There is no substitute for due diligence when contemplating the purchase of a building. If possible, engage the services of professionals to assist in the process. Use the expertise of each professional, but do not assume that one professional can answer questions in the area of another’s proficiency.
We recommend that the following professional services be considered before purchasing a building:
- A Realtor to identify properties in the preferred area and provide comparable sale prices for your consideration – make sure he is working for you and not the seller
- An Attorney to protect your legal interests in a purchase agreement – if necessary, negotiate a fee for contract review only
- An Architect or Structural Engineer to assess whether the building being considered is suitable for the intended use
- A General Contractor to assess the building’s structure and infrastructure to determine if there are any deficiencies that require correction
Do not assume that a building will be “grandfathered” from current code requirements. With a change in ownership, the structure may have to be brought up to current codes. Sometimes city officials will conduct an inspection to point out any work necessary to bring the structure up to code.
If the city will not conduct a preliminary inspection, or if it is infeasible to hire an Architect, Structural Engineer or General Contractor, then go to the city and ask questions about the property and existing building. Request a meeting with officials in the Building Inspection, Zoning, Public Works and Fire Marshall’s offices. Depending on the scope of your project, there could be many questions for these officials, but here are a few important areas to address:
- Is the building on property located in the flood plain or flood way?
- Is the site zoned for religious use?
- Is the type of construction code-acceptable for the intended use?
- Is the size of the meeting area code-acceptable for the intended use?
- Are the building utilities adequately sized?
- Does the site have adequate drainage?
- Does a fire suppression system have to be installed?
- Does the building have to be accessible for use by disabled individuals?
Call us for a more detailed explanation of potential concerns in these areas. We can provide the necessary information to formulate appropriate questions for professionals and government officials, or speak with them on your behalf.
Remember, if you don’t understand it, don’t sign it! Call us before you begin planning your project.
Let us be a part of your team from start to finish!