Buying and Selling Antiques| Antique Dealer with 25 years experience reveals insider secrets of buying and selling antiques and collectibles

Storage Wars


Storage Wars was the first of what has turned out to be several reality shows about people bidding on the contents of storage units that come up for auction because the owners did not pay their rent. The rent usually has gone unpaid for three months or longer. Different states have different laws governing these.Storage Wars

Storage Wars features four main bidding groups and their interaction adds much to the success to the show. There is the typical bad guy, Dave, with his well known black clothes and “Yuuuup” which gets under the skin of the others. Then there is Darrell and his muscle shirts who seems to be more talk and less bite lately. Then there is the duo of Jarrod and Brandi, not married, but live together and have children, who are getting more bold in their bidding. And  therethen is Barry, the collector, who is always on the lookout for another great find to add to his collection. A new face has come on the scene, a lady named Nabila Hannis, who is supposed to be another big spender, at least according to Dave. It is too early in the season, to get a “read” on her yet.

Stars of Storage Wars

Dave has his own store and added an auction house to his holdings this season. He has deeper pockets than the others and also seems to have a broader knowledge than the others and recognizes more items and their values. An interesting development seems to be happening over whether Dave will be returning for a third season. He seems to be holding out for more money, while the other three have already signed for the third season. Do you think it will hurt the show if Dave is not a part of it any longer?

Darrell is mainly a flea market dealer and is therefore usually not able to get the same money or even sell some of the things that the two (Dave and Jarrod & Brandi) can in their stores. An example would be upholstered furniture and appliances, much more difficult to sell at flea markets. You will notice there are many episodes where he goes home empty handed.

Jarrod and Brandi now have a larger store and need more merchandise. They are no longer newbies and are stepping up their bidding. Brandi, the lone woman featured on the show, is also taking a more active role in the bidding. But they still have a lot to learn to be able to know the values of more things.

Finally there is Barry who seems to make many more bad buys than good ones. Since he is mainly a collector, he is looking for the unusual items, rather than the ordinary things that the others can resell and make money. So he takes more chances, and it seems , more often than not, makes bidding mistakes.

Storage Wars Is a Reality Show

The first thing you need to be sure and realize is this is a reality show, and needs to be good television. These people usually go to many, many more storage auctions each year than are shown on the show. And I’m sure many auctions are filmed that would be boring television because nothing interesting is found before they film the ones that are shown. Let’s face it, most storage units with unpaid rent have things of little value. But there asre units where something bad may have happened to the owners and there were no relatives or the relatives were not aware of the unit. For whatever reason, there are some units as seen on the show where it is full of good things.

If you want to try your hand at participating in one of these, how do you increase the odds of finding some of those treasures. I stress, mainly it is just increasing the odds. Because of the popularity of these shows, there are now many more people trying to find those hidden treasures. I have talked to people who said that before this and the other related shows, the average storage auctions might have 15-20 people in attendance, will now have a hundred or so. Because of this, the average prices for the units have gone up.

Here are some things you can do to increase those odds. Have a good, strong light that will enable you to be able to see the back of those deep units that can be up to forty or more feet deep. Many times the really good things are stored in the back of the units.

Do your homework before you even go to the auction. Look in the classified sections of your newspaper and see who rented the units. Then see what you can find out about these people that might give you some clues as to what kind of things you might find in the unit. Did they own a business and might have some of the inventory stored there. Anything you find about the people can be helpful.

Look at how much dust has accumulated on the things. This can show that the unit may have not been touched for years. How are the things stored. If the people wrapped things in packing blankets or something similar, it is much more likely that what is inside is more valuable than something stored in plastic bags. The same holds true for the kinds of boxes. These are common sense things, but the more of these tings you do, the better your odds of finding something good are. But even then, there will be more failures than successes. So don’t expect to strike it rich on your first few units.

Finally, you need to have a way to turn these things into money. When the stars of the show are going through the things they have just bought and say, “There is $100 here and $200 there,” they are estimating how much they will be able to sell the things for in their stores. That doesn’t take into consideration how long it will sit in the store before it sells and how much overhead they pay to run their stores. Also don’t expect that you will be able to take that antique vase to your nearest antique store and have them tell you what it is worth. Most antique dealers don’t give free evaluations like the ones on the show. You can use the internet to get values like you see Brandi often doing on the shows. But again see what it worth on the internet means you will have to know how and be willing to sell things on the internet.

You also have to empty the units completely within a specified time, usually 24 hours. So be sure you are prepared to do this and have a place to go with all of the stuff. Maybe you will need to rent your own storage unit. Finally remember these are cash auctions, no checks or credit cards. This is probably a good thing so you will not spend more than you have. A final suggestion is don’t get carried away with auction fever. I have seen people get so carried away at an auction that they will bid more on something than they could purchase it elsewhere. This defeats the purpose of going to an auction to get a great deal. Do like the people on the shows do. Decide how much you will be willing to bid on a unit based on what you see before the bidding starts, and then do not go above that.

You don’t have to want to actually attend one of these storage auctions to enjoy the show. If you are a fan of the show, please leave your comments below. If you enjoyed that article I would appreciate your clicking the “Like” button and sharing it with your friends. There are more articles on other reality shows on this site, Buying and Selling Antiques. As I write this article, the second season of “Storage Wars” is just beginning, Tuesaday nights 8:30/7:30C on A&E,  enjoy.

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