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If you’re thinking ‘sexy real estate investment’, Self Storage may not immediately come to mind, but it is worth adding to your list for consideration.

There is potential for a solid return, whether you buy an existing facility or develop one yourself, but it’s important to realise that, as with any real estate investment, it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Again, as with any real estate investment, there are traps and tricks involved. Doing your homework is vital to ensure you’re on a winning streak, and some of these tips may help you decide if this is the right path for you.

* Location is always important in real estate but there is an extra element in whether or not Self Storage will work there. Do you have any competitors in the area, or any who are planning to move in?

It’s important to know if anyone else has plans for Self Storage in the same area (check with your council), so you know if your audience might be courted by another supplier. That could be an important factor in your decision.

* Getting specialist help is vital if you have no experience in Self Storage development. Hiring an expert will help you avoid all the pitfalls, and while they cannot guarantee success, they can walk you through all the procedures so that you’re heading in the right direction.

* You will have to be patient. As we said earlier, this is not a get-rich-quick investment. It will take several years for the project to settle down and start showing solid results, whether it is brand-new, or an existing facility that will have to be managed through the change of ownership.

* Remember that this is not just a piece of real estate. It’s actually a business with all the associated challenges and problems. You may need to be more heavily involved than a business where a manager takes care of everything.

* If you’re buying an existing facility, make sure you do all your homework. Look at the paperwork and the property. Make sure the maintenance has been done, and if not, why not? Also, if you’re buying an existing property, be realistic about what you will need to pay, especially if it’s a successful operation in an area of high demand.

* Be prepared to evaluate the staff, if they are existing employees. If you want to keep them on, you need to be sure you can trust them to look after your interests because if they aren’t, you will feel it. Do the proper background checks – and even talk to some of the customers to see how they feel about the existing team.

The right team, including the manager, can make or break your Self Storage facility, and your business, so it makes good business sense to ensure you are happy with them.

Finally, you should invest in advertising and marketing… Today Facebook and Google allows you the opportunity to target your customers, and you will see results immediately. Contact a marketing agency that specialises in Self Storage, R6 Web Design can build your website, integrate it with SiteLink Self Storage Management Software, and optimise the website and marketing campaign to increase your profits.

As always, making a checklist, and ensuring you have ticked all the boxes on it – can help you avoid nasty surprises which, when an investment decision is involved, can be very painful indeed.