A home inspection is a visual examination of a residential property performed by a licensed home inspection technician. The purpose of this inspection is to identify any problems that a particular residential unit may have, and which might have a significant effect on its market value.
Since buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions most people will make during their lives, making sure you know everything there is to know about the property you’re selling or purchasing is crucial in order to ensure you’re getting a favorable deal. Because of this, home inspections are a vital element in any real estate sale.
But what about condo home inspections? Do condos also need to be inspected before sale, or is it enough that the condo corporation takes care of the building’s exterior? How are these inspections different from regular home inspections? Keep reading to find out.
Condo inspections vs regular home inspections
In a condo development, the majority (if not all) of the building systems are common elements. These systems include things such as plumbing, electrical, roofing, heating, and cooling, and their maintenance and repair is covered by the condo fees paid by the people who live in the building.
In a regular house inspection, the licensed inspector checks all of these systems. The goal is to ensure there aren’t any major problems that could be expensive to repair or potentially dangerous to the house’s inhabitants.
In a condo inspection, the home inspector doesn’t need to spend much time on these systems because they’re already being maintained by specialists who work for the condo corporation. Furthermore, these building-wide systems are often too complex for a home inspector to properly assess.
A typical condo inspection looks at the following:
- Health of appliances
- Heating units
- Cooling units
- Plumbing within the condo
- Electrical within the condo
- Signs of pests
- Signs of mold
- Window efficiency
- Signs of leaky pipes
- Signs of overheating behind the walls
- How railings, counter tops, toilet bowls, etc., are installed, and so on.
Does a condo home inspection damage the property?
Absolutely not. Home inspections are primarily visual. Licensed inspectors are trained to spot issues without having to open the walls, remove fixtures, lift the floors, or do anything destructive or invasive. They’re also equipped with thermal imaging tools and other equipment that allows them to detect things that wouldn’t be visible with the naked eye.
Keep in mind that, since a home inspector can’t examine other people’s condos or open the walls to take an in-depth look at the building’s systems, there’s no guarantee that there isn’t a problem elsewhere in the building that may negatively impact your condo.
For this reason, you’ll need to sign a waiver of liability to confirm that you won’t hold the inspector accountable for hidden issues that couldn’t be detected by the inspection.
How long does a condo home inspection take?
It’s impossible to give an universal answer to this question. Condos vary widely when it comes to size and the complexity of their systems. As a rule of thumb, you should be prepared to devote anywhere between 1 and 3 hours to your condo inspection.
For most homeowners, buying or selling a condo is a big step that must not be taken lightly. By hiring a home inspector, you’ll have an expert on your side who can point out crucial problems, answer your questions, and advise you on how to proceed. For more information on what to look for when buying or selling a condo, click this link.