Having done over 6,000 property inspections and having been in the construction field for over 35 years I have some perspective on what happens before, during and after a property transaction. An aspect that comes up every once in a while is being asked to somehow deliver the information in a way so that I don't blow the deal.
Proper Communication is Key
At first, I used to take this kind of thing personally. I have always been very conscious of how I communicated.
I have felt for many years that it really isn't what you say it is how you say it. I try very hard to deliver what I say in a gentle manner. That does not mean I don't let them know what I find but I don't have to say it with negative adjectives such as, Boy, that was one of the worst electrical systems I have ever seen! Or, If that roof doesn't leak at the first sign of rain I would be shocked or anything of the sort.
If the roof is worn and aged and at or near the end of its expected useful life than so be it. I do not have to go into saying it is terrible or how bad or poorly maintained. The difference between the two is something that can color the report and give my client the impression the seller is not a good person or in some way negligent. These may be the case but it is not my job to make that judgment.
Providing Unbiased Information
I feel very strongly that my job is not to find out what is wrong with the properly but to find out what is. There is a big difference. There are always aspects of any site that are positive. By not having any vested interest or hidden agenda. In other words, because I never do any work on any properties I inspect I really don't care what shape it is in. I only do inspections. I don't have any coloring of my judgment as to the condition of a particular system or the site. If something is serviceable and doing the job it was intended to do then it is.
Keep the Client Calm
I feel one of the biggest aspects to property inspections is to convey the information in a nonalarming manner. I also feel strongly it is also my job to ensure that the client understands how much longer a particular system will last per industry standards with routine maintenance and to also understand if that building system needs immediate repairs or maintenance.
Think About Solutions
I have found after many years of experience as a general contractor and having worked on hundreds of construction projects that unless you plan to violate the laws of the physical universe, such as making something levitate, that anything can be fixed. When I look at things from that viewpoint then I don't get emotional or judgmental with my findings. If the roof is old and worn out and in need of replacement then so be it. It will cost so much and then you have a new roof and you won't have to worry for many years.
In today's market in the Los Angeles area, most commercial properties are well over one million dollars. When I look at the systems, unless there are major structural issues even if the electrical, plumbing, heating and AC and the roofing all need to be replaced, which is very rare, the cost to replace all is almost never over 10% of the total cost of the transaction.
This means that even if all the major systems, other than the structure, need a complete replacement you could, for less than 10% of the total cost of the building have a completely new building other than cosmetics.
I try to look at things for a solution standpoint. Things can be fixed. Stuff wears out. Life happens. Just keep things maintained, repair them when things break down and realize systems have an expected useful life. If well maintained they will last past that time frame usually but eventually, mechanical systems wear out and need complete replacement. It is just the way life is. Whatever it is it can be solved if you confront it with intelligence.
I hope you found this informative and of use.