Buying Land for Sale in Ohio? Get an Environmental Site Assessment! Thursday, February 01, 2018
Are you considering buying some of the land for sale in Ohio? When you reflect on all the state has to offer, who can blame you?
- Five Fortune 500 company headquarters call Ohio its home.
- Ohio is one of the top five tax climates in the United States, as ranked by KMPG and Ernst and Young.
- Columbus, the state capital, is the 15th largest city in the United States.
- Office space is 60% cheaper in Columbus compared to New York.
With all of that said, if you are about to purchase Ohio land for sale, you are likely excited about the prospect. But before you jump the gun, consider something incredibly important: an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA).
What is an Environmental Site Assessment?
In the United States, before you purchase land, a commercial real estate developer or investor should go through the process of an Environmental Site Assessment. It is a report prepared for a real estate holding that can identify any potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities.
There are four phases of an Environmental Site Assessment; however, Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA) is what is meant to identify the potential for contamination of a site by hazardous or toxic materials. Phase I ESA is an effective tool to use in regards to the environmental liability for a prospective purchase of real property, including purchasing land. There is value in an ESA to both sides of a commercial real estate transaction. A Phase I ESA can potentially allow the land buyer to avoid inheriting liability for past environmental mishaps on the piece of land. On the other hand, the results of the Phase I ESA can help the seller who may be on a time crunch; by performing a Phase I ESA prior to listing the land for sale, the findings can allow the seller to uncover issues that need to be addressed before listing. Or, if the seller’s Phase I ESA results are clean, the concern or timeframe may be reduced when the buyer performs their own Phase I ESA.
Keep two things in mind:
- The report is not meant to be very detailed.
- It does not provide qualitative data.
What Are the Elements of a Phase I ESA?
Since there are multiple parts of an Environmental Site Assessment, it is important to understand the differences. A Phase I ESA analyzes past and current activities and environmental conditions on the property, as well as adjacent properties. The typical elements included in a Phase I ESA are as follows:
- Review of existing reports
- Consideration of prior usage
- Interviews with landowners
- Discussions with occupants
- Conversations with neighbors
- Meetings with local governmental officials
- Research of lien and chain of title
- Review of historical documents (e.g., photos, maps)
- Review of municipal property records
- Search through environmental state and federal databases
- Identification of nearby regulated sites
- Conduction of a thorough site inspection
- Analyzation of environmental risk factors
- Preparation of report detailing findings
- Update of the report within six months of land purchase
- Certification by an environmental professional
Know that these tasks may take a long period of time, especially the research and review of governmental records. To ensure a quality assessment, you must allow an appropriate amount of time for this process to take place. The ESA should be performed by a trained environmental professional who follows the correct standards when assessing land for sale in Ohio.
How Do I Find Environmental Professionals in Ohio for an ESA?
Finding a professional to perform an Environmental Site Assessment for any piece of land for sale in Ohio is easier than you think. Visit the webpage of the Environmental Site Assesment Unit under the Ohio Department of Transportation. There you will find a wealth of information, including their responsibilities during the environmental process, guidelines, contact information, and more.
You may also look in other places, including:
- A Google search
- Your local business directory/Yellow Pages
- Local environmental agencies
- Referrals from your local Ohio real estate firm
Need Help Finding Land for Sale in Ohio or More Info on an ESA?
Located in Columbus, but serving Central Ohio, we, at The Robert Weiler Company, have demonstrated an unsurpassed passion for the local real estate market; we also support and recognize the amazing people and opportunities in this great state. Are you interested in learning more about our land for sale in Ohio, or looking for an Environmental Site Assessment? Talk to one of our experienced land brokers today by calling at 614-221-4286.