Do I Really Need my Condo Inspected?

Home Inspection Condo Inspection

This is a common question asked to Realtors and Home Inspectors by our clients. A big reason clients think they can pass on a condo inspection is that the strata is responsible for much of the building maintenance. However, there is a big picture reason and a small picture reason that it is still critical to have a condo inspection.

Big Picture Reason

When you buy into a condo building, you are taking part ownership of the building and land. This also means you own a portion of all the risks and liabilities of the strata. In some cases a Home Inspector doing a condo inspection is the first person to discover a problem with a strata building that may take thousands of dollars per condo to repair.

When we do a condo inspection, we are looking for major potential expenses that could cause you as an owner to get a special assessment. Typically strata’s can manage minor repairs and ongoing maintenance from the reserve fund, but when there is a major unexpected expense, they have to ask (i.e. demand) the unit owners to pay extra. 

Areas that are highest risk are building exteriors (leaky condos are still being discovered today), failed parking garage membranes, and water-logged balconies that need major remediation. Special assessments for these types of issues can range from $5,000 to $40,000 per unit and in worst cases, even much more.

Lastly, any safety defects in the building (e.g. missing handrails on stairs) could become a potential lawsuit if someone injures themselves on the common property. Having a condo inspection done when you buy into a strata gives you an opportunity to notify the strata of any missing or broken safety devices they need to correct.

Small Picture Reason

Inside condo’s, like and other home, we see issues with defective equipment and unsafe conditions. Having a condo inspection done prior to the completion of the purchase will give you an opportunity to make sure the condo is safe for your family, and that all the components operate as expected. In the suite portion of a Condo Inspection, we often see issues with:

  • Electrical - Condo’s can have unsafe changes to wiring including issues with aluminum wiring in older buildings. We also see electrical safety devices like breakers that have been configured in unsafe ways.
  • Water Damage - Bathroom showers are notorious for hidden water damage and this can be a major hassle in a small condominium that may have it’s only shower out of operation during repairs not to mention the possible expense of repairs to the suite below you.
  • Appliances* - Failed water seals on dishwashers, inoperative appliances, or appliances not fully operating (e.g. broil function not working on oven) can be a big nuisance on move in day.’

 *Most home inspectors do not check appliances which is why you need Solid State Inspections to do your condo inspection as we do check appliances.

Final Thoughts

In the big picture of your condo purchase, a condo inspection is a very small amount of money and the knowledge you will gain as a buyer could help you save thousands of dollars, help you budget for extra expenses, or just give you peace of mind in your purchase.

By James Bell - Owner/Operator of Solid State Inspections Inc.