When you’re buying property, whether it’s a house or a condo, it’s important to know what you’re actually getting. Most 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, and an increasingly large number of condos are being purchased brand-new, it’s not a big deal to skip an inspection on a condo right?
A condo, while generally less expensive than a house, is still a sizable investment and as such, is worth protecting. However, when you’re forking out all that money for a place to call home, it can be tempting to cut corners and forgo a condo inspection in order to save a few hundred dollar. According to experts, the reality is that an inspection will often save you money in the long run.
A condo inspection is similar to a home inspection – it’s a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. Inspections are conducted by an inspector who has the training and certifications to perform such inspections. The inspector prepares and delivers to the client a written report of findings. The inspector describes the condition of the home at the time of inspection but does not guarantee future condition, efficiency, or life expectancy of systems or components.
Because there are many differences between condos and houses, it is best to find an inspector who specializes in the type of property you are interested in.
Your condo inspection should cover the following areas:
- heating system
- electrical system
- all major appliances
As the condo owner, it’s your responsibility to keep these up to code. Depending on the inspector’s report, you may be able to negotiate a reduction in price or, in extreme cases, decide to pass on the condo all together.
A great inspector will also examine common elements of the condo building, including the hallways, elevators, security gate and garage, in order to ensure all are in proper working condition. If there are issues with these components, they’re typically covered under the condo corporation. Details regarding any issues, maintenance, or renovation plans for common elements are outlined in the condo’s Status Certificate, which you should also review thoroughly before making an offer.
Condos, while cheaper and with the safety net of a condo corporation, can be just as complicated as a freestanding home because there is an extra level of complexity – shared resources and common elements. Your realtor can help you understand some of the purchase differences and contract language that should be specified in a condo purchase, but often it’s just as important to inspect the condo unit and any systems that are shared because unexpected repairs or concerns will affect you in the form of special assessments or increases in condo fees.
At the end of the day, you can’t put a price on peace of mind, and home inspections are the best way to ensure a property is functional, safe, and structurally sound.
Ashton College offers seven home inspection courses designed to provide students with the practical and technical skills and tools to prepare for the series of Canadian Home Inspection Examination (CHIE).