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EP368: Mike Wagner on Taking an ‘L’ on His Single-Family Rental Portfolio to Achieve More Peace and Financial Freedom by Investing in Self-Storage Units.

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Mike Wagner is a self-storage real estate expert and has transformed his life through deliberate and purposeful action. As a Lifeonaire member, Mike shares why he decided that it was better to take a loss on his single-family rental portfolio in order to transition into a more stress-free self-storage portfolio. Mike has been in real estate since 2007 and purchased his first self-storage in 2011. He shares some of his storage numbers and where you can find some of these lucrative deals.

Key Takeaways:

  • How did Mike get into real estate and why did he pick self-storage?
  • When Mike decided to do self-storage units, he quit his day job to focus on it.
  • Mike offers some advice for investors who want to take the leap and become an investor full-time.
  • Mike ended up selling his single-family investment portfolio. He had about 30 properties under his belt at the time. He ended up losing money on some of the homes, but it freed him up much more mentally to keep focusing on what he does best.
  • How does Mike justify taking a financial loss vs. keeping mental sanity?
  • Don’t make decisions just purely on the numbers. There are other factors you can consider.
  • How did Mike close on his first self-storage unit?
  • In self-storage, you don’t have evictions, you have lien laws.
  • Mike radically reduced his challenges when he went into self-storage compared to when he had single-family homes.
  • Self-storage mortgage loans default less often than any other mortgage-backed asset.
  • What type of cashflow can you expect from self-storage units?
  • How does Mike find his properties?
  • How many team members/employees does it take to run a self-storage unit?
  • The biggest thing here about Mike’s journey is that he is a lifestyle guy. He has prioritized his life so that he makes money and it funds the kind of life that he wants.
  • Mike has zero employees. He has six companies! How does he do it?
  • Mike shares how Lifeonaire impacted his life. He has found his purpose. 
  • What’s one piece of advice that Mike would like to give his younger self?

Mentioned in This Episode:

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Learn more about Investing in Self Storage:

Refine your lifestyle:


“Practicality is often just a disguise for fear and I didn’t want to stay in the realm I had lived in for the first 30 years of my life. I wanted to forge my own paths and take the risk.”

“We were in the subsidized housing arena, so collections were a big hassle and the expenses were hard to control. We were spending half of every dollar that we collected on operating expenses.”

“In storage, our income-to-expense ratio is 30 to 33 cents on the dollar. There’s a margin there.”

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