Storage Auctions Offer Modern Day Treasure Hunt - 8 News NOW

Storage Auctions Offer Modern Day Treasure Hunt

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LAS VEGAS -- It may not be an ordinary treasure hunt, but some Las Vegas residents are cashing in on your personal belongings.

Dozens of Las Vegas storage units are filled with everything from sofas and clothing to tools and even money. And many are learning if you don't pay your storage bill, someone is anxiously waiting to buy your stuff.

"You never know what you are going to find," said Mike Windle.

With flashlights in hand, treasure hunters have only seconds to decide if they like what they see. Windle has been participating in storage auctions for seven months and keeps coming back for more.

"I actually did one in Colorado and got a pretty big coin collection. It costs $150 and the coins were worth thousands of dollars. So ever since then, I kind of like doing it," he said.

"If someone doesn't pay their bill, after 45 days it goes to auction proceedings where we call them, certify mail them and we really try to get a hold of them and after a certain amount of days, the auction comes and things are sold," said Steven Plummer with West Flamingo Storage.

A garage full of your personal items can auction for as low as $25 up to several hundred. The buyer then resells the items on websites like Craigslist, Ebay or at garage sales. Many buyers are unemployed and are looking for ways to make money. For others it's a hobby. But storage auctions are gaining popularity

"When online came more into focus, the crowds grew and when the economy began to fail, people look for alternatives, the crowds grew again," said Curt Hubbard, owner of Grand Ole Auction.

but there are rules to this treasure hunt. Potential buyers are not allowed to touch or open boxes. You can only look from a distance to decide whether you should place a bid. But sometimes the risk could be worth it.

For $600 dollars, one buyer got a unit complete with sofas, a TV, a saw and other tools, and even an elliptical machine. These are items he says he will have no problems re-selling. Buyers are required to move all of the items out of storage quickly -- sometimes by the end of the day.

It's a hunt that requires patience, but buyers say it almost always pays off.

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