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  1. #1
    Terry Ewald's Avatar
    Terry Ewald Guest

    Default First Condo Inspection

    Is there anything I should pay close attention too other than a normal home inspection? $1 Mil penthouse.

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    Last edited by Terry Ewald; 07-06-2012 at 03:03 PM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Chicago IL
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    Default Re: First Condo Inspection

    Details, details, details ...
    - high end euro appliances tend to be a bit finicky and not always obvious in terms of function - check all and explain use to client for any weird ones
    - check the big multi head showers thoroughly, loose massage heads, bad joints, etc
    - check railings for proper height and security
    - window screens
    - any nicks on walls, ceilings or components
    A list could go on and on. The important thing to remember, $1 mil price tag can sometimes mean $1 mil PIA.
    Pay attention, be thorough and don't leave anything off.
    Also this obviously goes towards how you practice your business. I look at the Condo building in general to assess conditions. I also look at deeded parking spots, storage units, rec rooms, pool areas, etc. etc. Doing a walk around of these areas with the client doesn't take much more time. However it can be very revealing in terms of construction, completion and association conditions.
    On the flip side there are plenty of inspectors who don't look at anything but the Condo unit itself. Great for them, lousy for their clients.
    You have to decide what type of business you are going to run. Provide a basic insp or provide a meaningful service that informs the client of conditions that can have a severe impact on their financial situation.
    I've had more than one client walk away from a beautiful Condo because building conditions were problematic. Those clients didn't end up getting hammered with high special assessments or nightmares.
    Your call.
    For those who only look at the Condo unit itself, Thank You for providing me with more work.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Default Re: First Condo Inspection

    Marcus, good post. I have been berated by Realtors for inspecting roofs and other items that were "common property" and supposedly covered by the association. Guess who has to pay when the place needs new roofs and there is not enough money in the kitty? And guess what, it doesn't matter what floor you are on, you still get assessed for the new roof.

    I charge the same as a single family home which also pisses them off, but should probably charge more as there is actually more to inspect.
    I do sometimes offer the option to just inspect the interior at a reduced price and make it very clear in the agreement what I am inspecting. Usually the client opts for the complete inspection after reading the agreement.

    It's not a bad way to go as it offers a price competitive with the competition with an explanation of why their price is lower.

    END GLOBAL WHINING

  4. #4
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    Southern Vancouver Island
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    Default Re: First Condo Inspection

    I get pics of the roof if at all possible. Top floor of a condo building, if no access is provided, I stick my pole camera out the window and get 5 or 6 shots of the roof. Lower floors, it gets harder. A good realtor will arrange for access to the roof and mechanical rooms. The custodian or caretaker sometimes meets you and gives you the tour, or sometimes there's a ring of keys. Greener or indifferent realtors don't make arrangements, so I try on my own or report no access was provided. Never a dull moment.

    Parking garage, check for leaking cracks in the concrete. That usually means the membrane needs repair, or the condo association is choosing to ignore it. Sometimes they hang drip pans to catch the drips above people's cars. That is a heads up. No $$ for repairs, rusting rebar, etc.

    One condo inspection I remember, the brick veneer was cracking 6 stories up, 12 storey building. I got pics of the cracks. Inside the unit no problems. My clients walked. The listing realtor was choked. One weeks later, clients had found a nice unit in a good building. The first condo building was under scaffolding with jackhammers going for about a year.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  5. #5
    Terry Ewald's Avatar
    Terry Ewald Guest

    Default Re: First Condo Inspection

    Thanksto all…I did just as you recommended. I talked the conciergeinto giving me an access key to check out the terrace, roof top sun deck, andthe underground garage and storage unit. I took pictures of all and filled myreport out on their condition and included them.


  6. #6

    Default Re: First Condo Inspection

    Follow your SOPs


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: First Condo Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolland Pruner View Post
    Follow your SOPs

    100%

    roof ? Unless the clients want to pay more. Mechanical room? unless you got the the maintenance & contractor record, othwise any comments would put u at risk.


  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: First Condo Inspection

    "would put you at risk"
    That is such complete and utter nonsense. The same old tired story used to justify inspections that don't provide the client with relevant and important information. (can you read between the lines that I'm trying very hard not to say _hit __eckbo_ reports)
    A Condo buyer is a future Condo unit owner, which means they become part of the association whether they participate or not. Regardless of participation, your client, the buyer, will be a percentage liable for general building condition repairs and maintenance. The idea that an inspector wouldn't inform a client about general building conditions encountered while going through the building IS the big liability.
    The liability comes from not informing your client about general conditions. How pissed do you think the client will be when they get hit by a special assessment 2 months after move-in.
    The only one who is ever pissed that I look at general building conditions are the agents who know the building has issues.
    gotta go dinner time...

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    BC Canada
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    Default Re: First Condo Inspection

    calm down buddy,

    we are generalists not specialists. The condo mechanical room is commplicated esp highrise, high V, boiler, ventilator, etc, unless the experienced HIs or who had the relevant background, otherwise it's better leave it alone.


  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: First Condo Inspection

    Ok, lets deal with the mechanical room excuse and then move on.
    The 'its specialized equipment, we are generalists' argument is just another tired old excuse for not doing a thorough inspection and protecting your clients' best interest.
    Yes, I do try to get in the mechanical room as much as possible. Most of the time, I can't get in. Building policy, agent doesn't want to cooperate, no maintenance guy around, excuses, etc. Sometimes though I can get in.
    The point to getting in the mechanical room isn't to inspect the system. Because yes it is specialized equipment. Thoroughly inspecting it would take longer than inspecting the Condo itself. The point is to assess general conditions.
    a) is the equipment newer or ancient, does it look like its in decent shape or are there obvious signs of leaks or lots of replacement parts laying around
    b) does the mechanical room look like the building engineer gives a damn or like he spends most of his time shopping on ebay.
    Both of these are extremely important informational points for an HI to relate to the client. The observations can indicate what's going on at the building. Ancient equipment may need replacement.
    I looked at a fabulous condo a while ago. High floor, lake view, really nice space, on one of the highest priced streets in the City, I would love to have that Condo, just really a great place. However, I wouldn't move into that building if you gave me the Condo. The building itself was very poorly maintained, staff clearly didn't give a damn; and owners will be facing massive special assessments in coming years. My client would have ended up miserable if they bought into that building.
    The point to assessing, not inspecting, general building conditions is to inform your client about the building. Is it well maintained or neglected, are there major issues that are likely to bring about major costs in the near future, etc.
    You walk up to the building for your Condo inspection; look at the outside, does masonry look to be in decent shape or is it all washed out. Are the stairwells clean; if there's a parking garage are there any drips coming through the ceiling onto your clients parking spot, etc?
    These are all important factors that can adversely effect your clients financial health. Building conditions can make a particular Condo purchase a great investment or unwise and unfeasible purchase for your client.
    On another inspection, the agent was miffed that I wanted to see the 2 deeded parking spots. The client was extremely grateful since "I would be really made if those drips ruined the paint on my wife's $100K Mercedes". The building repaired the leak by close.
    If your business model is to only look at the Condo unit itself, fine. If that works for you then so be it. However, please don't promote the same out tired, pathetic liability excuses that do a disservice to our industry and newer inspectors. HI has been considered a joke for many years due in part to just that type of mentality. As we have seen, demands on HI's to do better has grown in recent years and will continue to do so. Those promoting the same old tired nonsense will hopefully have to go back to doing whatever else they did before.
    The following is what heads up a special section towards the end of my Condo inspection report. Permission granted to use at will.

    GENERAL PROPERTY AND CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION CONSIDERATIONS

    NOTE-
    General exterior and common area property conditions are provided as a courtesy to you as part of the Condo inspection process. These areas were not inspected as part of the Condo inspection, merely observed while going through the building.
    Common areas are typically the responsibility of the Condominium Association. Every unit owner belongs to the Condo Association upon unit purchase. The potential costs involved in evaluating, repairing or replacing any listed items may in part become your responsibility in the form of additional or special assessments. Defect repairs, capital improvements and necessary emergency repairs are often funded through either existing funds or special assessments if reserves are not sufficient. Such additional ownership costs can be substantial. Timelines to resolve issues can vary greatly depending on unit owner cooperation.
    This list of observations is in no way to be considered complete, an endorsement of, or a full inspection of overall building conditions. The listed items were noted during normal movement through the property. A full inspection of building common areas would typically be part of a Condo Reserve Study.
    This information may help you better evaluate this purchase. I suggest you consider requesting various documents from the association related to concerns and as allowable under State law.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

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