Be a Savvy Storage User: Storage Auctions – Fact or fiction?

The power of television is never more evident than when a storage operator meets new people. It is inevitable that we will be asked, “Is Storage Wars real? Or “Do you actually do that?”

FACT: Yes, storage companies do seize and sell contents of storage units when the accounts are significantly overdue. It is the method we have to take back our storage space, so that we can re-rent it. Just like an apartment rental, there is a procedure for the landlord/storage owner to take back their space and put it back on the rental market.

FACT: Less than 1% of our Sentinel storage rentals are seized and sold. Yes, that’s right the HUGE majority of customers rent their space, pay their rent and move out with little fanfare. Most people are renting storage because they want to keep the items they are storing. They are good upstanding people that intend to pay their rent.

FACT: Storage operators would be extremely happy if we NEVER had a sale! This is not the business we are in. We dislike having to take these drastic steps. Most operators will work closely with their past due customers to come to a resolution. Sometimes we negotiate to accept less money, if the customer moves out to stop the rent from accumulating.

FACT: Some of our customers (and these are the minority!) move out their unit and leave behind garbage or items they have abandoned. Since their lock remains on the door until the storage company can legally cut the lock for being overdue, rents accumulate. The storage operator has to absorb the cost for cleanup, as well as the loss of revenue.

FACT: Most of the seized units contain household items – used household items. I usually add that the items you may see at a garage sale, used but still in good condition for someone else to want, are very similar to what is in a storage unit. Are there amazing finds? Sure, like a garage sale or a second-hand store, the savvy collector may score a find!

FACT: Some operators have chosen to take the onsite sale process that you see on TV, virtual. This way more bidders can attend, and they can participate in the sale from the comfort of their chair. There are many good, reputable companies that provide this platform. At Sentinel, we use Photos of the seized unit are uploaded and bidders can bid until the sale closes at a certain date and time. Highest bid takes the entire storage unit’s contents.

FICTION: Will leave that to the reader’s discretion to judge what is FACT and what is FICTION now that you know some facts. It would make for boring TV to see used household goods sold on an ongoing basis…

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