Question from Anne G. in Hawaii:
A friend gave me your book and I gave it a quick read. It sounds like you’re suggesting people to prey upon the misfortune of others to find stuff to sell? (Hateful rant omitted.)
Anne, thank you for your question. I get asked this one a lot. It is true that much of the merchandise I have sold came from people who were in financial distress. One way to look at this is you’re either predator or prey. You either eat or get eaten. Now, this is not such a pleasant way to look at things so I choose to look at it as follows:
There many, many reasons that a may become in a weak financial position; loss of a job, excessive debt, gambling, drinking/drugs, divorce, imprisonment and death. I have found evidence of these personal problems in some of the delinquent storage units I have purchased at auction. I didn’t have anything to do with the person failing to pay their rent on their stored goods. In fact, when I show up to an auction and the auctioneer tells us that several of the people paid their delinquent rent, I cheer them. I think people should pay the rent to save their stuff if it has value to them. Why would they have put it in storage otherwise? If everyone would just pay their rent there would never be a storage unit auction. But for whatever reason, some people don’t pay their rent and the auction goes forward. When I buy it, I move it out of the storage facility so the facility can rent the space – furthering commerce. I clean it and sell it, recycling if you will. So you could say that I’m performing a service which furthers economic growth. I think of it as a green business.
Who’ this Dirk? Read about Dirk
Hey Scott, I bought my first storage unit at auction last week. There was some decent stuff, furniture, appliances, a sweet tv, some video games and dvd’s. The reason I’m writing is I found an old painting but I can’t find anything about it because it’s not signed. Any ideas on how I can figure out if it’s worth anything?
Ron, Las Vegas
Hi Ron, congrats on getting some good stuff. I have to tell you that my wife and I have found some art that we couldn’t figure out anything about. I have a couple ideas that might help you. I am aware of four auction houses near Las Vegas, Las Vegas Auction, McManus Auction, Clark County Public Auction, and Darwin’s Auction at the Boulder City Antique Mall. They all offer consignment and might have an idea about the value of your painting. You can also take digital pictures and start sending them out to various places on the internet like askart.com and artnet.com. What we usually do is take great pictures and list them on ebay with a starting price of 9.99 but we purchase the Gallery Plus feature. This gets the painting an affordable exposure and we’ve sold the majority of our art this way. One last option is to call some local antique dealers and ask them if they’re interested in looking at the painting. We’ve had several come to the house and we ask them lots of questions. They usually say they have to research the item and you’ll never hear from them again. The process can be frustrating but the last thing you want to happen is sell it at a garage sale for $50 and then see the buyer on the antique roadshow with a $20,000 painting.
Hope that helps,
Scott R Asher
Yes! As a matter of fact – I found gold in most storage units I won at auction!
I am not talking about striking it rich by finding a stack of gold bars in a storage unit, but I would say that 8 out of 10 storage units with everyday household items had some sort of gold in them.
Most people own some-type of gold, earrings, necklace, rings, teeth, just about anything you can think of. One ring might be worth twenty bucks, but put all your gold together and it really adds up! Over the time I was buy storage units at auction I would say I found about 3 ounces of scrap gold total.
Want to sell your gold? Gold scams are at an all-time high so you need to be careful.
What is the best way to cash in your gold?
First you need to find out just how much gold you have. Then you need to find out what karat of gold you have and the weight. Then this will give you an idea of what your gold is worth.
The best way to proceed is to shop around! I would get 3-5 bids and only deal in cash, because onces it gone, it’s gone!
Many people claim to pay the most, but this not true. Gold buyers are looking to pay the least for your gold, so the closer to market value you can get the better off you are.
There are many ways to sell storage auctioned goods, I am going to go over what I feel worked well for me and why.
eBay – eBay started as a strong front runner when I first got started buying storage units, but after rising cost for listing items on eBay, the shipping cost and Paypal fees this became less of an attractive method to move my storage auction winnings. In my opinion, eBay’s feeing system was no longer advantageous for the seller.
Craigslist – I like Craigslist overall, but even with this method of selling things it has some unwanted side effects. I know Craigslist in some markets is much better than others, but with all the new changes making listing more challenging and the overall decline in quality responses, craigslist in my mind has became almost annoying.
**SELLERS NOTE: I think eBay and craigslist is very useful tools, but you must be selective in what items you sell! Cost involved with eBay only make it a good for selling things with a high return, Craigslist is hit or miss on almost anything, and you always have to deal with lots of spam.
Selling at Garage sale – This I think is best way to sell your storage items, it uses everything you have right in-front of you, and very low over-head! I think most treasure seekers are out and about! You might be asking yourself, do I want to sell my stuff at the garage sale? I think that answerer is “Yes.” Many people are out seeking items that have value to make potential money left on the table.
Can’t have a garage sale? No Problem! Most cities have a local flea-market, an for just a few bucks you can get in-front of 100’s of people to sell your items.
With eBay and craigslist there is a premium to be paid on everything you sell. It might be gas, to meet people or shipping materials, it all adds up to something! I found that a garage sale brings everyone to me, todays garage sale shopper is a savvy collector, digging in the trenches for products to resale, even to this day I can still spot items to buy for just a few bucks and make 100’s reselling them on eBay.
One thing I feel was most important about part of buying auction units, was saving money when transporting your items.
So much money can be lost when moving items. I found that having a trailer allowed me move items quickly and easily. Truck rentals like Uhaul can add hundred of dollars in extra cost to overcome, a trailer cost me almost nothing.
Fun Fact: The trailer was a old bumper pull travel trailer, that I cut off the top and paid $35.00 dollars for @ auction.
An email question I received, about buying storage units in Las Vegas.
First, I wanted to thank you for your awesome website!! The hubby and I were thinking of maybe buying a storage unit or two. We have been doing other sales on craigslist, but wanted to see if we can step it up a notch. I read your scammers beware part and we were thinking the same thing so were a little scared to get out there with our hard earned mu-la. I wanted to see if you happen to know if any companies that you have dealt with that you think we should stay away from? I know there is times when we have learned a lesson the hard way and I always share with friends when I do. We have five kids so we have plenty of crap of our own to sell all the time but with buying a storage unit here and there we are hoping to buy a house in this down market. Any help much appreciated. We will be heading out to the first auction this Saturday that I found in the announcements. Thanks for the link and tutorial. –Sarah, Las Vegas
First off I would like to Thank you for your question.
Buying storage’s units is overall very safe venture, most of the time its only a few hundred dollars at risk. Storage units can go for almost anything, but bidding on what you can see is a money saving statement. The best way to look at it, is like this… At the time of bidding, if you where 100% ready to pay for what you could physically see inside the storage unit, “most of the time” there is not going to be a problem. It is when I here of someone overpaying when they see a big screen TV, or something they believe to be a “goldmine” is when you run into a problem. Gamble at your own risk.
I have been burned buy storage units, but the bottom-line is, it has only amounted to a few hundred dollars loss. I know the market for buying storage units is very competitive with it coming to TV.
My best advise is to: sit back and wait, your unit is coming up!
Fun Facts: Here is a list of items that are only worth about half of what you think they are worth.
Sounds good! We do Dave Ramsey financial peace so Im very very patient 🙂 I have an eye for stuff my husband at first thought I was nutty but when he went a couple weeks with me not selling and saw how much I was bringing in selling on craigslist he jumped on board. We will be heading to our first storage auction tomorrow it should be interesting. We will probably just watch to see how it all works. I have to say I love the selling boxes idea I laughed today when I saw some in the dumpster behind Walgreen’s. I’m pissed about the storage wars thing and coupon thing on tlc I do both of those grrr.