Contributing Editors

Are Foreclosures Fair? “Robo-Signers” Confess Amid Mortgage Company Investigations and Fraud, Forgery Allegations

by Holly Robinson September 23, 2010 11:51 PM
There are many reasons, happy and sad, to become a self storage tenant, but one of the saddest must be to have to put belongings in self storage because your home has been foreclosed on. But in a recession economy, foreclosures seem to have become the new American experience, with millions of Americans from all walks of life losing their homes. Self storage companies have stepped up to the plate, offering storage to families who are going through a transition from one home to another, providing the first month or two of storage at a discount while families struggle to get back on their feet, and providing discounts to families with special circumstances, such as military families. Families who use self storage typically do so temporarily, while they are in transition, with the average self storage tenancy for an individual or family lasting about 11 months, according to industry statistics published last May in NuWire Investor.

Now it is becoming clear that one subset of self storage customers -- families who have lost their homes to foreclosure -- may have been improperly evicted from their homes in a deeply flawed foreclosure process that does not allow for careful and thorough review of mortgage documents and records to occur before the eviction process begins. Some bank employees are signing off on foreclosure documents without first going through the documents to make sure that the foreclosure is truly justified. Some of the foreclosures that have been processed over the last few years not only were processed far too quickly and sloppily, but are not even legal, because some files contained documents that were forged, signatures that were forged, names of made-up companies and employees from those companies, and affidavits that were signed without the presence of a notary (or that were signed by a notary several days after the initial signature that the notary was supposed to have witnessed). [More]

Self Storage Investments Beat the Stock Market

by Kim Kilpatrick September 23, 2010 7:31 PM
According to an article in yesterday’s MarketWatch, cautious investors may still want to steer clear of most stocks, which are liable to provide a bumpy ride for the next few years. Instead, analyst Jeff Reeves recommends several less conventional investment options, all of which, he points out, are beating the stock market right now in terms of the return an investor could get on his or her investment. Of seven alternative investment options, Reeves ranks self storage as number two -- after gold and before cash. [More]

Stay in One Place, Sunrise Self Storage Facilities, and Google Will Find You Eventually

by Winnie Hsiu September 22, 2010 11:57 PM
According to the United States Search and Rescue Task Force, the thing to do if you get lost is to stay in one place -- and stay together. Sunrise, Florida, and its more than 86,000 citizens have been doing just that for 50 years, since Sunrise (originally called Sunset) was first established. Yet for almost a month this summer, Google Maps sent viewers who were looking for Sunrise to Sarasota -- a city that is 200 miles away and on the other side of the state -- instead. Not only was the city of Sunrise lost, but so were all its businesses (including many self storage facilities), addresses, and even city hall, much to the mayor’s dismay. [More]

Australian Investors Looking for Self Storage Opportunities

by John Stevens September 22, 2010 10:47 PM
About a year ago, two pioneers of the Australian self storage industry, Dallas Dogger and Sam Kennard, reported in Inside Self-Storage that the Australian self storage market was starting to decline. New inquiries about self storage in Australia had, as of last November, dropped about 10 to 20 percent from their peak in 2007 and 2008, possibly in response to the global recession. Earlier today, though, several investors reported in The Australian that the Australian self storage market is beginning to heat back up. [More]

New PA Self Storage Facility Compromises with Neighbors over Trees

by Tony Gonzalez September 21, 2010 11:26 PM
After having its opening delayed all through this spring and summer, Chester Heights Self Storage, of Chester Heights, Pennsylvania, has finally opened for business. But local residents still had a concern to raise -- the location of the trees that the facility was planting to serve as a buffer shield between the storage facility and their homes. Now the facility owner, Dominic Cappelli, and his neighbors have reached an agreement. Homeowners will mark the exact spots where they want the new trees to be planted. [More]

Decluttering and Storage: All Natural Solutions to Getting Rid of Bedbugs

by John Stevens September 21, 2010 11:20 PM
Bedbugs can survive freezing temperatures. They can also survive pesticide application, now that they have developed a resistance to it. But if you are willing to be patient, there is one thing that bedbugs cannot survive -- storage for long periods of time. Bedbugs cannot go more than a year without a food source. If you are able to store belongings that have a persistent bedbug infestation for more than a year (sealed in clear plastic bags), any bedbugs that remain in the object should die. Scientists say that people who store their mattresses with vinyl covers, or who store stuffed animals and clothing inside sealed plastic bags, should not have to worry about bedbugs infesting their belongings, no matter where they live or where the items are stored (in a closet, attic, basement, or self storage unit). Likewise, decluttering is an important part of addressing a bedbug problem, because it eliminates places where bedbugs can hide. [More]

What Happens to Stored Museum Collections?

by Kim Kilpatrick September 20, 2010 11:05 PM
It can take hours to make your way through a good art museum, if you take the time to look at each piece appreciatively, reading the labels and other information about each item. For larger museums, spending the time to really go through the museum’s exhibits carefully could take days. Even so, once a visitor has finished looking at all the exhibits that are on display, he or she is likely to have seen only a sliver of the museum’s actual collections. The rest of the museum’s collection -- more than half of the collection, in most cases -- is kept in storage.

A few museums and other institutional art collectors, though, are pulling more of their collections out of storage this month and putting them on display -- giving art lovers an unusual chance to see some lovely items that are normally confined to a small storage unit. Others, though, are closing or moving to smaller quarters, while more of their collections get moved into storage. [More]

OH Fire Department Starts Self Storage Business to Raise Money

by Holly Robinson September 20, 2010 4:29 PM
Across the country, budgets for emergency services, including fire department budgets, have been shrinking steadily. Some departments have even begun to charge crash victims for the cost of responding to an accident or a fire. Now one Ohio fire department has found a more creative solution to its financing woes -- it is constructing a self storage facility. Profits from the self storage facility will provide funding for the fire department, easing the burden on local taxpayers.

The fire department in question is the Chester Volunteer Fire Department, or the Station 6 Fire Department, of Hancock County, Ohio. [More]

September: A Good Time to Clean Your Garage, Professional Organizers Say

by John Stevens September 17, 2010 6:13 PM
Depending on what the climate is like where you live, professional organizers say that now might be a good time to clean out your garage. Most residential garages are not heated or air conditioned -- so the cool temperatures of fall can provide an ideal climate for pulling garage gear out into the driveway and reorganizing. Be ready to get rid of some things, store others, and organize the rest. One afternoon of garage cleaning could make the rest of the winter much more bearable, especially for people who live in states that have cold, snowy winters.

According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, about half of homeowners say that the most disorganized part of their home is the garage. [More]

Will the Small Business Jobs Act Help Self Storage Businesses?

by Tony Gonzalez September 17, 2010 4:53 PM
The U.S. Senate passed legislation yesterday designed to make it easier for small businesses to create new jobs. The bill is called the Small Business Jobs Act. It was passed in the Senate by a vote of 61 to 38 and is expected to be passed by the House of Representatives, and signed by President Obama, next week as well.

According to the national Self Storage Association, about 90 percent of self storage companies are owned by individual entrepreneurs who each operate just one self storage facility. In the United States today, there are around 27,650 self storage owner/operators who own and operate one facility each. Will the Small Business Jobs Act help these self storage business owners? [More]
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