In today’s fast-paced world, the need for extra storage space is ever-increasing. People from all walks of life rely on storage units to store their belongings, but sometimes, these units are abandoned. They can’t just be left forever! And so a system was created that allows others to bid on these storage units.
If the popular reality-style documentaries, such as ‘Storage Hunters’ and ‘Storage Wars’ are anything to go by, then abandoned self-storage units are a treasure trove of exciting and potentially valuable items. Those TV shows follow the escapades of people who attend self-storage auctions, purchasing foreclosed storage units to see if the items kept in them have any value. A lot of the time, the units are full of junk, but every now and then antiques, collectables or valuable pieces of jewellery are found in the foreclosed lots.
We don’t hold storage auctions here at Bingham Self Storage, although we know where you can find them! If you’d like to replicated the success you’ve seen on TV, then these tips will help you avoid common mistakes and increase your chances of ended up with a locker full of treasure.
What is a Storage Auction and Why Do They Happen?
Storage auctions are public sales of abandoned storage units. When renters fail to pay their storage fees for an extended period, the storage facility takes ownership of the unit’s contents. To recoup their losses, these facilities auction off the items to the highest bidder. It’s a unique opportunity for treasure hunters and bargain seekers to discover hidden gems and valuable items.
Bidding on Abandoned Storage Units: UK v US
In the UK, a storage auction is carried out slightly differently to how they are in the USA. It is rare to have group auctions where people visit the storage lockers to explore them in the hopes of picking up bargains. Instead, the lockers are auctioned off on a more informal basis, with deals often being carried out by email.
While the core concept of storage auctions remains consistent across the Atlantic, there are notable differences between how they are portrayed in the United States and how they actually occur in the United Kingdom. Here’s a closer look at these distinctions:
1. Pop Culture Influence
In the United States, storage auctions have been thrust into the limelight through popular TV shows like “Storage Wars” and “Auction Hunters.” These programs depict intense bidding wars, suspenseful discoveries, and the promise of valuable finds. However, it’s important to note that these shows often sensationalize the process and may not accurately represent the real experience.
2. UK’s Online Emphasis
In contrast, storage auctions in the UK are typically conducted online or through email. This digital approach offers a more straightforward and less theatrical experience. Bidders may not have the opportunity to engage in rapid-fire bidding wars witnessed on American TV shows. Instead, UK auctions are often characterized by a calmer, more methodical bidding process.
3. Absentee Bids
A UK storage auction often allows for absentee bids, allowing participants to submit their maximum bid in advance. This approach provides convenience for those unable to attend the auction in real time.
An online auction is fairly good for buyers because it means that you don’t have to worry about rivalries and bid inflation. A couple of back-and-forth emails with the seller is all it takes to secure a storage unit. However, this also means that it’s harder to find out what the going rate is for storage units, so you may want to attend a few open sales (if you know of any happening in your area) just for the experience.
Online Storage Auctions UK: What to Expect
In the UK, auctions for abandoned storage units are generally conducted online, offering a convenient and accessible way to participate.
Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of how a UK storage auction works, along with some essential do’s and don’ts:
Step 1: Registration
To get started, you’ll need to register on an online auction platform that hosts storage auctions. You’ll have to provide details, including your name, contact information, and payment method. Be sure to read and understand the platform’s terms and conditions.
Step 2: Browse Listings
Once registered, you can explore the listings of available storage units. These listings often include descriptions and photographs of the unit’s contents. Take your time to assess the information and determine which units interest you the most.
Step 3: Place Bids
When you’ve identified a unit you’d like to bid on, you can place your bid.
Step 4: Winning the Auction
If your bid is the highest when the auction closes, you’ll receive a notification via email or through the auction platform. Congratulations! You’ve won the storage unit.
Step 5: Unit Inspection
After winning the auction, you’ll typically have a limited time to inspect the unit in person. This is a crucial step, as it allows you to assess the condition and contents before finalizing the purchase. Ensure that the unit matches your expectations.
Step 6: Payment
Once you’re satisfied with your inspection, you’ll need to make the payment as per the auction platform’s instructions.
Step 7: Clearing the Unit
After payment, you can begin the process of clearing out the unit.
Step 8: Resale or Keep
You can choose to keep the items for personal use, sell them individually, or even host your own garage sale or online auctions to recoup your investment.
Some essential Do’s and Don’ts of Storage Auctions are:
- Set a Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend on a unit and stick to your budget.
- Research the Unit: Pay attention to the unit’s description and photos, looking for clues about its potential value.
- Bid Strategically: Avoid bidding wars by placing your maximum bid early if possible.
- Be Patient: Don’t get caught up in the excitement and overbid on units.
- Bid Uninformed: Avoid bidding on units without thoroughly reviewing the details provided.
- Exceed Your Budget: Stick to your predetermined spending limit to prevent overspending.
- Bid Emotionally: It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill, but try to stay rational in your bidding decisions.
- Bid Without Inspecting: If the auction allows, inspect the unit before bidding. Don’t blindly bid on unseen items.
In-Person Auctions: What to Know
While most UK storage auctions are online, occasional in-person auctions do occur. Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Dress Comfortably: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for moving items.
- Bring Supplies: Pack a flashlight, gloves, and necessary tools for inspection.
- Be Prepared: Have cash on hand, as some in-person auctions may not accept card payments.
Finding Abandoned Storage Unit Auctions in the UK
The best way to find abandoned storage units that are up for auction is to contact companies in your area and ask them if they have any lockers up for auction. The company will then put you on a list of prospective buyers and will contact you when lockers are available.
To discover upcoming storage unit auctions in the UK:
- Online Auction Platforms: Check websites like AMS Auctions or Storage Auctions UK for listings and auction schedules.
- Local Newspapers: Some auctions may be advertised in local classified ads.
- Social Media: Follow local storage facilities on social media platforms for updates.
- Attend Local Auction Houses: Some traditional auction houses occasionally feature storage unit auctions.
Storage auctions in the UK offer a thrilling opportunity to uncover hidden treasures and unique finds. If you’re interested in secure storage solutions, remember that Bingham Self Storage is your local partner. We provide high-security, 24/7 accessible storage units for both personal and business purposes.
Whether you’re looking to buy abandoned storage units in the UK or need a reliable storage facility, Bingham Self Storage has got you covered. Join us in the adventure of storage auctions or secure your belongings with us today!