I bought our business turnkey. At the beginning of escrow, I took a trip and stayed at the B&B a few nights. I went to the county courthouse and met with someone in the planning department. They pulled all the paperwork, special variance, etc. I wanted to make sure that all rooms were legal and all necessary paperwork had been filed for the business and hear it from the horses mouth what I needed to do.
Fortunately, everything was fine, the variance was transferable and all rooms were legal. I walked away from there with copies of all the paperwork and permits.
After I went to the courthouse, I went to the local paper and had them pull the last 6 months of issues so I could look at what was happening in the area, both good and bad. My area is small, so the local paper is only published once a week and the library didn't even have past issues.
A big issue for me, was the exclusion list given by the previous owners. Even after the closing and we were the new owners, the old owners kept thinking of things they wanted. You know, the lamp from Aunt Sally, the picture they picked up on their trip to France...etc. One day, a neighbor pulled up with his trailer and said the previous owner just did a swap with him and he's here to pick up a huge propane tank in the back. UHHHH???? Oh no, that's now MY propane tank! Since they lived locally, this kind of nonsense went on for months until I blew my top. I didn't want to make waves, all the neighbors loved them.
GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. MAKE THE SALE CONTINGENT UPON YOUR BEING ABLE TO HAVE ALL PERMITS AND LICENSES NECESSARY TO RUN THE BUSINESS.
We're not trying to scare you, we're trying to protect you. Especially if your attorney has never dealt with a bed and breakfast before. This is not like most other businesses.