(Please welcome contributing writer, Farren West, owner of Key Inspection Services. Farren will be writing a series of condo inspection related articles, which many buyers will find invaluable.)
Generally there are two types of condo/townhouse inspections. The first and most popular is the “Interior Only” inspection. This will cover everything from the sheetrock in, or as others may say, from paint to paint.
For the most part this is all that the home owner is responsible for when owning a condo. The other external items, roof/crawlspace/attic/siding/etc, are covered by the dues paid into the Homeowners Association, but this may not always the case so refer to your HOA guidelines.
The “Interior Only” inspection will focus on health/safety, moisture intrusion, functional testing, and inspecting for components improperly installed, nearing or exceeding their design life. The inspection will last between 1.5-2.5 hours depending on the size and age of the property. The cost of an “Interior Only” inspection starts around $225 and up again depending on size/age of unit.
The second type of inspection is more of a building complex inspection overview. This will cover all items in the “Interior Only” as well as the exterior siding, roof, crawlspace, and attic. This is more of a peripheral view of the exterior components and will be limited to the exterior components directly attached to the unit in question.
Understanding the complex inspection is limited to safe access to the above mentioned components. The inspector will not inspect areas which will endanger him and/or potentially damage the property. The complex inspection generally last between 2.5-3.5 hours again depending on size, age, and access, the fees range from $325 and up.
In the next article we will discuss what a reserve study is and how it applies to purchasing a condo.
If you have questions regarding condo inspections, please visit the Key Inspection website or email Farren at FarrenWest(at)KeyInspectionServices.com.