Environmental issues to look out for before buying a commercial property


Are you looking to buy a commercial property like a production factory, corporate office, church, hotel, shopping mall, or warehouse? If so, then the price of the building should not be the only thing you should be cautious about. It’s important to be aware of environmental factors surrounding the property mainly because you don’t want your investment costing you more than you bargained for and you want to protect yourself along with your company from any negative publicity as well as liabilities that may arise in the future because of your part in any environmental degradation activities. Hence, in order to help you make informed decisions while buying a commercial property, we’ve listed some common environmental factors you should watch out for:


Contamination is primarily the presence of pollutants which pose a direct threat to living beings and the environment. Petroleum hydrocarbons from fuel spills and leakages contaminate mostly in manufacturing, transportation, and petroleum industries while oxygen depleting organics such as sewage and animal manure contaminate in food or animal processing businesses, corporate offices, and waste-water treatment plants. Furthermore, hazardous metals such as lead, mercury, iron, sulfur, and zinc are stored, produced, or used in certain industries after which they are discarded carelessly due to which these pollutants seep into the soil, groundwater, and buildings causing harm to the environment and in turn living beings.

Checking the history of the land as in for what activities the land was used previously and getting the land assessed by environmental professionals can help you decide whether it is worth purchasing the land or not.

Flood Zones

Be sure to check if the property you are looking to purchase is at a risk of flooding. Floods are catastrophic and so it is essential that you find out whether or not the commercial property that you are looking to purchase lies in a floodplain. If it’s in a floodplain, see if you can get flood insurance and take some precautionary measures to make the real estate more resilient to floods. Constructing buildings on stilts and installing advanced water drainage equipment can help negate the effect of a flood to a certain extent.


Make sure that the air and tap water in the area where you are looking to purchase a commercial property are of good quality. Air and tap water alone can tell you a lot about the environmental condition of the area. In addition to this, find out the probability of earthquakes and hurricanes striking the area where you are looking to make a purchase. You can collect this information from environmental agencies in the area and might even be able to find it online.

As important as it may be to consider environmental factors when purchasing real estate, it’s even more important to determine whether the property is worth buying given the costs. It’s always a good idea to seek professional financial advice before buying, for that we recommend talking to a commercial real estate brokerage.

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