6-ways-condo-inspections-are-uniqueA condo is different than a single-family home. They have condo association fees, shared walls, and elevators that need to be addressed during an inspection.

Here’s what makes a condo inspection different from any other home inspection and why it’s important to be aware of these differences before signing a contract.

1. Check the Roof

Make sure your inspector checks the roof. Many inspectors will only inspect the interior of a condo because the homeowners’ association is responsible for the exterior of the building, but don’t let the inspector skip a roof check. If they notice weather damage, it may be on the homeowners’ association (HOA) to fix, and it can hike up assessments to cover the cost of repairs.

2. Radon Radar

Radon is an odorless, colorless gas which could affect your health. Some condos have concrete imported from other countries that emits radon gas and because high-rises can be more ‘sealed,’ gas like radon is unable to escape, which can cause real health problems.

3. Minutes, Please

Homeowner Association meetings have minutes, which are available to all homeowners. Make sure to get some. The minutes are important to help you understand the workings and condition of the building. Make sure you get a full 12 months of meeting minutes because you don’t want to buy in only to realize that the building needs a special assessment after you move in.

4. Inspect Walls

Inspecting walls, ceilings, and floors for soundproofing is important when it comes to condo inspections since these areas are often shared with neighbors or common spaces in a building. If the condo has hardwood flooring, have your home inspector confirm sufficient soundproofing, as hardwood flooring is a known sound conductor. Also, make sure to check for water damage.

5. Seek Out the HVAC

The HVAC unit may not necessarily be located in each individual condo, which is why you should have it inspected by a licensed HVAC inspector. Some condos have the HVACs on the roof or require preapproval or access instructions from the HOA. Make sure to get this information upfront so the inspection isn’t delayed. The HVAC is usually the highest-priced item to repair, and if it goes out, a large assessment could be handed down to the building homeowners, including you.

6. Take a Ride

Most buildings with more than two stories have an elevator, and if it requires repairs, you and your neighbors might be the ones to foot the bill. Make sure you can get access to the engineering report for the building’s elevator or elevators for your inspector.