America's Favorite Second Home: Self-Storage

April 21, 2015

Are your clients downsizing, perhaps moving from the empty nest to a smaller unit? Or are they looking to spread out, maybe anticipating the arrival of new family members? Either way, as home owners' needs change, self-storage is a popular solution.

The number of self-storage locations in the United States is more than triple the number of McDonald's outlets, reports Curbed.com, and the industry generates $24 billion annually. "That means," says reporter Patrick Sisson, "that the warehouses, garages and pods holding your ski equipment and holiday decorations take up so much space they generate $3.25 billion in state and local property taxes each year."

It's always best, of course, to encourage clients preparing for a move to cut back, which improves staging and curb appeal while preventing an overaccumulation of unnecessary belongings.

But when there's a short-term need, savvy practitioners can help their clients take a pragmatic look at the issue. Consider whether the customer is gaining or losing space and help them take a sober look at cost per square foot if they're thinking of renting pods or other self-storage solutions. Remind them that money they put into self-storage has little return beyond hiding a problem and that being able to return that money to a household budget may give them more flexibility as they shop for their new home.

Ultimately, while you can't tell clients what to do, knowing your market well enough to provide a number of flexible options and the realistic financial effects may be enough to help more customers buy more home.

Source: "In Nation of Hoarders, Self-Storage Spots Outnumber McDonald's," Curbed.com (April 20, 2015)