Do I need a home inspection?

Do I need a home inspection?

Most condo buyers don’t do inspections - they rely on the status certificate, which identifies any major issues and costs the condominium corporation has taken care of or needs to address. But while the status certificate review is a critical part of the condo purchase process, it only takes exterior elements into account - think common areas like the lobby, hallways, plus the roof, exterior walls and balconies. A condo inspection can help you identify any issues inside the actual unit that might affect your decision.

Let’s look at a few reasons to schedule an inspection:

When mechanical elements are your responsibility. In some condos (usually older ones), heating/cooling systems may be located in the individual condo unit and are your responsibility. So if your air conditioning, water tank, or furnace breaks down, fixing it falls to you, not the condo corporation. An inspection can pinpoint a furnace or water tank that’s nearing the end of its life - which is something you will want to know about.

When major renovations have been done to the unit. If a previous owner made big changes, an inspection can pinpoint potential issues related to insulation and ventilation, electrical, water damage, cracks or damage to walls and flooring, or overall structural integrity.

So now that you know why you would need to schedule an inspection, let’s look at what you can expect:

What does a home inspector do?
They do a visual inspection to assess the health of a unit (vs. the whole building) to find anything that’s wrong, or could potentially go wrong in the future with your air conditioning, water tank, furnace, plumbing, appliances, windows and doors (looking for leaks and condensation), and the functional condition of finishes and countertops. When the inspection is complete, you’ll get a detailed report of the findings.

One benefit of a condo inspection is that they’ll test and verify that all appliances are working, and even check the serial numbers to see if there have been any recalls. (Inspectors only do this for condos, not detached homes.)

You don’t need to be present for the inspection, but being there means you can ask questions and get valuable insight into your potential new home

Who pays for the home inspection?
The potential buyer does - and it will run you anywhere from $200 to $500, depending on the size and age of the unit.

How do you choose a home inspector?
Ask your realtor, hit up family or friends for recos or check out the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors to find an inspector near you.

At the end of the day, a home inspection is a small price to pay to know your big purchase doesn’t have any major problems. Plus, it gives you legal protection for backing out of the deal if serious problems are found.

Should I skip the home inspection in a hot condo market?
If you’re worried about an inspection condition hurting your chances in a multiple-offer situation, ask to have an inspection done before the offer date. Most sellers will accommodate serious buyers. If you’re still unsure, work with your real estate agent to determine your best plan of action.

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