Storage Condominiums 101: How Much Do Storage Condos Cost vs Traditional Storage Units

Andreea Draguleasa
Last Updated on May 14, 2024
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Scratching your head trying to figure out where to stash extra stuff? Your garage, attic or basement aren’t always the best solution. In fact, sometimes they’re not a solution at all. The top two options to consider here are traditional storage units and storage condos. So, what’s the difference, and which one is a better choice for you?

Traditional Storage Units vs. Storage Condos

Traditional storage units are popular with students and almost everyone who has had to move all their belongings long-distance. That’s why you’re more likely to be familiar with them than with storage condos, so the best way to get acquainted with the latter is to see their features side by side.

Feature Traditional Storage Units Storage Condos
Ownership Rented Owned
Size options Ranges from small lockers to larger units Typically large enough for RVs and boats
Cost Lower monthly rent; no property taxes or maintenance fees Higher upfront costs, plus maintenance fees and property taxes
Security Varies by facility; generally basic security measures Enhanced security features, often including 24/7 surveillance and controlled access
Maintenance Handled by facility management Owners are responsible, although some costs are covered by HOA fees
Suitability Best for smaller, personal or seasonal items Ideal for large, valuable items or bulk storage
Flexibility High; easy to change unit sizes or locations Lower; tied to the property once purchased
Amenities Minimal; typically just storage space Can include bathrooms, electrical service, climate control and other high-end features
Investment potential None; rent is an expense without return Possible appreciation in value; can generate rental income
Customization Limited to organizing within the rented space High; owners can modify or upgrade their space within guidelines
Long-term cost-effectiveness Higher long-term rental costs with no equity Potential for long-term savings and recouping the investment
Legal and regulatory Simple rental agreement; no ownership complexities Ownership involves property taxes; potential for more complex legalities
Market availability Widely available in most areas More limited; growing in areas with space restrictions or higher demand for large storage

Traditional Storage Units In a Nutshell

If your storage needs are more about boxing up the past season’s clothes or finding a temporary home for your furniture during a move, traditional storage units might be just the ticket, and here’s why:

  • Ranging from 5×5 closets to 10×30 units, the sizes self-storage comes in can easily accommodate from a handful of small personal belongings up to several sets of large furniture pieces.
  • They’re perfect for those times when you need an accessible spot to drop off your stuff without breaking the bank, and are a great solution for small business storage.
  • Given the monthly rent, they are a wallet-friendly option for those who need short-term solutions or are not ready to commit to a larger space.

How much does it cost to rent a large storage unit?

To compare self-storage costs to storage condos, we have to take into account a large storage unit that can accommodate an RV or boat. That would be a 10×30 unit with a monthly price that can swing anywhere between $150 to around $300 in large cities. (You can quickly check prices near you using SpareFoot.)

Storage Condominiums Under the Lens

Storage condo exterior

image credit: VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock 118196719

Now, for those of you needing a spot to park something big — like an RV, a boat or a collection of big-boy toys — storage condos are probably right up your alley. 

These units are a hefty investment in a space that you own. Yes, the upfront cost is considerably higher compared to renting a traditional unit, and there are ongoing costs like maintenance fees and property taxes to consider. At the same time, you get what you pay for, and with storage condos, that means space, security and some pretty sweet amenities: climate control, electrical hookups and sometimes even a small office or wash areas.

Not to mention the enhanced security features typical of storage condominiums: gated access, surveillance cameras and even on-site management.

How much do storage condos cost?

Very few facilities publish prices, and the cost varies greatly from one unit size to another and from one location to another. Most condos typically range in cost between $55,000 up to $200,000.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Storage Condo

Owning a storage condo is a big decision with a lot to consider. After all, you’re buying a piece of real estate. So, is it going to be a sweet deal or not?

Pros Cons
Long-term savings for frequent uses Significant upfront investment
Potential for appreciation in value, like most real estate While real estate typically appreciates, there’s always the risk it could lose value
Customization options (within guidelines): shelving, workshop area Less flexibility compared to renting: you can’t move to a different unit if your needs change
Enhanced security and control over access

Pros and Cons of Renting a Traditional Unit

Much like owning a storage condo, renting a traditional self-storage unit comes with advantages and drawbacks. Sure, it’s a straightforward and flexible solution for both short-term and fluctuating storage needs, but what do you really get in the end?

Pros Cons
Lower barrier to entry with a small upfront cost and manageable monthly rent Higher long-term costs with no chance of recouping rent
Flexibility to change unit size or location, depending on your needs Limited control and often just basic security options
No maintenance worries (the facility owner handles all repairs) No potential for appreciation in value — you pay, you store and that’s it

Make the Right Choice: A Decision-Making Guide

What’s it going to be: the simplicity and affordability of traditional storage units or the robust and feature-rich storage condos? It heavily depends on what you’re storing and for how long. Ask yourself this and be honest:

  • Are you all about stability and long-term planning or is your life always full of surprises? That’s buying versus renting right there.
  • Will you access your storage space frequently or perhaps would you like to work on your vehicle every now and then? A storage condo would be more convenient and cost-effective. If your needs are more short-term or you’re unsure about future storage requirements, the win goes to the lower commitment of renting.
  • Evaluate your financial comfort zone. Can you handle the upfront costs of purchasing a condo, or would the predictable monthly expense of renting suit your financial landscape better?
  • Planning to store large items for many years? Storage condos could offer a better return on investment.

As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Much like choosing between renting or buying a home, the storage space decision boils down to your financial health and future outlook.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on May 14, 2024 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Andreea Draguleasa

Andreea Draguleasa showed an affinity for foreign languages and literature at an early age and started writing when she was 6. She studied journalism, advertising, and public relations at the University of Bucharest and worked as a content writer for a tourism agency and as a journalist for a magazine in the hospitality industry until 2010. After seven years as marketing manager for a Home & Deco online shop, she realized that learning something new every day brings her the most joy, so she went back to researching and writing informative articles. Through her experience traveling the world, she's picked up tips and resources she now shares on self storage solutions. When not writing about home organizing and storage, Andreea spends most of her time reading, playing video games, and spoiling her cat.
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About the SpareFoot Blog

The SpareFoot Blog offers tips about self-storage, information about storage auctions, advice about home organization, news about SpareFoot and much more.
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