In Good Hands: When and Why to Work With a Real Estate Broker on Your Self-Storage Facility Sale

If you’re thinking about selling your self-storage facility, a first consideration might be whether to hire a real estate broker or go it alone. Explore the many benefits an expert brings to the process, plus why you shouldn’t wait to establish this important relationship.

Jane H. Sauls, Co-Owner

June 18, 2024

5 Min Read

The self-storage industry has been experiencing significant growth, which makes it an attractive sector for investors of all kinds. If you’re thinking about selling a facility, it’s a good time to maximize the value of your property.

One of the most effective strategies for achieving this is to hire and work closely with an experienced real estate broker. However, the time to establish a relationship is long before you’re ready to go to market. It’s vital to begin this alliance early, so the broker understands your long-term investment goals and the specifics of your property. By being intentional in your choice of professional, you can ensure this person isn’t just another transactional agent but someone committed to helping you maximize your return.

When you bring in a self-storage broker early in your thought process, they can identify opportunities that’ll pay off when it's time to sell, offering insight to market trends and advising on upgrades or repairs that’ll make your facility more attractive to buyers. This proactive approach ensures that when you’re ready to exit, your property is in the best possible condition to command a premium price.

What to Expect

A reputable, knowledgeable self-storage broker understands the industry market as well as lending conditions and buyer appetite. These are just a few of the critical advantages they bring to the table. Let’s more thoroughly examine the many benefits of working with a real estate professional and how to get the most out of the relationship.

Market knowledge. A good broker who specializes in self-storage has a deep understanding of the market, current economic conditions and the nuances of various management platforms, all of which can make a significant impact on the outcome of your facility sale. They understand the unique aspects of the industry and can leverage this knowledge to attract the right buyers and negotiate favorable terms.

Insight to asset value. A self-storage broker offers accurate facility valuations based on current economic conditions. They can also provide actionable strategies to help you increase property value, aligning your sales effort with your exit strategy.

Seller credibility. Your broker will ensure that your self-storage property is taken seriously by investors in the market, positioning you as a genuine seller. They understand the importance of not just getting the property under contract but ensuring it crosses the finish line with a qualified buyer.

Protection from pitfalls. Selling a self-storage property can be demanding. A good broker helps alleviate this stress by managing all negotiations with potential buyers and ensuring they’re conducted fairly and realistically. Their expertise in vetting candidates and overseeing the process protects you from scams and unreliable prospects like wholesalers and flippers. Their financial expertise safeguards your interests throughout the transaction.

Buyer viability. By asking the right questions and understanding investor models, a self-storage broker ensures that potential buyers are financeable and serious about the purchase. They know the types of buyers in the market as well as their expectations and the availability of funds. They also have a deep understanding of lender qualifications and can connect your property with the most qualified buyers, ensuring a smooth transaction from start to finish.

Logistical support. Selling a self-storage property involves juggling numerous details, but a good broker handles many tedious tasks, allowing you to focus on your business and personal life while they manage the complexities of the sale. For example, they know all of the documents you’ll need to gather and provide to a potential buyer during the due-diligence phase and can help you streamline the process.

Marketing expertise. An experienced broker knows how to assemble, present and distribute an optimal marketing package for your self-storage property that properly conveys its physical, operational and financial attributes to prospective buyers. Their expertise ensures that your property is presented in the best light, maximizing its appeal and value. This includes networking with lenders who have an appetite for the asset class, increasing the likelihood of a successful sale.

A strong network. A good real estate broker creates a competitive environment, generating numerous offers by leveraging their extensive, targeted network of prospective buyers. Their marketing efforts extend beyond local markets, reaching national audiences through self-storage tradeshows and state-association events. They participate in continuous industry conversations, so they can attract serious and qualified investors. This process often results in a higher sale price.

Tax advice. A broker's role isn't limited to the sale of your self-storage business. They also offer strategic advice on deploying funds from the sale to minimize tax liabilities. This expertise can result in significant financial benefits post-sale, ensuring you retain more of your hard-earned profit.

The Right Way Out

If you’re preparing to sell a self-storage facility, the right real estate broker offers many advantages. This person works for you, the seller, prioritizing your best interests, providing guidance that saves time and money, and reducing stress by managing the complex aspects of the sale process.

Look for a broker with local expertise and national reach, as it gives you the best of both worlds. Their deep and intimate knowledge of your market allows them to build valuable personal relationships and understand your specific property needs, while their extensive, targeted network of contacts provides access to a broader pool of buyers.

This long-term relationship should provide you with calculated insight and actionable strategies to maximize self-storage facility value. In the end, you want to ensure that you and your property are in the best hands, so you can enjoy a seamless process and a higher sale price.

Jane H. Sauls is a real estate broker and co-owner of Sauls Storage Group LLC, a Carrollton, Georgia-based brokerage and consulting firm specializing in self-storage and other commercial real estate. She’s experienced in self-storage construction and project management, site selection, feasibility studies, exit strategies, and building pro formas. She’s a graduate of the University of West Georgia and holds a Certified Commercial Investment Member designation. To reach her, email [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Jane H. Sauls

Co-Owner, Sauls Storage Group LLC

Jane H. Sauls is a broker and co-owner of Sauls Storage Group LLC, a Carrollton, Georgia-based brokerage and consulting firm specializing in self-storage and other commercial real estate. Her career has included involvement in construction and project management, site selection, feasibility studies, exit strategies, and building pro formas for self-storage owners of all sizes. She’s a graduate of the University of West Georgia and holds a Certified Commercial Investment Member designation. To reach her, email [email protected]

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