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ISS Expo Education Track Focuses on Self-Storage Finance and Investing


The self-storage financing landscape has changed drastically in the last three years—moving from a restrictive lending environment to one that offers funds to quality investments. However, knowing who’s lending and the terms available can be confusing to those looking for financing. Self-storage owners, investors and developers seeking details about obtaining a loan for a new self-storage project or to refinance an existing facility will find the information at this year’s Inside Self-Storage World Expo, March 30-April 2 in Las Vegas.

The six sessions that comprise the show’s Investment & Finance Track on March 31 will cover a variety of topics designed to help self-storage professionals obtain financing. The first seminar, which begins at 9 a.m., focuses on assembling a loan package. Neal Gussis, principal of financial firm CCM Commercial Mortgage, will show investors and owners how to choose a lender, prepare their loan request, present their proposal and more.

Shawn Hill, principal of The BSC Group, a financial and real estate advisory company, will lead a discussion with a panel of finance experts at 10 a.m. The seminar will outline the state of the debt market and the current loan products available to self-storage owners and investors. The panelists include Devin Huber, principal of The BSC Group; Pete O’Hern, national sales manager for Titan Bank; Chris Pilat, CMBS and commercial real estate finance for Citi.

The last seminar of the morning, at 11 a.m., will show self-storage operators how to maximize their profit and facility value by exploring the five trends affecting market performance today. Led by speakers Christopher Sonne, executive managing director for the Self Storage Industry Group of Cushman & Wakefield, and Ray Wilson, founder of Self Storage Data Services Inc., the seminar will highlight today’s capitalization rates, who’s buying and where, and what to expect in the year ahead.

Real estate experts John Barry, president of The JEB Group, and John Gilliland, CEO and founder of Investment Real Estate LLC, kick off the afternoon seminars at 1 p.m. with a look at exit-strategy planning. The seminar will provide information about marketing a facility for sale, tax considerations, passing a facility to heirs and reinvestment options.

Those looking to buy a self-storage facility will find guidance in the 2 p.m. seminar, led by Michael Mele, first vice president of investments for Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services. The presentation will include tips on finding facilities for sale, pitfalls to avoid, and the elements of a good deal.

The final seminar of the day, at 3 p.m., will examine the underwriting techniques used to determine a facility’s value. Moderators Nick Malagisi, national director for Sperry Van Ness Commercial Realty, and Ben Vestal, president of the Argus Self Storage Sales Network, will lead the discussion on how to recognize an under-performing asset, facility value and more. Panelists include Gussis; Amber Hagopian, associate director of HFF; and Steven Johnson, director of Integra Realty Resources.

The expo’s concurrent education program, March 31 and April 1, includes nine tracks covering issues related to self-storage ownership, management, marketing, investment, finance, building, development, liability and more. Five add-on workshop options are also available, focusing on day-to-day management, development, facility ownership, legal issues and social media.

The conference and tradeshow will take place at the Paris Hotel & Resort. Discount registration rates are available through March 28.

Created for self-storage owners, managers, developers, investors and suppliers, the ISS Expo is the industry’s largest conference and tradeshow, comprising four days of education, exhibits and networking opportunities. The event focuses on strategies for generating revenue, best practices, current trends, and new products and services. Details and online registration are available at

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