Home Inspections: Buyers Should Insist On a Professional Home Inspection for Their Condo, Co-Op or Townhouse
By Richard Zwierzynski
Town homes, Condominiums and Co-Operatives are available in several different types of building structures and settings. A home inspection should be performed on the systems and components within the unit you are purchasing, as well as common areas and components that may directly affect your unit. Remember, when buying a condo, co-operative or townhouse, you are also purchasing a percentage of the responsibility for the condition and maintenance of the buildings' shared common areas and systems.
Each different townhouse, co-op or condo building structure and setting, determines which common areas or components are accessible to home inspectors and what components can be inspected. Access to a property's common areas and elements allows for an inspector to complete a thorough inspection. An experienced home inspector will have the ability to make critical judgments concerning the condition of your multiple unit purchase by being able to determine what common elements or areas in your type of building should not be over looked and should be accessed.
Investigate How Your Association Operates
Every Shared Community Association should be aware of specific areas that may require a higher amount of attention for the type of building that the community is in. In fact, each community may have unique common areas that may require periodic monitoring for the need of maintenance. You should always obtain a list of building components and elements that are the responsibility of the association of the condo, town home or co-op you are considering purchasing... and areas and components that you may have direct responsibility for as a building unit owner.
Obtaining Relevant Information about your Building may be affected by how your association handles property maintenance. For example, property maintenance may be under the direction of an outside management company, the building may have its own fulltime maintenance department, or maintenance operations may be under the direction of a member or members of the association. Larger communities (e.g.: High-Rise buildings) are more complex and may employ an engineering or architectural firm that conducts reserve studies. A reserve study determines budget and scheduling for a specific maintenance program and estimated time frame for replacement of the shared systems and components of a building.
It is wise to obtain minutes from recent association meetings, view any recent reserve studies, and inquire about budget and current funds available to your association for maintenance purposes before you purchase.
About the Author
Richard Zwierzynski is an independent home inspector and owner of Real Estate Inspectors Group, Inc, in Chicago, Illinois. Home buyers can find more resources applicable to any real estate market at www.realestateinspectorsgroup.com
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