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Buying a Commercial Building? Here’s a Due Diligence Checklist

If you’re buying a commercial building in the near future, or planning to buy one, it’s important to make sure you’ve accounted for the “what ifs.” While it’s an exciting time for your business, a lot can go wrong, and you want to make sure you’re setting your business up for success.

 

Environmental issues

One of the first items to look for before buying a commercial building are any environmental or contamination issues. A check can be done to examine the history of the property you’re planning to buy and neighboring properties. If it appears there is a potential for environmental issues, soil and ground water can be tested.

If contamination is present, it is possible a remedial investigation / feasibility study would be necessary to determine steps that would need to be taken to meet environmental regulations. Additionally, your lending institution may have requirements of its own. It’s much better to find out environmental issues during negotiations – when you have the ability to receive help from the seller – than after you’ve purchased the property.

 

Structural issues

Similar to environmental issues, before buying a commercial building, you’ll want to conduct an inspection for any structural issues. Some of the most common structural issues in commercial properties that can cause headaches (and serious financial strain) after purchasing, include:

  • Roof integrity
  • Wall damage (both interior and exterior)
  • Damage to columns
  • Foundation damage
  • Outdated HVAC

These issues should be addressed (and hopefully resolved) as part of the negotiation between buyer and seller before purchasing the property. If structural issues are deemed present, your lending institution may have additional requirements before financing the property.

 

Local ordinances

If you’re planning to make any adjustments to the property after you buy it, for example, building an addition or making major improvements, it’s important to first educate yourself on local ordinances. You should do this before buying a commercial building, because if it’s determined you can’t make the improvements you envisioned, then you’re stuck with a property you can’t change.

These ordinances can be complex, as every local government is different. If you’ve never dealt with this particular local government before, you might want to introduce yourself to the officers / supervisors, because you will likely be interacting with them often in the future and you want to be sure to start off on a personable note.

If it’s determined you won’t be able to make the changes you envisioned, then it might be best to look for another property outside of that particular municipality.

If you’re buying a commercial building, our real estate lawyers can help to ensure you’re prepared for every scenario. Contact Stock and Leader’s Real Estate team today.

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