The irony of our second unit purchase is that I was so excited about this auction and looking forward to it for weeks. The auction was in Brookline, a city next to Boston that has a mixture of nice apartments and well-to-do areas and there were more than 10 units up for sale. I looked up the storage business online and even the building it was in was interesting - built as a storage company in the 1880's, it was actually on the national register of historic places.
When we got to the auction, to make matters more interesting, Allen and Ton from Auction Hunters were there. Apparently, this year's show has them traveling around the US going to auctions rather than staying in California, their normal stomping grounds.
Most of the units turned out to be junky. About halfway through, a unit came up that was about 10' X 10' and jammed to the gills with boxes. We didn't see any furniture inside. We decided to bid on it and picked the unit up for $150.
Ton and Allen picked up 3 units, including one that was decidedly creepy. It was a huge room, I'd guess 20' X 20', and it contained 8 large Home Depot boxes along one wall and about 30 black pastic bags arranged in two piles. I hope these make it onto one of their shows as I'm very, very curiuos about what's in those bags.
When my brother paid for the unit, he found out that the monthly rent was $200 and the owner had been $3440 behind. As we cleaned out the room, it became clear the stuff had been put there in 2000, so they'd paid over $20,000 in rent before they stopped paying (actually, probably less, as the monthly rental cost presumably changed over the last 10 years). If someone is going to pay thousands of dollars to store something, wouldn't you expect it to have value? Well, in this case, you'd be wrong ... horribly wrong. We were in shock as we dug into this unit. Not one thing in it was worth selling. Maybe there had been good stuff but the owner had removed it because most of the boxes had been ruptured and rifled through. The junkiness was awe-inspiring.
Not only was there nothing to sell, but the unit cost us money to dispose of the 6 tvs and 3 computer monitors we found in it. TVs and monitors cost $35 each to dispose of at the dump.
So a couple of lessons learned: 1) Brookline not worth revisiting and 2) when the unit looks junky from the outside, don't waste your money or time on it.