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6/1/13

Condo Home Inspection

Q - I have selected a condominium that I would like to purchase.  Should I get a home inspection or does a home inspection only apply to houses?

A - You should definitely get a home inspection for a condo whether it is an old building or a new building.  However, some home inspectors are better qualified for condos than others.  A background in construction is very useful when inspecting condos.  Contact some home inspectors and find out about their background and if they specialize in condominiums.

When you buy a condo, you are not only buying your unit but you are also responsible for a portion of the maintenance of the entire building.  It is, therefore, imperative that you know the condition of all the main components of the building.  You may have heard of issues pertaining to 'leaky condos'.  This problem has caused the residents of such buildings to pay thousands of dollars for repairs.  In some instances, the cost was so high that the owners, who purchased with a very small downpayment, simply walked away from their condo.

Since you are planning a condominium purchase, not only is a home inspection vitally important but be sure to obtain all matters pertaining to the building such as an engineering report, if one is available.  Also obtain Strata Council minutes for the past 2 years and their financial statements for the past few years and their budget for the upcoming year.  Be sure that there is money in reserve and that the Council is planning ahead for maintenance costs such as roof replacement and so on.

Buying a condo is not unlike buying a home.  There are maintenance costs involved in both but for a condo it is on a larger scale.  It is, therefore, important for the Strata Council to plan ahead and charge sufficient strata fees that will enable them to fulfill their maintenance requirements as they come up.

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