Buying a used storage shed - What do I need to watch out for?

There must be volumes of print written about buying a used car. Firstly all the data with the right price to pay for the specific make, year, mileage and condition. Then what to look out for on the mechanical side, the particular peccadilloes of each brand and model. And of course negotiation strategies on how to assess the seller and bargain for the best deal.

There hasn't been a great deal written about buying a used storage shed.

Buying a used storage shed is much more of a minority sport

Buying a used storage shed is much less common than buying a used car because once a shed has been built they tend to stay in the same place until they are removed for disposal. Also sheds don't have wheels so they are a lot less transportable.

Having said the above, used storage sheds are available on the second hand market and you can get quite a bargain if you look carefully.

What are the advantages of buying a used storage shed?

The biggest advantage of buying a used storage shed is price. Because the market is so small and also dismantling and transporting a shed can be a hassle the price that you will pay for a 'pre-loved' shed will be a lot less than for a new one.

Also buying a shed is a good opportunity to see how a shed has aged and whether in your opinion it is robust enough to have a life going forward. Often if you buy a new shed online you may not get the chance to inspect it and see how it is built before you buy. If you are buying a second hand shed then I would always recommend that you inspect is carefully to check that it is in good condition.

Finally, a great aspect of buying a used storage shed is that there is no wait. Often when you buy a shed either from a supplier or over the internet you will have to wait for delivery. If you buy a used shed the seller is often very happy for you to take the shed there and then or as soon as you can arrange transport.

Buying a used shed is not all a bed of roses however there are a few points that you will need to watch out for.

What are the disadvantages of buying a used shed?

The first rule of buying a used storage shed is the same as for buying a used car, Caveat Emptor, buyer beware! The person selling the shed will have a stated reason for selling the shed and there may be a hidden reason too. You need to find out what the real reason for selling the shed is. It may be they are moving house and they want to make the garden look as big as possible for a future buyer. It may be that the seller is remodeling their garden and are installing a newer shed. It may be that the shed has started to rot and leak and trying to sell it is a better option than paying someone to take it away!

The second thing on your list should be an assessment of the condition of the shed. Take a look at the roof, is it leaking or has it leaked? Are there stains on the walls? Does the inside of the shed feel damp? The other place to look for degradation of the shed is at the base. Watch out for rotting of timber around the base or corrosion of steel if it is a metal shed.

Look out for signs of regular maintenance(good) or repairs(possibly not so good). Also for signs of damage to a shed such as from a falling tree branch or lawn mower impact.

If you understand the reason for selling the shed and are happy that it is in a good enough condition for your purposes then you will have to figure out how to move it to its new location.

The biggest factor you may have to face up to is transport

How you transport the shed may be a deal maker or breaker. If you only need to move the shed just along the street it may be possible to move it in one piece without dismantling it. Other sheds can be broken down into panels and the metal kit sheds can often be broken down into individual components.

The size of the panels and components will determine whether you can fit the dismantled shed in the boot of your car, strap it to the roof or whether you need a trailer.

When looking at dismantling a shed you will come across the problem of corroded bolts and nailed joints. Solving these problems without damaging the fabric of the shed is part of the price that you pay for buying secondhand. You may be getting a bargain but it will almost always involve more time than just ordering a new shed from a dealer. However for many that is part of the challenge.

The challenge of buying a used storage shed can be summarised as below

The advantages of buying a used shed are:

  • Price - you will be paying a lot less than new
  • Condition - you will be able to inspect the exact shed that you are getting and see how well it has weathered
  • Delivery - There will be no wait for it to come

However as always these are balanced by points that you need to watch out for, including;

  • Making a good assessment of the condition of the shed
  • Working out the right price (and not overpaying)
  • Dismantling and transporting the shed without damaging it

As far as I know there isn't a price guide for buying secondhand sheds

It would be great if you could just look up the price of the model, the year and adjust slightly for mileage and condition. This is not the case with sheds.

When it comes to buying a used storage shed you are on your own. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. You might get a great deal financially but you need to factor in the time and practicality to make sure that it works well for you the buyer.

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