For many buyers, a property inspection is an essential piece of due diligence. Having an impartial expert assess the systems, components, and overall condition of a house allows purchasers to make a truly informed decision. That said, condo hunters are often less sure about whether they should take this step.
While there are benefits associated with condo inspections, there are also some possible drawbacks. That’s why it’s so important to know what the process covers, and weigh the pros and cons of going through it.
If you’re trying to decide whether to have your unit inspected, here’s what you should know…
Resale vs. new build
The inspection process will look different depending on whether you’re buying a resale condo, or a newly-built one. If you go the pre-owned route, a professional inspector will look closely at your unit and its major appliances.
Common elements generally aren’t part of an inspection, since maintaining them is the responsibility of your condo board. These include not only amenities and shared spaces, but your building’s major systems (like its furnace and air conditioning). Of course, there are exceptions. For example, some condos have their own heating and cooling units—which don’t count as common elements.
When you’re buying a brand new condo, having it inspected is built into the purchase process. During this pre-delivery inspection (also known as a PDI), your builder will act as your guide, walking you through your newly-completed home and showing you how it’s various systems work. If anything is missing, incomplete, or malfunctioning, it will be noted on the form that you’ll sign at the end of your inspection.
To ensure that any issues with your unit are taken care of efficiently, your builder should be able to verify that they existed before you moved in. Your PDI provides an opportunity to record the condition of your new living space before you take occupancy.
The role of a status certificate review
When you buy a resale unit, getting an inspection—which will typically run you between $300 and $500 in Toronto—is optional. While the process can provide peace of mind for some buyers, most opt not to get one. Instead, they rely on the information found within their status certificates.
Your status certificate will tell you everything you need to know about the financial health of a building—and the unit your planning to buy. From the amount of money in the board’s reserve fund to the exact boundaries of your condo, you’ll find it all in this crucial document.
Given how comprehensive status certificates are, many buyers feel comfortable forgoing an inspection once they have one. Obtaining this report costs $100, and you should make sure your lawyer gets it as part of your due diligence. You can even make reviewing it a condition of your purchase.
Should you get a condo inspection?
When you’re deciding whether to have your resale condo inspected, consider your circumstances. If you’re hoping to make a quick purchase, you may want to consider a status certificate review instead. The same is true if you’re in a competitive buying situation, since sellers tend to prefer offers that are as straightforward as possible.
If the condo you’re buying has its own heating and cooling systems, it may be in your best interest to get an inspection. You’ll almost certainly be responsible for maintaining these units, so it’s best to know what kind of shape they’re in.
Having the right information is the key to making a successful condo purchase. From inspections to negotiations to closing, each step is simpler when you have expert guidance. To help ensure your success, find an agent who knows the process—and the local market—inside and out.
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