Absolutely...the CPA should go over the records from (at least) the last three tax years. He should also compare this with his income tax forms. Also, assure that the length and terms of the current lease (and extensions available) are workable for you.
The old proverb "Your Price / my terms" is appropriate in a business sale. If the seller is promoting a very strong income, he should have no objection to an "earn-out". That is, with payments contigent on income. (although, that seldom in acceptable to a seller, it's worth negotiating for).
If the business has solid income and solid records, it may qualify for an SBA guaranteed loan. In such a deal, the buyer must normally make a 20%down pmt. The seller must carry 10% as a second place loan, and the business must show in the records that it can then pay your salary plus the payments on the loans, plus about 20% additional in order to be approved.
The seller should remain with the business for as long as it should take for you to learn the business and meet the suppliers and normal customers (garages, etc. - not retail customers). Usually a few weeks.
You might want to start but hiring a business broker who is experienced in coodrinating small business transactions.
Best of luck,
Bridge Ventures, LLC
I've always wanted my own business, and as I get older, the stronger that desire becomes. Well, it looks like my desire may turn into reality. An inquiry several months ago has turned into the very real possibility of buying an existing auto parts business. I'm scared and excited at the same time, and at this point I have no idea whether I can afford to do this, (from the standpoint of income from the new business) but I've got to do my due diligence. The questions I have are these: Do I need to hire an attorney or CPA to look over the "books" and sales contract, or both? What specialty do I look for in an attorney? Any input someone can supply would be greatly appreciated.