Nearly every town in America has at least one self storage facility where residents can store their extra belongings or their whole household while moving. If the monthly rent on the unit is not paid, the unit is sent to auction. In most cases anyone can attend these auctions and the potential for bargains is endless.
Conduct a Web search for storage unit auctions in your area. Type "storage unit auction [city]". For example, if you live in Houston, type "storage unit auction Houston" into your search engine and review the results.
Read your local newspaper. It is a legal requirement in most states that any sale due to default in payment be preceded by a notice in the newspaper. Check the legal notices section on a regular basis to find out about storage auctions and other kinds of default sales.
Check with auction services, auctioneers and your local storage companies in your area. Storage auctions are normally held on site by either a professional auctioneer or by an employee of the storage company. Call them directly to ask about upcoming sales and for pointers and suggestions about auction terms and etiquette.
Get cash. Most storage auctions are cash only, so be sure to have plenty of cash available (at least $500 to $1,000) if you want to be able to compete on some of the more valuable units.
Most storage auctions require you to sign in before the sale; be sure to check in with the office before the auction begins. Many auction services have email or call lists. If you sign up, it will make finding auctions easier in the future. You are not allowed to step foot into the unit until it has been purchased, so bring a good flashlight along so that you can get a better look from the door. Most storage facilities require you to take immediate possession of the unit, so bring a few padlocks along just in case you get lucky. You are usually given 24 to 48 hours to remove all of the items from inside your unit; be sure to have transportation and help ready.