Self-Storage as a Real Estate Investment: Who is the typical self-storage investor?

Self-storage is not a glamourous industry.  Uninteresting warehouse-type buildings, filled with cubicles that are overflowing with people’s belongings, do not have the sex appeal of a glitzy shopping mall or a sophisticated designer furniture store.  Locations on noisy roads or the outskirts of town are standard.  These facilities, however, have become big business and are a fast growing sector that can turn out to be a solid investment.

The self-storage business model is unusual for commercial real estate.  Tenants pay minimal or no deposit and can leave at a moment’s notice.  Nevertheless, this sector has seen strong performance and growth for two primary reasons.

  1. People continue to acquire things that can’t be consumed: furniture, toys, and electronics, to name a few.  For countless reasons, they are averse to disposing of these items.  Even if people are forced to downsize due to economic reasons, they still need to use self-storage for the overflow.
  2. Secondly, most people are reluctant to ultimately deal with disposing of things they’ve placed in storage. One-third of storage space is full of items that have remained there for approximately three years.

Who are the typical investors in this industry?

There is not a typical investor.  Any individual looking at asset class diversification through real estate investments is a potential investor.  Investing in commercial real estate offers an alternate asset class beyond stocks and bonds.

In a volatile stock market, self-storage investment provides a more stable cash flow.  Turnover in these facilities is less of an issue than the short-term lease contracts might predict, and the large number of rentable spaces give owners less vulnerability to substantial swings in vacancy rate.  Realistically, the short-term nature of rentals allows owners to react quickly to market conditions.

Let’s look at some of the professions that are representative of the self-storage industry investor.


  • Construction company owners
  • Engineers

Family Groups

  • Family trusts
  • Private family offices


  • 1031 exchange investorsSelf
  • Banking executives
  • Bank officer
  • Bitcoin investors
  • Cost segregation consultants
  • Self-Directed IRA investors
  • Wealth managers

Legal Profession

  • Attorneys

Medical Professionals

  • Bariatric surgeon in private practice
  • Neurological surgeon at a university hospital
  • Orthopedic surgeon for high profile professional sports team
  • Medical equipment sales professionals


  • Retired military officer (West Point graduate)


  • Chemist
  • City public works managers
  • General business owners

Oil and Gas

  • Oil and gas executives
  • Oil and gas owners

Self-Storage and Real Estate

  • Commercial developers
  • Commercial property appraisers
  • Current self-storage owners
  • Licensed real estate professionals
  • Multi-family investors
  • Past self-storage owners
  • RV park owners
  • Single family rental owners
  • Self-Storage industry vendor owners and executives

Tech Industry

  • C-level software company executives
  • IT professionals
  • Internet based business owner
  • Tech industry executives

These investors are professionals, families, and individuals who recognize the potential in commercial real estate, particularly the self-storage model.  They recognize the recurring cash flow, appreciation potential, and lower correlation with the public markets.  They recognize a solid investment.

It’s never been easier to access individual real estate transactions.