Compact, easy to maintain, affordable and convenient – these are just a few of the reasons why many home buyers opt for the simplicity of condo living. Some might argue that not having to shovel the driveway in the depths of winter might just be incentive enough!
Whether the buyer is a young professional looking into condo ownership as a stepping-stone to home ownership, or an older couple is considering downsizing to a residence that will better suit their needs as they move into retirement, the reasons are vast and the options are endless. One thing that remains fairly constant, however, is that a condo is a sizeable investment and one worth protecting.
Read on to find out what a condo inspection is and how it could save you money in the long run.
What is a Condo Inspection?
A condo inspection is a type of home inspection ordered by the buyer or owner of a condo that consists of a walk through inspection of the interior systems of the unit.
What is included in a Condo Inspection?
A condo inspection is a visual inspection of the following:
- Heating System
- Electrical System
- Plumbing System, including faucets, toilets, bathtubs and showers (e.g. are they draining properly?)
- Interior structural elements, including windows, walls, floors, doors, etc.
- Ductwork and Vents
It will also include observations and recommendations, for example – issues with doors / hardware, caulking / grout, air filters, and more…
Some inspectors may check the appliances, including a recall-check which, as the name describes, lets you know if any of the appliances in the home have been recalled. However, it’s important to note that any inspection of appliances is not mandatory and inclusion of this in an inspection will differ from one inspector to another.
Typically, and understandably, an inspection on a condo will be less exhaustive and costly than an inspection in a home. While it is true that there are less systems to examine in a condo unit, you shouldn’t devalue the benefits of having a home inspector examine these condo features because the cost to have them repaired once out of warranty will undoubtedly far exceed the price tag on an inspection.
What is not included in a Condo Inspection?
A condo inspection does not include the following:
- Common areas of the condo building are not inspected, i.e. roof, exterior, stairwells, hallways, lobby, amenities, etc.
- Concealed items such as the electrical and plumbing cannot be inspected (same in a standard home inspection).
- Fire protection items, including sprinklers, are not tested
- If the building’s mechanical system is in ‘cooling mode’, then the heating mode cannot be tested (and vice versa).
- Wiring, lighting and receptacles are tested, but this is not a comprehensive review (i.e. only a sampling is tested, and this is the same in a standard home inspection).
- As mentioned above, the appliances are not covered in a standard condo inspection, but some inspectors do include this along with a check for recalls (same in a standard home inspection).
The Benefits of Condo Inspections
One of the main benefits of having a condo inspection early, in the case of a new condo, is being able to sort out issues you may not be aware of with the builder while still under warranty. In the case of resale condos, sometimes a renegotiation of the price might be possible if you include a pass of a condo inspection as a condition of sale.
It is unfortunate but there may have been a poor installation of some item, so even a brand new condo could have a number of costly issues not necessarily related to deterioration or due to age. The value in having an unbiased third party come in and point out any deficiencies or potential risks is immeasurable.
All the more reason…
Finally, here are the top 3 reasons for getting a condo inspection:
- The condo is more than 5 years old. We recommend condo inspections no matter the age, but in the case of a condo that is more than 5 years old – it is highly important!
- The buyer or the real estate agent have concerns about the building / unit.
- Easing anxiety for a buyer of a new condo during the warranty process / period.