Commercial Real Estate Inspection vs. Home Inspection

Written by: Commercial Real Estate Inspectors, LLC

What is the Difference Between Home & Commercial Real Estate Inspections?

To answer this question, it’s best to look at why the deal is being done in the first place.
A home purchase deals to a large degree on emotion. Things like, “I love the house”, “What a beautiful kitchen”, “Great backyard” and on and on. People usually buy homes because they really love something about the home or the location. They can envision their life in this place and take into consideration the happiness of their family or loved ones.
Commercial Real Estate purchases deal in money. The basic question is “How much?” “How much can I make on this investment?” The Los Angeles commercial real estate inspector focuses on the bottom line. How much will it cost to install the new heating and AC system it needs, the new roof, how much can I make on the new rents? And on and on.

How Are Home Inspections and Commercial Inspections Different?

One of the most telling differences between home and commercial real estate inspections is the variations that can occur within each type. Most residential homes, while unique in some ways, require the same type of inspection. The work is fairly routine from one house to the next. Commercial real estate inspections, on the other hand, can differ substantially from one project to the next. They are also considerably larger and may require more than one inspector.

The liability is also considerably less for a residential property compared to a commercial one. While home inspectors must take great care to complete a thorough inspection, an error in a commercial inspection could cost the property owner tens of thousands of dollars or more.

In short, home inspections are as critical as commercial real estate inspections in ensuring that a property is in sound condition. They generally take less time to complete and are less expensive compared to their commercial counterparts. 

What We Look for During a Commercial Real Estate Inspection

With commercial real estate inspections in Los Angeles, we look at what improvements need to be made within the next five years.
Some questions include:

  • Can the Heating system get by?
  • Does the electrical need to be upgraded due to the change in use of the building?
  • Does the roof look like it will last at least five more years with normal maintenance?

This is always tempered with consulting the buyer to find out what it is they are looking for and what their particular concerns are.


We are constantly looking at a home from a performance standpoint. Does the water get hot in the bathroom in a reasonable amount of time? Will you get scalded when the toilet is flushed if you are in the shower? Do the windows open properly, do you have enough plugs, and on and on with a home?

System Lifespans

With a commercial real estate inspection in Los Angeles we are looking at life spans of the five major systems: electrical, plumbing, heating and AC, roofing and structure. The focus of a commercial inspection is usually much more on the major systems than the interior cosmetic issues. If the carpet is a bit worn in a commercial inspection we will note it but the buyer usually doesn’t really care. He wants to know “What do I have to spend money on now or in the near future in this place?”

With commercial inspections, we stress the industry standards for life expectancies. These can vary greatly depending on the system and the quality of the original construction.
General life expectancies include:

  • Plumbing – 40-60 years
  • Roofing – 10-15 years
  • HVAC systems – 15-17 years
  • Building structure – 70-100+ years
  • Electrical systems – 50 years

We will most likely give you a report for a commercial inspection within 24 hours. Most of them currently are being emailed. We can print out the report on the site but this is not nearly as common as it is with home inspections due to looking up some of the issues and the time it takes to put a commercial inspection together. The client often has better things to do and chooses to leave the site after a quick verbal debrief of the major issues that were found. We will give you pictures of those issues that need it.

How Long Do These Inspections Take

Most home inspections take approximately 2-3 hours. A commercial inspection can take anywhere from 1-6 hours at the site and then from 1-3 hours at the office putting everything together.

At Commercial Real Estate Inspectors, LLC , you will deal with qualified professionals that have many years in the construction trades as general contractors and thousands of inspections under their belt. We are professionals and want to make sure that every buyer has a good grasp of what they are buying and what they can expect to spend in the next five years based on industry standards of the expected life of those particular systems present.

For quality commercial building inspections in Los Angeles, call (818) 957-4654 today!

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