Buying a condominium is like a combination of buying a house, and renting an apartment. Condos are usually a smaller section of a larger building or campus that is owned by a company. When buying a condo you are not responsible for everything, except what is within your condominium space. A proper condominium inspection focuses on what you, the buyer, are in charge of. Things like roofing, lobbies, elevators, and landscaping are items that should be taken care of by the association that owns the building. A condo owner is essentially responsible for everything within the walls of their purchased space.
There are several professional tests that can be run when you go through and inspect your condo before purchasing. Things such as testing for high levels of Carbon Monoxide, Termites, and Radon(a major contributor to indoor air pollution) are suggested to be performed by a professional. You may also hire a professional contractor to walk through the condominium with you and give their opinion as to the quality of the space you intent to purchase. However, it is a good idea to make an initial walkthrough on your own with a checklist of things to look for. Afterwards, you may choose to bring in a professional with a wider base of knowledge.
Each room will have specific things that need to be checked during your condominium inspection. In the kitchen, bathrooms, and any other rooms with running water it is important to make a thorough and complete inspection of the plumbing as to avoid unnecessary spending later on. Checking the water pressure in sinks, and making sure the taps do not leak will save you money on water bills. In the event they are leaking, ask the association that owns the building if they are aware of the problem, and ask if it will be fixed.
In every room go through and check all the electrical sockets. If the condo is not furnished bring along a small electric item to plug in. Make sure all the switches are working, as well as the dimmer, if you have one. Testing for the feed into cable and phone jacks must be done by a professional, but still look for them. Consider their location, and if there are enough. If you are walking through with someone from the association that owns the building ask them if you can take a look at the circuit breakers.
Along with the large tests, you should also inspect some of the smaller details of the room during your condominium inspection. Things such as the cupboards. Is there enough space? Do the hinges work, or is something coming loose? Check the strength of the shelving and, if you are with a professional, check the location of the studs in the wall as well as their structural strength should you choose to add more. Inspect the edges of the flooring for loose carpeting or floorboards, as well as the molding along the top and base of the walls. Ants, Termites, and others pests will often lodge into the cracks in molding and walls.
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