The number 2 question I get asked on a regular basis is about the opportunities today for commercial real estate in Westfield Indiana and my answer changes regularly based on market activity and overall local interest.  We have gone through so many different phases in the last decade from begging people to come look at a piece of ground along US 31 at SR 32 to not being able to raise the rental rates fast enough to counter demand.  For several years we had very low values in speculate properties and what seemed like overnight, it flipped to the highest priced real estate in Hamilton County.  There was no middle ground and there definitely was no stability in a market that went from cold to hot over night and today without specific knowledge of what is going on behind the scenes or putting in the time to research where the next great deal may be, you would be lost in Westfield Indiana.  So as my generosity flows over this morning I have decided to point out 3 great opportunities in commercial real estate in Westfield Indiana for 2023.  I am confident there is a place for most investors to make an investment in Westfield but the key is knowing the market shifts and timing of redevelopment and balancing the costs and market demand smartly.  Here ya go!

  1.  Small Business Owners – I am always surprised at the number of professional service providers that are established in a market, that do not own their own building.  To me the ability to buy a house or small building and office out of it in a place that you have already settled down in is a no brainer.  Today in Westfield you can buy a property, get a variance and pay yourself rent to gain equity and ownership in something outside of an address in a strip center.  I am talking about insurance agents, attorneys, real estate companies and many more that spend thousands of dollars per month leasing a small space to do business.  Yes it can be easy and it’s a great tax expense but the value of purchasing over the long haul far outweighs the lease expense now.   The other part is that there are so many programs for small businesses to purchase real estate that many times the cash in is not much more than what you are getting ready to spend improving a landlords space.  So before you sign another 10 year lease for 1000sf, think through the process of owning that size of a building and what the options might be.  You will be surprised at what that work upfront can do for your pocket book down the road.  We still have these investments and the city has been very open to these users in the community.
  2. Rental Rate Negotiations – Boy are we proud of our real estate in Westfield and as the top listing broker here I am just as much to blame for high rental rates as anyone.  But those rates we talk about are not always the final number to land on and in a time when rental activity and quality tenants have all but disappeared, this may be a time to get a deal on a space for lease.  Many landlords are happier with some cash flow then vacancies and covering the expenses themselves, so to have some money coming in can be better than nothing.  Many owners will not give a penny as they are maintaining an investment return model but the ones that will, can be very open to offers.  Why not come in low for the first year or two to get your business established in a new space?  Yes you pay for it on the backend and you typically get less landlord involvement in allowances but you can maintain a better cash flow as a business owner in those important early years while creating some income for a landlord that may or may not be bleeding monthly.  Now I am not saying go for the jugular and putting the landlord on their heels but fairly offering what works for you at this time with a plan to get to market rate can get you in some pretty nice spaces to grow in.  Since the landlord already knows the location will help with your success, they many times understand the ramp up on rent and are willing to go along for the ride with you.
  3. Spread out – We get pigeon holed in Westfield because of such a prominent SR 32 and US 31 interchange but if you really look at land just outside of the already busy areas, you might be surprised at what may be available or priced right.  Westfield indiana is growing geographically and no longer is Mule Barn Rd or 191st and Grassy Branch disconnected.  Our central business district is small too in comparison to other growing Hamilton County cities so to take a step back and assess what might be just outside of the hot zones or what might be up and coming in 5 years is always a great way to invest.  I can tell you now, what you see as developed and established real estate in Westfield will most likely be redeveloped in the next decade.  So to think that just because a row of homes is built on that corner, it will never be worth more is a bad way to look at it.  An exercise I use is the gis maps for different cities.  You look at Carmel for instance and Rangeline Rd.  That road is miles long of redeveloped commercial and high density residential projects, but just a few years ago we only looked at the section around Main St.  So what corridors are currently older properties and may be a nice investment for redevelopment down the road?  You look at those maps and look at what happens a half mile out and a mile out from the original intersection.  When you do this you open up so many more options for investment and future redevelopment money.

These take time and for you to find someone worth investing in today that doesn’t seem overpriced can be a lot of work.  So my suggestion is decide what you want to be first.  A tenant? A owner/occupant? A prospector? Once you have done this, you need to establish a budget or how you are comfortable plunking down some cash.  From there you hire a really good expert local broker to get to work.  It is a nice program and I can’t think of a better city to invest in from either angle then Westfield Indiana.

Curt has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for over 15 years and spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage.  He has had great success in managing existing commercial projects and new retail and office developments.  Curt specializes in building owner representation and purchases in the Westfield Indiana market as well throughout the Indianapolis Metro area.  Curt is passionate about growing the local Westfield community and in his free time  volunteers with Student Impact and raising 2 children with his wife Jennifer.