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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.