Guest Post: The Pros and Cons of Buying a Storage Unit

By Marty Reardon

There will come a time when we just grow out of our home or apartment, but we cannot just afford to pack up and move to another one. This is where getting a storage unit comes in. It is important to know the pros and cons of getting a storage unit before committing to one.

Pros of a Storage Unit

You can rent the size that you need. For example, if you just have a few items to store, you can choose a unit just big enough for these so that you are not putting out money for space that you will never use. If you need to store more in the future, you can simply talk to management about renting a larger unit.

Your items will be protected from the elements. Instead of storing your stuff in a leaky garage or a damp basement, you will have them in a dry area. Now, if you have temperature-sensitive items, be sure to rent a unit that is temperature controlled so that the unit does not get too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. It is a good idea to put sensitive items on top of something and not on the floor just in case a flood occurs. Floods generally do not occur in all areas, but you can never be too safe.

Storage units tend to have pretty good security so your stored items will be safe. You can put your own lock on the door and the properties tend to have at least one security guard at the gate and have cameras and lights throughout the property.

You can come and go as you please to pull an item out or put a different item in storage. This is very convenient and will help to ensure that your home is never cluttered or full of items that you are not using at this time.

Cons of a Storage Unit

You will have to do all of the hauling and heavy lifting. For example, if you are storing a bedroom set that includes a bed frame, two dressers, a mattress, a boxspring and two side tables, you will have to load all of this into a truck that you will likely have to rent, drive to the facility and then unload these items by yourself, or find a few friends to help you. This can be exhausting, especially if you are often storing more items or pulling items out of storage.

The storage unit place may not be close to your home. Not all areas will have a nearby storage unit facility so when you are transferring items to and from storage, you may have a decent drive on your hands. Most people who live out in rural areas could have to drive an hour or more to get to their unit. If you do not go there often, this is not a really big deal, but if you are going once a month or more, this is something to consider.

Not all storage units are temperature-controlled. If the facility closest to you does not offer temperature control, you will not be able to store certain items that are temperature-sensitive. So, you will either need to go out and find one that is, such as an indoor storage facility or you will have to find another way to store your items for now.

About the author:  Marty Reardon enjoys reviewing local self storage locations when he’s not blogging or writing for nextdoorselfstorage.com.  In his free time he also finds time to be with his friends and family and go to local sporting events.

Guest Post: Preparing for an Auction: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

By Eve Pearce

Nowadays everybody and his dog wants to earn a living from storage auctions. Shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters have created the illusion that it is an easy way to make a fortune. The reality of the situation is a little different though. As any regular auction attendee knows, gaining success within the industry is no walk in the park. What the public fails to understand is that buying and selling at storage auctions is as skilled a job as any other and contains a multitude of pitfalls. One of the main errors that buyers make is failing to adequately plan for an auction. Getting the best results at storage auctions is not simply a matter of turning up and hoping for the best. Here are some of the most common dilemmas that a lack of planning can create.

Not Bringing a Flashlight

The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles compares going to an auction to going to war. It says that the auctioneer should be seen as an enemy because he wants to make you pay above the odds and the other buyers should be viewed in the same light, as there is a possibility that they might bid for things that you are after. As with any soldier going into battle, it is important for you to arm yourself with the necessary equipment that is required in order to defeat the opposing side. In the case of storage auctions, one of the most important items to take along is a flashlight. People who attempt to view storage units without them can often find that it is difficult to see the contents. Leaving your flashlight at home could result in missing out on a bargain. Realistically nobody is going to bid for something that they have not been able to see properly so this is a costly mistake that can severely reduce your options.

Not Fully Cleaning Out the Contents of a Unit

Some buyers purchase a unit only to find that they have inadequate space in their vehicle to transport it away. As a result of this, they leave items behind, which is an easy way of gaining a ban from future auctions. Most storage facilities do not allow buyers to use their dumpsters so there could be no other option available than to make a return journey or risk getting banned.

In order to avoid limiting yourself, it is advisable to get a vehicle with a lot of room in it. It might be worth consulting a guide to affordable cars with large cargo volumes. If you still feel that you lack the funds required in order to get a more spacious vehicle then you might want to consider looking for credit to buy a car that is more suited to your needs. If you are in America then check what options for car finance are available in your state. In the UK, where bargain hunters have also recently become hooked on storage auctions after the success of Storage Wars, those wishing to obtain a larger vehicle could do so by getting car finance deals from a car loan company.

Failing to Bring Enough Padlocks

Buyers who are visiting multiple storage auctions within the same day can sometimes find that they run out of padlocks to secure their goods with whilst they get their cars. Managers’ offices at storage facilities often have locks for sale but what if they have none left? Items can sometimes vanish in the brief period of time that they are left unattended for whilst you fetch your vehicle from where it is parked. It is therefore essential to have an ample supply of locks. A tip is to purchase locks that are colour co-ordinated with the corresponding keys, as there is nothing more frustrating than trying to find the correct key for a padlock whilst the auctioneer is moving on to the next unit.

Do your Homework

Another mistake that people often make is shooting off to the first auction that they hear about without examining what other options are available. It is important to consider what types of items are likely to be in each location and do your homework on the auctions. Find out as much information as you can before deciding which auction to go to. Some trips are likely to be a waste of time and money. Storage facilities in poorer areas can sometimes be good for picking up bargains, as the value of certain items is often overlooked in these places. They are also avoided by some buyers, which means that there will be less competition.

Sticking to a Plan

The problem with some people is that they plan out their strategy for an auction in advance and then fail to stick to it. A common catalyst for this is ego. There is a temptation to become involved in bidding wars with other people but this is playing into the auctioneer’s hands. There is no point making a plan if you are going to totally ignore it. Follow the steps outlined in this guide and adhere rigidly to your plan and you will stand a far greater chance of gaining success within the industry.

Guest Post: Former Star Claims Storage Wars is Fake

By Eve Pearce

Storage Wars has enjoyed a phenomenal degree of success since it first hit the screens in 2010. An episode of season two attracted 5.1 million viewers, making it the most popular program in the A&E Network’s history at that point. The show features auctioneers and buyers in action and has created a boom in the popularity of the storage auction industry. Unfortunately recent revelations by former star David Hester shed doubt upon its claim to depict real life situations. He is accusing the makers of the series of unlawfully firing him when he questioned whether or not their actions were legal, which poses the question, ‘How real is reality TV?’

The Allegations

Storage Wars has been a mixed blessing to those within the industry. On the one hand, it has inspired people all over the country to become buyers. After all, what better way to advertise a job in the storage auctions industry is there than to air a show depicting excited buyers competing for the best lots? The downside is that this has made these auctions a lot more competitive, which has affected some buyers’ livelihoods. Whatever your views on the program, most would agree that it makes for avid viewing. However few people possess a desire to watch reality TV that isn’t actually based on reality. Hester alleges that virtually every aspect of the show is fake. He says that the producers regularly plant items in the storage units and have even staged entire storage units.

Punitive Damages

Hester is accusing the series producers of unfair business practices, wrongful termination and breach of contract, among other charges. He filed his lawsuit in a Los Angeles Superior Court on 12th December and stated that the show obtains antiques and memorabilia from the Off the Wall Antiques Company, which is featured regularly in the program. He is asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damages and argues that the producers’ conduct warrants the imposition of punitive damages as a means of punishing them and preventing them from treating the cast of future shows in a similar manner.

Popularity Unlikely to Decline

Hester’s lawsuit makes reference to questions that the public have previously posed about whether items were placed in storage units and quotes a statement that the A&E Network made on the matter claiming that no aspects of the show are staged. ‘The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show,’ a network representative told ABC News. If Hester’s claims are revealed to be true then this means that the network willfully deceived the public. However media experts have predicted that the show is likely to remain popular even if it is proven to be fraudulent. Editor of the Hollywood Reporter Michael O’Connor points out that a certain amount of staging is to be expected in reality shows for logistical reasons. He says that Storage Wars gets such huge ratings that the likelihood is that it will not see a decline in viewers.

Implications

It is one thing airing a show that accurately depicts people finding hidden treasures at storage auctions but exaggerating the amount of valuable items that are usually found is an entirely different matter. If the producers of Storage Wars have indeed planted antiques and memorabilia in storage units then this means that they have falsely advertised the attractiveness of the industry and drawn a sea of buyers that has increased competition. Other reality TV shows have managed to survive allegations of ‘faking it’. The Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild faced criticism after a crewmember accused Bear Grylls of booking into hotel rooms and lying about ‘roughing it’ and the TLC show Breaking Amish was slated for allegedly faking the backgrounds of its stars. Both of these programs remained popular in spite of the controversy that surrounded them. Whether Storage Wars will do the same remains to be seen but one thing is for certain: those within the storage auction industry will not be happy with the producers if they are deemed to have acted in a fraudulent manner. Hester would not escape blame either, as it would mean that he had gone along with a fake show for several series.

Who Profits From Storage Auctions?

The rise in popularity of shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters had led some people to believe that storage units are worth much more than they should be, and bids are going higher than ever before. This is bad news for fellow auction-goers, who must now struggle with extremely tight profit margins, but it may surprise you to know that it’s also bad news for many storage auction facilities across the country.

Who Keeps the Money from a Storage Unit Auction?

Storage facilities auction units in order to recover the cost of unpaid rent and avoid the time and expense of emptying units themselves. Some storage units don’t sell high enough to cover the full cost of unpaid rent, but the winners do empty the units out. As long as the units get sold, the storage facility is happy.

Occasionally, the storage unit will sell for more than the amount owed for rent. This might happen because it was filled with expensive items, or it could simply happen because the bidder overpaid for the unit. Either way, this causes the storage facility’s owner to see a profit on the unit. Unfortunately, he or she cannot always keep that money.

Instead, the money earned over the debt to the facility must be paid back to the unit’s original tenant. In most cases, it’s difficult to reach that tenant. If no contact can be made, the facility must hold onto the money for a period of time designated by the state, usually a year or two. After that point, different states have different requirements for what happens to the money. In a few states, like Texas, the facility owner is able to pocket the money after the waiting period. In other states, the money goes to the county, where it will sit in an escheatable account until it’s claimed by its rightful owner.

The only person who profits from a high-bidding storage auction is the auctioneer. Auctioneers are often paid on a commission based on a percentage of the auction’s total value. They may charge this fee on top of the auction or subtract it from the winning bid. Either way, high-bidding auctions benefit auctioneers, and auctioneers have definitely benefited from the publicity from the new reality TV shows.

For more information about storage auctions, please visit StorageAuctionForums.com.

Guest Post: Top Ten Books on Storage Auctions

By Eve Pearce

The storage auction boom shows no signs of slowing.

What was once the domain of a relatively small group of collectors and bargain-hunters, has transformed into a global phenomenon thanks to a slew of incredibly popular reality television shows in the United States.

The age-old saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, has never been more apt. But while the appeal of the auctions has gripped those keen to “get rich quick”, it has also given rise to a raft of how-to guides and handbooks aimed at this growing army of fans. Some latch on to the glitz and glamour of the TV shows, but many others cut to the heart of the business and provide clear and helpful advice.

Here are some books worth considering.

1. The Definitive Guide to Storage Auctions By Barry Flynn and C.R. Powell

The popularity of Storage Wars in the USA have prompted a string of copy-cat TV shows all focused on the treasures-in-trash theme – Auction Kings, Auction Hunters, Pawn Stars, Pawn Queens, American Pickers — to name just a few. But with this book, Flynn and Powell debunk the many myths and misconceptions surrounding the industry. A must-read.

2. My Life as a Storage Auction Addict By Glendon Cameron

For almost a decade the author of this book was a full-time storage auction buyer in Atlanta, Georgia. But left the day-to-day business behind, Cameron has written an incredibly insightful book teaching would-be treasure hunters the ropes. “In the next two to three years, this is going to skyrocket,” he says. “It’s not for everyone. It’s not easy and it’s a lot of hard work, but if you put in your time and money into it, you can make money.”

3. How to Make Boxes of Cash with Self-Storage Auctions By Barbara Rogers

Small but perfectly-formed. This is not the longest book you will ever read, in fact it is only 48 pages long, but in many ways that it is its greatest strength. It took Rodgers a year to work the business out but this easy-to-follow manual will ensure you get to grips with it much quicker than that. Clear, concise, clever.

4. The Beginner’s Guide to Storage Auction Profits By Glendon Cameron

This is a great starting place for anyone looking to take their tentative first steps into the business. Cameron knows his stuff but this is aimed at someone keen to dip their toes in without investing their heart and soul… yet. Storage Auctions 101 gives you the basics and some tips that border on advanced storage auction buying techniques. Will make you look like a pro.

5. The Garage Sale Millionaire: Make Money with Hidden Finds from Garage Sales to Storage Unit Auctions By Aaron LaPedis and Jeffrey Kern

Written by two expert collectors with more than sixty years of combined experience, this book is packed with gems of information. LaPedis and Kern lift the lid on the often intimidating world of collecting and created this absolutely indispensable guide to hunting for and then profiting from someone else’s junk. Comprehensive and convincing.

6. Mastering Storage Unit Auctions: The A-Z Guide to Storage Unit Auctions By Eddie B. Allison

Another book with a real mouthful of a title but another informative and entertaining read. Allison breaks his advice down into bite-size and easy to read advice, such as: three little known, yet simple ways to generate income, three proven steps to avoiding the pitfalls of the auction-room and three things you should never do at a storage auction.

7. Making Money in Storage Auctions: How to Profit from the Storage Wars and become a Storage Auction Warrior By Boston Reynolds

As the title says, this book is inspired by the television show that sparked the phenomenon. But having said that, Reynolds has plenty of straightforward advice that gets to the heart of the business and helps you to minimise the risk and maximise the profit. A popular choice in the United States.

8. Winning Storage Auction Strategies By Dirk and Susan McFergus

This husband and wife team dispel the myths around the TV shows to paint the reality of the auction business. This book includes the story of how bags of dryer lint, sex toys, $20,000 in cash, gold and 100,000 expired Trojan condoms were bought at delinquent storage unit auctions in Las Vegas and tells you how to prevent your ego from buying a losing storage unit. Essential tips and funny personal stories.

9. How to Invest in Self-Storage By Scott Duffy and RK Kliebenstein

This well-researched manual looks at the other side of the business and tells the story of those who manage and own storage units. This will help add depth and understanding to those of you attending as buyers.

10. Money Making Tactics From Mini-Storage Auctions: Cashing In On The Booming Self Storage Auctions Trend KMS Publishing

The auction business is full of unforeseen events – stock lost in an accident, lots that disappoint and the occasional diamond in the rough. But this book will help you take the rough with the smooth and is full of good advice. Short, sharp, simple to understand.