Condominium Inspection - Beneath The Surface
When purchasing a condominium it is imperative to ensure that you know exactly what you are
getting with the purchase. Visually your condominium might look like great, but you need to look
beneath the surface and check out the important systems such as plumbing, heating, water heater,
flooring or garage doors to name a few things.
Not only is it important to know that everything is as it should be inside the condo but it is also
essential to know about the outside as well. The outside of a condominium includes the roof, siding,
landscaping or any amenities that are part of the condominium complex, such as a pool or tennis
court. Any fencing that surrounds a condominium unit or gate, shrubbery, lighting and sprinklers if
they are inside your property.
An inside condominium inspection should include:
-All plumbing in kitchen, bathrooms and water heater along with location of main water shut-off valve.
These are all checked for prior or current leaks and any corrosion.
-Heating and air conditioning are checked to ensure they are in working order and thermostats are
-The water heater is checked to ensure the temperature relief valve is installed and in some states
safety strapping is required in case of earthquakes.
-Smoke detectors are tested for compliance and whether they are in working order.
-Fireplaces are checked for safety screens and if a spark detector is installed in chimney.
-Appliances in kitchen are checked to see if they are serviceable and in working order.
-Electrical system is checked to ensure overload protection is provided to breakers and that it meets
all city and safety requirements.
-Washer and dryer hookups are inspected to ensure they are in working condition and meet all
-Bathrooms are inspected to ensure workability as well as to note evidence of current or past leaks
and condition of pipes, tiling, grout or showers.
-Doors, windows or any skylights are inspected for serviceability and to determine whether the
window panes are properly sealed.
-Flooring, carpeting or other surfaces such as counters are inspected for any damage or problem
-Garage and garage door openers (if applicable) should be inspected to look for possible leaks from
outside and serviceability of the opener.
-Attic access is inspected for any safety hazards or other problem areas.
An outside condominium inspection should include the following:
-Any fencing or gates that surround the condo unit (if applicable) should be inspected for corrosion or
-Landscaping and sprinklers that are inside your fenced area and are your responsibility.
-Driveways and walkways within your unit or part of your unit should be inspected to ensure there are
no safety hazards or problem areas.
-Window frames, screens should be inspected to detect leaks of repairs required.
-Gutters and downspouts are inspected for serviceability.
-Siding on the unit is inspected for cracks or other possible repairs required.
-Doorbells are checked for workability.
-Foundations are inspected to ensure there are no problems.
-Grading and drainage are inspected to ensure there are no problem areas.
-Balconies or patios are inspected for any repairs required.
-Roofing is inspected to determine if there are any missing or deteriorating areas of tile, shingle or
whatever type of roofing is installed.
As a condominium owner, you are responsible for everything within your particular condo unit
however you are also part of a whole community of owners who are within your condominium
complex. You will no doubt be paying a monthly homeowners association fee that will supposedly
cover the costs of regular upkeep of any common areas of all the homeowners. These can include
the landscaped grounds or the building in which your condo resides. It would also include a
community pool, tennis court or other recreational features as well as a clubhouse if applicable. While
these are all benefits of your communal living, they also can provide added risks that you might be
responsible for with special assessments or increased association dues.
A careful inspection of the grounds, pool area, recreational equipment or other amenities is important
to ascertain if this community association has kept up the maintenance of the property. If you would
be living in a high rise building and won't have any landscaping worries, you should find out if there is
a doorman, janitorial services or other property management fees that you might be responsible for.
Therefore, it is important to know before you buy whether there are any potential problem areas in
your condominium community complex like needed pool repairs or large anticipated expenditures
such as a new roof. More importantly, it is essential to know if there are any lawsuits pending that
might be potential financial risks to you.
Here are some questions to ask or observe:
-Does the pool furniture appear clean and well taken care of?
-Are there locks on the pool area, tennis courts or other community areas that will ensure that only
homeowners are able to use the areas?
-Are the plants, shrubs and grass well maintained and inviting to look at?
-Is trash collection in individual bins or a community one?
-Are there any "extra" fees that you might be surprised with?
-If there are problems with an elevator not working, who do you call?
-What exactly does your monthly homeowner's association fee include?
Condominium living has many benefits that include owning your own little piece of paradise that you
can call all your own, but along with it comes communal living that might or might not be ideal. It is
always important to ask questions and ensure you know exactly what you are buying before you take
that step and own a place that has problems that you could have minimized or corrected before you
moved in. Don't be afraid to ask first and ensure you know exactly what you are getting.
Olympian Civil Home and Building Inspections (866) 476-2056
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2008 All Rights Reserved
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