Storage Financing For Prospective And Current Owners

Storage financing

Just finishing our financing on our latest location. Below are some thoughts in general on Storage financing for prospective and current owners who are looking to invest.

Storage Financing For Prospective And Current Owners

Lender size

Decide how large you want to potentially become. Find out your lender’s loan cap rate. “How much they can lend to one customer.” This is a Federal Banking regulation, not your bank’s decision. They can farm out any additional loan, but it is quicker and easier to have all your loan decisions under one roof. It is very hard giving multiple banks, your tax returns, loan to value schedules for all properties, moving cash between banks automatically, etc.

Lender size- Collateralization

If you end up with multiple banks, you may be over collateralized for one bank and need more collateral for another. You can’t transfer this position. Banks don’t like taking 2nd mortgage position. Try to get a big enough bank.

Picking a Lender

Don’t go with a large National or Regional bank; or a small Low cap bank. Most Loan Officers at Large national or regional banks move within 2 to 3 years. You want a longterm relationship, that you have already established a trust factor. Not everyone knows storage; you and they have to learn together. Pick someone that has done Apartment rental property financing.

New Construction or Existing Facility

If you have a New Construction make sure your Bank will do a “Lease-Up” period. You want “interest-only”. Even if you have the funds, you don’t want to put it into the project. Try to stay liquid in case, if Rent up doesn’t go well or if you want to do another project. I ask my Lenders to give me “Interest only” until I hit 65% occupancy or for 18 months. Bargain. Whatever you get, takes the pressure off your cash position.

Loan to Value %

Check with all your banking options and your checkbook. Traditional Banks (40%), SBA (10 to 20%), Farm Credit(??%), etc have different Collaterallization %’s. This will determine how much you have to put in, upfront. For your Collateral, don’t borrow from your relatives, you won’t pay them back for 10 to 20 years. Storage is like a piggy bank, the more you pay the banker, the more wealth you have. But it is tied up in your storage facility. The only way to get it out is to refinance when you have a higher Collateral position or when you sell.


Would you rather lend to someone who has done storage before or not? Start small or work at a Storage facility before requesting a bigger loan. Would you loan to a person who wants to open an Italian restaurant, who doesn’t have a great recipe or running a restaurant? Work your way up. Reduces both the Lender and your exposure.


Traditional lenders will only loan out to 3 to 5 years. Some/most will give you a 10-year loan with the first 5 years fixed and the next five years to be Prime plus ?%. SBA loans can go out to 20 years fixed, with the participating bank required to do 10-year participation as noted above.


Ask for a 20 or longer Amortization period no matter who you bank with. Don’t do a 10-year loan and plan to pay it off in 10 years, because your payback calculation said your could. Make sure you have some cashflow built-in. You can always pay it off early unless there are some early pay penalities.


How fast do you need to close the deal? If an SBA loan, it can take up to 6 months. You had better have the land already acquired and just looking for funding for the facilities.

Rent up Period

SBA does not do Rent up periods. They sell their bonds monthly to finance your loan and they lock you into Principal/Interest day one.

Loan Amount

If doing a construction loan, you better have extra cash available or a Fat budget. Example: The Building group requires you to do a Bathroom. No problem. You see a fire hydrant on your proposed property and you know you have water. Find out later that is a “Private” hydrant for the Apartment complex you bought the excess land from. You can’t use it. The nearest water is a quarter-mile away and you need another $130,000. Start small and make your big mistakes early. Even later, you still make mistakes, but you can absorb them as you get larger.


Read them. Early payoff penalties, etc.


SBA- make sure you qualify, b. Your local banker. If we move into a recession, make sure your Loan to Value is in a good position or you may need to come up with some cash.


Identify your insurance carrier, the bank will want it insured. Do both a Construction coverage and then move into a Business coverage policy. Insurance companies won’t cover both necessarily. I started off with State Farm because that was where my buddy worked. Found out they really don’t cover that market, thus their policy was twice as high. Moved on to Ponderosa Insurance (not making an ad), because all they do is storage. I want to buy a “Free” move-in truck, they won’t cover that, so I have to find another Insurer for that. “Still learning”.


Make sure your marriage, relationships, partnerships, wills, trusts, etc are all tight. This is at a minimum an 8 to 12-year payoff, perhaps 20 if you used cash to fund your lifestyle. If you have to cash out early in the first 5 years, you will lose big.


Get your business set up first before the loan. Personal, Corporation, LLC, partnership, etc.

The SBA loan we are closing on will be about the following terms:

We sought a longer-term note since the interest rates are so low. This is one more thing we can control long term. Downside- took a process that took longer, that will expose us to cash flow issues during the rent up period, has early payment penalties, also overcollateralized (we have 8 acres, built phase 1 on 3 acres, SBA wanted the whole 8 acres collateralized, even though they didn’t need it).

Let’s say you screwed up on all of the above; Start small and get your big mistakes out of the way early. I’m still learning. The location before this, I was still learning the difference between triangles and rectangles when I bought the property (all 3 acres aren’t the same). Something I should have remembered from 1st grade.

Don’t trust anything I said, “own” your information, it’s your money.

Clark Storage – Best and Most Secured Storage Units in the Area

Our family business objective is to provide you the best service and facilities in a secured location. As you get to know our facilities, you will note they were selected for your ease of access, location, and security. Please let us know how we can continue to improve your storage needs and fulfill your high expectations. We have units in Council Bluffs, Glenwood, Shenandoah, & Pacific Junction. Contact us today. We are also offering a Move-In Referral Program, click here for more information.