Property Acquisitions Top Tips


When purchasing any healthcare related property, it is important to go into the acquisition process with a good understanding of the steps required from a real estate perspective and the possible issues that might be identified.  Time pressures are always prevalent, with lawyers often instructed to complete “as soon as possible”, so a real understanding of the process is a must for a smooth transaction.  Here are some of our top tips, for a smooth acquisition process:

  1. Know the Property: it is essential that you undertake a survey at the outset of the transaction. Post purchase, you will be responsible for the upkeep of the property and that will include remedying any defects which could (and should) have been identified as part of the acquisition process. You will also assume responsibility for compliance with laws and regulations relating to the property (like those relating to asbestos and fire safety). Instructing a surveyor at an early stage, means that any potential structural (and potentially health & safety) issues can be identified from the outset, and enquiries raised of the Seller. The issues identified will feed into negotiations and allow price deductions, warranties, and indemnities to be discussed if a resolution cannot be achieved prior to completion.In addition to instructing a surveyor, there is sometimes no substitute for a detailed site inspection or walk around – familiarity with the property and the area, will help you to visualise and put issues identified into context and also spot anything that might warrant further investigation, such as any third parties who appear to be using the property with or without permission.
  2. Understand the process: One of the most time-consuming elements of any acquisition, is the detailed due diligence which is required to identify not just any ‘red flags’ which might put a halt to the transaction, but also the information which you as future owner will need to be aware of. This involves a review of the title information available for the Property, replies to standard and bespoke enquiries; property search results; and any additional information disclosed by the Seller as part of the transaction. This due diligence process can be time consuming and clear communication from your legal team is essential, to manage expectations and timescales. Receipt of clear instructions from the outset and throughout the transaction, will allow your legal team to narrow the issues to those of critical importance to the you.
  3. Know your deal breakers: It is always important to know what will be a ‘deal breaker’ for you going into a transaction. Are you looking to redevelop, and therefore will a restriction prohibiting development mean that the property isn’t the one for you? With an increased emphasis on sustainability and energy performance, will a property which cannot be updated to improve its energy efficiency mean that the acquisition is not in line with your values? If these things are known at the outset, they can be investigated as a priority allowing solutions to be swiftly identified and unnecessary time and costs avoided.

In summary, communication with your lawyer is key. Going into an acquisition with clear instructions will ensure that the process is as smooth, quick and cost effective as possible.

Richard Hartis is a Partner in the real estate team specialising in the healthcare sector. To speak to Richard about anything raised in this article, you can contact him on 0191 226 7881 or richard.hartis@sintons.co.uk.


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