Managers, What Do You Think of the REITs?
By Amy Campbell
I have a confession to make: I hadn’t planned to vote in this year’s presidential election. I know, I know, it’s my duty/right/obligation. You can pick any excuse—“I don’t have time,” “I don’t like any of my options” and everyone’s favorite, “My vote doesn’t really count.” Really, these excuses are just that ... excuses. So what changed my mind?
It happened when an off-duty police officer knocked on my door a few weeks ago. He introduced himself and held out a flier. The city of Glendale, where I live, is considering drastic budget cuts, including slashing jobs for police and fire personnel. After his short speech encouraging me to vote against the proposition, he went on to the next house. I perused the flier, then later got online to read more about it. I decided that night that not only should I vote, but that I must, that my voice can matter.
As a self-storage manager, you may feel like your “voice” isn’t heard some days. Maybe ownership didn’t ask for your input about a upcoming project, marketing strategy or even whether the facility needs a software upgrade. Regardless, there are likely going to be days when your voice is simply lost in the shuffle.
Now’s your chance to sound off about an important topic affecting most self-storage managers: self-storage real estate investment trusts (REITs). ISS is looking for manager input for an upcoming article on the REITs. If you’d like to add your two cents, simply complete the online survey. Youc an also copy the questions below and drop them along with your answers in an e-mail to me: email@example.com. While we would love for you to boldly profess your opinions by adding your name, we do understand if you need to keep that info private. So send me your name and facility name if you can, or at least your city and state.
- How many REIT facilities do you compete with directly in your market?
- How do the REITs directly or indirectly affect your business?
- Do they make your life harder or easier?
- What are your thoughts on industry consolidation?
- Are you concerned that your facility or one of your independent competitor’s facilities will be bought by a REIT in the next two years?
- Would you or your owner ever consider selling to a REIT?
- If you work for a facility that was purchased by a REIT, what can you tell us about the transition?
- Are you managed by a REIT, or would you or your owner consider being managed by one?
- If you are being managed by a REIT, what is the experience like?
- Outside of being bought, would you consider working for a REIT?
Over the past couple of years, the REITs have grabbed up dozens of properties in a variety of cities. There’s no denying when one moves in down the street, competition heats up. REITs do have economies of scale you may not have as an independent operator and a brand name with which it's hard to compete. But compete you can if yours truly is the better choice. Here’s a great article written by industry veteran Mel Holsinger, president of Professional Self Storage Management, that may help: 5 Ways for Independent Self-Storage Operators to Compete With the REITs.
REITs can also bring a lot of good things to your market including industry awareness and marketing power (yes, this can help you, too); They can even force you to step up your game. Just as the officer knocking on my door gave me a reason to vote, sometimes we all need a little kick to get things moving.