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Should I Hire an Inspector When Purchasing a Condominium?

A few days ago I was approached by a client with the question, "Do I need to have an inspection done when I am buying a condo?"

As a realtor I never discourage a buyer from the inspection report on the property they are purchasing. However, let me talk about the purpose of the inspection and once you understand it, you will be able to make better decision.

When you are buying a residential detached home (house), you hire an inspector to give an idea as of what kind of expenses you will be facing in the next few years in regards to the exterior, structure, and the roof. You also want to know the current state of the electrical and plumbing. This information will help you to determine the yearly maintenance budget since you own the whole building.
You do not need an inspector to tell you that the faucet is leaking, the switch is not functional or that the carper is stretched. You can do all these things by yourself in about 30 minutes.

When you are buying a condo, keep in mind that you do not own the building. It is owned in common with other owners. Therefore your maintenance costs are already established and included in your monthly strata fee.
When you hire a regular inspector they will spend most of their time researching whether your faucet is leaking, or checkin the light switch functionality.
If you decide to  hire an inspector, ask them to perform the inspection on the building itself, especially if you suspect that the building may have some water penetration issues (you may have heard of the Leaky Condo Phase).
It's very important to read the strata documentation to research whether the building had any issues in the past and if there is any indication of future problems.

There are a few inspectors that specialize in determining the health of the building and they will be able to give you good idea if you are making right choice buying your new condo.

Have a conversation with your realtor about these issues and they will be able to point you in the right direction. If you don't have a Realtor, call me or leave a comment on this article.

Tibor

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