The reality of storage unit auctions
For some it's a career, for many others it's becoming a hobby. Ever since shows like Storage Wars came out, people have gotten some ideas of fun ways to make a few extra bucks. But finding a good storage unit with big profitable items isn't as easy as it looks on television. Our Cara Thomas went to a local storage unit auction to find out what it's really like.
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FRANKFORT, N.Y. -- When the doors go up, you have only a few minutes to see what's inside without touching anything, and then it's time to bid.
Going to storage unit auction is an occupation for some: Making money off of units no one seems to want anymore.
"Washing machines, dryers, couch, sofas, clothes, you know you name it," says Tony Bongiorno, the facility manager at eXcess Storage Facility.
Recently television shows like Storage Wars, have spread the idea.
"Yeah, [the show] peaked our curiosity," said Michael and Mary Tartaglia, two new auction hunters.
They started going to storage unit auctions about a year ago, and they've learned some of the tricks of the trade.
"Are there big ticket items, do you see this? Do you see a safe? Do you see anything? You mainly look for things you know you'll be able to turn over quickly," they explained.
Then they sell their winnings at garage sales or online, using Ebay or Craigslist. But it's not always that easy. Many times when the door opens, the unit wasn't what they were hoping for at all.
"Sometimes when they open the door and you get a rush like... whew. I wish I hadn't," said the Tartaglias.
While other times you'll find a unit full of treasures, making hundreds or even thousands of dollars in profits.
They said, "In one we had over $1000 in gold."
"If somebody's got the money to buy the items, you can make a quick profit, flip it easy but there's always that gamble, you never know," said Bongiorno.
Many are willing to take that chance. Storage unit bidders said they travel all over the state to try and find that winning unit, but striking gold is hard to come by.