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The One Thing Your Home Inspector Should Tell You

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Leaky Condos being repaired

 

Condos


Buying a condominium apartment or townhouse is much more complicated than purchasing a single family house. You will obtain legal ownership of the strata unit AND shared ownership and responsibilities of the strata complex. If the building(s) is in poor condition, you will have to pay your share of the repairs as well as on-going maintenance.

Obtaining reliable information on the condition of the building is more difficult than for a single family home. The strata minutes may detail on-going repairs but rarely provide an assessment of future expenses. There may be a building envelope assessment but rarely a 5 or 10 year maintenance plan.

There is also a natural and common tendency for the strata's owners to adopt a more extensive maintenance program to defer the expensive replacement costs of aging or defective parts of the building.

Home inspections of single townhouses can be a reliable indication of the overall condition of the townhouse complex but an inspection of a single apartment in a large building usually will not provide much information about the overall condition of the common property.

Obtaining reliable information on the condition of the common property is complicated by:

Time: It takes days to conduct a thorough inspection a medium-sized apartment-style complex and up to a week to prepare a report.

Cost: These building inspections and building envelope inspections are usually carried out by engineers and sometimes involves destructive testing.

Liability issues: Most insurers of professional engineers, architects and home inspectors will not provide coverage for errors or omissions related to building envelope failure and related water damage.

Inspection standards: The currently accepted building inspection standards exclude an evaluation of the building envelope and most home inspections do not have the training or expertise to conduct such an inspection.

What Metro Home Inspections provides:

Metro Home Inspections will provide a limited visual overview inspection of accessible

and provide an opinion on the condition of these components of the strata, trying to identify material deficiencies, construction deficiencies or the probability of material deficiencies.

The time we allocate to these inspections is approximately three hours and the cost of the inspection is comparable to the cost for a small single family home.

We simply cannot promise that our evaluation will be as accurate as the more costly evaluation that we would prepare for a strata corporation or strata management company AND it certainly WILL NOT be as detailed as those reports.

We do require that our clients sign a contract that completely excludes our professional, legal, and financially liability since we cannot obtain insurance coverage for this service.

We know that we have successfully identified a large number of buildings and leaky condominiums that needed building envelope replacement years before the tarps went up and we HOPE that none of our past or future clients will suffer the consequences of our failure to predict.

One last word of advice:

Good luck in your search,

Pierre

updated November 12, 2010