Contributing Editors

Don’t Plan on Financing Your Move with a Payday Loan

by Tony Gonzalez July 27, 2010 2:03 PM
Moving can be expensive, when you factor in the cost of movers, taking time off work, and, if you are downsizing or trying to sell a house, putting some possessions into self storage. Despite the expense, if you have to go into debt to pay for all your moving expenses, it is better to find a way to do so without taking out a payday loan. Payday lenders tend to charge exorbitant interest rates. Even a credit card will charge a lower -- MUCH lower -- interest rate than a payday loan will. A better way to finance the self storage side of your move is to go to a self storage company that offers the first month free. Or, if you are a student, are retired, or are a veteran or an active member of the military, try going to a self storage company that offers discounts to students, retirees, veterans, or military families. You may be able to find movers that will offer discounts, as well. [More]

Old Dallas Walmart Becomes New Self Storage Facility

by John Stevens June 21, 2010 4:29 PM
Four Dallas-area residents, tired of looking at an empty Walmart building that has stood empty for six years, have decided to buy Walmart’s old retail building and convert it into a self storage facility. The Walmart will be turned into a Just Store It. The interior demolition work is already finished, and work on the interior renovations began today. The development is the brainchild of developer Brad Tidwell of Dallas, who looked at the old Walmart building and saw a conversion deal.

“Every time I see a new idea,” Tidwell explained in the Sunday Longview News-Journal, “my first thought is, ‘will this work in Longview?’” [More]

Federal Funds Become Available for Cold Storage Loans

by Winnie Hsiu April 2, 2010 4:16 PM
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that its Farm Storage Facility Loan Program will now finance low-interest loans for farmers, to pay for the construction of cold storage facilities. The cold storage facilities must be used by farmers to store fresh fruit and vegetables. The cold storage loans are part of the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” program, a program promoted by the Obama administration to encourage Americans to eat food that has been grown locally. The money to finance the loans was authorized by Congress’ 2008 Farm Bill.

Although the statement released by the Department of Agriculture does not mention self storage, it does not specifically rule out the possibility that self storage facilities could be used to store the nation’s locally grown food. Facilities that apply for federal loans must, however, demonstrate a need for the storage provided by the facility, based on the average production from a particular acreage over three years and the borrower’s share of the production. It is probable that self storage facilities, if they were to apply, would have to enter a business relationship with a farmer whose acreage is in need of storage, and document that relationship for the USDA. However, self storage facilities seem like a natural choice for seasonal food storage, since they offer short term storage at reasonable prices, and can provide refrigerated and/or climate-controlled units. [More]

Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be -- Be an Investor

by Holly Robinson March 24, 2010 9:01 AM
Foreshadowing the current commercial real estate foreclosure crisis by several centuries, Polonius advised in Shakespeare's Hamlet: "Neither a borrower nor a lender be." He might as well have added, "Be an investor instead." Polonius' words put most of the analysis of commercial real estate industry experts, reflecting on the state of the industry in major newspapers all over the country this weekend, into a nutshell. [More]

Investors Commit to Canadian Self-Storage Firm

by John Stevens March 8, 2010 5:00 PM
StorageVault of Canada announced today (MarketWire, Trading Markets, Inside Self Storage) that two investment funds managed by PFM Capital will, collectively, make a $4,000,000 preferred share investment in StorageVault. StorageVault expects the preferred share financing deal to close on or around March 17 of this year. StorageVault will draw down the investment in two tranches of $2,000,000 each, with the first tranche being drawn down on the closing date (March 17), and the second tranche being drawn down within one year of the closing date -- or by March 17, 2011. StorageVault will use the money to buy a self-storage facility in Cambridge, Ontario, to develop PUPS portable storage at that location, and for general working capital to cover operating expenses. [More]

Mortgage Bankers Express Optimism About Self-Storage Industry

by John Stevens February 9, 2010 2:59 PM
Over 1,800 mortgage bankers and lenders attended the Mortgage Bankers Association CREF Convention and Expo this week in Las Vegas. While discussion at the conference focused mostly on financing of multifamily dwellings, lenders also discussed the business climate for other types of commercial lending. Most commercial lenders were looking for stable, fully-leased properties from strong businesses. Lenders were most interested in office, industrial, and self-storage properties -- about which they were cautiously optimistic -- and had little interest in retail and hospitality businesses.

Economists at the conference said that the recession had ended in August 2009. They noted that single family homes had troughed in value during the first quarter of 2009. Now home values have risen 10 percent from that low point. Commercial real estate values, though, peaked in 2007. Commercial real estate values are still 31 percent lower than they were at their 2007 peak. Economists further predicted that commercial real estate values will continue to drop at least another four percent. Retail leasing, in particular, is expected to trough in 2010. But a retail rebound is expected to occur as well, at some point during the year. [More]

Tide Turning in Real Estate Markets; Self-Storage to Outperform the Rest

by Winnie Hsiu December 30, 2009 7:32 AM
The Wall Street Journal this morning predicted a much more stable real estate market for 2010 than the wild ride the market took investors for in 2009.... the WSJ reports that the Dow Jones Equity All REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) Total Return Index is up 31% this year, which means that it has improved over its 2008 performance, when it was down 38%. In 2009, the real estate market showed its strongest performance since 2006. It even outdid the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, which posted a 25% return. "It's been very much a roller coaster ride this year," noted Goldfarb. "And we're about to end this year on a high note."
....Lucas told the WSJ that he expected self-storage to be one of three types of REITS that will outperform the rest of the market (the other two are industrial and student-housing REITs). Self-storage can be expected to do well because it does not depend on the creation of new jobs. The recession has been less damaging to the self-storage industry, in general, than it has been for other real estate businesses. According to Inside Self Storage, this is partly because self-storage owners use 30-day leases, and therefore have the flexibility to change their rates immediately in response to changes in the market and to changes in demand. ISS also attributes the stability of self-storage companies to the fact that self-storage business owners, unlike the REITs Kirby refers to, tend not to over-leverage their businesses -- they are more likely to keep their leverage within responsible limits. As a result, they are less vulnerable to sudden shifts in the market.... [More]

Investors Gear Up for Inside Self-Storage World Expo 2010

by Tony Gonzalez December 16, 2009 2:36 AM
Inside Self-Storage has announced that its 2010 World Expo will be held March 1-3, in Las Vegas, at the Paris Hotel and Resort. The Inside Self-Storage Expo is the self-storage industry's largest convention and trade show. It provides a four-track education program and development seminars, and gives self-storage owners, entrepreneurs, investors, developers, and suppliers a chance to meet each other and network. It will also include product and service exhibits. All in all, the 2010 ISS Expo will provide 36 seminars, four workshops, two days of product and service exhibits, five networking events, and a Self-Storage Q&A roundtable discussion. A new feature this year will be the Technology Marketplace, where Expo exhibitors can show off the newest security, software, and other technology-related products.

One of the most popular seminars at the Inside Self-Storage Expo every year is the intensive, six-hour Developers Seminar. This year, the Developers Seminar will be hosted by RK Kliebenstein, the president of Coast-to-Coast Storage, and will take place on March 3, from noon until 6 p.m. Kliebenstein will provide potential investors with tools and information they need to evaluate whether self-storage is a good business fit for them, explaining the how to develop a self-storage site, how to find financing for a self-storage venture, and focusing on how the economic recession has affected the self-storage business. Kliebenstein's workshop will also be helpful for small self-storage facility owners who are looking for ideas to help them expand their businesses. [More]