At the time of this writing, there’s a new movie in the theaters about a real estate transaction gone horribly awry. In House of Sand and Fog, an alcoholic yet sympathetic protagonist loses her home on the San Francisco Bay due to a bureaucratic error regarding taxes and the auction that results. The error was not her fault. Her failure to read her mail because of alcohol- and drug-induced stupor is very likely the fault of her ex-husband—but I digress.
The “heroine’s” home—left to her by her father—is purchased by a former Iranian colonel wishing to present his family a charming bungalow by the sea. What ensues is sure to be a heart-wrenching battle of wills. (I didn’t see the film personally, but I did see the preview trailer, which is about as much as anyone needs to see of a movie these days.) The moral of the story as it pertains to real estate is one of several things:
- It is extremely important to avoid wallowing in a pool of vodka, or you could lose your shirt—and everything else you own.
- It’s good to have friends in high places.
- Always open—and read—your mail.
- Dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s in any legal transaction could be the difference between disaster and accomplishment.
I can vouch for this. Back in the fall, my fiancée received a letter from the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office regarding a townhouse he owns. There was confusion over some unpaid property taxes, the bills for which were mistakenly sent to an unidentified third party somewhere in Nevada. As a result, a complete stranger had petitioned to pay those taxes on our behalf, and was now suing us to collect. You can imagine our shock, not to mention our fury. I guess sobriety and conscientiousness don’t always pay—we sometimes need influential friends.
The purchase or sale of self-storage, though a business transaction, can still involve a great deal of emotion—as most real estate deals do. This is natural. All parties stand to lose something in the process, and stress can run high. There are time tables to which to adhere, and money on the table. But with the proper research and preparation, heartache can be kept to a minimum.
This month’s magazine is our annual real estate issue, and it’s no coincidence it also happens to be our big Show Edition. The Inside Self-Storage Las Vegas Expo, held each February, is the largest conference and tradeshow in the self-storage industry. In addition to attracting seasoned professionals from all facets of the business, one of the largest segments of attendees includes those investigating the sale or purchase of self-storage sites: public and private investors and owners from all over the world. I hope you find this publication useful in your real estate endeavors. May all your i’s be dotted. May all your t’s be crossed.
See you on the show floor,
Teri L. Lanza