There are a lot of decisions that one must make when finding where they will conduct business. But ultimately once it has been decided that you will be needing a physical location for day-to-day operations, the next step is of course acquiring that building. Our ongoing series covers these options, including building a space from scratch, leasing an already existing space, buying an already existing venue which fits your needs with minimal renovation, or buying an already existing space that is either dilapidated, very old and out of code, or needing to be almost completely re-purposed. Today we will be going over the option of buying a pre-existing venue that needs a serious overhaul.
There is a reason that there are two different choices for buying a pre-existing unit. That is because if it is already mainly suited to your needs, the majority of your money will be going towards purchasing the building itself and ideally not having to allocate a large portion of funds to a re-purposing. But with older buildings you may find that it seems like you are getting a steal But ultimately because of the fact you will have to bring the building up to code, redo large parts of the electrical, look at serious infrastructure problems like water pipes and insulation, not to mention and hopefully not asbestos or lead paint, even if not you are looking at some serious issues that will need to be tackled and compared price-wise before you begin. It is very important if you’re going to be buying an older building to get all of these things looked at in an appraisal, or even to have your contractor take a look at it before it is purchased and finalized.
Take for example the lead paint law of 1977. Any building built after then cannot have lead paint used, in any building built before is actually grandfathered in so they do not need to address it if they are the original owner. A lot of laws are written like this because essentially the Constitution guarantees that things cannot become illegal after the the fact. So basically since you are a new owner and the building is not being used for its original purpose any longer you will be responsible for taking care of that issue. The same is true for asbestos, which of course you would definitely not want to have in your building as it can cause some serious issues. In fact many times when asbestos is present the building will just be demolished all together and used for its lot value.
Another thing that you will need to have looked at before you purchase, is structural issues. The cost of leveling the base of a building is extensively costly, as well as adding support which is needed to be done before you can tear down any walls. Surprisingly it is generally not overly expensive to tear down the walls if the electrical does not run through them and they are not supporting walls. There are also a lot of city codes that will need to be taken into account, because once again once you try to use a building for a new purpose you are no longer going to be grandfathered in. Some of these include needing a parking lot with as many parking spaces as the fire marshal limit occupant number, meeting the fire marshal occupancy code, adding at least two exits and entrances into the building, and more. It is for this reason that many cities actually have what is known as compliance officers which will essentially walk you through the steps of getting permits on your building and let you know of any regulations that are going to be needed. But what you must keep in mind as that they will normally only cover the city regulations and not go over the various federal regulations that will be in effect.