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Ep 126: Self-storage, Buying Vs. Holding, and Adaptive Reuse with Jacob Vanderslice

Many investors fixate on their net worth when income is often a truer indicator of investing success. This insight is shared on today’s episode by Jacob Vanderslice, Principal of VanWest Partners. We’ve brought Jacob onto the show to talk about his investing model and best practices. We open by exploring Jacob’s journey in real estate, touching on his specialization in adaptive reuse projects and self-storage. After highlighting his preference for adding value to existing properties, Jacob talks about the pros and cons of investing in adaptive reuse assets. From there, we explore how he got into self-storage, with Jacob explaining why they make for such good investments. We then dive into the arguments for holding onto real estate instead of planning for early exit strategies. Later, Jacob discusses how COVID-19 has impacted his business before unpacking the common misconceptions surrounding self-storage. While reflecting on his self-storage strategy, he reveals the types of facilities that he invests in, along with operational and tech breakdowns that help his business be first in class. We round off our conversation by looking at the top ways that his company finds its customers. For more on the benefits of investing and self-storage and adaptive reuse, be sure to tune in today.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Updates to co-host John Cohen’s fitness routine.

  • Jacob shares details about his real estate journey.

  • Hear how Jacob transitioned from single-family to adaptive reuse.

  • The benefits and risks of the adaptive reuse investing model.

  • Why Jacob has moved into self-storage.

  • What Jacob has done to grow and add value to his self-storage investments.

  • Insights into common challenges with investing in self-storage.

  • Exploring the value of having a high income versus a high net worth.

  • We unpack the arguments around holding or selling real estate.

  • How Jacob’s self-storage business has handled COVID-19.

  • Why self-storage has similarities to the hospitality industry.

  • The different types of self-storage facilities that Jacob invests in.

  • Jacob reflects on his investing best practices.

  • We ask Jacob about his best traffic source for driving new business.

  • Advice on handling poor online reviews.


“Commercial real estate is amazing because you can add bits and pieces to your income stream while creating enormous value.” — Jacob Vanderslice [0:06:03]

“Net worth is less important than income. And net worth eventually becomes the products of income.” — Jacob Vanderslice [0:18:29]

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about self-storage — that it’s fire-and-forget, no tenants and no toilets. That’s true to a degree but it’s very operational intensive.” — Jacob Vanderslice [0:32:18]

“With value-add acquisitions, many investors make the mistake of under-improving the asset. You don’t want to make a capital call down the line about something that should have been fixed at purchase.” — Jacob Vanderslice [0:40:47]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Jacob Vanderslice on LinkedIn

Jacob Email

VanWest Partners

Google Ad Words


Chris Grenzig on LinkedIn

John Cohen on LinkedIn

Toro Real Estate Partners

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