Storage Unit Auctions: The Timeline Explained

Published: 20 Sep, 2023

Last Updated: 24 Sep, 2023

Serik Baimoldayev

Serik Baimoldayev

Ever played a game of hide and seek with forgotten belongings? Losing your storage unit can feel like a game of hide and seek with forgotten belongings. The rules are simple: pay on time or risk losing the hidden treasures to an auction.

Imagine opening up that dusty, padlocked door only to find emptiness instead of memories…

But how long does it take before your keepsakes become someone else’s bargain finds?

In this journey, we’ll navigate the murky waters of storage unit auctions in the USA. From understanding why these auctions happen, calculating storage fees to avoid them, learning about tenant notifications, and even tips on bidding for those adventurous at heart.

Hold tight as we unlock not just doors but knowledge – ensuring that ‘lost & found’ remains just a game children play.

Table Of Contents:

Understanding Storage Unit Auctions

Storage unit auctions, while perhaps appearing as a concept from reality television, are in fact quite common and real. They happen when someone rents a storage unit, doesn’t pay the rent for a while, and then the contents get auctioned off to recover costs.

Auctions are usually last resorts for moving and storage companies. Before this step is taken, there’s often an effort made to reach out to the tenant or even offer payment plans.

If those attempts fail though? Well…it’s hammer time. Not literally with hammers but rather gavels at public auctions where anyone can bid on what’s inside these units. Just remember – it’s all sold “as is”, so don’t expect any guarantees about condition or value.

  • You never know what treasures you might find hidden away in one of these abandoned units: antiques, collectibles or even cash stashed away in boxes.
  • The flip side? You could end up bidding on someone else’s old college textbooks or broken appliances. That’s why we call it ‘storage roulette’.
  • The key here isn’t just luck; savvy bidders will use their knowledge about items’ potential resale values before making bids.

This process might seem daunting if you’re new to it – that element of surprise does make things exciting though. Stick around as we break down each stage involved from start till finish in subsequent sections below.

Determining Auction Timelines

Storage unit auctions aren’t a snap decision. They happen after several missed payments and ample notice to the tenant. But, how long before a storage unit gets auctioned? Let’s demystify this process.

In most states in the USA, a 30-day period is common after you miss your first payment. This grace period lets tenants catch up on their dues without losing their possessions.

If you fail to make amends within this time frame, it’s likely that your storage provider will initiate the auction process which can take an additional 14-90 days depending upon state laws and company policies. So technically, it could be anywhere from 44 days to about four months before your belongings go under the hammer.

  • The initial waiting period: 30 Days (approx).
  • Auction preparation phase: Between 14 – 90 Days.

Note that timelines may vary based on individual company practices or specific state regulations so always check with your local facility for accurate information.

Calculating Storage Fees

Understanding your storage fees is key to avoiding the dreaded auction block. It’s like having knowledge of the regulations – it can assist you in performing better.

You need to consider several factors when calculating these costs. The size of your unit, its location, and additional features (like climate control) all affect the price. To get an idea of typical rates in different areas, check out this storage cost guide.

Size Matters

A bigger storage space means more rent. Think about it like pizza – more slices come at a higher cost. Make sure you only pay for what you really need by carefully evaluating how much stuff you have before renting.

Location Counts

In real estate as in life, location matters. A storage unit downtown will typically be pricier than one on city outskirts or rural areas because demand is higher there. So choose wisely.

Add-On Features Cost More

The extras add up too. If your belongings require special conditions such as climate-controlled units or extra security measures, expect those costs to increase accordingly.

Fees can stack up fast if not managed well, so make sure that everything adds up right from the start – remember no one likes surprises, especially when they hit our wallets.

Notifying Tenants of Auctions

Getting the news that your storage unit is up for auction can be shocking. So, how does this process start? Typically, when a tenant fails to pay their storage fees within a certain timeframe, usually 30-90 days depending on state laws and company policy, the moving and storage company has the right to auction off their belongings.

This doesn’t happen out of nowhere though. Before any action takes place, tenants are given multiple notifications about overdue payments. State laws, like those in New York where SEKA Moving operates from, require companies to send at least two written notices before proceeding with an auction.

The first notice is sent soon after the missing payment deadline as a gentle reminder, while the second one serves as a final warning stating potential consequences such as public sale or disposal of items stored.

Note: It’s crucial to keep your contact information updated with your storage provider so you never miss these important updates.

  • Avoid being caught off guard by keeping track of payment deadlines and staying proactive about communication with your service provider.
  • If you’re struggling financially, talk it out; many companies are willing to work something out rather than go through the lengthy auction process, which might not cover all owed costs anyway.
  • Bear in mind that once an item goes into auction, there’s no guarantee you’ll get it back even if you manage to settle dues later on. Be careful.

Bidding on Storage Units

When you’ve set your sights on a storage unit, knowing how to bid is crucial. Unlike eBay or an art auction, the process can be more intense.

The first step? Show up early. This gives you time to register for the auction, check out competing bidders and review any units available for viewing. Remember: it’s fast-paced, so don’t blink.

Understanding Auction Types:

  • Silent auctions: Here, all bids are made privately – think of it as passing notes in class but with money involved.
  • Loud auctions: These are like what you see in movies – lots of shouting and adrenaline rush.

You’ll need cash ready too; most places won’t accept credit cards at these events. And remember to factor in sales tax and auction fees when bidding.

If you’re not into crowds or live far away from storage facilities, online options might work better. Sites like StorageTreasures let people bid from anywhere globally — just make sure to read their rules carefully.

Last tip? Keep cool during bidding wars because getting caught up could mean paying more than necessary for items whose value isn’t certain yet. Happy bidding.

Winning an Auction

If you’re the highest bidder at a storage unit auction, congratulations. Bidding successfully marks the beginning of your journey into the realm of uncovering hidden gems. But winning is only half the battle.

The real work begins when you start sorting through your newly acquired goods. Be prepared for both treasures and trash, as these units can hold anything from valuable antiques to old mattresses.

You’ll need to be organized and thorough in this process. If there’s any item that looks potentially valuable, do some research before deciding its fate. Websites like eBay or Antique Roadshow PBS can give you an idea about their potential worth.

Sometimes finding out what something is worth might require more specialized help. Don’t hesitate to consult with experts or take items to appraisal events if necessary – they could turn out to be hidden gems.

Bear in mind though; not everything will have resale value, so it’s important also having plans on how dispose unwanted stuff responsibly – charities often accept donations or recycling centers may come handy here.

After the Auction

You’ve outbid everyone, and now you’re the proud owner of a storage unit. But what happens next? First things first, it’s time to sort through your newfound treasures.

SEKA Moving recommends making an inventory as soon as possible. This will help keep track of valuable items that can be sold or kept.

The thrill of discovery is part of why people love auctions. Yet sometimes you might find personal belongings that aren’t suitable for resale, such as photos or legal documents. These should be returned to the facility management who can then contact the original owners.

Cleaning Out Your Unit

Next comes clean-up duty. Remember, most facilities require auction winners to empty their units within 24-48 hours after winning an auction because they need space for more tenants.

If there are bulky items hard to remove, consider hiring professional movers like SEKA Moving services. We have expertise in handling all types of goods safely and efficiently which saves you both time and energy.

FAQs in Relation to How Long Before Storage Unit Gets Auctioned

How long before storage unit is auctioned in Florida?

In Florida, if you’re behind on payments for 30 days or more, your storage unit can be set up for auction.

What is the Illinois law for storage units?

The Illinois Self-Service Storage Facility Act requires a 14-day written notice before selling tenant’s items at an auction.

When can a storage unit be auctioned off in Michigan?

In Michigan, after falling behind by 60 days, the owner of the facility can start preparing to sell your stuff through an auction.

How do I stop a storage auction in Florida?

To halt an impending sale in Florida, clear all overdue payments and any late fees before the scheduled date of the public sale.


So, you’ve journeyed through the realm of storage unit auctions. You’re no longer in the dark about how long before a storage unit gets auctioned.

You now understand why these auctions happen and can calculate your own fees to prevent them. No more unpleasant surprises!

Notifications? Not a mystery anymore. And if you feel daring, bidding on units is within your grasp too.

Your treasure trove of knowledge doesn’t stop there – winning an auction and what happens after are clear as day.

This was quite an adventure! Keep this newfound wisdom close; it’s one less game of ‘lost & found’ to play with your belongings.

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