An advantage to condo living is all maintenance and repairs are handled by the board, and included in your condo fees... right? Turns out, owners could be on the hook for certain fixes - meaning it's just as important to invest in a home inspection when making your condo purchase. Here, our friends at The Housing Block share their essential checklist for condo home inspections.
Why you need a condo home inspection
Home buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines for months hoping for a slowdown in the real estate market must be kicking themselves. Despite warnings of an impending housing bubble burst, the housing market just keeps humming along. The home average price in Canada is up 7.6% to $409,708 in April 2014, compared to last year. In red-hot housing markets like Toronto, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that many buyers are choosing to skip their home inspection. A clean offer can mean the difference between buying your dream home and waiting on the sidelines. A lot of home buyers wouldn’t think about skipping an inspection on a house ... but what about a condo? Considering repair costs are often covered by condo fees, it’s not a big deal to skip an inspection on a condo. Is it?
The differences between a house inspection and a condo inspection
A home inspection entails a checkup of the nuts and bolts of your house – the roof, furnace, windows, attic, foundation, etc. Although condos don’t have the same concerns as a house, that doesn’t mean you should forgo the inspection. A condo still represents a major investment. Although you aren’t directly responsible for paying for a new roof with a condo, there are still plenty of costly repairs you should be aware of. A condo inspection is similar to a home inspection – it’s a visual examination by a certified inspector. As there are many differences between condos and detached homes, it's advisable to find an inspector who specializes in them.
What your condo inspection should cover
Your condo inspection should cover the following: heating system, electrical system, plumbing, windows, ductwork and vents. A good condo inspector will also check the common elements, such as the hallways, elevators, security gate and garage to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.
Who's responsible for what?
When it comes to condos, it’s important to find out who is responsible for the most costly repairs. Depending on your condo building, the furnace and central air may be your responsibility or the condo board may cover it as part of the common element. In new condos the heating and cooling is typically the responsibility of the condo board, while in older buildings it’s usually your responsibility. It’s important to find this out ahead of time, as you don’t want to end up on the hook for thousands of dollars in repairs you didn’t anticipate.
Three don't miss areas
The three main areas of concern for condo buyers should be: As the condo owner, it’s your responsibility to keep these up to code. It’s better to find out ahead of time if you’re going to have to spend $5,000 upgrading the wiring than after you’ve moved in. You may even be able to negotiate a reduction in price or decide to pass on the condo all together.
- electrical system
- heating system
Peace-of-mind for your home investment
Hopefully you’re sold on the importance of a condo inspection. A condo is most likely the single largest financial transaction of your lifetime, so it’s important to do your due diligence. A condo inspection can help you uncover costly repairs before it’s too late. A bidding warn shouldn’t be an excuse to skip a condo inspection. A condo inspection provides you with the peace-of-mind you’re spending your life savings wisely.
About the author: The Housing Block
The Housing Block provides users with convenient access to many valuable real estate tools. Our vision is to build the most innovative and valuable real estate platform to help buyers and renters find a new place to call home.