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The Advantages of Self-Storage Investing Over Multifamily Housing and Traditional Commercial Real Estate

June 21, 2024

Investing in real estate offers various opportunities, each with its unique benefits and challenges. Self storage investing has gained prominence as a compelling alternative to traditional options like multifamily housing and commercial real estate. In this blog, we will explore the advantages of self storage investing compared to these other real estate segments.

1. Lower Operating Costs and Overheads

Self storage facilities typically require lower operating costs and overheads compared to multifamily housing and traditional commercial real estate. There are no major plumbing, electrical, or HVAC systems to maintain, and expenses like utilities and common area upkeep are often minimal. This results in higher net operating income (NOI) and potentially greater profitability.

2. Simplicity of Management

Managing self storage facilities is generally less complex than overseeing multifamily housing or traditional commercial properties. Tenant turnover is typically higher in multifamily housing, requiring more time and effort for leasing, maintenance, and dealing with tenant issues. Self-storage units have shorter lease terms, making the management process more streamlined and less labor-intensive.

3. Resilience in Economic Downturns

Self storage facilities have demonstrated resilience during economic downturns. When people downsize or face financial challenges, they often require storage space for their belongings. This consistent demand can provide a reliable income stream, even in uncertain economic times. In contrast, multifamily housing may experience increased vacancy rates during recessions, while some commercial properties may struggle to find tenants.

4. Lower Tenant Turnover

Tenant turnover is a common challenge in multifamily housing, requiring time and resources to find and screen new tenants. Self storage tenants, on the other hand, generally have shorter lease terms and lower emotional attachment to their stored items. This results in lower turnover and reduced vacancy rates.

5. Flexibility in Unit Sizes

Self storage facilities offer flexibility in unit sizes, allowing owners to cater to various customer needs. This adaptability allows for greater occupancy and revenue optimization. In contrast, multifamily housing and traditional commercial properties may have less flexibility in accommodating different space requirements.

6. Lower Barrier to Entry

The initial investment and barriers to entry in self storage investing are often lower compared to multifamily housing and some commercial real estate sectors. Smaller investors can find viable opportunities in the self storage market, whereas larger multifamily or commercial properties may require substantial capital and resources.

7. Scalability and Portfolio Diversification

Self storage investments can be easily scaled and diversified across multiple locations, reducing risk and enhancing portfolio resilience. Multifamily housing often requires significant capital for expansion, and traditional commercial properties may involve higher complexity in management and leasing.

8. Favorable Risk-Return Profile

The self storage sector has historically demonstrated a favorable risk-return profile. Investors seeking steady cash flow and long-term growth potential may find self storage investments appealing, especially when compared to the inherent risks and volatility associated with other types of real estate.

Conclusion

Self storage investing offers a range of advantages over multifamily housing and traditional commercial real estate. Lower operating costs, simpler management, resilience during economic downturns, lower tenant turnover, unit size flexibility, lower barriers to entry, scalability, and a favorable risk-return profile make self storage an appealing option for investors seeking to diversify their real estate portfolios. While each real estate segment has its merits, self storage investing stands out as a compelling and potentially rewarding choice in today's dynamic real estate market.