What is Due Diligence in Real Estate?

What is Due Diligence in Real Estate?

Purchasing commercial or residential real estate is a daunting task. Prospective buyers research their options based on requirements, price, and location before zeroing in on a specific building.

The research process doesn’t end here.

In order to make sure the property purchase is compliant in every sense, significant due diligence should be carried out before signing the agreement papers. At Zumbly, we make the home buying process easy for you with our Calculator and other resources.

Related:  Need to Knows When Buying Your First House

Due Diligence

Due diligence is the extended process of ascertaining the fundamentals of the property, seller, compliance obligations, home insurance policies, and financing to mitigate long-term liabilities.

Significantly expensive purchases like a property purchase require a scrupulous examination of local zoning laws and restrictions, encroachments, homeowners’ association guidelines, etc. Due diligence checklists can be created and agreed upon by both parties well before the purchase contract is signed.

In order to ensure a transparent process, several states legally require the property seller to disclose defects and possible liens the property comes with. But a prudent buyer does their own legwork when it comes to verifying the finer details of the deal. The buyer can choose to consult with real estate experts or choose to conduct the process independently. The due diligence process can span from a few weeks to 2 or 3 days.

Proper Paperwork

Stack of spreadsheets

Paperwork can be tricky and offputting for new buyers. But certain documents have to be in place before plunging in.  Creating a detailed list of documents required to be produced by the buyer can be drawn up using a professional’s expert. Work with the buyer and the insurance agency to review the title insurance.

The property should be examined to determine insurance eligibility and premiums. Lease documents, zoning regulations, tax certificates, and the seller’s financial statements need to be verified and documented.

Contact the local municipality office to obtain documentation and ensure that the property’s intended use is compliant with existing zoning legislation and land use classifications. Tax certificates are used to glean information about the assessed valuation of the property.

If the buyer is looking to invest in income-producing property like office space, apartment complex, or a commercial complex, examining the lease payment history helps obtain data about timely and reliable income.

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Financing a real estate purchase is the most important part of the process. If the buyer is getting a mortgage to finance the deal, working with the lender closely is important.

Regardless of the due diligence duration, ensure that the lender is willing to underwrite the mortgage required. The buyer can be an individual, multiple people, or an association. The lender’s independent investigation of the buyer’s finances might throw up some red flags that the buyer might not be aware of. The buyer will need to provide additional documentation to assure the lender.

The buyer also has to make sure that they are receiving the best mortgage rates. The buyer should explore all offerings and decide on a fair and competitive rate to lessen the financial burden.

Related: How Much Does It Cost To Build A House In 2019?



Common sense dictates that the buyer should never invest in a property without physically walking through it first. It’s crucial to get a first-hand look at the property in question.

Solicit a professional surveyor to corroborate the property specifics such as lot size, boundary lines, soil texture and condition, rights of way, etc. If the buyer has intentions of altering or renovating said property, it’s important to get these details ironed out beforehand to avoid nasty surprises.

The seller might not include every minute detail of the property. The buyer has to carefully examine the internal fixtures like the woodwork quality, flooring and roofing, electrical circuits, plumbing, air conditioning, furniture (if any), and ceramic fittings. Ensuring the property’s current condition matches the seller’s description, can reduce repair costs and help preserve the resale value down the line.

Deal-breaking factors have to be found out and rectified immediately to protect the buyer’s interest.


The buyer should make an effort to explore and learn about the neighborhood. The locality should match the buyer’s requirements – It would be inadvisable to buy a family home in an industrial area, regardless of the affordable price tag. Take into consideration the crime rates, traffic movement, and the availability of hospitals and other facilities.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management has a record of over 5 million federal land title records. The collection is free to use and covers 30 states. Buyers can pull up records of original land documents, land patents and field notes to get a clear picture of the history of the property.

Running checks for potential environmental hazards can be profitable in the long run. It’s important to recognize and avoid toxic areas with high land, air, and water pollution.


Ranch style house

Real estate due diligence is a complex process and is unique to each property. The best course of action would be to contact a professional who can provide necessary guidance and walk the buyer through the process. Browse our resources at Zumbly to help you find the right home.

Related: How to List Your Home on AirBnb and Earn Easy Travel Cash

Getting Inspection

Getting inspection should be an important part of your buying a house checklist. After you have chosen your ideal home, you get a short inspection period, which typically lasts from three to five days.

During this time, you are given the opportunity to hire a professional housing inspector to conduct a thorough inspection of your new property. This is important because if there is something that seems off, you will be given the chance to resolve whatever it is that is of concern.

Most home inspections are standard, and include the inspection of structural elements. These structural are comprised of your houses’ foundation, floors, ceilints, roofs, and walls. Inspections will check for parallel vs horizontal cracks on your floors, will make sure that your house’s foundation appears to be secure, that your roof does not have any leaks, and history concerning fires in your house’s attic.

Your professional housing inspector will typically also conduct an exterior inspection. This exterior inspection includes the evaluation of landscaping, elevation, wall coverings, drainage, grading, fascia, sidewalks, fences, windows, doors, exterior receptacles, tims and lights.

If your house has an attic, this is typically inspected together with your roof, to evaluate your roof’s construction, the framing and the ventilation. This will cover questions such as the length of time in which the roof must be replaced, its average life expectancy, and the number of layers that it is composed of.

Appliances are also inspected during your housing inspection. This includes the close examination of your range and oven, any built-in microwaves, smoke detectors, garbage disposals, and your builtin dishwasher. Washers and dryers may be included in this inspection; however, it is important to make sure that these items are not the original owner’s personal property, and that he or she will not be taking the items with them.

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