Purchasing land or a piece of property for your business can be a daunting task.  There are many factors to consider when doing so, and perhaps one that is most often overlooked is that of the environmental risks associated with the property.  It is important to know and understand the risks that can be associated with environmental liability and what environmental aspects to cover when purchasing a property.

This article will discuss two very important steps to take when purchasing a property for your business and how to make a smart decision for your business.   Taking these steps will allow you peace of mind in your decision to purchase or not purchase the property, and could also save you valuable time and money in the process.

 Environmental Aspects

Collect Background Information

The first thing to do when considering making a real estate purchase for your business is to collect as much background information as possible.  The most common way of doing so is to ask the seller questions regarding the use of the property in the past.

Usually the seller will be helpful in giving you background information and documentation regarding the site because when asked, the seller is legally bound to provide the truth.  However, they are not required to give any information on environmental issues unless asked.

And also keep in mind that if the seller states that there were no environmental issues on the property, he or she might not be aware that there was.  Therefore, it is important to collect information from other sources.  It is also a good idea to collect information through state and local government archives.  Many of these facilities keep detailed records on the businesses that date very far back.

By looking through this information, you can find out the different uses for the property throughout the years and you can assess the risk of potential previous contamination risks on the property.  You can also ask neighbors to the property and other members of the community, as they might provide more insight regarding the property and any incidents that might have occurred on site.

When speaking with the seller, be sure to ask about the presence, age, and condition of any underground storage tanks and septic systems, as well as any use or storage of chemicals.  The disposal of waste is important to know, as this is often the cause of many environmental issues.   The use of the facility that previously inhabited the site can give you a good idea on whether or not any environmental hazards could have taken place on site.

Conduct a thorough inspection

Once you have gathered all the information you can find on the site’s history, your final step is to conduct a thorough investigation of the property.  Hire a professional to come to the site and inspect the site visually, as well as conducting soil tests and examining the land as well.  This is called an environmental inspection.

While the visual inspection is helpful, it is often common that environmental hazards cannot be seen with the eye, as many are present underneath the ground. This inspection should also include looking into the possibility of contamination by properties surrounding the site as well.  An environmental inspection can protect you by giving you the assurance against discovering any issues in the future as well as by protecting you against liability for cleanup costs under federal environmental statutes. Check out the website  Environmental Data Resources for more information regarding this issue.


Category: Other tips

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