Storage Auctions

Saw my first truly staged unit today

Saw my first truly staged unit today
« on: September 27, 2012, 07:34:09 PM »
We were on a PS Caravan today and she opened it up and all the regulars immediately were saying that it was staged.  It was a 20x10 I think, and in the back of it the entire space was filled with perfectly new usps boxes all labeled with red marker stacked perfectly facing us.  Some said comics, some collectibles, etc.  the front had some random stuff but not much.  One of the old timers picked up a little pebble and threw it at the boxes assuming they were empty, and yep, the entire thing came crashing down.  Absolutely empty every one of them.  The auctioneer came over, saw what had happened, said anyone got $1?  Someone said yes, and he said SOLD DONE, shut it.  So I thought was really cool of him to not play the game that the owner had set up.  We always hear or read about such set ups, but it's almost hard to believe until you witness it first hand. 

Re: Saw my first truly staged unit today
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2012, 09:39:37 AM »
Somebody trying to cash in.  I have heard of several such attempts here in the Puget Sound region.  Several  lockers that appeared to be full of nice antique furniture and sold for several thousand dollars each. Well all the furniture has major issues which are hidden from view and was worthless.  The renter was determined to be the same guy and a known shyster, he was confronted by one of the buyers and the buyer demanded his money back and got it.  The threat was a severe beating. Enough said as much as the guy deserved a beating it is not worth going to jail over. it appears to have stopped for now but with state law requiring the renter get any amount over what is owed this may continue to happen just not as obvious. It would be easy to stage a unit to look great when all it had in it was junk. Boxes labelled as stated in the OP are a big clue something is wrong.

Re: Saw my first truly staged unit today
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2012, 03:55:11 PM »
Went to a auction today in Northern Illinois. 

Red Flag #1: They had 17 units advertised and upon arrival they said it was up to 20.  I have been to many auctions and the number of units always goes down, never seen one go up. 

Red Flag #2:  They cut the lock on the first unit.  First time I have actually seen them cut a lock at any auction but actually liked that.  Gave a sense that everything was on the up and up. 

Red Flag #3:  EVERY unit had antiques.  Every door they opened had old items. 

Red Flag #4:  If it had a shelf it had something sitting on it.  Labels always faced front letting you know exactly what it was.

Red Flag #5:  No Dust.  Not one piece of furniture had a speck of dust on it.

Red Flag #6:  Not a single tote or trash bag.  Not a single article of clothing. 

Needless to say one person bought two units and when it came time to pay he demanded his money back.  They actually gave it to him and just resold the units.  I talked to a few people and each one said they found nothing great.

Icing on the cake.  A few people who live in the neighborhood were there and they said the storage facility was built 3 months ago.

I bought a unit for $175.  Just furniture and I bought what I saw.  One large table top that would of been worth $500 had damage that wasn't visible but I will use it as a table at the flea markets so not a total loss.  One dining table had a auction house sticker on it.  I asked the owner of the facility why my items had auction house stickers and she said all the units were owned by the same person.  He owned a auction house that shut down and he called and told her to just sell the units. 

I still wouldn't of minded so much if they at least put things together.  I have 13 ocean or great lake fishing rod bottoms but missing the tops to all the poles.  So somebody else has 13 tops and no bottoms.   

Everyone at this auction left feeling cheated and really angry.  I had mixed feelings.  You bought what you saw.  If you bought the unit because you "thought" it was going to hold great treasures then that was your mistake.  I will make a few dollars on my unit and that is fine with me.

Offline MovieMan

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Re: Saw my first truly staged unit today
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2012, 05:49:50 PM »
Went to a auction today in Northern Illinois. 

Red Flag #1: They had 17 units advertised and upon arrival they said it was up to 20.  I have been to many auctions and the number of units always goes down, never seen one go up. 

Go to enough auctions and it won't be the LAST one you'll see either.

Red Flag #2:  They cut the lock on the first unit.  First time I have actually seen them cut a lock at any auction but actually liked that.  Gave a sense that everything was on the up and up. 

IMO that doesn't matter. Think about it. The prop mgrs have all the time in the world.
They can cut off original locks (which most do anyway) and put their own on and then use a key to take them off at
auction time. The fact they are cutting a lock off at the auction doesn't necessarily mean it was the original owner's lock.


Red Flag #3:  EVERY unit had antiques.  Every door they opened had old items. 

Yep, and later they announced they were all the same owner. They could have done  that in the beginning.

Red Flag #4:  If it had a shelf it had something sitting on it.  Labels always faced front letting you know exactly what it was.

Pretty much a dead give-away.

Red Flag #5:  No Dust.  Not one piece of furniture had a speck of dust on it.

Red Flag #6:  Not a single tote or trash bag.  Not a single article of clothing. 

They weren't terribly smart about the setup were they.

Needless to say one person bought two units and when it came time to pay he demanded his money back.  They actually gave it to him and just resold the units.  I talked to a few people and each one said they found nothing great.

Icing on the cake.  A few people who live in the neighborhood were there and they said the storage facility was built 3 months ago.


Oh well, live and learn.

Offline Cobia

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Re: Saw my first truly staged unit today
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2012, 09:25:32 AM »
Went to a auction today in Northern Illinois. 

Red Flag #1: They had 17 units advertised and upon arrival they said it was up to 20.  I have been to many auctions and the number of units always goes down, never seen one go up. 

Red Flag #2:  They cut the lock on the first unit.  First time I have actually seen them cut a lock at any auction but actually liked that.  Gave a sense that everything was on the up and up. 

Red Flag #3:  EVERY unit had antiques.  Every door they opened had old items. 

Red Flag #4:  If it had a shelf it had something sitting on it.  Labels always faced front letting you know exactly what it was.

Red Flag #5:  No Dust.  Not one piece of furniture had a speck of dust on it.

Red Flag #6:  Not a single tote or trash bag.  Not a single article of clothing. 

Needless to say one person bought two units and when it came time to pay he demanded his money back.  They actually gave it to him and just resold the units.  I talked to a few people and each one said they found nothing great.

Icing on the cake.  A few people who live in the neighborhood were there and they said the storage facility was built 3 months ago.

I bought a unit for $175.  Just furniture and I bought what I saw.  One large table top that would of been worth $500 had damage that wasn't visible but I will use it as a table at the flea markets so not a total loss.  One dining table had a auction house sticker on it.  I asked the owner of the facility why my items had auction house stickers and she said all the units were owned by the same person.  He owned a auction house that shut down and he called and told her to just sell the units. 

I still wouldn't of minded so much if they at least put things together.  I have 13 ocean or great lake fishing rod bottoms but missing the tops to all the poles.  So somebody else has 13 tops and no bottoms.   

Everyone at this auction left feeling cheated and really angry.  I had mixed feelings.  You bought what you saw.  If you bought the unit because you "thought" it was going to hold great treasures then that was your mistake.  I will make a few dollars on my unit and that is fine with me.

My first impression before reading through the entire post is the stuff in the units came from an auction house. Now it's hard to say if the facility purposely set this auction up, (going to a local auction house, buying a bunch of furniture and knick-knacks, putting them in their units to auction). A year ago this would have probably been a winning formula for doubling or tripling their money, but now I believe in many places the interest in storage auctions and the crazy high bidding have dropped eneough to make it a risky strategy to buy at an auction house than sell at a storage auction.

Don't get hung up in thinking you should ONLY see the contents of someone's home or apartment in a unit. There are many reasons why people rent storage units and they will store very odd things from time to time. Don't let an "odd" looking unit scare you into thinking it's staged. Forget about where you are and just focus on what you are seeing (& smelling) & determine what value it has to you.

I remember one time I got a unit with a washer & dryer & a drum set in it. Nothing else. Well because there were no boxes & bags to hunt through I ended up winning the unit for $150. Sold the washer & dryer for $250 & the drum set for $150, an easy $250 profit cause so many people want a unit that looks like it's full (or potentially full) of buried treasure. Most of the time they're filled with buried trasher.  ;)

Re: Saw my first truly staged unit today
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2012, 07:49:22 PM »
Went to a sale a couple of weeks ago that advertised 15 units on the auctioneers web site. When we got there they said there were 20. I was kind of worried until I talked to the owner. He had just bought the facility and had a total of 50 units to sell after putting liens on 80. He decided to break it up into two sales. The first 20 were the longest delinquent. He will sell off the rest this month. Originally he advertised thinking that more would pay up. I never saw the legal notice in the paper but someone else there said he ran all 80. This owner has another facility I have bought several units from and I have never had any reason not to trust him before.
As for locks. I have only been to two sales in the last two years that I felt actually cut the lock right in front of us. The very first sale I went to was done by the local auctioneer that I have frequented for years. This was his first storage auction. I don't think anyone knew what was in the lockers as one only had a stack of pacing blankets in it and they passed on even auctioning it. Last weekend I believe the facility manager had not been in these units. He was just as surprised as us at a few he thought would be better.

Offline bwd111

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Re: Saw my first truly staged unit today
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2012, 01:30:28 PM »
Somebody trying to cash in.  I have heard of several such attempts here in the Puget Sound region.  Several  lockers that appeared to be full of nice antique furniture and sold for several thousand dollars each. Well all the furniture has major issues which are hidden from view and was worthless.  The renter was determined to be the same guy and a known shyster, he was confronted by one of the buyers and the buyer demanded his money back and got it.  The threat was a severe beating. Enough said as much as the guy deserved a beating it is not worth going to jail over. it appears to have stopped for now but with state law requiring the renter get any amount over what is owed this may continue to happen just not as obvious. It would be easy to stage a unit to look great when all it had in it was junk. Boxes labelled as stated in the OP are a big clue something is wrong.
Just stick to your love for online buying and you should be fine. Due to your okay for you to over paying 500 or so. ::) :P

Re: Saw my first truly staged unit today
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2012, 11:51:41 PM »
These are downright crazy stories. There is one here in my city that does video auctions and it looks like they go right inside the unit? I haven't bid through the online versions but have been going to real storage auctions since I was a [email protected]!

Re: Saw my first truly staged unit today
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2012, 08:21:39 PM »
You have to go with your gut. If you see boxes perfectly stacked and NO dust and if you see a giant backdrop made of moving blankets RUN!! I have seen so many "staged" units it makes me laugh. I bid on only what I see. Everything else is gravy or it's dumpster food.
Always remember .....they can gift wrap a turd.   ;D


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