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Church Inspections: The Cornerstone of a Successful Transaction

Posted on May 17, 2015 by Bill Skubik in Things to Consider

Are you looking at purchasing a religious facility but aren’t really sure what you’re getting? Planning to sell your church and want to know what to fix before it goes on the market? A qualified, experienced inspector can answer all of your questions. Inspectors can assist both owners and buyers in understanding the current condition, operation and maintenance requirements, and also offer confidence to prospective investors.

It is best to rely on your real estate broker’s experience when hiring a professional inspector. Your broker will know who is reliable and honest, and who should be avoided. With church facilities in particular, it is imperative that you hire an inspector with religious building experience. Although many of the building components seem similar to other commercial buildings, the diverse needs of multiple church groups, organizations, and the congregation require distinctly different inspection criteria.

A good inspector will key in on the facility’s condition while keeping in mind both existing and potential future problems. They’ll be able to tell you what items need to be fixed immediately, what items need to be monitored, and to what extent the facility can adequately serve your congregation. An inspector will offer evaluations along with recommendations and opinions of probable costs.

The inspection process itself may include a walk-through survey, document review, and interviews to ascertain the property’s condition. Depending on your needs, an inspection can vary from a simple visual review of the property, to a comprehensive inspection of all technical components. Age, occupancy and type of construction are all components considered when determining the inspection needs.

Inspections typically include overviews of:
• Improper maintenance or worn systems
• Equipment nearing the end of its useful life
• Building code violations
• Structural Frame
• Building Envelope
• Roof Surface Condition and Remaining Useful Life
• Site Components such as Utilities, Landscaping, Site Grading, Drainage, and Parking
• Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Systems
• Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems
• Stair and Elevator Conditions
• Fire Protection and Emergency Exit Availability
• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Assessments
• Interior Components such as Schools, Childcare Areas, Kitchens, and Restrooms

For certain areas and climates, additional components may include:
• Radon Inspections
• Wood-Destroying Organism Inspections
• Sewage and Treatment Systems Inspections
• Asbestos Inspections
• Lead-Based Paint Inspections
• Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Assessments

In summary, a good inspector will tell you exactly what you have or what you’re purchasing. They’ll offer advice and knowledge while keeping your goals in mind. This investment is one of the largest that your organization and congregation can make, it is important to take all necessary steps to make sure it’s the right one.


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