When you’re buying property, whether it’s a house or a condo, it’s good to know what you’re actually buying. Getting an idea of the current condition of the property can help you determine if it’s the right fit for you in the long term.
This is where a home inspector comes in. A qualified home inspector can help you decide if a property is worth buying before you buy it — even when that property is a brand new condo. While home inspections do have a fee, the money you may save from identifying any defects could offset the cost. Unlike purchasing a car with a warranty, a condo is yours once the sale closes. That’s why hiring a home inspector can help you purchase your next condo with confidence — and avoid any unpleasant surprises.
What a home inspector looks for in a condo
Individual condo units are not nearly as complex as entire homes, so what exactly is a home inspector looking for? The following checklist outlines some of the main factors:
- The windows are installed correctly and to regulation
- The heating, electricity, wiring, and plumbing is to code
- There is no build-up of moisture or humidity
- Appliances are installed correctly and to code
- The range hood or exhaust fan is installed correctly in the kitchen
- Other exhaust and ventilation systems are in working order
- The balcony is built to code
- Any exterior defects that could affect your individual unit
If all these factors are properly addressed during an inspection, chances are good you can avoid having to make a related claim against your policy, and therefore maintain an affordable condo insurance rate.
Home versus condo inspection
Unlike a home inspection, which looks at the entire property including its foundation, a condo inspection is concerned with the individual unit. Some home inspectors may look at the entire building and inspect the roof, air conditioning, garage, as well as any common areas, but most will focus specifically on what’s inside your space.
A unique aspect of a condo inspection is that the majority of the building’s systems are shared elements and expenses. If there are issues with these components, they’re typically covered under the condo corporation. As such, some home inspectors may ignore these systems in their inspection. Details regarding any issues, maintenance, or renovation plans for shared components are outlined in the condominium’s status certificate, which you should also read before you buy.
If components are owned by the individual condo unit, such as the heating and cooling units, the expense is on you and thus the home inspector will analyze them. If your condo has a furnace in it, for example, you likely want to have that inspected before you move in, especially if it is an older building.
Does a new condo need a home inspection?
Generally new condos purchased directly from the builder require the owner to take part in a pre-delivery inspection (PDI) to make sure everything is in working order. However, since this inspection is typically conducted alongside a developer, it’s often a good idea to have another set of eyes tour the place with you.
Getting your condo inspected—whether it’s older or brand new—is entirely your decision, but the cost of a home inspector is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
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