As a buyer, it is your responsibility to act with due diligence. Inspect a potential property for problems, such as termites, as well as wear and tear that may be beyond what you’re willing to accept. Are there any repairs you will need to make to the property to make it to your satisfaction? Not all sellers will hold properties up to their standards, so make sure you know what you’re buying before entering into a sales agreement. You don’t want to pay your best price if you later have to deal with deferred maintenance issues. Remember, this is an active business you are looking to purchase, not a new home.
Carefully examine the financial records of the property. An accountant familiar with business accounting can be an asset in examining not only financial records, but tax returns as well. Keep in mind that you are making a purchase for a business, not just real estate. Get comfortable with cash flow.
Know what you’re getting, as best you can. Research future plans for surrounding areas so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises later. Please confirm that you can manage the B&B as you wish. Look around. See more than the B&B itself. Be sure to check the surroundings of the property, including the local laws that govern the area to make sure you can run your bed and breakfast the way you want.
Be prepared to negotiate. Do your homework and then make your best offer, but keep in mind that most people want to negotiate. It is important to know how you would like to negotiate before making an offer. There are advantages and disadvantages to different trading strategies. If you make a low offer, it may be rejected without consideration or a counter offer. A seller may feel that any future offer is being withheld, that you may not be making your best offer. However, if you present your best offer initially, there is no room for negotiation afterwards. Be prepared to counter offer and find a reasonable compromise. Getting an idea of the seller’s motivation to sell will help you in this process. It’s not always easy to determine their real motivation, though many innkeepers are happy to share some of their reasons for moving forward.
Above all, be patient. It can take months, or even years, to find a bed and breakfast that’s right for you. Take lots of notes and photos, with the seller’s permission. Be flexible with the process and, above all, have fun.