Home > Due Diligence > Avoid Critical Mistakes With A Commercial Property Inspection

If you’re in the process of buying an office building, shopping center, apartment complex or other type of building, a commercial property inspection will help you know exactly what you’re purchasing and avoid costly surprises. In fact, getting an inspection could mean the difference between a profitable real estate investment, or a disaster that you could have easily avoided.

What Do Inspectors Look For?

A professional property inspector will visually examine the structure and systems of the building, so that you can know the condition of the property before you buy it. Specifically, the inspector will evaluate the overall integrity of the buildings major structures: the plumbing, air conditioning and heating system, walls, windows, and doors. The inspection report will provide an objective analysis of the current condition of the property so that you know in advance if it will need any minor or major repairs.

As a result, a commercial property inspection will help you learn what you could expect when it comes to potential major expenses such as replacing the roof, repairing the plumbing, or installing a new HVAC system. It uncovers both the seen problems and the unseen problems. After all, you never know what clues that new coat of paint could be hiding — there could be water damage from a leaky roof or plumbing problems that you would want to know about before signing on the dotted line.

Although most real estate investors understand their importance, there are some common questions many buyers ask about property inspections:

Do I Need An Inspection of a Newly Constructed Property?

Yes. Even though a property is brand new, it could still have defects. There are many details involved in construction of a new building, and oversights can happen. A property inspection will help uncover anything that may need correcting.

The City Inspector Has Approved The Building, Why Do Need An Inspection?

Yes. To pass municipal codes, a local inspector will approve the building at various stages of construction. Even thought it has met the minimum standards for use and occupancy and local regulations, you may have higher standards. The inspection will give you a more detailed and objective look at the property in its entirety so that you understand the complete picture.

What If The Inspection Uncovers Problems?

It’s important to realize that no building is perfect. Just because an inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it. Instead, it helps you understand your options and negotiate with the seller when considering the costs of repairs. Most importantly, it helps you make an informed decision when purchasing a property.

To illustrate, here are just some of the many areas that a commercial property inspector would examine, both at night and during the day:
  • Roof
  • Stairs, railings and handrails
  • Walls
  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Any signs of graffiti or vandalism
  • Signs of rodents
  • Smoke detectors, sprinklers
  • Plumbing
  • Elevators
  • Exit signs, elevator signs
  • Tenant areas
  • Tenant storage areas
  • Lobby/common areas
  • Building exterior
  • Physical integrity of concrete
  • Parking areas/garage - are they protected to prevent crime or vandalism?
  • Pedestrian hazards
  • Is there proper lighting to prevent accidents
  • Trash receptacles - are they secured to prevent unauthorized use?
  • Building access - is it secure to prevent unauthorized access?

Generally speaking, an unbiased commercial property inspection is one of the surest ways to make a sound investment and confirm the overall integrity of the property. In addition, it helps you negotiate, and it protects the safety of tenants, employees and customers.

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Tilden Moschetti, Esq.
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