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About Storage Auctions
In the United States, most self storage facilities hold storage auctions or lien sales to vacate non-paying tenants according to their enforcement rights that are outlined within the laws of each state. In California there are 2900 plus self storage facilities, out of these 2900 plus self storage facilities there are an average 800 facilities that will hold a storage auction or lien sale in any given month. Each site will have a different amount of units or lots to offer for auction. We estimate that over $3,000,000.00 changes hands at these 9,000 plus auctions a year. These auctions are opened to the general public with most bidders’ buying for the purpose of reselling for profit. Storage auctions are a great way to buy secondhand merchandise for pennies on the wholesale dollar. If you are someone who sells at flea markets, garage sales or on e-Bay, you will probably find storage auctions to be one of your best sources for merchandise.

How Does The Auction Work?
Be sure to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to a scheduled auction. Before the auction starts, the self storage facility or auctioneer will have a sign in sheet and a set of their company’s rules going over the terms and conditions of the auction. Terms and conditions will vary with each site. Most auctions are "live" or "verbal", very few are silent (sealed bids). Cash is the acceptable form of payment and sales tax will be charged if the buyer cannot show a valid resale license and proper identification.  Storage auctions are very different then most types of auctions.  Usually you are bidding on the entire contents of a unit or lot. Units or lots are usually viewed 1 by 1 with the viewing limited to the doorway entrance of the storage unit or container. The bidding starts after all bidders have had a viewing of the property. Bids sometimes start out as low as $1.00 and can proceed upwards with the property being sold to the highest bidder. Based on our experience average lots or units seem to sale for under $300.00. Don't forget, the high bidder must remove all contents of the unit purchased within the time specified by the self storage facility. Facilities do not allow the use of their garbage cans or dumpsters and units are expected to be broom swept clean.

What Can I Expect To Find?
You really never know what you will find. Most items are general household goods, furniture, electronics, clothing and personal records. Bidders do find money, jewelry, antiques and collectibles at these auctions. It is not uncommon to find someone's whole household or business in a unit, with that in mind, you never know when you might stumble on someone's life collection of who knows what!  Remember you are usually viewing the property from an open entrance into a storage unit or container; this means that boxes and plastics storage containers can yield anything. Some units are packed so tight that you won't have the luxury of getting a view of the items that are behind what is blocking the entrance area.

How Can I Find Out Where The Auctions Are Taking Place?
You can find out through various sources where storage auctions take place. There are legal notices in newspapers, web sites and auctioneers who all provide very limited schedules of self storage auctions. By using all these sources it is impossible to find out when and where all these auctions will be conducted. Calling the different self storage companies will yield you the highest results. For the last 10 years the best source for storage auctions in California has been our monthly newsletter, California Storage Auction News. We do all of the work for you, each month we contact by phone over 1,000 different storage companies in California. We also receive direct information from the auctioneers as well as the self storage facilities that are conducting storage auctions. Our newsletter is in an easy to read format, sent out first class US mail with periodical e-mail updates. 

 What Information Will Help Me Become Successful?
1. Plan one day ahead.
All auctions are subject to cancellation in the event of settlement between the landlord and obligated parties! Many delinquent tenants will wait to the very last moment to satisfy their obligation. When you phone the site to confirm that the auction is still going as scheduled, inquire about how many potential lots or units might be going up for auction, don't forget that it is still subject to change! If you subscribe to California Storage Auction News you will see days where there are 10, 20, 30 or 40 sites holding auctions within a close drive of a geographical area. These are good days to go out because it tends to thin out the crowds and potential bidder competition. 

2. Consistency - If you are planning to earn good money with the storage auction game, you need to be consistent! The more storage auctions you attend, the better your percentages get with purchasing units. With the amount of auctions listed in California Storage Auction News you can sometimes view up to 70 units or lots a day, your percentages of finding a good purchase gets much higher if you have a chance to view more units! It's the old numbers game!

3. Tools - For less than twenty cents a day California Storage Auction News will be your best investment for information needed in finding storage auctions. There are no other required tools except if you purchase a unit, most sites require the high bidder to use their own padlock to secure the unit they purchased. Your second best investment besides California Storage Auction News would be a strong flashlight. Viewing the units or lots from the entrance area is almost impossible to do without good strong flashlight. 

4. Solve the Puzzles - The way a lot or a unit looks can clue you into potential value. Add up the total scenario; Is there name brand merchandise? Are the boxes sealed and taped? Are the boxes sealed and re-taped? Do the boxes appear to be purchased for storage or does it look like they came from the back of your local grocery store? Are the boxes carefully marked with content information? Do the boxes have a moving company's name on them (professional movers can be expensive)?  Are there any addresses visible on any of the boxes or suitcases that appear through out the unit (A Beverly Hills Address would be interesting)? How is the condition and quality of the furnishings? Does the furniture appear to be a complete household? Can you see any ornate or antique looking furniture table legs? Is there a lot of dust settled high on the contents of the unit, this could mean someone has paid rent on the storage space for a several years. Have a patent number chart to check ages if patent numbers are visible. You can find a link to a Patent number date chart in the blue section on the left side of this page. Add up in your mind the total
dollar amount that you can see.  
Think like an investigator! 

5. Marketing and Sales - When you start purchasing units it is a good idea to have a solid marketing plan. We honestly believe that e-Bay is one the best ways of selling your higher valued merchandise providing that it is cost effective for shipping. Small classified newspaper ads will be your best source for larger items such as couches, entertainment centers, refrigerators, washer and dryers and household electronics. Consider starting a rental business with the used appliances that you find. If you DO NOT like to hold garage sales or sell at flea markets, sale off the "flea market" property in bulk. If you spend some time at the flea markets you can build a vendor list of potential re-sellers.  Knowing how to price used merchandise, antiques or collectibles is very important. Analyze the inventory thoroughly when you purchase a unit, it is easy to sell a used vase for $5.00 that is worth $500.00.  Web-site auctions like e-Bay and Yahoo often have current auction prices on items that are exact or similar, these prices really do establish a current market value and should help you establish a solid asking price for your merchandise. If you cannot find an item at either of those two auction sites, try using a Webferret.  A Webferret provides a handy and efficient way to find information on the Web by searching a multitude of search engines all at one time. You can find a link to a free Webferret in the blue section on the left side of this page.  

Want more information? Click here to watch a CBS segment on Auctions.

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California storage auction news assumes no liability, in the information contained here.  We recommend that buyers beware. If you use this site, you do so at your own risk. All state and federal laws apply and compliance is your responsibility. All state and federal taxes that may apply are the your responsibility! All who use this site agree to release California storage auction news from any liability, from any cause whatsoever, and to indemnify and hold harmless California storage auction news from any claims resulting or arising from the use of this site which may be alleged to have damaged any parties. By using or subscribing to our services, all parties agree to this release and indemnification California storage auction news. California storage auction news shall have the right to suspend services to any person or persons at anytime, and for any reason, without notice. Please e-mail us or call us with any comments or suggestions or questions you may have.
Good luck and good hunting!

 

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