Building and Condo Maintenance

Condo Inspection Tips When Buying a Unit

Whether you’re buying a condo for the first time, or if you’ve done this before, keep these inspection tips in mind before you buy your unit.

Home Inspection

A thorough home inspection of the inside of your condo is a must. There are actually two types of inspections for condos, interior-only or full. Always hire a fully qualified and licensed inspector, preferably one who has experience with condos. Full inspections include the entire building and not just your unit. Entire building inspections include attics, crawl spaces, roofing, and other exterior items and structures. A full inspection can also include the building’s common areas. This gives you a general impression of the health of the building itself.

Within the interior be sure to look at these elements:

  • Water damage/Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Security

For a detailed list of items, check here.

Homeowners/Condominium Association (HOA)

Inspecting the HOA documents is also an important step before buying a condo. Not only should you check the declaration, by-laws, and rules including what fees you will pay, but you also want to review the financial health of the HOA. A “reserve study” projects costs for capital improvements to the building and determines if this is well-funded and if the HOA takes a proactive approach to building maintenance. If they are not well-funded, you may be charged a special assessment fee in the future for necessary building maintenance, and this could be a liability. This could be factored into a lower cost of your unit, so try to gauge appropriately.  Finally, don’t be afraid to read over the meeting minutes to determine what other projects or issues are in the works.

The more informed you are about your purchase, the better prepared you will be in the long term.

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