Monthly Archives: September 2017

How To Have Better Conversations

 Issue 78 – ROI of Better Conversations

Introduction…Award-winning journalist and author Celest Headlee is the keynote speaker at the Big Ideas in Storage at the Texas Self Storage Association’s Conference on October 19th. CNN voted her the most-watched Ted Talks in 2016.

Q & A With The Author

Q. How did you become an expert on good communications?

A. While working as the host of the public radio show, “The Takeaway,” I wanted to hone my interviewing skills.  The information I found did not work.  So, I started consulting brain science on how different cultures communicate.  I ended up with new insights into a good conversation.

Q. You said most people don’t converse very well.  What do you mean by that?

A. First, we mostly talk about ourselves.  60% of the time.  Boring. The other person knows what they want to say, we’re just waiting for us to take a breath so they can talk.

Q. What advice do you have for becoming a better listener?

A. Try to listen to the underlying message behind someone’s words.  What are they really saying?

Q.  What is conversational competence?

A.  The ability to communicate a message clearly and to understand what others tell you.  Our messages get garbled and we have a hard time listening to what is actually said instead of hearing a partial message.

Q.  Do you have any additional conversation tips?

A. 1.  Be there in the conversation or go elsewhere.  We’re really not that good at multi-tasking.

2.  Check your bias.  The belief that your intelligence protects you from erroneous assumptions can end up making you more vulnerable.

3.  Hide the phone.  Don’t just put it down.  Put it away.

In Conclusion…Communication skills are skills that last a lifetime.  They can be so-so or better.  But, it’s probably worth the effort to improve.

Source: “How To Have Better Conversations,” Self-Storage News, Sept/Oct. 2017

How Self-Storage Construction Can Improve Your Cash Flow

 Issue 77 – Cube Smart, Arlington, VA

Introduction…Tuesday Texas Self-Storage Association met in Dallas for their annual “Trends in Self-Storage Construction” update panel.  What we learned can increase your cash flow.

Major trends…The major shift is the increased size properties the REITs and other public entities are building today.  Three or four years ago, a 100,000 square foot storage facility was considered large.  Now, 200,000 to 300,000 square foot storage facilities are being built by many operators.

To watch the video, click here now.

This means more 4, 5 or taller storage facilities are being built in high-density areas of the city.  How this can improve your cash flow follows a little later.

The largest cause of cost escalations…This surprised me and it may surprise you.  The largest single cause of cost increases for self-storage in urban areas is architectural control. Instead of putting up an all steel building as in the past, now cities are requiring brick, stucco, and/or expensive exterior materials.

Some cities require these higher cost exteriors on that which can be seen from the street.  But, others require it for all the buildings plus articulation on the front facing area.

Increase in insulation and number of bathrooms also have been added by some. As well as structural fire suppression systems.   But, these items are much less expensive than the architectural control items above.

What about green initiatives in self-storage construction?  Generally, the primary driving factor in building storage properties is keeping the construction costs as low as possible.  In many areas of the country, the cost of going green outweighs the savings.  However, one developer who builds in the Texas Rio Grand area builds solar and wind energy in all their new projects.

However, in North Texas solar and wind are not economical, so he doesn’t use it here.

How to increase your cash flow?  This message was expressed by several of the panel participants.  The advice was to stay out of the urban areas where the REITs are building or are likely to build.  During lease up, which could take several years, they will cut rents by 50%.  Then later, manage rental rate increases.  That is similar to the retail category killers that put many mom and pops retail out of business.  Be on guard.

In conclusion…So where should be build and buy storage properties today?  Stay out of the 50 major urban centers.  Focus on the tertiary markets as we have done and are doing today.  This little tip could make you or save you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To learn how you can get passive residual income from self-storage, “Get 9 Little Known Secrets For Steady Real Estate Income – FREE”  at

To watch the video, click here now.

Massive Demand For Self-Storage After Harvey

 Issue 76 – Massive Storage Demand

Introduction…Hurricane Harvey is causing self-storage properties to fill up as displaced people seek a place for belongings as they rebuild or prepare to move.

The supply has also been significantly reduced because many storage facilities have suffered flood damage.

Supply before the storm…”Before the storm, there just wasn’t much product on the self to begin with,” said Aaron Sweden, vice chairman with Newmark Knight Frank.

Conclusion...The rush of demand could last beyond the normal 3 to 8 months burst in business that generally follows natural disasters.  With as many as 40,000 homes destroyed  from Harvey, it could take people much longer to fix their homes or downsize to apartments resulting in long-term  storage.

Will Hurricane Harvey Cause Losses For Self-Storage Renters?

Issue 75 – Hurricane Harvey Rescuers

Introduction...Last week my son called and said some of his things in an Austin, Texas self-storage property were ruined by Hurricane Harvey.  He asked whose responsibility was it to replace his damaged items.

Great question that has several possible answers.  But, the first thing we know is that it is not the property owner’s responsibility to replaced storm damaged items.  That’s why its called self-storage.  The user takes responsibility for things he or she stores there.  That is why we recommend storage insurance to new tenants.

Ciick here to watch the video “Will Hurricane Harvey Cause Losses For Self-Storage Renters?”

Will insurance repair or replace damaged property in self-storage from the hurricane?  Maybe.  It depends on the type of property insured and the cause of the damage.

First, let’s look at household items.  This is the largest category of items being stored.  Some users have homeowners insurance that covers property stored off site.  Flood insurance is not covered unless specifically purchased.  Let’s assume we don’t have flood insurance.  Then the cause of the damage will tell us if our things are covered.  If the water comes in under the door, we are out of luck.  But, if the water comes in from the side or if the roof is damaged, we may have coverage.  The insurance poiicy governs.

Boats and RVs…Insurance on boats and RVs is not specific to a location.  So, here if it is stored off site, we may have coverage.  Check to see if your policy covers water damage.

In summary...Harvey could be the costliest disaster in U.S. history.  Harvey destroyed as many as 40,000 homes and one million cars. I called one of my friends in a Houston suburb Thursday.  He said he had a foot of water in the living room and the rescue boats just pulled you to save his family.  He was devastated.

A special prayer goes out to the families and friends of the 60 people who lost lives at the winds and rain of Hurricane Harvey.

Ciick here to watch the video “Will Hurricane Harvey Cause Losses For Self-Storage Renters?”