If you charge a flat rate for your home inspection services, you’re probably happy when you get a call to inspect a condo. Most condos are much smaller than an average house, and inspecting systems such as HVAC at their source is considered unnecessary.
Homeadvisor.com acknowledges that some inspectors charge by the square foot while others charge a flat fee. You may set separate fees for condos and single-family homes, and thus, have separate contracts.
What is usually covered when you inspect a condo?
Inspecting a Condo
This type of determination is easier to make if you already have a checklist formatted for the properties you inspect. This way, you can simply cross off the items that don’t apply, rather than start considering what is included.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to inspect a condo’s interior the same way you would a house. Check to make sure all the electrical outlets and fixtures are working and safe. Take a look at the circuit breaker box as well. See if the smoke detector is hard-wired — this is illegal now in some jurisdictions.
Check the plumbing in the bathroom and the kitchen to be sure that it is functioning properly and there are no signs of leaks.
Look at the walls, ceilings, and floors and note any holes, cracks, punctures, pet stains, torn or dirtied carpet, broken tiles, peeling paint, or other issues. Inspect the windows and doors, looking particularly at whether they open and close easily and for the presence of wood rot.
Check all the appliances and see — to the best of your ability — that they are in good working order.
Inspecting the Exterior of a Condo Building
Whereas the exterior of a condo building is managed by the homeowners association, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t inspect it. The roof above particular units may be leaky, and this may not be an issue the HOA pays for.
And furthermore, although condo inspections don’t usually include the exterior of the building, an ASHI Reporter article details why you may want to include this in your inspection.
The great part about owning a condo or townhouse is that someone else takes care of issues like exterior maintenance and grounds. But it’s not free. Owners pay fees for this upkeep. Additionally, if a large capital expenditure becomes necessary — putting on a new roof, building a parking garage, connecting to town sewers — the owners are assessed a share of the cost, and this sometimes reaches into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Condo Owners Are Invested — Like it or Not
So while owners — and potential owners — may see these issues as not their headache, and they are partly right, it doesn’t mean they don’t pay for them. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Thus, inspecting the exterior of a condo unit or the building’s HVAC equipment could reveal serious and pressing issues the potential homeowner would not have known about but could factor into their decision to buy. Once a buyer commits to paying a mortgage and monthly fees, they may not be able (or willing) to afford a $22K assessment for a new road from the units to the street.
When setting your rates for homes and condos and deciding what’s included, consider doing condo-buyers a favor and giving them information about what types of assessments they may be able to expect in the future, such as if you notice cracking stucco, sagging balconies, crumbling parking lots, etc.
At ICA School, your inspection training covers all aspects of condo and home inspections, down to the tiniest details. To automate your home inspections and save time, check out our home inspection report software,