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We’ve all seen shows like Storage Wars where a group of people goes around bidding on unclaimed self-storage lots. As overdramatic as these shows are, they do raise a pretty interesting debate. Are storage auctions a good investment opportunity for a savvy spender? 

What is a self-storage auction?

Put simply, it’s when someone doesn’t manage to pay their self-storage bills and the provider has had enough. They list the storage unit up for auction in a bid to try and get as much money back as possible. You can bid on these units, and if you win you get to claim everything that lies inside. 

You won’t actually inherit the unit itself – you’ll need to clear it out ASAP so the provider can rent it to a new customer. But, you will take ownership of everything in the unit. 

Can you make money from a storage auction? 

Like all auctions, there is a big opportunity to snag a bargain and make a lot of money. These storage units can go for any price imaginable – and sometimes they’re done blind. This means that you don’t get to see inside the unit before bidding, so it really is a big coin flip. If you are allowed to visit the unit before the auction, your chances of making money increase. You might spot something valuable that other bidders don’t notice, securing a lot of profit if you have the winning bid. 

Obviously, the aim is to sell everything inside the unit for more than what you paid. This is entirely possible, though there is a massive but. 

You see, for the most part, storage auctions are based on luck. Your chances of profit depend on who else is bidding, whether you get a chance to look inside the unit, and what the unit actually contains. You might end up with a load of junk that’s hard to sell and ends in a loss. Or, you could strike gold and make a fortune. 

There are also extra costs to take into account. When you win an auction, you have to get rid of everything in that unit as soon as possible. This will mean paying for companies like Evergreen Junk Removal to take everything out for you. It might be smart to look through everything beforehand and see what can actually be sold or not. This way, you can dispose of the actual junk as you’re clearing it out. 

So, the cost of services like this should be factored into any overall profit you make. 

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Are these auctions worth investing in?

Truthfully, no. Storage auctions are not good investments as there are too many things out of your control and it is too based on luck. If you want great investment opportunities, stick to more of the traditional ideas – like stocks, gold, real estate, etc. 

However, if you have some money to throw around and you want to take a gamble and have a bit of fun, self-storage auctions are worth your attention. That’s the best way to treat them; they’re not a viable investment idea, but they can help you make some extra money if you’re lucky and have some cash spare. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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