Storage auctions have become the nouveaux garage sale and are increasingly popular. Bidders look to score big in high stakes auctions and think of themselves as real life treasure hunters, and if you want to get in on the action, you won’t have to look very far.
Inspired by the hit A&E reality series “Storage Wars,” Brentwood Self Storage holds storage unit auctions every other month. Storage auctions are the sale of the contents in unpaid storage units. Potential bidders are allowed to peek inside the unit, but they aren’t allowed to rifle through the contents prior to placing a bid. You can look from the doorway and use a flashlight, but you can’t reach in and touch anything. After everyone has had a look, the auction begins. Payment is due, in cash, immediately at the end of each auction. Unit owners hire professional auctioneers who specialize in lien laws and the auctions process.
“It’s gambling your money, and you never know what you’re going to get,” said Brentwood Self Storage Assistant Manager Kim Ridgway.
California Storage Auctions host auctions at more than 800 self-storage facilities, including Brentwood Self Storage. “It’s buyers beware,” says auctioneer Forrest O’Brien. “You could walk away with an expensive piece of junk or something that isn’t junk but costs a ton to transport out of the unit.”
While everyone involved admits it’s a gamble, many people are willing to wager their bets and even make a living off of their profits. Brentwood Self Storage held its most recent auction on Feb. 12. Regulars lined up early, including David Mengel, owner of Man Cave and Tummies for Tots. “I’ve seen everything from Indonesian treasures worth thousands of dollars, which I won in an auction, to units with coffins,” said Mengel. “If you win a big unit, you can always vulture pieces.”
Vulturing pieces is selling items you’ve won to other buyers who hover like vultures to see what treasures may be in each unit. At the Brentwood Self Storage auction, units sold for between $20 and $625.
The next auction at Brentwood Self Storage, 190 Sand Creek Road, will be held Thursday, April 10 at noon. For more information, visit www.storageauctions.com.