Things You Should Never Buy at a Storage Auction

Buying items at a storage auction can be something of a gamble. Some items are always a good bet: antiques, collectibles, jewelry and other items that can sell quickly and for a high profit. Other items, however, are poor investments. They may be difficult to sell, unprofitable or just hard to work with. Recognizing these items will help save you time and money the next time you go to an auction. Here's a list of five things you should avoid at a storage auction.

  1. Large, bulky items that you don't have a buyer in mind for. Storing and moving things like industrial printers or old-fashioned TVs can be a pain, and you ay not be able to find a buyer with the storage space or desire to buy them.

  2. Mattresses, especially if you live somewhere with a bed bug population. Even if there is no bug hazard, realize that used mattresses usually don't sell very well and are very bulky to store and haul.

  3. Tires. It's impossible to know without examining the whether the tires are usable, but you should assume they won't be. Not only does that create a lot of trash to dispose of, you'll need to pay a disposal fee at the dump for them, so you'll actually lose money on these.

  4. Urns and coffins. Occasionally, these will be new in the box from a funeral home or other sources. Unfortunately, they often are not, and the stress of dealing with the ashes of a stranger's loved one is not something most auction-hunters want to deal with.

  5. Picture frames. Unless you have plans to put something in the frames - such as re-framing art pieces or selling your own original work - picture frames do not sell well. Sometimes you can get lucky and sell them in bulk for a decent price, but the space needed to store them often does not make it worthwhile.

You only have a few minutes to take stock of what's within a storage unit and decide whether or not to bid. It's impossible to know for sure what might make a good investment, so you'll need to use your best judgment and go with your gut. Ultimately, the best strategy is to focus on hings that you know you can sell. As you build a network of buyers and gain experience with certain types of items, you'll be able to expand your business and turn a profit on more difficult items. Nevertheless, avoiding certain hard-to-sell items can keep you from losing money as you begin your storage auction business.

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