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Why you should own your own building

millcreek-before-and-afterBY HILARY DANINHIRSCH, Erie Times News

If you have a business, owning real estate for your business is just plain good sense. Whether you are in a service industry or have tangible products to sell, a brick and mortar structure provides advantages to owners.

“When you look at Erie’s real estate market, it’s extremely reasonable,” said Laban Marsh, of Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services. The company currently operates four offices and has a roster of 50 agents. The real estate company owns additional buildings in the Erie region.


You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of ownership over the long haul against renting a facility. Here are a few considerations:

  1. In a cost comparison of a lease vs. a mortgage payment, most business owners, who own their property/building, will agree they have a sense of pride of ownership in their building. In the Erie area, many have received awards for landscaping, renovations and updates to their facades and properties.
  2. The building will always be an asset. In the event that a business fails, the owner has acquired an asset, a building that can be resold or leased for profit to offset any losses.
  3. Business owners receive tax benefits. Over time, annual depreciation deductions, interest and other factors can affect your bottom line.
  4. Finding a location that belongs to you gives you a landmark that customers recognize, and you can change anything you want without asking permission from a landlord.


Of course, everyone has his or her own idea as to what would constitute the ideal business property, but buying tips include:

Know where you want to be. Ask yourself:

  • Do you need foot traffic?
  • Do you need to be on a main thoroughfare?
  • How much parking do you require?

The more focused you can become, the more likely it is you can find an ideal space.

For a well-qualified buyer who has a downpayment ready, the challenge is finding property that suits your needs. Currently, the inventory in the region is low, Marsh said. But, a willingness to make improvements in an existing building or property will open up buying choices.


Operating a business and being community-minded are complementary goals. To own a business, you must establish a strong community presence. And buying real estate does that by investing in the community.

When you buy a property, often you will hire people to make improvements to the space. That means jobs, which in turn means workers spending money at other small businesses.

Contributing to the local tax base supports the infrastructure for municipalities.


When the Marsh family made real estate purchases for its offices throughout the area, the owners had very specific goals. “What we wanted was some character and a bit of a story behind each building,” said Marsh. Since the company was founded in 2008, the family has renovated residences at 8840 Peach St., 4202 W. Ridge Road and 38 E. Columbus Ave. in Corry for its offices.

The newest investment by Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services is the opening of an office at 4615 Buffalo Road in Harborcreek. It formerly housed New Horizon Real Estate.

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