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With shows like Storage Hunters introducing us to the mysterious world of storage auctions, many of us often find ourselves thinking we’d probably do a better job. If you’ve got the itch and a good eye for a bargain, here’s how you can get in on the a(u)ction!
Why do storage units get put up for auction?
First things first, you’ll need a solid understanding of how auctions work. Most importantly, it’s worth acknowledging that storage companies don’t just put people’s belongings up for auction at a whim!
Storage companies will only put units up for auction in very rare circumstances, so it’s important to understand this before you go giving up the day job. Some of these circumstances include:
- A forgotten unit
How to become a storage hunter
- Sign up or register your interest with auctioneers – Storage auctions are usually handled by local auction houses, so make sure to do your research and either sign up for upcoming auctions or register your interest to make sure you’re notified when lots come in.
- Build relationships – As they always say: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Staying in touch with storage companies and auctioneers will help you build relationships with the ones in the know, keeping you in the loop about potentially lucrative auctions and maybe even giving you first refusal.
- Watch the shows – We love a to-do list that includes ‘watch TV’. In reality though, watching shows like Storage Hunters really is one of the best ways to pick up the tricks of the trade – whether it’s recognising when a unit has been frontloaded to make it look more full or when a storage unit has climate control, which will usually mean that goods are in a much better condition.
- Be realistic – Although watching the relevant TV shows can be helpful, it’s also worth bearing in mind that they won’t necessarily be giving you the most realistic view of life as a storage hunter. Watch out for the disclaimers that point out that the shows are heavily edited and skewed towards more lucrative finds – with all the hours of fruitless purchases, wasted trips and heavy losses cut out.
The Storage Hunter’s Tool Kit
If you’ve set yourself realistic expectations and still want to go ahead with a little storage hunting, here are the key things you’ll need:
- A van or car with ample boot space – Remember you’ll be responsible for the goods in a storage unit once it’s bought, and it’ll be no good if you can’t get them out of the storage facility!
- A torch – Storage auctions often only give you a quick glimpse into a unit before you make your bid, so make sure to bring a torch to get the best look into all those nooks and crannies.
- A partner – Storage hunters always come in pairs for a reason! Taking along a hunting partner not only gives you an extra pair of eyes for spotting bargains, but it can also help you stick to a purchasing plan and avoid making bad decisions.
- Good restoration and selling skills – As we mentioned before, the chances of finding a hidden treasure are pretty rare. In the event that you don’t find a long lost Picasso in a unit, you need to be sure you can sell what you buy if you don’t want to suffer huge losses. Acquaint yourself with eBay (a great resource for selling all sorts of things you might find) and work on your upcycling skills to make items even more sellable.
What to do if you do find a hidden treasure
If you do happen to find something you believe might be worth a fortune, it’s good to be prepared. Make sure you have a good grounding in antiques and hallmarks to take some of the guesswork out of hunting, and develop a good relationship with a local antiques dealer who can both advise you on purchases and even sell for you should you find anything.
As long as you stay informed, build up your knowledge, and make sure you have realistic expectations, storage hunting can be a fun and exciting pastime. Happy hunting!
Collaborative post in association with TFM Removals