The A&E reality television series, Storage Wars, debuted in December of 2010. Since then the show’s gain in popularity has influenced the creation of multiple spin-off series. This popularity has also created a rise in the interest of auction “hunters” in real storage auctions. So, we thought you might like the nitty-gritty lowdown on: how real storage auctions are.
Even if you don’t watch the series, there is still a good chance that you have heard of the show. Possibly because of the numerous lawsuits that have surrounded its short 3 year lifespan. These suits range from authenticity to salary disputes and have caused grief for much of their fan base and the “reality tv” sector as a whole.
In the Storage Wars series, each episode will showcase multiple storage units being auctioned at one location. This in itself is not accurate.
In reality, the frequency of people abandoning their unit with all of its contents is not high. This frequency diminishes even more so when people have valuable things within their storage unit.
Which brings us to our next point... there may be treasures that turn up in abandoned units but unfortunately, not as often as we would like. Storage Wars has a pretty consistent 2 out of 3 ratios that they work with. Most episodes showcase two units that are winners and one that is a dud. Generally only one BIG winner, but nonetheless the auction hunters who get these units walk away profitable or at least breaking even.
One piece of very valid information that every prospect hunter should know, and that Storage Wars either misrepresents or skips over completely... sunk costs.
Think about this, when a storage unit is auctioned off you are buying everything in it, whether gold or garbage, and becoming responsible for removing all said content.
To ensure the removal of all content many storage facilities charge a clean-up deposit.
Then you have to be able to remove everything so, do you have a truck? If not you’ll need to rent one.
On top of that, garbage dumps will often charge fees to dump.
Finally, unlike the auction hunters on TV most of us don’t own pawn shops, vintage stores, or have 50 friends who happen to “experts” on dating priceless nic-nacs, so you will need to be having to pay a percentage fee to put whatever you do find in someone elses store.
One thing that the television series has dead on is that when there is an auction, bidders are not allowed to enter the unit. This helps keep the auction moving at a fast pace and eliminates the risk of something being removed before it has been auctioned.
Auctions are always a LAST resort...
Although this type of auction has become popular, we'd like to emphasize we don't jump to auctioning a unit’s contents. The process of trying to contact a client is very long and very thorough. We will exhaust every option for contacting a client, including emergency contacts, before we consider putting the unit on auction. Even after the unit is set to be auctioned, if at anytime we receive contact from the client the auction process will be stopped.
Group auctions aren’t always how facilities get rid of a unit’s contents either. Some laws forbid this type auction so, the unit will be auctioned off one piece at a time.
Despite the reality check, storage auctions are real. They very well could be the new, landlocked, non-violent and completely legal equivalent of being a pirate... which is awesome. If you are interested in finding out when and where there are going to be auctions in Reno, check out StorageTreasures.com.
Or go ahead and give us a call and we’d be glad to answer your questions!