If you’re considering purchasing a condo, Congratulations! The lower maintenance living that comes with a managed building is very attractive to many people. In a managed building, many clients and agents ask, “Is a condo inspection really necessary?” While the maintenance issues are less than that of a house, there are still many subtle things worth checking out.  Today I’ll point out why a condo inspection is definitely worthwhile regardless of the condo’s size, age, or perceived condition.

Hidden Defects   

As a home inspector, I’m trained to look for issues most people may not think about or have the knowledge or tools to find. Like single family homes, condos can have moisture in the walls, hidden electrical issues, or inconspicuous  plumbing problems.

I recently inspected a condo in Saint Louis Park and found 11 maintenance items, three deficiencies, and two safety hazards to call out in my report. The buyer was able to ask the seller to address these issues prior to closing. Four of the fixes were electrical and the expense to repair just those issues alone was greater than my condo inspection fee. 


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What About the Condo’s Exterior?

In general, condo associations take care of all of the exterior upkeep of the buildings and grounds. This can vary somewhat from association to association, so it is important for you to have a clear idea of exactly what will (or will not) be covered. 

While we don’t typically inspect the exterior of the building during an interior condo inspection, we do look for problems within your unit that might be related to the exterior or to other units in the building. For instance, subtle water stains along the ceiling of the exterior wall could mean the water isn’t draining properly off the balcony from the unit above. Wouldn’t you want to determine who is responsible for this repair to both units before your purchase is finalized? 


moisture intrusion

Does the Age of the Condo Matter?

Some people argue a condo inspection is only warranted when the condo is several years old. I have inspected newer and recently renovated condominiums that still have issues like missing or inoperable smoke detectors, mis-wired electrical, and plumbing leaks. 

You’ll Learn Something During your Condo Inspection

Anytime you move into a new space, you must familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. Do you know where the main water shut-off is located? What about the breaker box for the air conditioning? If you trip off your GFCI outlet, do you know how to reset it? Your home inspector should walk you through your new condo and point out such items of importance. It’s better to take notes now, and be prepared, than to wait until a crisis unfolds. 

I recently inspected a condo in Saint Paul; the beautiful brick building was 115 years old! The condo itself was in very good condition. However, I discovered neither the bathroom nor the bedroom had individual sources of heat. By today’s standards, both of these rooms should have permanent heat sources. It was not the seller’s responsibility to make these upgrades in this older building, but it’s arguably valuable information for the buyer who may not have otherwise noticed. Especially in our climate, this was important information for the prospective buyer! 


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A Condo Inspection is a Worthwhile Investment 

If you’re still on the fence about having a condo inspection, it may be worthwhile to ask yourself if you’re confident in your own ability to assess electrical, heating/cooling, plumbing, and moisture intrusion issues? Most would say, “Heck, No!”  

Our certified home inspectors examine all of the interior systems within the condo. We then invite clients to join us for a “walkthrough” of those findings. Our condo inspection reports will outline current deficiencies and also alert buyers to maintenance issues as well. 

If we can help answer any questions you may have about scheduling a condo inspection, please call (612) 440-8466 or email tom@branchinvestigations.com