, coolers, and an ice machine. The food truck was previously used to prepare Korean-Mexican fusion food. It was also used as an advertising medium, as evidenced by the AT&T logos appearing on the side.  The listing also says it was “truck 2 of 2,” meaning this tenant also had another truck for sale. The second truck did not make our top ten list, but this was likely a massive score for the winning bidder when he or she found a buyer.

 

3. Floral Supplies, Craft Room, Craft Reseller in Oakland, CA – Sale Price $25,110

10x20 storage unit with a home crafting businessI had to look at this unit for a while to figure out what the draw was, and then it hit me. This unit looks like my mother’s craft room. She loves to collect and make things and sell them on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. All of the contents appear to be household items. They don’t look like a store inventory. There are nicely packaged boxes for mirrors or paintings. Totes labeled floral or craft supplies, Legos, and figurines. There are also American Girl Doll boxes, which sealed my opinion of this unit. Those dolls sell like hot cakes on the reseller market. The variety of different resalable items in this unit made it worth the $25,000.

 

2. Comic Books in Lake Worth, FL – Sale Price $25,210

Storage unit auction full of comic books and collectiblesEvery year when I write this article about the best-selling units, there is always one unit containing comic books and collectibles. This particular unit was 10×12 and full. The first thing that catches the eye is the standard white rectangular boxes typical for storing comic books. Also, there are several excellent, sturdy, high-quality totes and boxes neatly stacked. There are also some sports memorabilia and pop culture artifacts. This unit was a collector’s dream.

 

 

1. Art in Brooklyn, NY – Sale Price $35,030

Storage auction containing collectibles and model carsThis 10×20 didn’t look like it had much in it at first glance. There are nice crates and some wrapped items. There are some freestanding art pieces and what looks like a fancy car engine. Upon further investigation, the name David Datuna appears on the side of one of the crates. David Datuna is an NYC based artist from Georgia (the country, not the state). He once sold a portrait of Vladimir Putin for $269,000. There is also a box labeled “art Miami” which could have included pieces from his Viewpoint of Billions series that was showcased at Art Basel in Miami. If only one of the crates in this unit contained an original work by Datuna, this unit could have been worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

Honorable Mention – Antiques, Memorabilia, and Collectibles in Anaheim, CA

Storage auction containing collectibles and model carsDuring the pandemic and the following eviction moratoriums, many storage operators did whatever they could to make deals with their tenants so they could keep their things. One of those deals included having the tenant sign an abandonment form and turning the unit over to the facility to sell the items. When a unit is sold with an abandonment agreement, proceeds do not apply to the tenant’s past-due account, so the unit will be sold as a “non-lien” unit. This non-lien unit sold for almost $15,000 because it contained model cars and boxes of collectibles. The unit, a 10×30, was packed full and neatly stacked. The winning bidder on this unit had a lot of fun finding out what was stored behind that first layer of boxes.

 

 

Do you want to see the Best Selling Units of 2019 too? Click HERE. Will you be one of the lucky winners to snag a unit on next year’s list? Start bidding today on www.StorageTreasures.com. Are you new to storage auctions and curious about how it works? Check out our Help Center for more information.

Storage Auctions: What You Need to Know

What you need to know about online auctions

StorageTreasures has recently noticed an influx of new bidders to our website. We field a ton of questions about how auctions work, so we thought this would be a great time to publish information to help new bidders learn about storage auctions. If you are new to storage auctions or thinking about buying a storage unit to resell, this article is for you!

The process seems easy and fun on TV and YouTube, but just like any other business, auctions require knowledge, preparation, and hard work. You can’t just decide to buy a unit, pick it up, and expect to make hundreds of dollars. It is essential to educate and prepare yourself if you want to get great units and make a profit. More importantly, this preparation will help keep you from losing money on units.

There are a ton of articles and videos on the internet about storage auctions. The content can be overwhelming, and it isn’t easy to know what to trust.  There are also a lot of different features to the StorageTreasures website you might not know before you use the website. We want to help you be successful at the business of storage auctions and hopefully save you some unnecessary frustration. Our team put our heads together and came up with the things we think are most important for you to learn about buying storage units online.

Non-Lien Unit/Manager Special

There are different types of storage units StorageTreasures offers for sale. Not all units you see on the website are delinquent tenant units. We also have an option for a “Non-Lien Unit” or a “Manager Special.” Storage facilities often have a unit they keep open to gather items left around the property. Once the unit gets full, they will sell the contents as a Non-Lien Unit.  These units might have a couch or a TV that was rejected by a previous tenant. These units can also be called a “Build-Up Unit,” or a “Company Unit.” These units can still have valuable items, but it is important to note they are not a traditional lien unit.  If a storage locker is a Non-Lien unit, you will see the flag pictured below on the listing.

StorageTreasures Auctions Non-Lien Unit Flag

Private Sellers

Private Sellers are individuals who are not affiliated with a storage facility. They place items of their choosing into a storage unit they are renting and sell the unit as one lot. Private Seller units will be indicated by the same flag above for Non-Lien/Manager Special Units. You can always tell if a unit is being sold by a Private Seller because instead of seeing the name of a storage facility, the name of the seller will follow this format, “Private Seller – John G.

If you purchase a unit from a Private Seller, you will not go to the storage facility office to pay. You will need to meet with the Private Seller personally. The storage facility will not be involved in the sale in any way.

Charity Storage Units

You might also run across a unit for Charity Storage. Charity Storage is an organization that works with StorageTreausres to sell units for charity. Self storage operators will choose a unit and collect donations to sell in one lot, and then the proceeds are sent to the charity of their choice. If you bid on a Charity Storage unit, the entire bid amount will be collected on the credit card you have on file with StorageTreasures. You will not be charged sales tax because the proceeds are for a non-profit organization, but you will need to be able to pay the full bid amount upfront. Below you will see the flag and explanation indicating a unit is a Charity unit.

StorageTreasures Auctions Charity Storage FlagStorageTreasures Charity Storage Auctions More Information

 

 

 

 

 

 

StorageTreasures Invoice

Our invoices often confuse new bidders. They are a little complicated. If you win a unit, StorageTreasures will collect a few things on your credit card.

  • Buyer Premium – what you pay to use the StorageTreasures website
  • Purchase Deposit – a deposit of 0-10% that will be subtracted from what you pay the facility

It might seem like you are paying double fees, but remember the Purchase Deposit will be deducted from the amount you owe at the facility. You are not paying it twice. You are only paying it early. Here is a link to an article in our Help Center to help you better understand an invoice.

Staged Units or Picked Through Units

Staged units or picked through units are one of the most common complaints we get from new bidders. Naturally, the first thought is the facility manager or someone working at the facility must have entered the unit and removed the valuable items. There are probably dishonest people in self storage, just as there are in every business. However, we ask you to consider a few things before jumping to that conclusion.

  • Any “Lien Unit” for sale belongs to a tenant who did not pay their bill. The tenant has until the auction to pay their bill and reclaim their property. In an online auction, they have until the winning bidder takes possession of the unit to come and pay. Tenants are notorious for paying at the last minute. The manager knows if the tenant comes to pay, the unit has to be precisely as the tenant left it, with all items, or the facility could face a lawsuit. Managers cannot possibly know which tenants will pay at the last minute, so managers would put themselves in a difficult position if they did remove items.
  • Winning bidders will get a Tamper Tag number on their winning invoice. It would be best if you always make sure the Tamper Tag matches when you go to pick up the unit. Confirming the tamper tag matches and is not broken means the unit has not been opened since the photos were taken.
  • Tenants often know they are going to stop paying their bills, and they take the valuable items out before they lose access to the property. They get their essential items back, and they leave the mess for someone else to clean up.
  • Storage facilities have no choice but to sell the unit as it is. We often hear people say, “it was all garbage; why didn’t they just throw it away?” Most likely because they can’t do that. A storage facility has to go through the sale process completely to get their unit back. The only time they can dispose of the items is if they are 100% certain there is NO COMMERCIAL value. Often, they cannot take that risk because they do not see everything in the unit. Operators are not legally required to open trunks, boxes, or totes to identify the items. They are not just trying to “unload their garbage” on you. They are following the law to the best of their ability.

Identifying the quality of units is something you need to work hard on and practice. You need to hone your craft to be able to locate bad units readily.

Pictures Don’t Match

Hopefully, this will happen to very few of you, but sometimes mistakes do happen. Managers can upload the wrong photos by mistake.  The pictures you see online should always match the unit you see when you arrive at the facility. If they do not match, DO NOT GO INSIDE THE UNIT, DO NOT REMOVE ANYTHING FROM THE UNIT!! Tell the manager immediately you would like a refund because the pictures do not match. If you have difficulty in a situation involving pictures, reach out to StorageTreasures Customer Support for assistance. The most important thing to remember is not to remove anything from the unit. Once you take possession of the unit, it is much more challenging to get a refund.

Dirt, Rodents, and Spoiled Food

Unfortunately, this is going to happen. It might even happen more than you would think it would. Some storage units sit for years before non-payment and then auction. Every storage facility we have ever worked with tells tenants they are not allowed to store food or perishable items, but unfortunately, it still happens. Food storage can lead to rodents and rodent droppings. As mentioned earlier, storage operators legally have to sell the unit as they find it, or at least attempt to sell them.

Also, you will note in StorageTreasures Terms of Use, each unit is sold “as is, where is, no warranties, or guarantees.” Auctions, in general, are not known for allowing refunds, so it is tough to go back on a sale after you have entered the unit, even if it is disgusting.

Shill Bidding

Shill bidding, otherwise known as bidding on one’s own unit to drive the price higher, is prohibited by the StorageTreasures website. It is also a practice that is potentially illegal or could create a great deal of liability for the storage operator. A lot of new bidders feel some managers have an account where they bid to manipulate the price higher.

Shill bidding could be possible, but facility managers have to report to District Managers or Area Managers about the results of the auction. If a manager bids a unit up and wins, they will either need to buy the unit themselves or cancel the unit. If they cancel it, they will have to explain to their supervisor why the unit did not sell. Canceled and unsold units are watched very closely by storage operators, so bidding on their own units could potentially cost the managers a lot of money. Or even their job.

There are a handful of states in which shill bidding is entirely illegal. StorageTreasures cannot possibly police every single unit listed on our site. We need your help there. If you have a reason to believe shill bidding is occurring, please let our Customer Support team know right away, and we will investigate the issue.

Pictures

We get a lot of comments from bidders who would like to have more, clearer pictures. StorageTreasures wants this too. We want it so much. Pictures are uploaded at the facility based on the guidelines the managers have been given.  Don’t forget, online auctions are still relatively new, and we have first time sellers on the website every month. StorageTreasures has spent the last few years gathering data so we can make educated best practice recommendations. A lot of operators do not realize how much photos impact unit price. We are spreading the word wide and far!

Fees and Cost of Using StorageTreasures

Many new bidders report they think our fees are too high. A bidder premium of 10-15% is consistent with industry standards. In-person auctions often charge a bidder premium of up to 30%. Many people are confused about how much they are paying because of the Purchase Deposit. They see the Purchase Deposit listed on the invoice, so they think they are paying 25% of the total price. Don’t forget that the Purchase Deposit amount is deducted from what is paid at the facility. Thus, the bidder really isn’t paying 25%.

StorageTreasures is a vast, active website. We could not possibly run and support the website if we didn’t have a team of people behind the scenes to help you with whatever comes up. While it might appear we don’t have a lot of overhead, we do.

There are many different pricing models in the industry. Some websites allow bidders to pay a subscription fee, and others charge by the auctions. It is important to note you can sign up for our Pro Membership to save 5% on your buyer premium. Click here to learn more information.

Hopefully, we have been able to condense some of the most common questions about StorageTreasures and online auctions in a way you can learn from them. If you have any other questions, we have a Help Center with hundreds of articles for you to look through. Click here to access our Help Center. To find out more the bad reviews storage auctions get, click on this article. To practice your craft and find great units, go to StorageTreasures.

 

 

Storage Auction Winnings: Become an eBay Pro

Sell storage auction items on eBay

You finally won a storage auction. What do you do with the items now? Re-sell that inventory, of course. There are many different options available for reselling, eBay is one of the most popular places for storage auction buyers to resell their inventory. However, successfully selling on eBay is a little more involved than posting a picture and waiting for the bid to go up. eBay makes several recommendations for successful listings. You can read more about them at this LINK.

Even with all the tips from eBay about selling, it seems like some people are still better at selling on eBay than others. Have you tried all the eBay tips and still not had great results? Have you wracked your brain trying to figure out what other people know that you don’t know? You are in luck; some successful eBay sellers are willing to share their secrets to make you a better reseller.

eBay

In addition to the best practices listed above, eBay also offers the eBay Seller Center, the eBay Community, and eBay Upfront to help you resell items purchased at storage auctions. The eBay Seller Center resources like the eBay for Business Podcast and shipping tips. The eBay Community includes discussion groups and a weekly chat with eBay staff. The eBay Upfront is a traveling conference in which eBay sellers and groups come to you!

eBay Radio by Voicemarketing, Inc.

eBay Radio is an internet radio program produced by Voicemarketing, Inc. They host live shows with eBay’s top sellers, eBay news, and general e-commerce. One of the hosts of eBay Radio is a long time eBay employee and the Dean of eBay Education. Their website also features an extensive archive of past shows you can watch anytime.

Udemy

Udemy is a website where professionals can host all sorts of classes to share with those looking to learn. A search of “eBay” returned 997 results for classes, of which 113 were free. The paid classes range from The Complete eBay Course – eBay from Beginner to Advanced to eBay Hacks: Optimize eBay Seller Listings. The average price of a lesson on Udemy ranges between $10 and $15.

Skillshare

Skillshare is an online community with a focus on creativity. There is no charge for the classes listed on Skillshare, but there is a membership fee of $8.25 per month. They do offer a two-month free trial. Skillshare offers a course titled eBay Mini Newbies Boot Camp. The class has 14 lessons, and you can watch the first lesson for free to see if the content is right for you. The website boasts an attendance of 756 students so far to the Boot Camp.

Ed2Go

Ed2Go is a virtual continuing education platform. They offer classes and certifications to help people educate themselves and advance in their careers. They offer a 6-week course called Learn to Buy and Sell on eBay for $149. That price might seem a little steep, but the class has twelve sections, including one on The World of Digital Photography. It is also taught online by a real professional, rather than a series of videos you watch independently. The class is recurring, with different start dates available.

Facebook Groups

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of eBay Groups on Facebook full of people willing to share their knowledge. Some examples are: eBay Selling Basics Nothing but eBay Basics, EBAY SELLERS, Stay at Home Moms Selling on eBay, eBay Warriors, and eBay Sellers Helping Each Other. You can also join Facebook groups dedicated to storage auctions to learn more.

YouTube Videos

YouTube has long been the go-to source for how-to videos for those who prefer to learn by watching. That includes all things Storage Auctions, such as selling your winnings.  Searching “Selling on eBay” returned several titles. There are also videos for how to sell specific items on eBay, such as books. Some of the videos include tutorials for using the website, and others explore how to spot things you can resell on eBay.

To win another storage auction to help hone your eBay skills, check out all of our units on StorageTreasures. If you want to learn more about being a bidder on StorageTreasures, check out our Help Center articles here.

Header Image Source: Daniel Krasoń – stock.adobe.com

 

StorageTreasures Communication to Bidders About COVID-19 Virus

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Valued Bidder Community,

As you’re undoubtedly aware, the growing Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has brought unprecedented changes to our personal and professional lives on a national level. Rapid changes in government mandates and recommended safety precautions have forced many businesses to pivot standard practices to maintain daily operations and protect the well-being of their staff and customers.

 

StorageTreasures is currently experiencing low auction volume as a result of these changes. Most self storage operators have temporarily suspended auction activities – either in compliance with a government mandate, or to provide relief for tenants as many individuals face lost wages and unemployment.

 

We know that for many of you, auctions on StorageTreasures supply your primary or secondary source of income – and understand that you may equally feel the impact of these decisions. While we cannot offer clarity regarding when these auctions will resume, we will continue to provide full customer support for all auctions still available for purchase.

 

StorageTreasures will use this time to continue to upgrade and enhance our platform to ensure the best possible bidder experience when auction numbers normalize. We encourage you to engage with us on Facebook, or subscribe to our blog, to stay up-to-date on this developing situation and gain access to exclusive content,
contests and community-building activities.

 

We are grateful for your unfailing loyalty and look forward to the day when business is booming once again. Stay safe. Stay healthy. And be sure to check back often for new updates, activities, and auctions.

Warmest regards,

The StorageTreasures Team

P.S. Have questions? Please email info@storagetreasures.com, or call (480) 397-6503, to speak with a member of our dedicated support department. They are available to assist you Monday – Friday; 6AM – 7PM MST.

 

Why Do Online Storage Auctions Get Bad Reviews?

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At StorageTreasures we are always looking for ways to do better and one way we do that is by looking at messages we get from our bidders. They can sting a littlebut it helps us learn our areas for improvement so we can give you a better experience with online storage auctions. Here is a recent Facebook Messenger conversation that may help answer concerns you might have about using StorageTreasures. Thank you, Sara Beth, for allowing us to share your message! 

Sarah Beth 

Good day!! 🙂  I am new to this (I haven’t even placed my first bid yet as I am still in the “investigation” part of this journey), so please hear me out.  I was totally stoked about getting into something like this as a side hobby, but reading the reviews kind of has me a little skittish.  Instead of posting something publicly and allowing a whole bunch of negativity to bombard me, I wanted to come to you directly and ask about the process.  Why so many negative reviews? The good ones are superb, but the negative ones are definitely an eyesore for anyone who is thinking about doing something like this.  Could you please take the time to enlighten me on this? I know there are a million sides to every story. Getting duped is not something I would ever willingly sign up for.  Please take your time to respond🙂 I’d rather have this explained to me instead of ignored or just a quick response.  Thanks so much!! 

StorageTreasures Response: 

Sarah Beth:Storage auctions are not for everyone. A lot of people get into the business, hoping to have a great big windfall right out of the gate. While that might happen on TV, that is not really how it works in real life. You can find some great units out there. There are also some units you might pay little for but make a lot of profit. However, the vast majority of the units do not contain hidden treasures.  To be successful at buying and reselling storage units, you have to do your homework and prepare. You need to know what you are looking at and how much you can make in return. It is not a guessing game, where you buy the first cheap unit you find and make a ton of money.  A lot of people think the managers go through the units before they put them up for sale. While I am sure there are dishonest people in self storage, like every other business, by-and-large, the managers don’t care what is in the units. They don’t have time to go through the units.  

Read More: I Had the Winning Bid and Bought My First Storage Locker

From what we have seen, many self storage tenants are aware they are going to stop paying their bill and take all the stuff they want and leave the rest behind. Most of our career buyers are looking for quantity rather than quality, but always hoping for that big win. They need inventory to sell in their shops or at the flea market.  A lot of people also don’t realize you have to clean out the entire unit. This means you might have to make trips to the dump, which will cost you more money. You might also have to rent a truck to get the unit cleaned out by the deadline. A truck might also cost you money. You might have to take time away from your regular job or your family to get the storage unit cleaned out. There are personal and monetary expenses to buyers after storage auctions People think storage auctions are a quick and easy way to make money. It is NOT quick or easy. It is a lot of work, and it might take you a while to start seeing profits. The good units will sell for a lot of money, leaving you feeling like you can’t get a good unit. You can get a good unit, but it takes time, dedication, and hard work to be successful in this business. A lot of people do not realize this and end up disappointed rather quickly. It takes a little while to build up your “finesse” at buying storage units. I hope this helps. 

Sarah Beth:  

Oh, it does for sure.  I work full-time and also run a drug recovery ministry, so it’s not all about profit for me. It would be something fun and then also a way to sell a few things here and there, but also be able to bless people (which would be the best thing for me).  I was just so concerned when I saw the rude/negative comments.  My idea (please let me know if it’s a bad one) was to get just a small unit as my first one (I know about the $100 refundable cleaning deposit as long as it’s cleaned out and all that good stuff) to test it out and I planned to do maybe one unit a month?  I am not out to get rich or anything. Just something fun and, in the end, possibly provide something worthwhile to someone in need. 🙂 I just wanted to make sure that before I even attempted that it was worth even trying out.  Thank you so much for answering my inquiry so thoroughly. 

StorageTreasures Response:  

You could get some units pretty cheap with clothes, household items, shoes, toys, and other things people need. You have to try and see how it works for youAs long as you do what you are supposed to do (pay, clean out the unit on time, etc.), you will be fine! Sarah Beth:  Awesome!! Thank you so much!! StorageTreasures does not want anyone to have a bad experience using our website. However, we know that is probably not possible in this type of business. There are going to be sales that do not have spectacular results. There is a lot of money at stake for a lot of buyers. We do welcome your questions and comments by posting directly to Facebook or Twitter, messaging us, or contacting our Customer Support Team. We want you to talk to us, and we want to be the best we can at responding and trying to help you have the best buying experience possible!  To reach StorageTreasures Customer Support, call (480) 397-6503 or email support@storagetreasures.com 

How to Find Storage Auctions

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At StorageTreasures, we get a lot of questions about how to find storage auctions. We get a request through our “Help Center” on our website, from our social media accounts, and also right here on our blog. We wanted to give you a comprehensive list of great places to find storage auctions and to find StorageTreasures auctions.

1.  www.AuctionZip.com

This website drives a ton of traffic to our website every day, so we know people look here for their auctions. The website is very user-friendly, as well. You go to their website and type in your Zip Code (or Postal Code), hence the name AuctionZIP. You can put in a mile radius of how far you are willing to travel, select from a long list of categories of auctions, or use keywords for the type of items you like to buy. The easiest way to find StorageTreasures auctions is to select the Storage Auctions category. The best news is; it is free to search for auctions on AuctionZip.com.

2. GlobalAuctionGuide.com

Global Auction Guide has been listing auctions for about five years now. It is also free to search their website for auctions. You can find online storage auctions or live storage auctions. You can search by location, date, or use a keyword, but the best part of Global Auction Guide is you can search by Company name, making StorageTreasures auctions easy to find.

3. LocateAuctions.com

Locate Auctions is the new kid on the block, but they have a lot of great auction listings. You can search by keyword, categories, auction type, or state. You can also browse their list of registered auctioneers or auction companies. Locate Auctions also has a great blog with all sorts of tips and information for bidders.

4. Your Local Newspaper

In most states, storage laws still require operators to advertise all lien sales in a Newspaper of General Circulation. You can try to find the legal ads on their digital version, or you can subscribe to the major newspapers in your county.

5. StorageTreasures.com

This suggestion might seem obvious or silly, but we have a lot of users who come to our site, and they don’t know how to find storage auctions near them. If you don’t already have an account, you can create one using the button in the upper right-hand corner.

StorageTreasures Account Setup

Once you have registered for your account, you can search for auctions from our homepage.

Find Storage Auctions on StorageTreasures

Personal Documents in Storage Auctions

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Why They’re There, What to Do with Them, and When to Walk Away 

During live storage auctions, it is not uncommon to open a unit and see filing cabinets or file boxes full of folders and papers. Immediately, auction buyers begin to ask, “can we leave the files?” Technically, if not legally, the answer to that question should be yes, the files can be left behind.  Most self storage lien laws do not specifically address the topic of items containing personal information. However, almost every state has other regulations on the sale of items revealing someone’s identity. This includes tax documents, medical records, legal records, pay stubs, identification paperwork, etc.

What Does the Law Say? 

Is it illegal for the storage operator to sell the items? Yes, and no. It is likely illegal for them to sell such items KNOWINGLY, but most self storage laws do not require operators to inspect the entire contents of the unit for auction. Operators are required to provide a general description of the property in the legal advertisement, so they do need to have a general idea of what is in the unit. Many of the laws go on to say operators or managers are not required to open boxes, trunks, cases, valises, or other items that might contain additional property. This part of the law is good news for auction buyers because this is what stops managers from needing to touch everything in the unit. It also leaves a lot of property unknown. Likewise, as an auction buyer, you don’t stand at the storage unit and go through each box as you are cleaning out the unit. You probably don’t even look through all the stacks of paper you see when you finally do organize your winnings. You likely toss the entire stack in the closest garbage bin.

Personal Items and Online Storage Auctions 

Online storage auctions could make it easier or harder to identify personal items stored in the unit. You have more time to look at the photos and investigate the contents of the unit. However, often, photos are blurry or dark and you cannot make out any of the items in the unit. Additionally, you don’t have a facility manager standing beside you to permit you to leave the files or records behind. You have no way of knowing how the facility manager will react to personal items once you have won the unit.

What should you do if you discover documents revealing a person’s identity?

  1. Attempt to return the documents to the storage facility. That could potentially be a big hassle for you. The facility might be far away or closed. It is also possible the facility might refuse to take the items back. It is not unheard of that happening.
  2. If the facility won’t take possession of the documents, or it isn’t logistically feasible for you to return them,  my best advice to you is to destroy the documents so there is no possibility of someone recovering them and committing identity theft. If you have a staff who helps you clean and organize units you bought at auction, make sure they understand the sensitivity of these items and dispose of them properly.

Are there times when you should not bid on storage auctions because of files or personal documents? Absolutely! If you see a unit full of banker type boxes, like these, Personal files in a storage auction unit and they say something such as “legal records” or “medical records,” you should not buy this unit. The facility should not be selling these items, and in turn, you should not be reselling these items either, assuming someone would buy them. Essentially, there is nothing you can do with these items; thus, there seems to be little reason to invest in them.

Check out all of our great unit listings on StorageTreasures.

Best Selling Units of 2019 on StorageTreasures

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Curiosity is a fundamental component of human nature. It makes us want to have an eye into other people’s lives to see how they live. There is no better evidence of this than the fascination with storage auctions. This curiosity is what made all the storage auction reality shows wildly popular and led to hundreds of people showing up at storage facilities on auction day. After ten years in the storage auction business, some of the most common questions I hear are, “do the units have really good stuff in them, or are the TV shows fake? While I feel the need to tell people most storage units do not contain hidden treasures, there are sometimes units that sell for incredible prices, and people always want to know what was in them. Here are 10 of the highest-priced units sold on StorageTreasures in 2019.  

10. Flat Screen TVs in Bordentown, New Jersey – Sale Price $8,410 

10x45 online storage unit filled with flat screen TVs and other merchandiseThe description provided by the storage facility for this unit said, “over 50 different named flat-screen TVs, but that wasn’t even close to everything in this 10×45 unit. There were unopened boxes of name brand luggage, comforters and pillows, and furniture. Bidding on units with flat-screen TV boxes is always a gamble, but with over 50 different ones, the odds were in the bidder’s favor, right?  

 

 

9. Band Performance and Stage Materials in Honolulu, Hawaii – Sale Price $9,070 

8x16 abandoned storage unit with touring equipment for a band including stage pieces

USA Today claims Hawaii is the #1 most expensive state in the U.S. to live in, and auction bidders there spend big as well. We have over 3,000 registered buyers in Hawaii, and two of them went head-to-head over this unit for quite a while, with 21 bids in the last 10 minutes of the listing. This unit contained everything a band would need to go on tour. There were several of the rolling boxes used to hold delicate equipment, amplifiers, speakers, DJ equipment, and even the aluminum stands to frame up the stage.  

 

8. Dolls and Collectible Figurines in North Hollywood, California – Sale Price $9,110 

Abandoned storage unit containing collectible figurines of celebrities and dolls

Is there a more appropriate place to find collectibles and figurines of famous people than NoHo, an Arts District North of Tinseltown? This unit had depictions of The Three Stooges, Bill Clinton and his saxophone, and even Abraham Lincoln. It was a 10×15 unit full of neatly stacked boxes, a bidder favorite, and other boxes that seemed to contain more collectibles. This unit contained the contents of what had once been a collectibles store.  

 

7. Lionel Train Sets in Surprise, Arizona – Sale Price $11,060 

 

Lionel-Trains-Surprise-AZNothing invokes the memory of childhood holidays quite like a Lionel Train set. However, there is a serious collector market for old trains, especially Lionel Trains. There are entire stores and giant expo shows dedicated to trains. I know this to be true because my Father-in-Law is quite the enthusiast, much to the chagrin of his four sons. Almost every box in this unit had the name, Lionel, on it, and there were also materials for building the tracks to set up the trains.  

 

6. Baseball Unit in Kingsburg, California – Sale Price $12,010 6

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At first glance, this unit looks dirty and full of old stuff, but I have learned from bidders over the years, the more dust, the better the unit. Undisturbed dust means the items in the unit have not been touched in quite some time. The contents of this unit were once a baseball or sports memorabilia store. There are boxes of baseball cards, stacks of the plastic containers prized baseball cards go into, and even display cases for the items. While we can’t see what is in the boxes, the crown jewel of this unit was a vintage cash register covered with a thick layer of dust.  

 

5. A Mover’s Unit in Hayward, California – Sale Price $14,800 

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The first thing you notice about this unit is the wrapped pallets with names on them, followed by the vast number of unused moving boxes. Unwrapped pallets of boxes are a treasure hunter’s dream. The gamble, the excitement, it is almost too much not to bid. However, the value of this unit does not stop there. There are also ornate wall hangings and home décor. Top that off with stacks of boxes in the back of this 10×30, and this unit is a goldmine.  

 

 

4. Large Safes in Alpharetta, GA – Sale Price $14,910 

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This unit is the definition of household goods, but a lovely household, indeed. It is not surprising considering the Metro Atlanta market has always been HOT, HOT, HOT for storage auctions. This unit had home décor, tools, children’s toys, furniture, boxes, luggage, and everything else you would expect to see in a typical household goods unit, but it also had three large standing safes. In addition to that, the furniture appeared to be well made and well kept. This unit would be a reseller’s big win.  

 

3. Model Cars in Chicago, Illinois – Sale Price $15,070 

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There seems to be a theme with collectibles on this list and spoiler alert – it’s not over yet! This unit is a little different from other collectible units because it is all model cars. Some were in boxes, some were in cases, but the entire 10×30 was filled with model cars. This unit had almost 2,000 views on StorageTreasures and 164 bids.   

 

 

2. Artwork in Staten Island, New York – Sale Price $16,050 

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I have always been amazed by the experienced bidder’s ability to determine the value of storage units. To the untrained eye, this unit looks like some plywood with paint slapped on it. However, this unit contained much more than that. In the back of the 10×30 is what appears to be stacks of artwork. There were also some sculptures and photographs of the famous rocker, Courtney Love, and an advertisement picturing Marilyn Monroe offering painting services. Given its location in the Five Burroughs of New York, this unit was probably a safe gamble.  

 

1. A Little Bit of Everything and a Bidder’s Dream in North Babylon, New York – Sale Price $38,840 

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This unit is the highest-selling unit in the history of StorageTreasures. There were almost 10,000 views on it and nearly 300 bids. I have always known that bidders had their favorite items to look for in a unit. We call them “furniture bidders” or “tool bidders.” This unit has just about everything a bidder could want. It had safe, comic books, power tools, clothing, gun cases, electronics equipment, collectibles, and even a box that says “Stan Lee” on the side of it. The winning bidder on this unit lived in Washington state and immediately hopped on a plane for New York as soon as the sale was over. That has to be another record for StorageTreasures; farthest distance traveled for a storage unit.