Buying a home is a big decision whether it is an apartment or a condominium. But the obvious reason all home buyers prefer a condominum is the convenience. No driveways to shovel; no leaking roofs; no broken furnaces or HVAC's in the summer heat. But believe me, things go wrong with condos, too, which is why I have advised on countless occasions that condo buyers get what potential home owners almost always get: a professional inspector.
Like a standard home inspection when you book an inspection for a condominium what's really checked to be in good condition is the electrical system, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, window and door operation, and functional condition of finishes.Sometimes even balconies and common areas may be inspected.
Status Certificate: Generally when buying a condo a status certificate is not enough so seeking professional assitance from a home inspector will provide a detailed report which will help you predict and anticipate your future maintenance costs and may uncover deficiencies which may lead you to renegotiate your purchase price before going firm.
Choose your inspector carefully: This can be a tough call but generally a real estate salesperson, broker has a inhouse home inspector. Once you choose the right professional ensure in advance that they are qualified to and will look at the structure of the building, electrical systems, plumbing systems, walls, floors, ceilings, furnace and air conditioning systems, as well as the plumbing fixtures in your entire suite, and a sampling of lighting and electrical receptacles.
Here are some of the other things inspectors and potential owners need to look for:
• Spotting on floors and walls, or floors that are sloped or warped, or loose carpets and tiles, all allude to water damage.
• Cracked walls suggest a structural problem
• Spotting on walls and windows may indicate mold in the unit.
• Check for cracked glass panes, and screens that work, cabinetry drawers and doors that are level, easily opened and closed and fully operational.
• Ensure there are no gaps or missing caulking in all of the tile work.
• Check the exterior and common areas of the building to see what maintenance has been done by the building’s ownership.
• Ensure there is enough water pressure with both hot and cold taps, and that all drains are working well.
• If you notice any foul smells in the unit, trust your instincts. Can the source be identified? Is the unit properly ducted and vented?
• Ensure that the electrical systems and HVAC systems work, if there is an HVAC in your unit AND a central building system unit, have both inspected. Find out if and when the HVAC filters were changed and the ducts cleaned.
Of course, all of this inspecting doesn’t guarantee to eliminate future issues with your condo, but it will surely make you a much more informed owner.