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The Benefits of Working With a Broker When Buying or Selling Self-Storage Real Estate

Buying or selling a self-storage asset is a complex endeavor, especially in this extremely competitive environment. There are benefits to working with a professional real estate broker with experience in this industry. Learn what they are.

Austin McLeod

May 30, 2023

4 Min Read
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When contemplating a self-storage facility acquisition or disposition, one of the biggest decisions to make is whether to work with a real estate broker. Though some industry professionals argue that these agents are unnecessary, most investors will tell you that working with an experienced negotiator can bring significant value to a transaction.

Following are the key benefits. They should help you decide whether using a broker is best for your situation.

Informed Perspective and Market Expertise

No matter how long you’ve been in real estate, trying to predict and time the market is tricky. Brokers follow trends intently, analyzing the opportunities and challenges that appear in the short and long term. Their research and experience can help an owner decide if now is the right time to sell or hold onto their self-storage asset.

If you’re an owner, you’ve probably received calls directly from potential investors offering to buy your property. By going this route, they don’t have to compete against other offers an on-market deal would bring, which usually results in a lower sales price. To avoid losing profit, get an honest opinion of value from a broker to predict the price at which your facility might sell. They should be able to provide a forecast of income and expenses, a rundown of buyer expectations, and rent and sale comparables.

Market expertise is another bonus. Supply statistics, development pipelines, consumer demand and economic trends differ significantly from region to region. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the prime investment markets have shifted, creating new opportunities within secondary and tertiary markets. Specialized brokers know the up-and-coming targets for self-storage. They also have insight to less-competitive markets, the health of an area and the dynamics that can create challenges. This knowledge can help you make well-informed decisions when considering where to buy, sell or develop a self-storage facility.

Network Connections and Marketing Reach

Access to critical business connections may be the best of all reasons to hire a self-storage brokerage. Using proprietary databases, reputable firms have access to hundreds of thousands of owners and investors across the United States. This allows their agents to market each property to the most qualified buyers, which can generate multiple offers and create a competitive bidding environment. Sellers can then choose the best buyer with the most favorable terms. It also provides leverage during escrow because the buyer knows other investors are waiting to pounce if the contract falls through.

A full-service broker will market a self-storage property through various channels such as social media, email, printed collateral and more. They’ll ensure a listing is presented in an eye-catching. memorable way. They also receive notifications when potential buyers open an email or click on a listing, which allows them to contact interested parties right away. A seller will never miss an opportunity for an offer. Effective marketing is time-consuming, expensive and tedious, so it makes sense to let the experts do the heavy lifting.

Expert Haggling

Self-storage brokers have extensive experience with negotiations. They’ll help you navigate the transactional process and work as an intermediary between you and the other party. There’s no need to worry about communicating back and forth with the buyer or seller and their legal counsel, lenders, inspectors, etc.

The closing process can be cumbersome. A good broker will guide you through every step of the process and be able to source solutions if complications arise.

Ease of Process

Overall, real estate brokers exist to make their clients’ lives easier and give them the upper hand in any transaction. Hiring an agent means having a trusted expert by your side who can answer questions and has your best interests in mind. Their goal is to do the legwork and take on as much of the responsibility as possible, so you can focus on what matters most—your self-storage business.

Austin McLeod is vice president of Matthews Real Estate Investment Services. As an investment-sales specialist, he advises clients in the acquisition and disposition of self-storage facilities. Primarily focused on the Southeast, he works with a range of customers including private investors, developers, private-equity funds and institutional-investment firms. To reach him, email [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Austin McLeod

Associate Vice President, Matthews Real Estate Investment Services

Austin McLeod is associate vice president of Matthews Real Estate Investment Services, a commercial real estate investment services and technology firm. As an investment-sales specialist, he advises clients in the acquisition and disposition of self-storage facilities. Primarily focused on the Southeast, he works with a range of customers including private investors, developers, private-equity funds and institutional-investment firms. To reach him, email [email protected].

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