How to Buy Storage Units for Profit in 2024 (Ultimate Guide)

Are you looking to cash out on your next storage unit purchase? Discover how to buy storage units with this guide — prepare yourself for a good bargain!

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Are you looking for affordable storage units but don’t know where to start?

Storage auctions can be a great place to start. As a buyer, you might find it challenging to pinpoint the perfect storage unit to meet your needs, especially if you don’t know the ins and outs of self-storage. Not to worry; we’re here to guide you through the process!

Read on to learn how to buy storage units all over the world. And if you want to outrightly buy a storage unit for personal use or lease purposes, we’ve also included tips on what to look out for. Other sections of this guide focus on how Storeganise’s software can help with self storage marketing, particularly for owners looking to sell their units, so be sure to read to the end.

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What is a Storage Auction?

A storage auction, also known as a storage unit auction, refers to the public sale of contents of abandoned storage units. When tenants fail to pay the rent for storage units or abandon them due to any reason, storage facilities sell the entire contents of the storage units through auction.

At a storage auction, potential buyers bid on the available units, and the highest bidder wins the bid and gets the storage unit. This way, the storage facility recoups its losses resulting from unpaid rent dues and clears the space for other customers.

What Types of Storage Auctions in the UK are there?

There are two types of storage auctions in the UK. they include;

  • In-person storage auctions: In-person storage auctions take place at a physical location, usually a storage facility. Bidders can inspect the storage units in person and interact with other participants. These aren’t common in the UK but occur in some places.
  • Online storage auctions: The most common type of storage auctions in the UK are conducted through digital platforms known as online storage auctions like lockerfox and CubeSmart. Bidders can browse listings, view storage units, and place bids online. Online auctions often have a larger reach, so there is tough competition among bidders.  You can choose the type of storage auction depending on your preference and convenience.

storage auctions in the UK

How Storage Unit Auctions Work in the UK

The go-to place to get the best storage unit is a storage auction. However, you must understand how storage unit auctions operate to make the best of them — it’s the first step to finding a great storage unit at a good price.

Storage facilities in most countries have the right to auction off abandoned units. However, they must notify their tenants (via mail, email or phone) if there’s an existing contract or any other affiliation to the storage unit. When unclaimed storage unit auctions are announced, auction companies can hold them on-site or online.

At these auctions, potential buyers will be able to inspect the contents of some of the units before they bid on them. After bidding closes, buyers must pay for their units immediately and move out their contents as soon as possible.

It’s essential to remember that units are sold “as is,” and anything inside might be subject to a lien due to unpaid rent. So, research and review all relevant documents before bidding or buying any storage units at an auction.

Attending storage unit auctions can be a thrilling way to find hidden treasures and potentially make some extra cash. However, before diving in, it’s crucial to research and understand the process to maximize your chances of success. Can you make money with storage unit auctions? With the right strategy and a little luck, it’s definitely possible!

Finding Unclaimed and Abandoned Storage Units for Sale

Abandoned storage units are exciting to buy. These are units where the previous tenants have breached the existing contracts, and thus, the storage facility manager is willing to auction them with the content to recoup their loss. Buying this type of unit is alluring because of the potential to find hidden gems that the previous owners might have left behind.

That said, here are three key ways to locate abandoned storage units for sale:

  1. Look for in-person storage auctions.
  2. Contact storage facility owners
  3. Check online storage unit markets/auctions

1. Look for In-person Storage Auctions

Firstly, you can look into storage auctions — whereby the contents of unpaid storage units are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Auctions will often be advertised in local or national newspapers, by professional auctioneers and online via social media. Remember to research your chosen auction beforehand, as they may have different rules and regulations on what can be bought and sold.

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2. Contact Storage Facility Owners

If you research correctly, you may find deals from storage facility owners who want to sell abandoned storage units. You should look for reputable sellers who’ll offer the goods at reasonable prices and accurately describe what’s being sold.

Strive to get as much information about the storage unit as possible from the seller — this way, you can safeguard yourself from potential scams or misleading offers.

3. Check Online Storage Unit Markets/Auctions

Finally, you can check the online markets dedicated to buying and selling abandoned storage units. These offer an excellent way for customers to buy from the comfort of their own homes, comparing prices across sellers in different locations. Popular online storage unit auction platforms include eBay and iBidOnStorage.

However, be sure to read reviews carefully before investing in any online marketplaces so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into!

Three Factors to Consider Before Attending Your First Storage Unit Auction

Most abandoned storage units are sold through auctions, so you’re better off attending one. When you buy old storage units at auction, you can snag yourself a great deal if you know what you’re getting into.

Attending your first storage unit auction can be pretty intimidating, but with some research and preparation, you can be a confident buyer.

Here are three top considerations to look into before attending:

  1. Regulations
  2. Type of auction
  3. Detailed descriptions

1. Regulations

Auction regulations vary across the world; even local laws can dictate what you’re allowed to buy. For example, in England and Wales, the sale of abandoned storage units is governed by the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977. This law outlines the procedures for disposing of unclaimed items and sets guidelines for auctioning storage units.

Hence, before participating in storage unit auctions, you should familiarise yourself with these regulations and any other local laws that may apply to your specific area.

2. Type of Auction

Although storage auctions are available in online and offline formats; the actual contents of the unit (and auction process) vary depending on the auction type. Either online or offline, make sure you familiarise yourself with any additional rules or procedures beforehand.

You should always check the auction house website for intricate details and rules to adequately prepare yourself for the event.

3. Detailed Descriptions

Storage facility owners must provide detailed descriptions of their units for sale so that potential buyers know what they’re purchasing — read through them carefully since there could be more than meets the eye. You want to ensure no hidden surprises when the time comes to open up the unit!

Evaluating Storage Units for Outright Purchase: Three Top Criteria

If you decide to not just buy abandoned storage units, but proper storage units for personal use or lease purposes, here are three top criteria to look out for:

  1. Location
  2. Size and dimensions
  3. Price

1. Location

The location of a storage unit is essential for convenience and security — you want to ensure the unit is located somewhere you can access quickly (for example, near your home or office). You also want to ensure it’s located in a safe area with reasonable security measures, such as video surveillance and secure access points.

On the contrary, you certainly don’t want a storage unit that can’t hold valuable properties from the fear of losing them, especially when you consider how often self storage units get broken into.

2. Size and Dimensions

When looking at storage units, you must consider how much space you’ll need. That means looking at not just square footage but also height — some units may have limited headroom, which may not be suitable for storing tall items such as artwork or mirrors. Hence, ensure you get accurate measurements before committing to a unit!

3. Price

Of course, you’ll also need to consider the budget when evaluating storage units. So, make sure that the price fits your budget — remember that different facilities may offer different prices for similar units, so be sure to compare prices thoroughly before committing.

Three Tips to Help You Negotiate the Best Deal on a Storage Unit

If you’ve read up to this point, you’re certainly armed with everything necessary to buy storage units at a great bargain.

However, to clinch the best of deals, adhere to the following tips:

  1. Do your research.
  2. Negotiate vigorously.
  3. Opt for abandoned storage units.

Negotiate the Best Deal on a Storage Unit

Tip 1: Do Your Research

Research in advance to understand the going rate for storage units in the UK and similar offerings in your area. Also, ensure you understand the governing laws at any auction you plan to attend. With that knowledge, you can come into negotiations confidently, knowing when you’re getting a good deal.

Tip 2: Negotiate Vigorously.

When negotiating to buy unclaimed storage units, it pays to be polite, but firm — assertiveness will often bring better results than being overly nice. Don’t shy away from bargaining hard; the first price is always just the starting point, and you should always be prepared to walk away if necessary.

Tip 3: Opt for Abandoned Storage Units.

In some instances, storage facility owners will have abandoned units up for sale, which can be a great way of getting an even better price. However, ensure you get full disclosure on any issues with these units before purchasing them — you don’t want any surprises once you move in!

Flipping Abandoned Storage Units for Profit: Two Tips for Owners

You may also have heard stories of people making money from flipping abandoned storage units. This is allowed by law in the UK and can be a great way to make a comfortable income.

Here are two tips to help ensure you get a good bargain.

  1. Check the rules.
  2. Set Competitive prices.

We also included a bonus tip, so be sure to read to the end.

Tip 1: Check the Rules.

Before flipping abandoned storage units, it’s important to check the regulations in your area. Different local governments have different rules on purchasing and selling abandoned storage units legally and how to market them.

Ensure you’re familiar with the concerned laws in your area before you flip any abandoned storage units to ensure that your business is entirely above board and compliant with any regulations.

Storage unit laws are never something to overlook!

Tip 2: Set Competitive Prices.

Once you know the legal requirements for flipping storage units in your area, it’s time to start looking at pricing for your units. It’s crucial to set competitive prices with similar products on the market while still providing a reasonable return on your investment — this will help you stay competitive and ensure that people keep buying from you!

Bonus Tip: Have Self Storage Software in Place!

It’s common to have several storage facilities in different locations. With time, they can be complicated to manage. Investing in a comprehensive self storage software like Storeganise will help make managing your self storage business easy and hassle-free.

Storeganise provides an efficient system for managing inventory, creating invoices, tracking payments, and more — all from one dashboard. This will ensure that you maximise profits when selling abandoned storage units and streamline your process for future sales.

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Wrapping It Up

The decision to buy storage units in the UK is a huge one that comes with several considerations, including location, size, security, and cost. Also, before engaging in any storage unit sale or auction, ensure you know the regulations for the area you’re buying in and the storage facility’s rules.

For storage facility owners looking to sell abandoned storage units, it’s important to consider the value of the unit, the demand for the type of unit, and the legality of the sale. In addition, Storeganise’s comprehensive software helps make the process easier, allowing facility owners to quickly and easily manage their inventory and pricing. You can try Storeganise by signing up today.

Ultimately, whether you’re buying or selling, it pays to do your research. With the right information and system, you can make buying a storage unit in the UK stress-free and rewarding.

FAQs about Buying Storage Units

Can You Buy Abandoned Storage Units?

Yes, you can buy abandoned storage units in the UK. Many online and in-person auctions offer abandoned storage units for sale. However, ensure you do your due research before buying one.

Do They Auction Storage Units in the UK?

Yes, storage unit auctions do take place in the UK. Online storage auctions are the most common type of auction in the UK. Unlike popular TV shows in the US, it’s not as common to visit the storage lot in person and walk around various units.

What Is the Minimum Storage Unit?

The most common minimum size for a storage unit is typically 5’x5’, about twenty-five square feet. This size is often suitable for storing a small number of items, such as boxes, small furniture, or seasonal items. It’s important to note that storage facilities may offer smaller sizes or even lockers for storing a minimal number of items.

Is It Legal To Live in a Storage Unit in the UK?

It isn’t legal to live in a storage unit in the UK. As one of the several storage unit laws, living in a storage unit in the UK is generally prohibited. While financial difficulties may lead some individuals to consider this option, converting a storage unit into a permanent residence is against the law.

What Is the Most Popular Storage Unit Size?

The most popular storage unit size is the 10’x10’ unit. It’s preferred due to its versatility and medium-sized space, approximately one hundred square feet or about half the size of a standard garage. It can comfortably accommodate the contents of a two-bedroom apartment, including boxes and totes.