Looking to strike gold at a storage auction? Chances are, you probably won’t, but then again, it is possible. Every now and then, a high-value item is found in a storage unit. So what do you do if you are the lucky winner of one of these units?
Your first reaction may be to get on social media and tell the world, but experts warn against doing that. In the case of the man who found $500K in a San Jose unit, the auctioneer John Cardoza from Storage Auction Experts warned him ” First of all, tell nobody else. Then hope the guy who put that money there is no longer with us because if it’s that much money, more than likely it’s drug money and they’re going to be back – if they can,” Cardoza recalled. “You want to keep a low profile on something like that.”
Find an Expert
But what if you don’t know what you have? Or you know what you have, but don’t know the value of it? In this case, it makes sense to make your find public – in a strategic way. For example, if you found a painting, contact art experts who can help you identify the artist and give you an estimate of it’s worth. If you decide to liquidate the painting, contact reputable auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
Don’t Forget About Uncle Sam…and a Lawyer
The U.S. tax code requires citizens to report their income, regardless of where it came from. If you don’t report your treasure, you could be prosecuted and fined. Getting a good accountant and lawyer can help you navigate the complicated tax code, and keep you in the clear.