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10 FAQs on Self-Storage Online Auctions

By Cheli Rosa Comments
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7. How does the online-auction provider get paid?

This will vary. Some providers require you to use a credit card and pay immediately after a unit sells. Some will allow you to have an open account and receive an invoice at the end of the month. Others have membership packages that allow you to pay a flat monthly fee. If the payment method is important to you, ask about the options before you begin listing.

8. Will I be charged a fee if I cancel a unit before the final sale?

Again, this will vary from provider to provider. Some will charge a fee ranging from $10 to $20, while others won’t have a fee at all.

9. If there’s a vehicle in a unit, can I sell it at an online auction?

Possibly. There are some states that don’t allow motor vehicles to be sold at an online auction or have policies that interfere with the sale of vehicles at auction. For example, California requires any vehicles being sold at auction to be available for inspection for at least 30 minutes before the auction at the location of the sale. This wouldn’t be possible if the auction is conducted online. Similarly, Georgia doesn’t have procedures in place to grant a title to a motor vehicle sold at a self-storage lien sale. If you have questions about car sales, reach out to your online-auction company to help guide you through the process.

10. What guarantees the buyer will show up to pay me?

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, including online auctions. There’s no guarantee the buyer will show up. Sometimes a person will win and you’ll never hear from him again. This happens in live auctions as well. The auctioneer goes inside to collect money from the buyers, and the last person in line doesn’t have enough money to pay his bid amount, sales tax and cleaning deposit, and the operator is stuck with the unit until the next round of auctions.

If you sell a unit online and the buyer doesn’t show up to pay, contact your auction provider immediately to start the process of contacting second- and third-place bidders. Often one of these bidders will still be willing to buy the unit.

As with live sales, there are legal guidelines you must follow when conducting online auctions. If you’re not sure about a step or have questions about the process, seek a reputable online-auction provider for guidance.

Cheli Rosa is director of marketing for StorageStuff.Bid, which provides online storage-auction services. She’s a former high school teacher turned storage professional turned auctioneer. She’s worked in all areas of self-storage. Her constant desire for additional knowledge led her to immerse herself in the lien-foreclosure process. For more information, call 877.758.4243; visit www.storagestuff.bid.

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