How to evaluate a self storage property? What do self storage REITs look for when buying new properties? Kris Benson, Chief Investment Officer for Reliant Investments shares some insights into this recession resistant asset class.
You can read this entire interview here: https://montecarlorei.com/how-to-evaluate-a-self-storage-property-what-do-reits-look-for-when-buying-new-properties/
What are some of the things that you look for in a property before making an investment?
Where we start is the market and we’re looking at very similar demographics to what you may look for any asset class. Traffic count is a big one, understanding how many cars are going by per day in storage is interesting in that the market is really the one, three, and five mile radius around your facility. That’s the data that really matters. Because people typically are not traveling too much farther than that to come to a storage facility. We don’t have amenities, it’s a garage. There’s not necessarily specific amenities people will travel to like they may for a multi-family property or an apartment. Population growth, job growth, average income, median household value, those are some of the pieces that we’re looking at to understand who the potential tenant may be, and the strength of the market. And then, a big component of it is understanding the competitive set in that particular market as well. Who are the competitors going to be? Are they going to be institutional REITs or is it going to be a mom and pop competitive set? So we try to build a story around each one of the properties we’re purchasing. So it’s a number of different data points that we bring together.
What are some of the ways that you add value, or look at adding value in a particular property?
On our side it’s different for each property that we are looking at. We don’t go into a particular value add strategy and it’s the same for every property. We’ve sold 36 properties, and the majority of those have been sold to the REIT’s. So we look at each property with a lens of what our exit could be. Sometimes we may go into a facility that’s cash flowing currently, and maybe it’s been operated by a mom and pop owner and they have some additional acreage that they’ve not capitalized on and we may build it do an expansion. We could build an additional 15,000 square feet and get that leased up.
Our goal is to try to grow the NOI on that particular property. That can be one value added strategy. What’s interesting about storage is that the marketplace is very fragmented. The REIT’s own about 20 to 25% of the market and the rest is very much fragmented between regional operators like us at Reliant, and operators, like mom and pop shops who have one or two facilities. And usually in those mom and pop operated facilities, there’s a lot of low hanging fruit to glean additional revenues. And so sometimes the value add is building out some ancillary income streams like doing U-Haul truck rentals, or a retail component where we’re selling locks boxes, those types of items where maybe the mom and pop operator just didn’t capitalize on that opportunity. So, we look at each property differently and then as we underwrite we add what that value add is, or business plan may be.
When you look at exiting to a REIT, what do they look for in your properties when they are purchasing them?
Typically they’re looking for a market presence in an area that they think has upside, that will help them grow their portfolio, where they don't take construction risk.
Kris Benson https://www.reliantinvestments.com/
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