One of my mentors always used to say “there are riches in niches” and that couldn’t be more true in the world of real estate investing.   Investing is not a “one size fits all” venture – some people love the challenge of turning trashy houses into beautiful homes, while others love to become passive lenders or landlords such that they can account for a more predictable payment stream.

We all need to find our own niche that works best for our available time, financial resources and personality types.   Once an investor finds that “one thing,” the key is to really stick with it long enough to implement efficient systems and push through the challenges that inevitably occur.

I was inspired to seek a financial path that would allow my time, talent and income to support my philanthropic goals and family-focused lifestyle. It was the combination of my “WHY” mixed with my enthusiastic curiosity of investment properties that began my quest for financial freedom via real estate.   I was specifically focused on finding an investment strategy that required minimal time with maximum returns over a long term view, and after 13 years of actively doing what felt like the Goldilocks approach to leveraging different strategies, my Investors in Action business partner Terri and I stumbled into a niche that was “Just Right” – and that was self storage.

We feel that (for us) self storage and lending is one of the best investment niches out there. Operating and maintenance costs are relatively low, while the returns are typically higher than other asset classes. With people downsizing, urbanizing and moving – there is an increasing demand for space to put excess personal possessions and the method of dealing with non-paying tenants is very simple. When a tenant stops paying their rent, we have the ability to lock them out of their unit until they pay or turn their personal property over to an auctioneer to recoup our losses – a process which has been dramatized by the television show “Storage Wars.”

The Investors in Action team focuses on “repositioning” storage properties; in other words, we buy low priced, lower occupancy properties, often in small to mid-sized metro areas. Our strategy is to stabilize the property by increasing the number of tenants and easing in higher rental rates – then we cashflow them for the long haul.

Self Storage investing takes into account both macro and micro economics. Of course, you need to manage your property correctly and buy in a stable market at a pricepoint and CAP Rate that supports your desired returns.   It’s very important to survey the competition and population demographics within 5-10 miles of your subject property to ensure that stabilization is possible if you are purchasing an underperforming property.

Our unique formula for success is actually rather simple; it’s a blend of good management, online marketing, value add components (such as vehicle parking) and partnerships with national moving brands (like uHaul) that make us successful in our ability to quickly turn properties around.

We love sharing our enthusiasm for the business and enjoy helping other investors learn from our experience as well.