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Storage Wars, and We All Win

Jun 22, 2012

by Brom Hoban, TSSA Director of Communications

It’s been said that any publicity is good publicity, and in the case of A & E’s Storage Wars and the public’s awareness of self-storage auctions, that is certainly the case.

We’ve all heard about this popular reality TV show that’s sweeping the country, and it’s spin-off- Storage Wars Texas. Begun in 2011, the show is filming all over Texas, and I recently had the opportunity to see what all the excitement is about when A & E’s cast and crew came to town to film a segment in Austin.

When A & E’s came calling last year and asked TSSA member and auctioneer Walt Cade (Walt Cade Auctions, Longview) to audition for their new show, he jumped at the chance. The casting crew found Cade a perfect match, and he was cast as the lead auctioneer for the show, which began filming last October.

 “I didn’t believe them,” said Cade of A & E’s January 2011 call. “I thought it was a joke. I was ecstatic when I found out it was for real.”

I met up with Cade at AMS (American Mini Storage) at their East William Cannon Drive and South Pleasantville Road locations and saw the “storage wars” in action. About 75 people, (including professional buyers) showed up and bid on several units.

The auctions begin with an announcement of the rules, which are in total compliance with Chapter 59, and then proceed with the selling.

Though the units were climate-controlled, it was a hot day, and with that many people crammed inside to get a glimpse of the units’ contents, it got pretty hot. Nonetheless, everyone handled it just fine, and didn’t complain.

Once the crowd had paraded by the unit, the bidding got underway. Cade, obviously enjoying himself, went into full auctioneer mode, and within a few minutes the price was climbing off the charts. This was a 5’ X 10’ unit, and by the time the unit sold (to one of the pro buyers) it went for just over $2,000.

Now I’ve been to one or two self-storage auctions in the past, and I know that price was way higher than in the past, when the same unit may have topped out at $200-$300. But when you’ve got professionals involved, things change.

“They (the buyers) see enough there to know that they can make a profit, or they wouldn’t buy.” They look at the units, and know right where it’s going to go, and they’ve got the stuff sold already,” said Cade. “They do this every day, so they know how to turn that stuff.”

The net effect of all of this attention on self-storage auctions is that  more people are attending them, and bidding on units (and presumably, tenants are more aware that the contents of their units may be sold if they fail to pay their rents). And when the prices go up, as in this case, everyone benefits. The facility owners make back what is owed on the delinquent unit, and the excess goes to the tenant.

Most battles only have one winner, but in Storage Wars, everyone’s a winner.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Mike James 09 Jan
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