3 Tips for Real Estate investors in Westfield Indiana

Westfield Indiana is where I work and have planted my family, business and majority of my 2 friends since 2012.  I refer to it as The Promised Land, #bestfield or any other endearing term I could come up with to describe what I saw as the best place to do business and expand in Hamilton County.  For years all people talked about was Westfield and the opportunities for both residential and commercial growth as it was the adjacent city to the so successful Carmel Indiana.  We had every national QSR calling about land, the developers wanted to know what was available and the brokers couldn’t work fast enough to figure out the best opportunity for their clients. It really has been the golden child for expected growth and future development.  As we came out of the recession I was ecstatic to know that the city I had put my roots down was positioned to absorb the next decade of cheap money and investor interest and many property owners agreed as they saw the once in a lifetime opportunity to be in the way of progress.  Unfortunately, besides thousands of new homes, which I am not complaining about and the duplication of Avon along SR 32 West, we continue to struggle with finding a place for property in this community.  Sure the existing industrial buildings flew off the shelves just like anything any out of state investor could buy or owner occupant could afford but many of us dreamed of expansion in new companies, mixed use density and a growing corporate presence.  Without that occurring so many owners are sitting wondering what they may have missed and what the next decade may bring.  So here are my 3 tips to staying relevant and being successful in Westfield Indiana Real Estate.

Get in the Market – If you own property and want it sold you must be working that.  Sure you will get a letter in the mail and a 50 cents on the dollar offer but you need to share it with the brokerage and development community.  If you really want to get in the market either patiently list it for sale or even better, partner with a proven developer to design, plan and market the ground.  You would be surprised at how much better brokers and developers can move property full-time then most owners on the side.  Get it activated and get it sold. 

Price it for sale – Oh boy do I have some high priced listings so I am just as guilty as anyone on this but as the pride of land owners dwindles due to a lack of any interest in recent months, Westfield values are going to have to adjust to begin to make progress.  Just because you want a round number or have the impression that developers get to make all the profits, pricing is the number 2 reason Westfield ground and Real Estate is stagnate (don’t get me started on the number 1 reason).  It doesn’t even get on the radar if it can not make sense financially to the prospector if you are looking for a straight sale.  Use realistic comps for exactly the same type of property that have SOLD and you will be opened up to a world of interested buyers that can spend some time working a project on your site.  Better yet, start interviewing who you think would be  a good buyer for the property and ask them directly what they can pay to make it work.  The days are gone of knowing what buyers can and can’t afford and a little transparency can help make sense of your site.  They all have a proforma that puts the land value in and shows their returns.  It is not a guess or floating number and if you are straight with them they will return the favor, possibly even being the best buyer. 

Be the Bank – This is not for everyone and unless you have patience and no need for the immediate proceeds, this is not the option for you.  When I say be the bank, I am referring to partnering up with a developer or buyer to lower their initial downpayment or lending needs.  When you are able to do this it makes a site more attractive many times and even worth more.  Here is the simple explanation.  You own a piece of ground but want too much for it so you decide to “be the bank” for development.  You come to an agreement with the developer that you will sit tight and let them start their project on the ground and in turn get paid at a later date as they stabilize the project.  The makes a bank need less cash from them and gets their project going.  For you it gets you a project started and more money as not only the owner but also interest on that land value as they wait to pay you off.  No its not for everyone and many times it is not the solution for an investor but it is an option and worth looking at to move things along.  

I have some disappointment in how Westfield has panned out the last few years but in turn see a land of opportunity and a place that geographically can’t be ignored.  Sure we are seeing every other community grow way beyond what we can even imagine but we will have our day.  I am confident that with new leadership a reenergized plan for development will push the ball forward a little bit and of course it will happen over time.  I also can’t find a better place to feel connected to Indy and the region thanks to US 31 and all the work the state has done to better how we get around.  Our time is coming and when it does it will be a huge success for everyone but in the meantime shoring up our Real Estate strategies and staying relevant will be the highest and best option for business.  #bestfield

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.