Due Diligence Checklist for Commercial Property for Sale

Before buying a piece of commercial property for sale, it is important to thoroughly investigate the premises for problems before finalizing the purchase. This type of inspection is known as due diligence and typically involves the use of an inspection checklist. Some of the most important factors to consider when purchasing commercial real estate include environmental safety hazards, the physical condition of the premises, location, code compliance, and title issues.

Environmental Safety Hazards

Order an environmental assessment of the commercial property you are interested in. The environmental assessment will provide details of the environmental condition around the premises and the history of the environmental factors, including the presence of hazardous materials such as lead paint, asbestos, and radon. In addition, hire a property inspection firm to check the premises for the presence of mold. The inspection should assess water and earth samples. If traces of lead or asbestos are found, hire a consultant to determine the cost and practicality of removing the hazardous materials. Consider the cost of repairing the real estate before deciding to close the sale.

Location

The environmental assessment should help you find out if parts of the real estate are located in a shoreline, wetland, fault line, flood zone, or a home for endangered species. Hire a consultant to help you determine water, oil, gas, mineral, and timber rights for the real estate. Find out if the commercial property for sale has any FAA building restrictions such as height restrictions or noise restrictions. In addition, find out if you will be required to obtain environmental operating permits for the building. As a buyer, consider obtaining copies of all existing permits and contact relevant agencies to determine if there are any past violations and issues to ensure you will not experience any problems transferring the permits in the future.

Physical Condition

Hire a licensed engineer or building inspector to check the interior and exterior structural integrity of the building. The inspector should also check if the building is handicap accessible and has proper drainage features. Obtain copies of all ongoing construction and design contracts to find out if building contractors received their full payments and if you will be required to obtain lien waivers.

Other important factors to research include available parking around the building, proximity to public transportation, and the amount of electricity received by the building. Find out if the building is accessible from public streets. If not, contact the relevant departments to find out if improvements to the access road can be made and how much they would cost.

Before closing on a commercial property for sale, find out if the building complies with relevant safety, building, and zoning codes by contacting appropriate regulatory organizations. Local building and planning departments should provide the information you need regarding building code compliance or violations. Because building codes change with time, find out if the property violates new codes and whether planned changes or improvements will violate codes.