A commercial property inspection refers to a series of inspections that are performed in the course of real estate transactions. These inspections are designed to provide buyers and sellers with information regarding the state of buildings and properties before they commit to purchasing or leasing the properties. These inspections are conducted by certified inspectors who have undergone training and obtain specialized certifications. A commercial property inspection typically reveals a wide range of problems, from structural issues to pest infestations to water leakage or other defects. These inspections also provide vital information to the seller that can potentially influence his or her willingness to sell or buy a property.
The purpose of a commercial property inspection is to provide the buyer or seller with detailed information regarding a commercial building or structure. An inspection report is created after an inspection, which includes a summary of findings and recommendations for remediation. In some instances, the inspection report is prepared by a third party, called an independent inspector, who inspects the structure and does not rely on the observations of one person. Most commercial property inspections are done by building inspectors. Either way, an inspection is considered to be thorough when several parties are involved and when the inspector has taken all reasonable precautions to protect the public’s safety and to report accurately.
There are two types of commercial property inspections, the first is a home inspection and the second is a manufacturing location inspection. Home inspections generally involve checking for problem areas such as chimneys, plumbing, drainage, leaks, etc. The inspector will also take note of equipment and machinery, appliances, furniture, interior surfaces, etc. In manufacturing locations, the inspector may examine facilities such as refrigeration systems, welding areas, auto body repair, heating and cooling systems, screws and nails, etc. Again, the report is generated after the home inspection and is often accompanied by a written recommendation for additional work or recommendations for the home buyer to take care of such problems himself or herself.
Commercial property inspections are usually required before a seller agrees to sell a property. Such inspections are performed by the county government’s Builders and Contractors Department. This department is mandated by the county’s building codes to perform periodic inspections of new and old commercial properties to ensure that they are up to code. The Builders and Contractors department performs these inspections by trained inspectors who receive training specific to commercial property inspection requirements. Once the inspector determines that a commercial property inspection has been performed and that the deficiencies are found, he or she gives the owner a report that details the findings.
The majority of commercial property inspections are performed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The Special Counsel office, which is located in Desoto, FL, is part of HUD and is responsible for the supervision of fair housing practices. Because it is a Federal office, it is required to annually perform inspections of commercial properties owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other government-backed mortgage companies.
In most commercial property inspection transactions, there is a sign-in/sign-out process. When a commercial property inspection is performed, one of two signs will be used: a qualified person (or persons) who is on-site will point to one of two locations on the property. If there is a qualified person present (usually the building owner), this sign will be displayed for you to see. If there is no sign-in/sign-out process, the inspector will place a white broom in front of the building at the time of his inspection to clean the area where he is walking through.
The most common areas for commercial inspections are the retail store, the restaurant, the office building, the warehouses, the gas station, the pool service, and the store. It is up to the individual commercial inspector to describe the conditions he finds during his inspection. There are several ways that commercial property inspection can be executed.
Usually, a commercial inspector has several steps to complete during the inspection process. He will: walk through the property with a camera to check for hazards, point out problems, observe people and animals using the facilities, evaluate and describe the condition of major appliances and plumbing, take photos of structural elements such as floors, ceilings, walls, doors, and windows, evaluate electrical and plumbing systems, and conduct a walk-through survey. The walk-through survey is typically conducted within one to three business days, sometimes longer. After the walk-through inspection, the commercial inspector will prepare a report describing his findings and recommendations.
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