When you decide to take the plunge and make a real estate investment, you want to do everything you can to ensure that your investment is as sound and secure as possible. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to know what services are necessary, and which may just involve cost with little value added. For example, many condo purchasers may be unsure about the home inspection process. After all, a condo purchase generally involves only the interior of the unit, with the shared exterior structure and some utilities owned commonly among all owners, and having an inspection may seem unnecessary. However, a condo inspection can tell you a lot, both about your unit and costs you may anticipate in the future. Learn more about whether to get a condo inspection, and what questions to ask your condo inspector.

What Is A Condo Inspection?

Like a home inspection, a condo inspection is a non-invasive, non-technically exhaustive visual examination of the readily accessible systems and components of a home. During an inspection, your inspector adopts an unbiased eye as they look for structural and mechanical concerns and potential safety hazards, while also helping to determine the age of major systems around the property including the water heater, roofing, and HVAC. They will try to determine the components of the home that are not performing properly, as well as identify items that are beyond their useful life span or are unsafe. They will also try to focus on areas where repairs may be needed or where there may have been problems in the past.

What Does A Condo Inspection Include?

In a condo inspection, the inspector will focus on the interior of your unit. They will check your floors, ceilings, and walls for cracking or sloping that could indicate structural issues with the building as a whole. They will also check for warping, visible exterior mold, or signs of past repairs that could indicate water intrusion or a recurring issue that has been repaired in the past. Your inspector will look for visual indications of rot, rust, decay and mold that might indicate an ongoing issue with leaks or water damage. The inspector will also note the age and general condition of any fixtures, including kitchen appliances or other items affixed to the unit. 

The inspector will also check your unit’s windows and doors, ensuring that they open and close with ease. A window or door that does not close properly can be indicative of structural issues that may cause problems down the line. Your inspector will also ensure that the windows and doors are tight-fitting and unlikely to leak or allow water to enter your unit.

Your inspector will also perform checks to ensure that your unit’s plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems appear to be in working order. The inspector will check to make sure that all sinks, faucets, showers, and toilets are functioning as intended, and will look for obvious signs of leaks or slow drains, which could be signs of a larger problem with shared plumbing. The inspection will also include a check to ensure that all outlets and switches are active and working properly, as well as a check for the required number of GFCI outlets in the bathroom and kitchen. 

As for the HVAC unit, if your unit has its own heating or cooling system, the inspector will perform a visual inspection and will ensure that the unit appears to be in working order. The typical condo inspection does not include an inspection of the building’s shared HVAC systems, although it is a good idea, if you are purchasing a condo, to inquire as to the age and repair history of any shared heating, cooling, and water heating systems in the building, to anticipate potential assessments for future repairs.

The inspection may also include a visual inspection of any accessible common areas immediately adjacent to the unit. For example, if your unit has its own attic or garage space, the inspector will look at these areas for any obvious signs of potential problems that could lead to issues within your unit. If other common areas are accessible, the inspector may perform a quick visual inspection of these areas to check for obvious problems, however, the majority of the inspector’s focus will be on the interior spaces you will own.

Why Get A Condo Inspection?

While a condo inspection differs in some important ways from an inspection on a new home, it is an important step in ensuring that your investment is a sound one. A review of the interior of your new unit can tell you a lot about the challenges you may encounter on your journey of condo ownership, and can help you feel better about your purchase. Working with a licensed professional with a reputation for quality can ensure that your questions are answered and your new investment is protected. 

At Windy City Home Inspection, We Know Chicago

Curious about what goes into the home inspection process here in Chicagoland? Looking for guidance or insight from an experienced home inspection team? Our experts are here and ready to help. 

With Windy City Home Inspection, buyers and sellers can expect a thorough, diligent inspection that never cuts corners. When searching for the right home inspector, it’s important to find someone you can trust — and that’s why we are here for you. The inspectors at Windy City Home Inspection, Inc. are licensed by the State of Illinois, certified, and insured. Each home inspection is backed by our Warranty and Protection Plan. Furthermore, we pride ourselves on our superior customer service. If you ever have questions, even years after your home inspection, we will be here to answer them — even if it means returning to your home.

At Windy City Home Inspection, Inc., we perform inspections to the highest standards — yours. Backed by a consulting team with more than 60 years of experience, Windy City Home Inspection is committed to excellence. Have a question? Let us help.