Real Estate Due Diligence

Due Diligence in Real Estate and Property Investment Protection

Hillmann Consulting, LLC is committed to protecting our client’s investment when it comes to real estate transactions. Accordingly, we offer real estate due diligence services to assist our clients in making well-informed decisions with regard to their prospective investments. Beyond the physical appearance of a property, we work thoroughly to gather all pertinent information about the current uses, history, regulatory status and prior environmental work that could be cause for environmental risk and liability. Our reports comply with industry standards including ASTM E1527-13 and E2018-15; and are tailored as requested to meet the needs of each client.


  • Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)
  • Registered Environmental Manager (REM)
  • Registered Environmental Property Assessor (REPA)
  • Certified Environmental Manager (CEM)
  • Certified Remediation Specialist (CRS)
  • Radon Measurement Technician
  • Certified Environmental Inspector (CEI)

We have a team of professionals dedicated to performing Real Estate Due Diligence services for our clients. We strive to understand the needs of each client in order to provide the best service. Our thorough reports deliver a clear, easy-to-understand assessment of the subject property and includes our professional recommendations. Our dedicated team is also available after report delivery to provide guidance for our clients in eliminating potential problems as they collectively work towards achieving their goals.

Hillmann Consulting, LLC has been performing Phase I ESAs for over two decades for a wide variety of clientele including many preeminent financial institutions. Our assessment staff includes Environmental Professionals specifically trained to provide assessment services in compliance with the ASTM Standard E1527-13, and the USEPA All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) rule for establishing innocent landowner, bona fide prospective purchaser and/or contiguous property owner protections.

Real Estate Due Diligence Services:

  • Phase I Environmental Site Assessments
  • Phase II Environmental Site Assessments
  • Transaction Screen Environmental Site Assessments
  • Property Condition Assessment
  • Third Party/Desktop Review Services
  • Limited Database/Historical Review
  • Site Investigation & Remediation

What Triggers a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?

A variety of actions can trigger a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), the most common being the purchase of real property by a person or entity not previously listed on the title or the contemplation of a new lender to provide a loan on the subject real estate. A Phase I ESA may also be provided in conjunction with the development or redevelopment of a property.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

A Phase I ESA is intended to identify potential or existing environmental liabilities on a property. This can include “recognized environmental conditions” (a condition where hazardous substance or petroleum products have or are likely to contaminate soils, groundwater or building areas) or “business environmental risk” concerns such as the presence of asbestos, lead paint, radon, IAQ/mold problems or wetlands. A multi-disciplined approached is employed when preparing a Phase I ESA for our clients. A Phase I ESA includes the thorough researching of the site use history back to 1940 or first developed use (whichever is earlier), the researching of environmental regulatory agencies and databases and a thorough physical inspection of the property. A detailed report is prepared documenting the assessment process, and providing findings, conclusions and recommendations for further investigation when warranted.

Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

When a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) determines that contamination is likely, a Phase II ESA is generally recommended. A Phase II Environmental Site Assessment is a more intrusive investigation that requires the collection of samples of soil, groundwater, or building materials to analyze for quantitative values of various contaminants. The most frequent substances tested are petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, asbestos, and mold.

A Phase II ESA is not always triggered by a Phase I ESA. In certain cases, such as when interested parties are aware of existing contamination on a subject property, a Phase II ESA may be performed in absence of a Phase I ESA. Hillmann Consulting, LLC has a team of seasoned professionals, including a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP), specifically dedicated to performing Site Investigations and Remediation.

Transaction Screen Environmental Site Assessment

Hillmann conducts a Transaction Screen Environmental Site Assessment as the minimal level of environmental due diligence that is typically utilized for assessment of real estate.  This service is appropriate for real estate transactions that involve smaller loans for which the lender or borrower is unable to bear the cost of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), or in the event that a Phase I ESA is not warranted because a high level of scrutiny is not imperative.

Conducting a Transaction Screen ESA is a three step process that includes the use of a questionnaire to gather information about the subject property from owners and occupants.  We will investigate and inquire about the previous and current property uses that may trigger an environmental concern, we will review limited government and historical records to review and identify known contamination incidents on the subject property and/or adjoining/adjacent properties, and we will conduct a physical property inspection for evidence of potential environmental concerns.  A brief letter report is prepared summarizing the findings and conclusions of the assessment.

Our assessment staff includes Environmental Professionals specifically trained to provide Transaction Screen Assessment services in compliance with the ASTM Standard E1528-14.  A comprehensive Transaction Screen ESA will conclude whether or not potential environmental concerns have been identified. Recommendations for further investigations will be made as warranted to address the identified concerns.

Property Condition Assessment

A Property Condition Assessment (PCA) is used to determine the physical condition of the improvements at a property. Hillmann will inspect major property components and systems to evaluate their condition, adequacy, and remaining lives. Our final report will note our professional recommendations regarding any corrective work and the approximate costs associated with the work. Our report also includes recommendations as to the replacement and repair reserve budgets.

Property Condition Assessments are generally associated with commercial real estate and are performed in both equity and debt markets. These reports are detailed and cover major components, including the building site, envelope, structural elements, interiors, roofing, mechanical systems, plumbing, electrical, elevators, and any notable environmental conditions visible to the naked eye.

Third Party/Desktop Review Services

Hillmann has been performing Third Party/Desktop Review Services of reports prepared by other consultants for decades. Our team will review submitted environmental assessment and property condition assessment reports to ensure that they meet industry and individual client standards. We will liaise with the report preparer to ensure all open issues, report deficiencies and questions regarding the subject property are resolved. We will provide a summary of the report finding in a format tailored to suit each client’s specific needs. Our Desktop Review Service can facilitate the review for property transactions ranging from single parcels to multi-site real estate portfolios.

Limited Database/Historical Review

In some circumstances when a full Phase I ESA or Transaction Screen ESA are not feasible due to lack of site access, for timing, cost considerations or other logistical reasons, a limited review of environmental regulatory databases and standard historic records can be conducted. The review would include the standard environmental database and historic records searches that are obtained when conducting a full Phase I ESA. Hillmann will review the records and provide a letter report of findings with regard to database listings of the subject property, adjoining and surrounding area properties; and a summary of prior site uses gleaned from the review of historical data.