Getting the Real Truth in Commercial Property Inspections


When looking at a new commercial or retail investment property for the first time, it is wise to have some form of checklist and system which assists you in the process. We have created this checklist to help get you on the right track.

When inspecting the property is almost like having your due diligence process underway. Do not believe everything you see and certainly investigate anything of question. Anything of importance that someone tells you about the property should be analyzed.

Having a keen eye for property detail and a diligent record-keeping process as you walk around is the only way to inspect investment property. It is remarkable how these records have to be revisited at a later time for reassessment.

Getting the Real Truth in Commercial Property Inspections 1

So let’s consider the following as some of the primary issues to review in your property inspection process.

A copy of the land title records is fundamental to your inspection before you even start. As part of this process, seek out a copy of the survey records and any existing leases or licenses. Also, seek out any unregistered interests that may not appear on the title to the property. If in doubt, seek a good property solicitor to help. Take care to understand the location of the property boundaries and look for the survey pegs relevant to the survey plan. If in doubt, seek a good surveyor.

There can be several easements, encumbrances, and other registered interests within the property land title that need thoroughly investigating. These interests can impact the price that the property achieves at the time of sale and can also affect the lease occupancy method. If any registered interests exist on the property title, a copy of the relevant documentation is the first stage of the investigation, which questions should then follow.

Local council records may also have an impact on the property. Are there any orders or notices that have been issued or are outstanding on the property, and can these things be of concern to the potential investor?

The zoning for the property and the zoning activity or changes in the precinct can impact a property. As part of this process, it is wise to include neighboring properties and inspect them to ensure that they have little or no effect or impact on your subject property.
Copies of the local town plan will help you understand current planning issues. A discussion with the local planning office or planning officer can put you on the right track and explain any current problems or matters that may arise. In this process, it is wise to keep records of the discussions and the findings.

If a copy of lease documentation is available for neighboring properties, seek it out and review it. It is always good to know what the neighboring tenants are doing and how long they will be there.

The local topography and plans across the immediate area will help you understand the fall of the land and the impact of any slopes and natural drainage. Look at the location of any watercourses and flood plains. Seek out the history of any flooding in the area.
The supply of electricity into and across the area should be understood. If your property is industrial, then energy supply will be strategically important to any industrial tenant. If any easements or encumbrances exist across the property for electricity, then seek to understand the rights and obligations that these documents create on the property owner.