Articles

Which type of condo inspection should I purchase?

By Farren West~~ Founder~~Key Inspection Services
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 $275 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 any questions, comment, feel free to contact me. #206.931.0506 Farren@YourCondoInspector.com

Do you need a new construction inspection?

Waste of money or wise investment…
By Farren West~~ Founder~~Key Inspection Services
Many people feel there isn’t a need to inspect new construction because the home has been “Code” inspected by the city. And, to a certain degree this inspection could be accurate but here’s my take as a home inspector and as a potential buyer.

As a buyer, purchasing a home and scheduling a move is stressful enough without having to worry about potential structural issues. The cost of a new construction home inspection runs with median home prices in the Puget Sound area. So, with a median price around $400,000, a new home inspection runs approximately $400 (condos inspections are generally priced lower than single family homes). Thus, you’ll gain additional peace of mind for roughly a tenth of a percent of the price of the property for an inspection.

Now here’s my impression as an inspector. I have been inspecting properties for over 8 years and haven’t found a single one without a problem. Small or large, most need some sort of attention to prevent a safety hazard or a potentially significant financial investment if not tended to in a timely manner. With new construction a list of corrections can be just that, a simple punch list with photos to assist the buyer and contractor to ensure all details were corrected by the time of the final walk through. Also, since the home is new, systems and appliances haven’t been thoroughly tested or used to ensure they’re functioning properly before you move in.

Here’s a sample list of items that would be tested during the inspection: run water throughout in the home, flushing toilets, test appliances for proper installation & function, test the furnace and heat distribution, the fireplaces, review in the attic/roof and crawlspace areas (single family homes).

If you have any questions, or if you’d like to view a sample new construction report, feel free to contact me. #206.931.0506 Farren@YourCondoInspector.com

Different types of Condo Inspections

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 $275 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 $375 and up.
In the next article we will discuss what a reserve study is and how it applies to purchasing a condo.

Can I do my own condo inspection?

Is it worth the risk!
By Farren West~~ Founder~~Key Inspection Services
As a condo buyer, you can hire anyone you wish to do the inspection. You can have your dad do it, you can hire a professional inspector referred by your Realtor or a friend, you can search out someone in the yellow pages or Google them, or heck, you can get the guy on the street standing outside the condo building.

If truth be told, you need to hire someone you are comfortable working with and who is knowledgeable about construction and safety matters. If you get a name from your Realtor or from a friend’s referral, you are probably off to a good start. Now, I’ve had clients come up to me during inspections saying they didn’t want to work with their Realtor’s recommended inspector asking me “What if they are in cahoots with each other and the inspector is getting a kickback or missed something?”

Well if you have this feeling about your Realtor, don’t do business with them. A good Realtor is worth their weight in gold and is looking out for your best interest. They are going to go to bat for you, so if you think your Realtor isn’t, then Fire him or her. There are plenty of honest hard working Realtors out there who in the end will save you time, money and significant stress and headaches.

[Editor’s note: As of January 31, 2009, Washington state law (WAC 308-124C-050) now requires real estate agents who refer an inspector to provide written disclosure of any business/economic or family relationship they have with the referred inspector to their client. This law is intended to prevent collusion between the agent and inspector.]

So what if I’m thinking about hiring my dad (or friend) to inspect my condo? If your dad is comfortable and experienced in all facets of construction, not just one area like framing or drywall or painting, but is also knowledgeable about the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, garage door safety, siding, roofing and fireplace safety, then he may be able to do a condo inspection for you.

A contractor is generally a master of one particular area, i.e. a plumber is an expert at plumbing systems but may not know much about windows or electrical systems. So if your father (cousin, sister, friend) is well rounded in all facets of construction he may be able to perform the inspection. I didn’t say a good one, but a condo inspection nonetheless. Professional inspectors, on the other hand, are generalist, trained in all areas and are licensed and certified.

At the end of the day, whomever you choose to hire to perform your condo inspection, make sure you are comfortable working with them be it a professional inspector, a family member or someone off the street. In addition to being knowledgeable about condominium systems and construction, the inspector should produce an inspection report that’s easy to read, includes photos and is summarized in a format that is easy to understand. The report should be easy for you, the client, to digest and for the Realtor to negotiate with the seller’s agent.

If you go down the path of hiring a professional inspector what questions should you ask them? I’ll answer that in my next article…
If you have any questions, comment, feel free to contact me. #206.931.0506 Farren@EZ2Inspect.com