What is a Detailed Property Inspection and Do I Need One?

Written by: Commercial Real Estate Inspectors, LLC

In the state of California, there are some generally agreed upon standards for property inspections. One is from the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA). Another is from, ASTM – The American Society of Testing and Materials. ASTM is considered the yardstick in the industry for commercial and industrial real estate inspections.

The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA)

The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) sets Standards of Practice that provide guidelines for home inspections in the state. The standards apply to residential properties with four or fewer units. It notes that the inspection is designed to provide a client with information related to the “general condition of the building(s)” and to help them determine any items that should be corrected or evaluated. 

A home inspection report that meets the standards of the CREIA will provide a person with written documentation of any material defects that are discovered, including safety hazards and systems that are not property functioning or may be at the end of their life.

The Standards of Practice set forth by the CREIA include a comprehensive list of items that should be inspected and reported, as well as limitations, exceptions, and exclusions that may be made. While not exhaustive, a property inspection that meets the CREIA Standards of Practice can help a potential purchaser better understand what costs they may incur over the next five years and any material defects in the property. It is strongly recommended that anyone looking to purchase, sell or lease property conduct a detailed property inspection prior to the transaction.

The American Society of Testing and Materials 

ASTM’s guideline includes a description of the acceptable standard for a commercial or industrial real estate inspection. It outlines many levels of what can be done. It can encompass everything from a review of documents by qualified professionals such as an architect at the local Department of Building and Safety to having professionals examine every system and do detailed reports for these if that is what the client needs. It also lists out the minimum level – Base Line – for a site visit and review of a building and the associated parking structure. The baseline inspection is generally the agreed upon inspection. This is what is done almost 100% of the time.

Commercial Real Estate Inspectors Detailed Property Inspections

When you hire Commercial Real Estate Inspectors we look at the site while paying particular attention to the Plumbing, Electrical, Heating and AC, the Structure and Roofing. We also comment on immediate drainage issues. We look for material (meaning of significant importance or great consequence to the property) defects and safety issues. We also comment on the expected useful life of systems per industry standards. We do these from a general visual standpoint. You get a written report that can be well over 50 pages of information and pictures that show what we have found.

The amount of information in the report is extensive. It greatly increases the buyer’s knowledge of the building(s) and site and allows for a much more informed decision.

When you hire Commercial Real Estate Inspectors, you also get what we call a RISK Assessment™. This covers the major systems as listed above and lets you know:

1. The expected useful life left in each system.

2. What immediate repairs or maintenance is needed or recommended for each system.

3. What expenses you should expect to pay over the next five years other than routine maintenance for each system.

The general visual inspection for the vast majority of commercial or industrial sites will give the usual buyer and agent sufficient information to determine if they need or want a specialist to take the examination further in a specific area, such as roofing or the HVAC. Recommended further review is most often in the fields of the major systems as listed above.

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