Commercial Property Inspection – What to look at before buying

In Property Management by Tim DieselLeave a Comment

When it comes to inspecting commercial property for sale or for lease, you should have a checklist to work through and capture all the relevant information for your listing.

Commercial Property Inspection — What to Look at Before Buying

Every property will be unique and different, and because of this it is very easy to overlook situations and circumstances that can be highly important to the sale or lease process.

Title Searches, Maps, Surveys

Get some location information relative to the property currently. That would normally include title searches, maps, and survey plans. You can then position the property relative to the neighboring properties and the access roads.

The survey plan for the property may be relatively old. When it comes to selling a property with an old survey, you sometimes need to get the boundaries re-established and defined by surveyors.

Environmental Issues

If the property is of an industrial type, you may need to get soil reports so that you know there are no issues of contamination or environmental threat. In older industrial properties threat this can be an issue and delay or slow any sale activities. While the owner may have some information regarding previous tenancies, it is the usage of the property and how that has impacted the environment that can be of some concern. When in doubt, ask for specialist reports from experienced engineers and soil test people.


The building and improvements on the property will have been placed relative to the building approvals and construction plans. If you can get copies of as built drawings, they will assist when it comes to matters of leasing and tenancy design.

The property may be impacted by special notices and orders relative to occupancy and property use. Check the records at the local planning approvals office in case any of these orders and notices require satisfaction or action.

Rights of Way, Easements, and Encumbrances

Look for issues that impact the titles such as rights of way, easements, and encumbrances. Normally they will be noted on the relative title for the property. It pays to get a copy of the title before any actions are implemented on the property.

All of the improvements on the property should have appropriate building approvals. Ask questions of the client or property owner to ensure that this is the case. When in doubt, visit the building approvals board or office.

Services and Amenities

The services and amenities within the property will be of interest to property purchasers, or tenants as the case may be. The original building drawings referred to earlier will be very useful in providing this information. Any alterations to the building should also be supported by new plans and drawings. Any tenancy changes or fit out plans may be of interest to the potential purchasers for the property.

The essential services within a building such as fire prevention devices, air conditioning, plumbing, water supply, and drainage will all be delineated on the as built drawings. The location of these services will be of interest to any new tenancies moving into the building as they consider their fit out designs.

There are significant differences between the complexities of industrial, office, and retail buildings. Over time you can understand more factors to look for and document as part of listing the property for sale or for lease.

If you’d like to learn more about buying commercial real estate, please contact us.


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