Regardless of how diligent you are with your online research, touring and inspecting a property is essential to ensure the smooth transition of your business into its new location — as well as to avoid costly surprises down the line. Tenants or new owners are strongly advised to hire a third-party professional for an in-depth assessment of a space they wish to lease or buy. But, prior to that, there are several things that business leaders can do cross some of the less-desirable properties off of their shortlist.

Search for Marks of Unnatural Wear in the Building

While an expert is more likely to pinpoint any structural or foundational issues a building might have, always check for any suspicious cracks on exterior walls or exposed sections of the property’s foundations. Then, secure the services of a professional who will further investigate these and other potential weak points within the structure.

Additionally, search for any broken, frayed or damaged electrical cables; make sure the emergency exits aren’t blocked from the outside; and confirm that the building is wheelchair-accessible.

Take a Look Inside

Parts of the building — such as the basement — might not be accessible to you during your inspection. However, if you do manage to obtain access, use this opportunity to examine the condition of doors, as well as ceiling and lighting fixtures. Similarly, look out for any spots in the ceiling or carpet damage that could indicate past leaks.

Notably, plumbing, electrical wiring and HVAC need special attention. As such, you’ll want these items evaluated by professionals, but you can also quickly check faucets and toilets for any leaks or low-pressure problems.

Inspect the Area Surrounding the Property

Scrutinizing the building that you plan to invest or conduct your business in is paramount, but it should also be supplemented with a thorough examination of the corresponding parking lot, as well as any associated landscaped areas.

Specifically, parking spaces should be clearly marked and, ideally, you want to avoid excessive potholes or cracks in the cement structure. Likewise, ensure that the sprinkler system is working properly in landscaped areas to avoid issues with flooding or wilting.

Finally, remember that uncovering any serious issues during your property inspection doesn’t necessarily mean that you should walk away. Instead, consider it a great way to initiate a conversation with the current owner. Then, use any necessary repairs or minor issues to your advantage during price negotiations or have the landlord agree to bear the cost of these repairs before the exchange.