HOUSTON – On Dec. 7 Budget Storage had a record number of delinquent storage units go up for auction. Another surprise: a 400 percent increase in attendance and more than triple the number of visitors to its website. With TV shows such as A&E’s “Storage Wars” and SPIKE-TV’s “Auction Hunters” focusing on the cheap antiques and collectibles to be found in abandond storage units, auctioneers are seeing a larger than average turnout at these events. IT seems everyone is looking for the “treasures” they see being found on TV in delinquent units.
It had been quite some time since Budget Storage held an auction and with 58 units on the auction block management thought this was going to be a big event. LL Auctions was the professional auction company selected to handle this auction. Even with extra staff on hand it was a fast and furious day as every single unit was sold with a record number of bidders registered. “We knew we had to get everyone registered as quickly as possible and move the auction along in a timely manner,” auctioneer Lisa Gay said. “We began promptly at 10 a.m. and we were all thrilled when each and every unit was sold by 2:15 p.m.”
The sale was so well attended it was even covered by local news outlets. One such story can still be viewed online.
“One of the most frequent questions we are asked is if it’s like the TV shows,” Gay said. “I tell new bidders it’s like sitting in front of a slot machine – You can spend money and loose, break even or you just might hit the jackpot. We’ve heard of cash, guns and motorcycles being buried in the back of some units. It’s the mystery and the thrill of the hunt that keeps bidders coming back.”
Most professional auctioneers are seeing turnouts at delinquent storage unit auctions increase as much as 400 percent. It was noted by the media that on Dec. 7, the increase in attendance was closer to 800 percent. There are several factors, in addition to the TV shows, that professional auctioneers are crediting for this increase. The economy has many people looking for ways to put a few extra dollars in their pockets. If people can buy units and sell the items for a profit, at a flea market or garage sale, this gives them extra money to pay the bills.
Another factor for increased attendance is that when a storage facility utilizes a professional licensed auctioneer the auction can be posted on AuctionZip.com. This website is one of the most widely used sites bidders can visit when searching for storage unit auctions. Only a licensed auctioneer can post auctions on this site and it certainly has seen an increase in traffic.
“In the past, when we posted an auction on this site, we would see 800 – 1,200 views for that auction,” Gay said. “Now we are seeing 3,500 – 5,000 views per auction. That’s a lot more potential bidders. The more bidders we can bring to an auction the more money for that facility.”
Will the increase in attendance continue? That’s a question only time will tell. With the right advertising, promotion, postings and email blasts there is no reason attendance at all storage unit auctions shouldn’t be fantastic, Gay said.
Many people come out of curiosity, just to see what it’s all about and how it works, some find they get hooked on the “thrill of the hunt.” With the economy still in a downturn, most professional auctioneers feel they will continue to see a record number of bidders and treasure seekers, she said.
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