I recently helped a couple downsize from a 3,000sf suburban home into a 1,000sf condo. Getting this empty-nester couple to move would not have been possible without storage. They purged a lot, but still ended up using all three of the options below.
Where space is scarce, storage is costly. Prices for storage units have gone up in recent years. A few times each year we see a storage unit come up for sale at the Shore Condos. The last one was ~$7500. Recently, I observed at 360 condos a storage unit trade for $15,000. Storage units at the Austonian will trade for ~$20,000, on average.
Storage units in building
Cost: varies, $2,800 – 20,000 (rent $75 – 200+/month)
Storage closets/units/lockers come in many shapes and sizes. Most high-rise condos do not convey with a storage closet (some do, for example Bridges On The Park and Brazos Place). The ones that do don’t always have enough storage to meet demand. Sometimes it’s just a fenced cage, other times it’s an actual closet with lockable door and electricity.
Unless a storage unit conveyed with the sale of the condo (a buyer can amortize the cost of the storage unit over the term of their mortgage) most transactions for building storage units are handled in cash. The cash-only aftermarket can put storage units out of reach for some owners. As you can see below there is a wide range of pricing.
Recent transactions: (sizes are ballpark based on owner input)
*5 Fifty Five – 4′w x 7′d x 7′h = $2,800-4,000.
*Milago = $3,750
*The Shore – 4′w x 7′d x 8′h = $7,500
*360 Condos – 5′w x 7′d x 9′h = $15,000.
Cost: varies, ~$100+ per month
Many downtown condo dwellers forget there is a Public Storage close by on W. 6th Street. As of this post, these rentable storage lockers start at $122 per month, plus a $75 move in fee, for a 5′w x 10′d.
I try to avoid renting whenever possible – it’s a sunk cost, and you need to drive to get there. However, when you’re downsizing and about to start moving, you just want an easy place to put stuff. This is where Public Storage is really helpful. Later you can transition into more permanent storage options once settled into your new digs.
USU “Urban Storage Unit”
Cost: fixed, $2000
The USU is sturdy box that sits in front/above your parking space. It maximizes space you are underutilizing. Amber and I have two of these and they are perfect for golf clubs, ski/snowboard equipment, holiday stuff, tools, and generally bulky items we want convenient access to from our door.
We needed to persuade our HOA board to let us install the USU, but now more buildings and HOAs are approving them based on the convenience and value these bring to their residents. You can see USUs in use at the Four Seasons, Spring Condos, W Hotel Residences, and the Shore Condos.
Hopefully, this will help those of you longing for some extra space. If you’ve seen more creative storage solutions, please make sure to share in the comments!
[UPDATED: Though we've not used SpareFoot, we wanted to give them shoutout. SpareFoot is an online self-storage marketplace that allows storage seekers to search by price and area. So, you can price shop storage facilities across Austin. They are based in downtown Austin, too!]