Condo Living – When Purchasing, Get A Home Inspection

If you are in the market for a condo, you should complete an inspection before closing the deal.

A home is typically the most expensive purchase a person will ever make. Because of this, as much as you may like that property you recently found, it’s critical to get it inspected before finalizing the deal. An inspection gives you an idea of the home’s physical condition, including the heating system, central air system, plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement and structural components. 

A home inspection addresses what needs to be repaired now and what might need to be repaired in the future. If you have a property inspected before signing a contract, you might be able to negotiate a lower price that reflects the inspection’s findings. Simply because a house needs repairs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it. The buyer must decide how much to spend and how much work he or she is willing to do after the purchase. 

Home inspections don’t cover everything, though. Inspectors aren’t required to identify conditions that are hidden or could be considered latent defects. They don’t have to move personal property, plants, snow or debris to inspect an item, and they aren’t liable if they miss something. Inspectors also don’t have to evaluate systems that aren’t easily accessible, and they don’t have to note whether termites, mold, hazardous plants or animals are present. 

It’s not possible to know everything about a house before buying it, but an inspection should give you a good idea about its condition. While the cost of a home inspection is typically based on the size, complexity and number of systems in the property, an inspection can cost as little as a few hundred dollars. Some inspection fees are based on a percentage of the asking price. When calculating the time for lab results, inspections should take only about three weeks to finalize. But that money and time could mean fewer negotiations and surprises, a lower sales price, a decrease in the likelihood of litigation for improper disclosure and an increased chance of closing the deal. 

Condominium units should not be treated any differently than a single-family home. If you are in the market for a condo, you should complete an inspection before closing the deal. 

Source: Community Associations Institute

Midtown resident Tim Huffman is a licensed Community Association Manager and holds the CMCA®, AMS® and PCAM® designations from Community Associations Institute.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robert Fabian June 21, 2012 at 05:11 PM
As an owner of many previously purchased homes and weekend retreats I agree that a home inspection is a critical investment to make prior to any purchase. But the most important aspect of a "qualified" inspection is having and or researching for a "QUALIFIED" inspector. Anyone can inspect a property, but an expert will identify the issues. Do your homework and pick the best person you can find. Check with friends, family and business asociates who have recently purchased a home and get their opinion of who did a great job. Remember, you get what you pay for! A cheap inspection can cost you in the long run. Robert of RobertFabianHome
Tim Huffman June 21, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Amen! Thanks for the comment! I agree with you 100%. Folks should complete some due diligence and contract with a qualified professional to conduct a home inspection.
Tim June 21, 2012 at 05:46 PM
We recommend having a licensed plumber inspect and also a licensed electrician if it is a single family home or older condo. Aside from more experience, they can also give you a bid to repair if needed which can be used in negotiations with the seller.
Tim June 21, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Also, strongly recommend a survey if it is a single family home/property...its amazing how many property line issues are out there! Yes, I know this article is for condos, but just wanted to add that.
J.d. Kellum June 22, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Single family home....yes. Roofing, electrical, plumbing etc can be expensive repairs for a new homeowner. Condo? Eh. Since so much of the infrastructure is responsibility of the HOA and wouldn't even be inspected by a home inspector, I encourage my condo buyers to ask the seller for a paid home warranty that will cover AC and appliances -- otherwise the buyer is spending $300-$400 to have an inspector basically run the dishwasher, turn on the oven and check AC temperature. Warranty will repair or replace for the full first year.
Tim Huffman June 22, 2012 at 01:16 PM
J.D. I hope you are doing well! I would advise a new condo buyer to read the declaration for the building that they are considering. The declaration will define exactly what the condo owner is responsible for owning and maintaining. For example, in some condo buildings the homeowner may be responsible for all components of their HVAC system whether the entire system is contained within their condo unit or not. In another building, maybe not. Reviewing the declaration and by-laws will clarify many issues. It certainly helped me to understand my responsibilities prior to closing on our condo.
J.d. Kellum June 22, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Agreed-- but warranty would "kick in" day of closing and repair or replace in-unit HVAC (as well as any other appliance). Again, saving buyer $300-$400 in inspection cost, which is overkill for a condo dwelling when plumbing, roofing and structural infrastructure really falls to homeowners' association. Huge fan of inspection for single family homes -- just not condos. Get the seller to pay for home warranty or buyer can purchase for essentially same cost as inspection.


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