Being Bought by a Self-Storage REIT: Where to Begin and What to Expect

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If you're a self-storage owner, what's your exit strategy? Some of you will pass down the business to a family member or other protégé, but others will sell when the time is right. And as a seller, you want what's best for your family, your wallet and the community you serve. Could a real estate investment trust be the answer?

The industry REITs are endlessly growing, and your property could be their next great acquisition. Inside Self-Storage recently asked REIT executives to provide guidance on the topic. If you're interested in selling to a REIT, below are insights to what they look for in a buy and what you, as the facility owner, can expect in regard to timeline, price and your staff. Our contributors are:

  • David Doll, senior vice president and president, real estate group, Public Storage Inc.
  • Clint Halverson, vice president, corporate communication and investor relations, Extra Space Storage Inc.
  • Chris Marr, president, chief operating officer and chief investment officer, CubeSmart
  • Diane Piegza, vice president, corporate communications, Sovran Self Storage Inc.

How many acquisitions is your company expecting to make in 2013?

Doll: We are looking for quality assets that can add to our operational footprint, but do not have a limitation on the “number of acquisitions.” We have the staff and the resources to evaluate, review and complete transactions on a large volume of assets that come to market.

Halverson: During 2012, Extra Space Storage has or will acquire 87 assets for $676.5 million. The company has not yet provided 2013 guidance on its expected acquisitions.

Marr: We haven’t provided specific guidance for 2013 acquisition volume. Each of the past two years, we have targeted over $100 million in acquisitions, excluding large portfolio transactions.

Piegza: We’re certainly in the market to buy. We’ve had a history of making opportunistic acquisitions when they're available, but we’re willing to sit on the sidelines if the cap rates don’t line up properly. For example, we didn’t buy one property in 2009, but in 2011 we bought over $400 million.

What do you look for in a quality acquisition?

Doll: We look for three things: quality of the market, quality of the real estate and quality of the physical asset. We have the ability to “fix” a broken capital structure, a physical impediment, a challenged operating platform or an ineffective market program. What we cannot fix is bad real estate in a failing or declining market.

Halverson: Extra Space looks for properties that fit in its existing footprint in major metropolitan areas. Quality and location of the asset are also key factors.

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