Have you see the public storage auctions shows on A&E and SpikeTV? Basically it show people attending public storage and bidding on contents from people who are delinquent on their rental agreements. Here is a recent article on the subject and if you have an interest in learning the process from a local guys who has been going to these auctions for the past 3 years here in the Dallas area, then you might want to attend our upcoming workshop on the subject.
Here is the link for the workshop that is on February 12th: Attend the Texas Self Storage Auction workshop.
Here is the recent article in the Star Telegram:
Bidders look for hidden riches in D-FW self-storage units
Posted Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011 By David Casstevens
One by one they began to flock outside Unit 8605 at a U-Store-It facility in east Fort Worth.
In recent weeks auctioneer Buddy Thomas has seen dramatically more attendees at area self-storage-unit auctions, multiplying like those crows silently massing on a playground jungle gym in the Hitchcock classic The Birds.
Thomas attributes the phenomenon to two popular reality TV shows, Auction Hunters and Storage Wars.
On A&E’s Storage Wars, four professional buyers scour repossessed storage units in search of valuable items.
One buyer claims he once found four Picasso paintings.
And a letter worth $15,000 written by Abraham Lincoln!
“People get the idea from TV there’s a pot of gold in these units,” Thomas said.
It’s possible to acquire rare and expensive goods for pennies on the dollar, but those hoping to turn a big profit by buying and reselling the contents of storage spaces in foreclosure can expect to find mostly the mundane stuff of everyday life.
Bed frames. Old mattresses. Broken appliances. Fishing rods. A child’s car seat. Plastic garbage bags filled with used clothing.
James Richter of Keller recently peeked into a small unit at an All Storage facility in Watauga.
Lying among the clutter on the concrete floor was a woman’s high-heel shoe.
“Marilyn Monroe wore it!” Richter exclaimed, sharing a laugh with those around him.
As auction attendance has increased, so have the prices that bidders are willing to pay.
“Everybody,” Richter said, “is looking for that million-dollar baseball card.”
What’s behind that tired sofa?
The 60 to 75 attendees at the U-Store-It auction were about to get the chance to find out.
“OK, listen up, guys. Let me go over the rules,” Thomas said, beginning his spiel.
“First of all it’s a cash -only sale. If you’re bidding on the unit, you need to have cash on you. You don’t have time to go to an ATM machine. You cannot go inside the unit. You have to view it from the door only. You cannot touch anything inside the unit. The buyer has to take everything within 24 hours and leave the unit broom-swept clean.”
On cue the storage facility’s manager unlocked and opened the unit’s green door.
It rolled up like a theater curtain.
Necks craned. The gaggle of bargain birds leaned forward, trying to take in everything at once.
Storage auctions are a pig in a poke. A shot in the semi dark. The gamble is part of the allure and the fun.
Some aimed flashlight beams into the 5-by-10-foot space.
Each person was given time to survey the open bin and calculate the value of the inventory. Then Thomas, an old hand at this — he conducts up to 45 such auctions a month — got down to business.
“All right,” he announced, “let’s sell this one …”
‘Nation of pack rats’
More than 50,000 mini storage businesses operate in the United States.
When a renter fails to pay the monthly fee, the storage company will add a late charge and permit the delinquent customer a grace period. If the renter doesn’t catch up on the payments, the management schedules an auction after about three months to recoup some of the rental money owed and clear out the space for a new tenant.
A typical announcement in the Star-Telegram classified section reads:
Notice of public sale storage unit(s) to be sold pursuant to chapter 59 of the Texas Property code. The property is being sold to satisfy a landlord’s lien on (date, time, and location) … All spaces contain misc. household items, misc. boxes contents unknown unless otherwise noted …
Glendon Cameron is familiar with the process. For six years the Atlanta man made a living buying and selling the contents of storage units. He shares his experiences, and expertise, in an optimistically titled book: Making Money A-Z With Self-Storage Unit Auctions.
“We’re a nation of pack rats,” Cameron said. “We have a lot of stuff we don’t need.”
When Cameron worked at this enterprise full time, he bought 20 to 50 units a month. The stories of renters who lose their property in auctions are as wide-ranging as the merchandise. Some tenants are out of work. Others are in jail. Grandma dies and her heirs don’t want her belongings.
“Some people just say ‘Screw it,’” Cameron said, the renters choosing to walk away from items they had bought on credit.
It’s not uncommon for tenants to pay their back rent in full at the last minute and rescue their property from a sale.
Some view storage auctions as preying on the misfortune of others.
“A vulture-type thing,” Cameron called it.
He prefers to portray storage auctions as a risk-taking — and often entertaining — adventure.
“For me it was like going to Las Vegas and winning 80 percent of the time.”
The entrepreneur said he bought a storage space that contained a BMW. At another auction, he paid $35 for 35 unopened boxes neatly stacked on one side of a 10-by-10-foot unit. Inside them he found an eclectic collection of items. A pair of patent leather spats. A top hat. A vintage pocket watch. Inkwells. Fountain pens. A feather boa.
Cameron said he sold the items on eBay for $3,600.
If this were a sale at the Fort Worth Stock Show, the rhythmic melody of commerce would sound almost unintelligible.
But Thomas wasn’t dealing in prized steers.
“I slow it down,” he said, “and make it very clear.”
Even at a leisurely pace, the auctioneer’s chant charged the air as he nudged and coaxed the bidders. Among the few things visible inside the small unit was an item not even Thomas had seen at storage auctions, and the auctioneer figured he had seen it all.
One man surveyed the bin and walked away, smiling.
Brian White has experienced the highs and lows of Metroplex storage wars. He once bought a unit filled with home insulation. He said he sold the material a week later for triple what he paid. Another time he made the high bid for a space that contained three safes.
To his disappointment, they were empty.
The rapid bidding escalated … $100 … $125 … “I got-a-hundred-fifty-bid-somebody-give-two, two-hundred, two, two, who wants it?”
“I’m out,” Kyle King of Dallas said to himself.
He and his brother, Kirk, are commercial real estate agents. During their spare time, they have attended more than 100 storage auctions. So far neither has bought a single unit.
“A lot of buyers seem to be overpaying,” Kyle King said. “Plus you have to have an outlet, a way to sell the stuff. I don’t want to buy a unit and have it [the contents] end up in my own garage. … I’m not that big a gambler.”
But King was intrigued by this unit.
It contained an unusual-looking stringed instrument resting in its case.
“A mandolin,” one bidder said.
It was, in fact, a McSpadden Appalachian dulcimer.
The retail price for the manufacturer’s top standard model is $465.
The storage unit — the whole kit and caboodle — sold for $375.
Again, if this is something that you are interested in learning, join us on February 12th for the : Texas Self Storage Auction workshop. Learn the step by step process and how to make money attending, purchasing and selling stuff from these storage units.
George Roddy, Jr.