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Articles from 2014 In December


ISS Blog

Year in Review: 2014s Hottest Sellers in the Inside Self-Storage Store

2014’s Hottest Sellers in the ISS Store

I have always liked lists. As a kid, I spent hours with my older brother absorbing the obscure information contained in the annual “Book of Lists,” reading about everything from the worst movies ever made to the dog breeds most likely to bite people. Looking back, that was probably the foundation for all the trivial knowledge I have rattling around inside my head.

As a music hound and former entertainment writer, I enjoy reading annual, year-end Top 10 lists from reviewers, and as a journalist, it’s easy to get engrossed in reading media lists ranking the year’s top stories.

Since it’s New Year’s Eve, I thought it would be fun to pour through some sales data from the ISS Store to see what our hottest sellers were during the course of 2014. The list is interesting and backs up the notion that a new wave of development and investment are propelling the self-storage industry forward. It also will give you some insight as to the types of information and topics your colleagues and competitors are consuming.

1. Self-Storage Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) Reports

Cushman & Wakefield’s (C&W) quarterly MSA reports were our top-seller for 2014. This isn’t too surprising considering they appeal to existing storage operators looking for performance data in their local markets as well as investors and developers trying to gauge areas in which to build or zero in on regions poised for growth.

Released each quarter, reports are available for each of the top 50 U.S. MSAs and contain information regarding income, expenses, occupancy, supply, rental rates and concessions within a specific MSA.

2. ISS Expo 2014 DVDs

Each year during the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, we try to video as many education sessions as possible. For 2014, we were able to offer six tracks in their entirety in DVD format as well as on-demand video. While we saw a surge in on-demand video sales this year, probably due to users becoming more comfortable with the platform, DVDs were the leader in expo-education content.

The expo content is purchased by those who cannot make it to Las Vegas for the annual conference as well as by expo attendees. Many who attend the ISS Expo buy the DVDs to refer back to education sessions they attended or watch desired seminars that may have been running concurrently to those they saw in person. The DVDs enable operators to be present in more than one seminar room at a time and make great training material for staff who are unable to join us each year in Vegas.

To give you an idea as to the demand for the content, our top-selling DVD title was the Total Self-Storage Solutions 2014: Education DVD 30-Pack, which encompasses all 30 education sessions in the six tracks we recorded. Second was the Self-Storage Operation 2014: DVD Mega Pack, which encompasses the 15 sessions included in the Ownership, Management and Marketing tracks.

3. ISS 2014 Guidebook Series

The Guidebook Series continues to be very popular, offering critical information and tips on self-storage ownership, facility management, marketing, building, investing, and ancillary products and services. The 2014 series includes five thematic, PDF Guidebooks in these crucial areas of business.

We recently released the 2015 Guidebook Series, reducing the thematic editions to three but expanding both the Ownership and Facility-Management Guidebooks to include articles previously featured in editions that focused on add-on profit centers, marketing and technology. New for 2015 is the Guidebook Digest, a hard-copy edition that offers select articles from the digital series.

4. ISS Top-Operators List

Another clue into the development interest within the industry is our annual fall release of the ISS Top-Operators List, which ranks by square-footage the Top 100 operators in self-storage. We have continued to develop the ISS Store product, which is popular with investors, developers, owners and suppliers. The 2014 Top-Operators List package includes an Excel spreadsheet featuring data on the Top 100, a PDF report examining movement within the rankings, and a full presentation of the list in an easy-to-read format.

5. ISS Building/Investing Guidebook 2014

6. Your Self-Storage: Planning, Site Selection, Design, Build (by Marc Goodin)

7. Self-Storage Market Conditions Report 2013 (C&W)

Top-sellers 5-7 continue the development theme, striking a chord with those looking to get into the business or expand their operational footprints. The Building/Investing Guidebook was the top individual title in the 2014 Series (check out the 2015 edition), while Goodin’s digital book containing 150 ideas geared to ensure designing and planning success for self-storage projects was the most popular individual book with ISS Store customers.

C&W’s Market Conditions Report examines the supply and demand conditions in the top 50 U.S. MSAs to determine whether they are under supplied, at equilibrium or over supplied. A new offering in 2014, it proved to be a very popular tool for customers doing their development fact gathering and due diligence. The report featuring 2014 data will be out soon.

8. Self-Storage Expense Report 2013 (C&W)

9. Self-Storage Key of Knowledge: The Complete Facility-Operation Kit (USB Drive)

10. Self-Storage Tenant Exit-Survey Package

Top-sellers 8-10 have a decidedly operational tone to them and are popular with storage owners looking to improve business efficiencies. The Expense Report provides a sample of real costs per square foot for fixed and variable operating expenses and presents the data nationally, by region and subdivision. This was another new offering from C&W this year, and we’ll be releasing the 2014 report in the coming weeks.

We released three Key of Knowledge USB drives this year featuring a wealth of video and written training material from Bob Copper. The most robust drive, affectionately known as the Green Key, proved most popular with customers. It contains a comprehensive set of written and recorded training materials designed to help operators increase the production and profitability of their storage facilities.

The Tenant Exit-Survey Package was another new release in 2014. It contains a sample exit survey operators can use at their facilities, including fully customizable versions, as well as a special software user’s manual detailing how to use the exit-survey features of several popular management-software products. It also includes an educational guide on how to build a strong referral program.

We’re constantly looking to develop new educational products for the store that will help operators run their businesses more effectively and profitably. If there’s a type of product you’d like to see added to the ISS Store or a business topic you’d like to see addressed within our content offerings, please let us know in the comment section below.

For all of us at ISS, I wish you a healthy, exciting and prosperous New Year.

Affiliates of Oaktree Capital Management Acquire 2 Memphis, TN, Self-Storage Facilities for $4.9M

Affiliate companies of Los Angeles-based investment-management firm Oaktree Capital Management LP have acquired two self-storage properties in the Memphis, Tenn., area for $4.9 million.

SSSP Kirby Raines LLC purchased Kirby Raines Self Storage at 6504 E. Raines Road from TSRE III Kirby Raines LLC for $2.5 million, according to a December warranty deed. The 50,910-square-foot storage facility was built in 1995. The Shelby County Assessor’s 2014 appraisal of the property was $1.3 million, according to the source.

SSSP Collierville LLC purchased Collierville Mini Storage at 314 S. Mt. Pleasant Road in Collierville, Tenn., from VSI III Collierville Self Storage LLC for $2.4 million, according to the source. The property comprises 53,110 square feet. The county assessor appraised the property at $1.6 million.

Formed in 1995, Oaktree Capital is a global investment firm focused on alternative markets.

Sources:

Proposed Self-Storage Project Near Lewes, DE, Rejected by County Officials

Update 12/30/14 – The Sussex County, Del., Council recently denied a conditional-use application from self-storage developer Todd Fisher, who proposed to build Red Mill Storage on 3.7 acres near Lewes, Del. The council unanimously rejected the application following a unanimous recommendation for denial by the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission.

The phased project was also opposed by nearby residents who argued the storage facility wasn’t a good fit for the area and would add traffic congestion. Planning and Zoning Commissioner I.G. Burton agreed with residents, saying, “The conversion of this property to a warehousing use is not compatible with the predominantly residential nature of this neighborhood and the residential roadways.”

The council agreed the project would be better suited for a commercial area, the source reported. Councilmember George Cole said the project was “out of character” for the area.


11/4/14 – Self-storage developer Todd Fisher has applied for a conditional-use permit to build Red Mill Storage on 3.6 acres near Lewes, Del. The project, which would incorporate two parcels zoned for agricultural or residential use, has received heavy resistance from nearby residents. The phased project near the intersection of Old Mill Road and Route 1 would ultimately house one single-story storage building and three three-story structures, according to the source.

Combined, the facility would comprise about 157,000 square feet of storage in up to 2,000 units. Plans call for the property to be fenced with gated access. The facility would be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days per week, and have a manager living onsite, the source reported.

The property was previously approved for a tennis complex. The county planning and zoning office has received more than 50 letters and e-mails protesting the storage project, with opposition largely centered on potential increases in traffic.

Resident George Dellinger submitted a 37-page rebuttal against the application, according to the source. Dellinger told the planning and zoning commission he examined eight self-storage facilities in the area and “all had access to a main road—not a residential road.”

Traffic engineer Betty Tustin testified before the commission on behalf of the developer and said a traffic-impact study was not required by the state. She compared the number of visiting vehicles each day to a cemetery, telling the commission the storage facility would have at most 200 vehicles visit the facility in a 24-hour period and no more than 20 during peak hours.

The commission deferred on a vote. A Sussex County public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18.

Sources:

LADD Real Properties Proposes Self-Storage Facility for Downtown Dallas

Self-storage developer LADD Real Properties has proposed to build a storage facility in the downtown Dallas area at Canton Street and Interstate 45. Canton Street Self Storage would be developed across the highway from a historic area known as Deep Ellum, according to the source.

Thousands of new, high-rent apartments are planned for the surrounding area, and LADD expects the facility to fulfill renters’ needs for extra storage space, the source reported.

The targeted property for the storage project is in the city’s central business district and currently houses a large warehouse formerly used for produce. The storage facility would replace the warehouse, according to the source.

Sources:

ISS News Desk: New Products and Discounts in the ISS Store

The ISS Store, an e-commerce website providing industry research and education, has several new products and special promotions for self-storage operators and investors. This ISS News Desk provides information on recently released digital publications and workshops, plus highlights the many opportunities to save on DVDs, industry reports and more.

Leveling the Competitive Self-Storage Playing Field Through Facility Renovation and Upgrades

Self-Storage Renovation Construction

In sports, one team sometimes has a competitive advantage over another, whether it’s faster runners or taller/stronger/bigger players. When the other team finds a way of compensating for its shortcoming, it’s known as “leveling the playing field.”

Sometimes it’s necessary to level the playing field in self-storage. Let’s say you own or operate a facility that’s been around for several years and you’ve enjoyed having the market mostly to yourself. You haven’t done a whole lot to upgrade the site, making it more attractive or user-friendly. Then one day you’re on the way to work and see a sign: “New state-of-the-art self-storage facility coming soon!”

The sign displays a rendering of a beautiful new facility with features you may not have. You get that feeling in the pit of your stomach. Suddenly, you’re going to be playing defense against those taller and faster players. But remember, you can level the playing field. The time to start is now, not after the new facility opens.

There are thousands of storage facilities out there reaching an age at which they could use a facelift, especially if they’re about to have new competition. For the last several years, owners have shied away from spending the money to update their sites because they enjoyed great occupancy and there wasn’t much new building going on; but things are changing. Pent-up demand caused by years of slow development is now being met. New facilities are on the rise and building is picking up. This means existing, older facilities may be forced to make some changes.

Fortunately, there are several areas in which improvements can be made. Some aren’t going to cost much, and the most dramatic might even cost the least. Let’s look some upgrades you can make to greatly enhance an older property.

Curb Appeal

Your property should look appealing from the street. A good-looking facility often equates to safety in many people’s minds. Remember this when you make changes or add buildings. Sometimes simple things like adding new landscaping and re-striping the parking lot can make a huge difference, and these projects don’t need to have a big price tag. For example, plant some flowers for color, and you’ll have instant improvement. Cut back or remove overgrown weeds and shrubbery, and make sure the grass is green and manicured.

Now look outside your office. Consider updating or adding an awning to dress up the front of the building. You could add a façade to give the building an updated look and really catch the eye. You might also want to replace the old door with a new glass one. Installing a couple of faux windows can really dress up the exterior as well. There are many architectural-style changes that can be made without any structural changes to the building.

Another aesthetic alteration you can make is to re-skin the building. If you have old or faded columns and headers around the doors, you can recover them with painted covers. This option, along with new trim and doors, will make the building look brand new.

A fresh coat of paint can also make your facility resemble a newer one. Maybe it’s time for a new sign. Perhaps you need a fresh layer of asphalt, or paint or sleeves for your bollards. The goal is to make your property look good from the street. It should make potential tenants want to pull into your parking lot.

The Management Office

Here’s another area where small changes can make a big impact. Is your office clean or cluttered? Is the counter inviting? Maybe a new granite countertop is in order. Is the office well-lit and bright with a retail area? Make sure the office is tidy and smells fresh. What does the floor look like? Maybe consider some new tile to replace that old, worn-out carpet.

After the exterior, the office is your second opportunity to make a good impression on potential and existing customers. It says a lot about how you do business and can give your renters confidence that you’re the right choice for them.

Unit Doors

Your unit doors are quite often a focal point of your facility, particularly if they can be seen from the street. This is what makes it obvious that you’re a self-storage facility. In what kind of condition are they? Are they dented? Is the paint faded or peeling?

When it comes to refreshing your doors, you have several options. If the paint is faded, there are products you can use to clean and recondition them, saving on replacement costs. If the paint is actually coming off, you could have them repainted, but if they’re old enough for the paint to be peeling, you may need to replace them. There’s more time and money involved in doing this, but it may be the best option.

When the doors are that old, they probably also have operating issues. If they don’t open and close smoothly and easily, you may have trouble renting these units. You might also get complaints from tenants. If you do replace the doors, look for ones with stainless-steel latches and handles, high-quality springs, tension adjusters, bearings, great paint warranties, extruded aluminum-bottom bars (especially in areas that use snow-melting agents), and bulb-type astragals.

Also consider security when replacing unit doors. There’ll be a period of time between removing the old doors and installing the new ones when the unit is vulnerable. Consider hiring a security guard and video recording the removals and installs, or having tenants on site while the work is done. You don’t want unexpected claims for damaged or missing items after the job is complete.

Roofing

Another potential renovation is to update or replace the roof. It really isn’t a part of the facility’s curb appeal, but it’s very important for the reputation of your business. If you have leaks, you can bet word will get out, and you may have a hard time renting units. Take care of it before it becomes a problem.

You’ll need to decide whether to replace the old roof completely or add a new roof on top of it. Consider adding a standing-seam roof that has concealed clips so you aren’t penetrating the roof everywhere you insert a screw. Don’t skimp on your roof. It can come back to haunt you.

Other Property Elements

There are many other upgrades you might consider for your property. One option is to convert part of your facility to climate control if you don’t currently offer it or it’s in high demand in your market. It isn’t impossible to do, though it could be more involved than some of the other items mentioned above. If your market has changed since you built the facility, it may be worth the work and expense, especially if you’re going to have new competition that offers this amenity.

The same goes for your security system. If you don’t have video cameras, perimeter fencing and gated access, you’re already behind the eight ball. Luckily there are retrofit systems that can be installed without the need to run all kinds of wiring. New lighting can also go a long way toward improving site security.

Whatever types of renovations you consider, plan them so they don’t impede business. Try not to inconvenience your customers. Keep the site clean and drive aisles free of debris at all times. Small fragments like screws can easily puncture a tire, which will lead to a very unhappy tenant.

Updating your existing self-storage facility will help you level the playing field and keep you in the game. Take a look around your property and consider what changes—big or small—can be made to help you better compete. Sometimes there are small things you can do that will have a huge impact.

Terry Campbell, director of sales and marketing for BETCO Inc., is in charge of the company’s self­-storage and components sales worldwide. He’s been in the industry for 20 years and is also a facility owner. He contributes to industry publications and conferences, and is a board member of the North Carolina Self Storage Association. For more information, e-mail [email protected]; visit www.betcoinc.com.

Syrasoft Partners with Moneris Solutions to Enhance Self-Storage Software Payment Processing

Syrasoft Self Storage Software has partnered with Moneris Solutions Inc., a payment-processing provider, to integrate Moneris’ secure, payment-processing platform with Syrasoft’s Automatic Credit Card and Internet Manager (SIM) Online Payments add-on modules. Syrasoft customers will be able to select Moneris as their processor for credit- and debit-card payments, according to a joint press release.

“Moneris offers many great benefits to customers who use our software to accept credit- and debit-card payments,” said Tom Garden, president of Syrasoft. “We are thrilled with the addition of Moneris as a preferred partner to help boost our payment software solutions to an enhanced level of performance.”

Syrasoft’s Automatic Credit Card add-on enables customers to accept and process point-of-sale and batch credit-card payments, while the SIM Online Payments module allows customers to accept and manage online credit-card payments directly from Syrasoft, according to the release.

The Moneris platform provides enhanced data security and fraud protection, reporting and back-office tools to manage client payments, recurring billing and automatic-payment collection, and technical support, officials said.

Moneris currently offers Europay International, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) payment-processing solutions to self-storage operators in Canada for enhanced data security with chip and PIN capabilities. The company will soon offer EMV processing solutions to U.S. operators to meet new merchant and card-issuer mandates in the United States, according to the release.

Moneris Solutions is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Moneris Solutions Corp. The company offers credit, debit, wireless and online-payment services, processing more than 3 billion transactions annually through more than 350,000 merchant locations. It also offers electronic loyalty and stored-value gift-card programs.

Based in Baldwinsville, N.Y., Syrasoft LLC has been a self-storage management software developer since 1991. The company is PA-DSS-compliant and uses military-grade encryption to protect customer data. Features include automatic credit card payments, a rent-adjustment wizard, and online payments and reservations.

Sources:

DealPoint Merrill to Issue Growth Fund for Self-Storage Expansion

DealPoint Merrill LLC, a real estate development and property-management firm, will launch a $25 million DPM Growth and Income Fund in January to help finance its 2015 expansion platform, which includes self-storage conversion projects. The fund will be administered through Bendigo Securities LLC.

"Our investment philosophy is rooted in acquiring value-added properties at deep discounted prices below replacement value, thereby creating an immediate margin of safety for our clients,” said Sterling McGregor, chief investment officer for DealPoint Merrill. “The fund will be centered on the redevelopment of existing properties and the conversion of vacant big-box retail or commercial buildings into self-storage.”

Earlier this month, officials in Juliet, Ill., approved a DealPoint Merrill proposal to convert a former Walmart to self-storage. The firm is also interested in converting grocery stores, redeveloping multi-tenant retail shopping centers with “dark” big-box anchor tenants, and acquiring “value-added” existing self-storage properties, according to a press release.

DealPoint Merrill is a subsidiary of The Merrill Group of Cos., a privately held real estate development and property-management firm that has been in business since 1985. Merrill Group manages more than 2 million square feet in office and retail assets nationwide. Based in Los Angeles, DealPoint Merrill also has a strategic partnership with real estate firm Sperry Van Ness LLC for co-investment opportunities and development services.

Sources:

MiniCo Self-Storage Wins 2nd Best Storage Award From Hong Kong Real Estate Website

MiniCo Self-Storage, the operating brand of MiniCo Asia Ltd., received the “Best Storage Service” award last month from GoHome.com.hk, a Hong Kong-based real estate listings website designed for property buyers and real estate professionals. MiniCo was one of several companies recognized in the area of lifestyle brands and services. This is the second consecutive year MiniCo has received the storage-service award. Winners were chosen by the website’s users.

MiniCo opened its first Hong Kong facility in June 2002 and currently operates three locations. Each facility offers “American-style” self-storage services.

“MiniCo is honored to have been chosen as the best storage service in Hong Kong by GoHome’s voters for the second year in a row, and we will continue our mission to bring convenient, secure, individualized storage solutions to our customers,” said Marilyn Leslie, MiniCo president.

The annual GoHome Awards are intended to recognize outstanding services provided by local property agents, property-services providers and lifestyle brands, according to GoHome. The website attracts more than 800,000 monthly visitors, according to a MiniCo press release.

MiniCo Asia Ltd. is a Hong Kong-based corporation that does business as MiniCo Self-Storage. Its majority shareholder is Phoenix-based New Empire Ventures Inc., a property investment and management company that owns and operates several assets in the United States and Hong Kong.

Sources:

Creative Strategies for Self-Storage Investing: Getting Your Foot in the Door

Foot in the Door

A successful self-storage investment takes three things: money, expertise and time. What if you lack one of these key components but still want to become a self-storage owner? Get creative! We’ll explore that in a minute.

First, let’s establish the fact that you’re going to need at least two of the three. If you have money and time, you can learn to be an expert or hire one. If you have time and expertise, somebody with money will want to partner with you on an investment. If expertise and money are a long suit for you, a broker will find you a property in a hurry!

In the past, most self-storage owners and investors lacked all three of these success ingredients for their first transaction, or any transaction for that matter. They were successful because they found or created a way to make it happen. Let’s look at how you can be creative to achieve your goal of owning a self-storage property.

Money

The first question buyers or investors often ask is, “What does it take to buy a self-storage property?” The standard answer is 25 percent of the sales price as a down payment and a loan of 75 percent of the value, typically from a local bank. This works great if you have $100,000 to $1 million in your checking account and a banker with lots of money with whom you play golf every Friday. If that’s not the case, what can you do?

Typical creative money strategies include borrowing against your assets such as your home, business or investment portfolio for the down payment; or borrowing from your parents or relatives. Be careful at holiday dinners if this strategy doesn’t work out. There’s a lot of risk in these options.

If you don’t want that level of risk, partner with someone who has the money. Maybe an old college buddy who’s done well? Your doctor or dentist? Maybe you know a professional who doesn’t have the time to find a good deal or manage an investment such as self-storage. You need to bring value to the partnership through your time and expertise and let your other partner(s) contribute the cash.

Expertise and Time

A few of you may have money to invest and an understanding of real estate investing but lack time to acquire and manage assets. Maybe you own real estate now and want better returns, less risk or less hassle from your tenants. This is for all of you who’ve owned houses or apartments and dealt with countless complaints and issues.

Or perhaps you’ve heard about self-storage and are looking to invest, but need the expertise to find a good property and manage it well. Here are some professionals you’ll need to enroll in your self-storage investment activities:

  • Self-storage broker
  • Self-storage management company
  • Real estate attorney
  • Accountant
  • Loan broker
  • Environmental consultant who’ll conduct the phase I environmental study on the property you’re considering to ensure it’s clean and free of any contamination
  • Appraiser
  • Construction and/or maintenance company
  • Industry mentor or advisor

Now for the creative part. I’ve seen many strategies for making the transaction work for the buyer and seller in a resourceful way. Following are some examples for you to consider.

Start Small

We all read about the $100-million-dollar transactions and dream of having the wherewithal to make one someday. Even the million-dollar property would be wonderful to own. For most, however, the value of these deals might just be too large for our current circumstances. So think small.

My first self-storage facility was one I built from scratch. My father and I paid $13,200 for 2.5 acres in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania and borrowed $90,000 from Wells Fargo to build one 30-by-220-foot building. We leased it in nine months and had it appraised at $250,000. Then we refinanced the property with a 75 percent loan and had $90,000 cash to go buy our second property!

If you’re not interested in the risk and amount of time necessary to develop a facility from the ground up, consider buying a small existing one. A number of smaller self-storage properties sell for $50,000 to $250,000. These would need a cash investment of $10,000 to $62,500. They might be rows of garages in a city or a number of portable-storage units on a lot in a rural part of the country. Either way, it gets you “in the game” and puts your investment capital to work.

Seller Financing

Let’s face it, banks and other lending institutions are a pain to deal with. In some cases, you may find a seller who wants to finance the purchase of the property. He earns the interest the bank would normally receive and may get a higher price for the property since the buyer won’t have to pay bank fees. The transaction can also close in a much shorter time.

Upside With Management

Some of the greatest returns in the self-storage industry come from buying properties that are mismanaged or undermanaged. Would you pay a 6 percent capitalization (cap) rate for a property on current net income if you knew you could increase the revenue and decrease the expenses in 12 months so the purchase price would then be a 9 percent cap rate? There are a number of these properties on the market at any given time. Lots of opportunity exists here.

Leased Properties

Yes, there are self-storage properties on leased land or in buildings leased from the owner. These properties are priced much lower than those on fee simple land and offer greater cash-on-cash return since there’s no potential upside in the appreciation of the real estate for the self-storage owner. The tax benefits are really good as well.

Properties With Expansion

Adding rental units to an existing property is one of the least risky and most rewarding ways to add value to a facility and equity to your balance sheet. In our industry, the value of an occupied unit is two to three times greater than the cost to build it! So any opportunity to buy a property with expansion potential should seriously be considered.

Lease to Own

There aren’t many of these opportunities out there, but they do exist. Sometimes the seller wants to get away from the daily operation of a property, yet doesn’t want to transfer the title (estate taxes) or hire a management company (controlling personality). This creates an opportunity for a buyer to take over operations and pay a lease payment each month vs. a loan payment. Lots of complexity here, proceed with caution!

Buyer and Seller Benefits

The toughest part of a creative transaction is finding a seller or buyer who’s willing to be imaginative. It takes a lot of trust and concrete benefits for both parties. Here are the potential benefits for each side of the transaction:

Self-Storage Investing***

Today, we have a strong seller’s market in self-storage. Fewer than 5 percent of the transactions are “creative” in some meaningful way. Be prepared to look long and hard for these opportunities, but also be ready to profit greatly when they do come along. Good hunting!

John H. Gilliland is president and founder of The Investment Real Estate Group of Cos. Since 1997, he’s brokered more than 300 storage transactions and built 2.5 million square feet of storage space. He currently owns and operates 16 facilities in Maryland and Pennsylvania. His company serves Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. He’s a past president of the Pennsylvania Self Storage Association and past chairman of the national Self Storage Association. For more information, e-mail [email protected]; visit www.irellc.com.