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 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.
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.
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.
A 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.
When 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.
I 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.
This 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.
After 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.
This 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.
The 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.
I 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.
Every 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.
This 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.
During 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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
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.
The StorageTreasures Team
P.S. Have questions? Please email email@example.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.
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 little, but 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. 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 you! As 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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?
- 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.
- 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, 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.