Ultimate Guide for Checking Defects in a New Property

For most first-time homeowners, buying a new house or condominium unit is exciting. Beneath all that excitement, though, you may have lingering doubts of whether you're purchasing a proper condo unit or not.
November 23, 2021

You've heard of horror stories about people finding defects in their newly-purchased homes long after they've signed the deed of sale. Unfortunately for these unlucky homeowners, they were not able to conduct a thorough inspection of their unit before purchasing. 

Luckily, you can easily conduct condo inspections to ensure that the basics of your potential unit are in good working condition. Functions like the HVAC and electrical system, water heater, and electrical outlets should all be part of the condo documents, detailing what condition these functions are in. 

Often, you can ask your real estate broker or condo management for the free market report, where you can compare your unit with others in your area or condo building in terms of functions, condition, and space. A home inspector can also be hired to check through the unit, and conduct a thorough condo inspection with a technical audit. 

The best way to check your unit before you make that purchase is to conduct the condo inspection yourself. While it may sound like a difficult task, having a condo inspection checklist gives you a guide to follow so you don't forget to check the different areas of your potential unit!

Condo Defect Checklist: Things You Need to Inspect in a Property

Our inspection checklist covers the basics of the condominium inspection, but you may need to check on additional features highlighted in your unit before you purchase. As with any major purchase, proper maintenance is the key to keeping your unit in good condition. 

Check the Condo Interior

The interior of your condo includes the layout, ceiling, walls, floors, and windows. Look for any evidence of cracked walls, broken parts in internal systems, sloping floors, or anything that would inconvenience your condo living. 

Look for signs of water damage, which may indicate a leak problem. Inspect for mold that may be hiding around damp corners. Take a look at the kitchen and bathrooms for built-in cabinets, as they may need to be replaced if damaged. 

Any maintenance issues should be discussed with the real estate broker or building management before you purchase, as the costly repairs would be covered by the owners and not the prospective buyers before the deed has been transferred. 

Check the Condo Exterior

As with the interior, the exterior needs a full inspection as well. You can often tell how well-maintained a building is by the condition of the exterior. If the outside has overgrown weeds, dusty windows, and cracks or water stains on the walls, it is indicative that the maintenance for the building is not up to par. 

You may find yourself frustrated at the lack of maintenance services in your building, especially as you pay for your monthly dues to keep the entire building in good condition. More or less, maintenance checks will give you an insight in how the building management works for the residents. 

Check the HVAC System and Electrical System

While you may not be well-versed in the functions of an electrical system, it is important you get these inspected when buying a condo space to avoid having problems with these later on. The building may have their own electrician who can do the inspection, but we recommend finding an independent electrician to check on the electrical systems for you.

Similarly, an HVAC technician will be able to tell whether your HVAC systems are working properly, or whether there is maintenance needed for the unit. The HVAC technician can inspect all the fittings to tell how long since the air conditioning system was cleaned or repaired. 

Check for Water Pressure

A basic, but essential aspect of a home inspection, check for the water pressure, plumbing, and quality of the tap water before you buy the unit. Condos typically have a centralized water system, though some units may have better pressure than others. Check with your specific unit if the plumbing works well.

Additionally, check for any previous water damage, which may indicate a problem in the plumbing systems, and a future problem with the house foundation when the water leaks further damage the structure. If two rooms or more have the same water damage, the problem may be with the building itself.

Check the Common Amenities

Common areas are the amenities of the building shared by all the residents of the units. Area listings would often highlight these amenities, which may include commercial properties like a cafe, a swimming pool, lounge, and reception area that may be used by any of the building residents.

Do special assessments on the overall condition of these common areas to check whether they are well-maintained, especially after other residents have used it. Check for any signs of deferred maintenance. You can also get a glimpse of your neighbours by seeing how they treat these areas, or whether they clean up after themselves. 

The Importance of Checking for Defects in a New Property

Purchasing a property is a huge step for any new homeowner. Properties aren't cheap, and you expect to stay in your unit for decades. Hence, having a condo inspection checklist is essential in deciding whether to purchase the unit or not. 

You wouldn't want to end up with a unit with expensive rooms only to find hollow spaces in the walls, cracks in the ceiling, and gaps in the window panes. Always conduct a thorough condominium inspection to assess whether the unit is right for you. 

After all, inspecting a purchase is an unspoken rule in buying anything - and this is no less true for condos! Pay close attention during the open house so get a good view of the unit. Checking for defects may seem like an extra step, but it is necessary to ensure you live comfortably in your unit for years to come.

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