A home inspection is an important step of the condo-buying process, one that shouldn’t be overlooked. In some cases, mortgage lenders make property inspections part of the conditions to be satisfied before closing. If this isn’t the case with your pending transaction, you should insist on it even if you end up paying for it out of your own pocket. While there are some procedural differences between the inspections conducted on single-family homes and downtown San Diego condos or lofts, the goal is the same: you want to get a comprehensive report about the condition of the property for the purpose of determining the value of the transaction, which means your real estate agent could use the report to negotiate the contract. Here are six things to look for in your condo inspection.
1. Inspector’s Certification & Experience
In the Golden State, home inspectors are certified by the California Real Estate Inspection Association. They’re expected to carry proper insurance, and they tend to specialize in certain types of properties or housing markets. Ask your real estate agent to recommend a seasoned inspector, preferably one who has already completed inspections in the condominium building you’re interested in.
2. Structural Conditions & Shared Spaces
This isn’t part of the report. It’s something you’ll have to ask for, and it may require a walk-through of the condo building. The condo association or management entity will rarely allow the inspector to fully inspect the structure, but some observations can go a long way toward your final decision. For example, an elevator that lacks a current safety certificate would be a cause for concern.
3. Floors & Ceilings
Aside from structural issues, inspectors look for signs of previous leaks. Ask your inspector for an opinion on how long the current flooring will last under heavy foot traffic.
4. Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning Systems
If the unit you’re interested in has its own HVAC system, this would require an inspection that starts with the unit, continues with the thermostat, and includes all ducts. In the case of central HVAC, the inspector will have to be allowed to enter utility rooms.
Needless to say, inspectors will immediately let you know about existing and previous leaks, but you also need to know how long the current fixtures, pipes, and connections will last. Something else to keep in mind is whether the toilets and showerheads are compliant with California water conservation regulations.
6. Punch List Issues & Opinions
Depending on the style of the inspector, you may get a concise punch list along with a short narrative, but you can always ask for more. If there are issues that need to be repaired, ask for an opinion on the costs and whether they should be addressed right away. For example, leaky pipes need to be fixed immediately, but they may not cost too much to repair.
Buying a condo can be both exciting and stressful, but you can relieve some of the anxiety by making sure you understand the important details involved in the home’s inspection. For advice on inspections or any aspect of buying real estate in downtown San Diego, rely on the experienced professionals at 92101 Urban Living. Give one of our friendly agents a call today at 619-649-0368.