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Commercial Real Estate Due Diligence: What You Need To Know

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What is commercial real estate due diligence?

Commercial real estate due diligence is the thorough investigation and analysis of buyers, investors, or lenders before finalizing a commercial property transaction. It involves evaluating various aspects of the property, such as its financial performance, legal compliance, physical condition, and market viability.

This blog post will discuss due diligence and its importance for commercial real estate investments. This includes looking into the history of the property, as well as the financial and legal status.

What Is Due Diligence In Cre?

Due diligence in commercial real estate (CRE) is similar to due diligence in any other type of real estate transaction. The main difference is that, since commercial properties are usually much larger and more expensive than residential properties, the process is often more complex.

When considering a CRE investment, you will want to hire an expert team to help with the due diligence process. A real estate attorney, an accountant, and a mortgage broker should all be on this team. You will also want to order a title report, environmental reports, property conditions assessment,  and perform a property appraisal. All of this information will help you make an informed decision about whether or not to move forward with the purchase.

Due diligence is investigating a property before making an offer to purchase it. This investigation includes a review of the property’s physical condition, zoning, environmental issues, and current lease terms. It also includes an analysis of the local market conditions to determine if the property is priced correctly.

what is due diligence period in real estate

When Does Earnest Money Get Deposited During Diligence?

Any savvy investor knows that due diligence is key when considering a new purchase – especially regarding commercial real estate. So, what exactly is due diligence? In a nutshell, it is investigating a property before making an offer. This includes checking for zoning issues and environmental hazards and reviewing the building’s history and financial records.

Earnest money is often part of the due diligence process. This deposit shows the seller that you are serious about buying the property. If everything goes smoothly with due diligence and you decide to purchase the property, the down payment will be financed through earnest money. If you back out of the agreement or something unforeseen happens during due diligence, you may lose your earnest money if the contract terms were not followed.

What Is A Good Due Diligence Period?

For many business owners, the due diligence period is crucial to the sale process. This is the time when potential buyers have the opportunity to inspect the property and assess its value. To ensure the sale goes smoothly, a clear understanding of what a due diligence period is and what it entails is important.

A due diligence period typically lasts 30-60 days, though this can vary depending on the property’s state. During this time, potential buyers often hire an inspector to assess the property’s condition. They may also request information about zoning regulations, environmental concerns, and outstanding liens or mortgages. 

Once the due diligence period is complete, buyers usually have to submit a written notification to alert the seller that the due diligence is satisfied. If the buyer is unsatisfied during the due diligence period, the buyer may choose to walk away from the deal. Ultimately, the length of the due diligence period can be a key factor in whether or not a sale is successful.

What Is A Due Diligence Deadline?

A due diligence deadline is when all investigations must be completed to decide whether to proceed with the opportunity. The time needed for due diligence will vary depending on the opportunity’s complexity and the available resources. However, it is important to establish a realistic deadline to avoid delays and allow enough time for a thorough investigation. Before the deadline, you should review all information gathered during due diligence and make a decision about whether to proceed with the opportunity or not.

what is a due diligence period in real estate

Why Is Due Diligence Important In Real Estate?

Due diligence is crucial to becoming a successful real estate investor. When you’re thinking about purchasing a commercial property, thoroughly investigate the area, the property itself, and potential rental yields. By taking a thorough approach to due diligence, you can avoid costly mistakes and maximize your chances of success. 

Of course, due diligence takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it in the long run. When you know what you’re getting into before investing, you’ll be much better positioned to achieve your goals.

How Much Does Due Diligence Cost?

The cost of due diligence varies depending on the size and complexity of the business. Still, it typically includes the cost of hiring external consultants, as well as the cost of internal staff time. In some cases, the cost of due diligence can also include legal fees. While the cost of due diligence can be high, it is important to remember that the cost of not doing due diligence can be even higher. By assessing a property before investing, companies can avoid making costly mistakes that could damage their reputation or lead to financial loss.

Why Complete Due Diligence On Commercial Property?

When purchasing or leasing commercial real estate, thorough due diligence is important. By thoroughly investigating a property, you can avoid making costly mistakes and ensure you get what you expect. 

Regarding due diligence, there’s no such thing as being too careful. By taking a cautious approach, you can minimize risk and maximize your chances of success. If you’re considering purchasing commercial real estate, be sure to research and learn as much as you can about the property before making a decision.

Typical Documents Needed For Commercial Real Estate Due Diligence

When commercial real estate investors consider a potential property, they must perform due diligence to ensure it is a good investment. This process involves gathering certain documents to provide information about the property. 

Some of the documents that are typically needed for due diligence include:

  • The deed to the property
  • A plat map showing the property boundaries
  • A current lease (if the property is leased)
  • A rent roll (if the property is leased)
  • Operating statements for the past three years
  • A list of any capital improvements made to the property in the past three years
  • Environmental reports
  • Property Condition Assessment
  • The most recent tax bill for the property

These documents will give investors a clear picture of the property and help them make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed with the purchase.

How To Get Started With Commercial Real Estate Due Diligence?

Investing in commercial real estate might be a lucrative decision, but conducting your due diligence before starting is crucial. You’ll need to research a few key things before moving forward with a commercial real estate purchase:

  1. You’ll need to determine what properties are available in your desired area.
  2. You’ll need to learn about the local market conditions and what recently sold similar properties.
  3. You’ll need to understand the area’s zoning regulations and ensure the property you’re interested in meets your needs.

Once you’ve researched, you’ll be much better positioned to make a smart investment in commercial real estate.

what is due diligence fee in real estate

What Are Some Common Mistakes During Due Diligence?

Common Mistake #1 

One of the most common mistakes made during due diligence is failing to investigate all aspects of the property. When considering an investment, it’s important to take a comprehensive approach and look at all aspects of the deal. In addition to evaluating the property’s physical condition, consider things like zoning regulations, environmental concerns, and any outstanding liens or mortgages. You can avoid making costly mistakes by taking a thorough approach to due diligence.

Common Mistake #2

Another common mistake is failing to communicate with all parties involved in the deal. During due diligence, you must inform all stakeholders of your progress and findings. Keeping everyone in the loop can avoid surprises and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Common Mistake #3

Finally, another common mistake during due diligence is failing to document all findings properly. Keep detailed records of all inspections, research, and conversations throughout the due diligence process. These records will be invaluable if there are any problems with the deal.

The Different Types Of Due Diligence That Can Be Performed On A Property

There are a variety of different types of due diligence that can be performed on a property. The investor’s demands will determine the kind of due diligence. Some of the most common types of due diligence include:

Financial & Operations Due Diligence

Financial and operations due diligence is critical in any commercial real estate transaction. By thoroughly reviewing the financials and operations of a property, investors can make informed decisions about whether or not to proceed with a purchase. Commercial real estate transactions can be complex and time-consuming, so working with an experienced due diligence team is important to help you navigate the process. A good due diligence team will review the pertinent financial documents, tour the property, and interview key personnel. They will also provide a detailed report outlining their findings and recommendations.

Physical & Structural Due Diligence

Physical and structural due diligence assesses a property’s condition and ensures that it meets all applicable code requirements. This due diligence typically includes a thorough inspection of the property and a review of any available documentation, such as surveys, plans, and reports. In some cases, it may also involve testing or sampling of materials. While physical and structural due diligence is often seen as a necessary evil, it can be valuable in identifying potential problems and ensuring that a property is safe and sound.

Legal and Title

When commercial real estate investors are considering a property purchase, it’s important to perform due diligence to ensure that the property is properly titled and all legal requirements have been met. Title due diligence involves researching the property’s history to ensure no outstanding liens or encumbrances. Legal due diligence ensures that the property is zoned correctly and that all building and safety codes have been met. While due diligence can be time-consuming, avoiding any problems down the road is essential. Commercial real estate investors who take the time to perform title and legal due diligence can be confident they are making a sound investment.

Environmental Due Diligence

Buyers and sellers can help protect themselves from financial and legal liability by conducting a thorough environmental due diligence investigation. Environmental due diligence entails researching a commercial property for any potential environmental hazards. This can be an important step in purchasing or selling commercial real estate, as it can help ensure that the property is safe and compliant with environmental regulations. The due diligence process typically includes a review of past environmental assessments, regulatory filings, and title documents. It may also include on-site testing and sampling, if necessary.

what is the due diligence process in real estate

Steps For Due Diligence In Commercial Real Estate

When it comes to commercial real estate, due diligence is essential. This due diligence process helps ensure that a property is suitable for the buyer’s needs and that all potential risks are identified. Several steps should be taken during the due diligence process, including:

  • Review the property’s title history to check for anything that could impact the purchase, such as outstanding liens or easements.
  • Check for environmental concerns that could impact the property, such as contamination or flooding.
  • Conduct a thorough inspection of the property to identify potential problems, such as structural issues or needed repairs.
  • Review the property’s financial history to understand its past performance and potential future liabilities.

By taking these steps, buyers can help ensure they make a sound investment in commercial real estate.

Types Of Due Diligence Check

Many types of due diligence checks can be done on commercial real estate. One of the most important is a thorough assessment of the property itself. This will involve looking at things like structural integrity, the condition of the fixtures and fittings, and so on. Another important due diligence check is to assess the commercial market where the property is located. This includes checking out local business rates and footfall in the area. Finally, it is also important to conduct due diligence on the financial side, including assessing the potential rental income, running costs, etc.

Tips For Reducing The Risk When Investing In Commercial Real Estate

Although due diligence can help reduce the risk when investing in commercial real estate, there are no guarantees. Following are a few suggestions to decrease your risk further:

  • Diversify your portfolio by investing in different properties.
  • Use a professional team to help with the purchase, including solicitors, accountants, etc.
  • Be prepared to leave a deal if the due diligence process raises red flags.
  • Do not overstretch yourself financially – make sure you can afford the property and have a contingency fund.

Key Factors to Consider in Commercial Real Estate Due Diligence

Successful due diligence requires a systematic approach and consideration of several key factors. The following elements are crucial to the due diligence process:

Financial Analysis

A thorough financial analysis is essential to understanding the property’s income potential and financial viability. This includes evaluating the property’s historical and projected income and expenses, assessing its cash flow, and reviewing financial statements.

Legal Review

Conducting a legal review helps identify any legal issues or concerns associated with the property. It comprehensively examines the property’s title, zoning, land use compliance, environmental assessments, lease agreements, and any ongoing or potential legal disputes.

Physical Inspection

A physical inspection is necessary to assess the property’s condition, maintenance, and structural integrity. This involves examining the building’s physical components, including its structure, systems (electrical, plumbing, HVAC), safety features, and compliance with building codes and regulations.

Market Research

Market research provides valuable insights into the property’s location, demand, and competitive landscape. It involves evaluating market trends, analyzing comparable properties, assessing future growth potential, and understanding the local economic factors that can impact the property’s performance.

Conducting a Financial Analysis

When conducting a financial analysis during due diligence, several key considerations come into play:

Evaluating Income and Expenses

Assessing the property’s income and expenses helps determine its profitability and potential return on investment. This includes evaluating rental income, operating expenses, vacancies, and any additional revenue streams.

Assessing Cash Flow

Analyzing the property’s cash flow is crucial for understanding its financial health. It involves considering income, expenses, debt service, and other financial obligations to ensure the property generates positive cash flow.

Reviewing Financial Statements

Reviewing financial statements, such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, provides a comprehensive view of the property’s financial performance over time. It helps identify any discrepancies, irregularities, or potential risks.

Legal Review in Commercial Real Estate Due Diligence

A comprehensive legal review is essential to identify any legal issues or risks associated with commercial property. Key areas to focus on include:

Title Search and Ownership Verification

Conducting a title search ensures the property has a clear and marketable title. It helps identify existing liens, encumbrances, or ownership disputes that could affect the transaction.

Zoning and Land Use Compliance

Verifying the property’s zoning and land use compliance is crucial to ensure it aligns with the intended use and meets all applicable regulations. This includes reviewing zoning ordinances, permits, and any development or operations restrictions.

Environmental Assessments

Environmental assessments are conducted to identify any environmental risks or contamination on the property. This may involve phase I and II environmental site assessments, reviewing past land use, and evaluating potential liability for contamination issues.

Lease Agreement Review

Reviewing lease agreements is essential for understanding the existing tenant relationships, lease terms, and any potential risks or obligations associated with the property’s leases.

Physical Inspection Process

A thorough physical inspection of the commercial property is crucial to assess its condition, safety, and maintenance. Key areas to focus on include:

Structural Integrity

Examining the property’s structure ensures that it is sound and capable of supporting its intended use. This includes assessing the foundation, load-bearing walls, roof, and overall stability.

Building Systems and Maintenance

Inspecting the building systems, such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and fire safety, helps identify any issues or deficiencies that may require repairs or upgrades. Evaluating the property’s maintenance records provides insights into its overall upkeep.

Safety and Compliance

Ensuring the property meets safety standards and complies with building codes and regulations is essential. This involves assessing fire safety measures, ADA compliance, accessibility, and any other relevant safety requirements.

Market Research in Commercial Real Estate Due Diligence

Conducting market research provides valuable insights into the property’s market viability and potential. Key aspects to consider include:

Evaluating Supply and Demand

Analyzing the supply and demand dynamics in the market helps assess the property’s competitiveness and potential for long-term growth. Understanding vacancy rates, absorption rates, and market trends provides a broader perspective.

Analyzing Comparable Properties

Comparing the subject property with similar properties helps determine its relative value and market position. This includes considering size, location, amenities, rental rates, and recent sales data.

Assessing Future Growth Potential

Considering future growth potential is crucial for long-term investment success. Evaluating economic forecasts, infrastructure development plans, and demographic trends helps gauge the property’s growth prospects.

In Conclusion

Due diligence is an important part of the commercial real estate process. Buyers can help ensure they make a sound investment in a property suitable for their needs by taking the time to conduct due diligence. Many types of due diligence checks should be carried out, including assessments of the property, the local market, and the financials. We hope you found this useful. Here are 10 more valuable things to consider when investing in commercial real estate.

About The Author

Jesse Shemesh

With a wealth of experience in nurturing diverse commercial real estate investment portfolios across multiple markets, I actively engage in the development and execution of deals spanning all asset classes. My expertise lies in collaborating with strategic partners, including corporate real estate professionals, fund managers, developers, and investors, to source, identify, and entitle opportunities. At Point Acquisitions, we take pride in our unique, proprietary platform that specializes in property acquisitions, generating a steady stream of organic deal flow that sets us apart from the competition. As a seasoned professional in the real estate industry, I am dedicated to creating lasting partnerships and delivering exceptional results for all stakeholders.


Please note that Point Acquisitions is not a tax expert or tax advisor. The information on our blogs and pages is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, or accounting advice. Any information provided does not constitute professional advice or create an attorney-client or any other professional relationship. We recommend that you consult with your tax advisor or seek professional advice before making any decisions based on the information provided on our blogs and pages. Point Acquisitions is not responsible for any actions taken based on the information provided on our blogs and pages.

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