Do I need to have a condo inspected?

By: Zoocasa

architecture-2004498_1920MLS listings in Toronto in Toronto showed something rather surprising in 2018: among all property types condos were performing the best. They not only had the slowest sales decline, but also were the only market segment to increase in price.

Toronto condos were up 6.5 per cent in the 416 this May 2018 to about $603,000 according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, and townhouses remained stable at about $741,300, while detached houses sank 5.6 per cent to just over $1.4 million.

Condos in downtown Toronto  were doing even better, with units in these neighbourhoods going for upwards of $900,000.

For whatever reasons— affordability, changing living preferences or a desire for amenities— condos units and townhouses are proving to be extremely high in demand.

It seems on the surface that condos don’t need home inspections the way that detached and semi-detached do. After all, since buyers aren’t responsible for maintaining exterior spaces, and there is less likely to be basements, attics or window wells what is there to inspect?

In fact, that premise is a fallacy. Unit owners actually are required to maintain the exterior— they may just live in their individual unit, but they are part owner of the entire complex.

Zoocasa spoke with Alden E Gibson, a registered home inspector at Inspections by Gibson to walk us through why it’s so important to get a condo inspection.

Firstly, although condo fees and the reserve fund are supposed to cover all expenses, this fund may be mismanaged or may not have of a sufficient amount to cover major repairs. When that happens, unit owners may be required to pay a special assessment, which can be costly, and upwards of $10,000.

living-room-2155353_1920So it’s essential that a home inspector assess the condition of the building as a whole, lest the prospective buyer get trapped in a unit that may have attractive granite counters, but inside a building that’s falling apart.

A home inspector will examine the grounds, the hallways for water stains, the stairways and the parking garage.

“If the units are 25 years old, there could be 50 decks to replace and retaining walls to rebuild. The parking lot may also need a refresh, and you want to make sure that there is enough capital for these projects in the reserve fund without collecting a special assessment for you to replenish the funds,” Gibson says.

He’ll also take a ladder with him to look at the attic for mould— something that almost no prospective buyer does on his own.

Other responsibilities of the unit owner depend on the type of condo it is. “There are high rise condo buildings, freehold condo units, condo complexes with multiple denominations of units like semi-detached, four-plexes and six-plexes. All with different rules and regulations, Gibson says. It takes an experienced home inspector to explain the regulations and their impact. is a leading real estate company that combines online search tools and a full-service brokerage to empower Canadians to buy or sell their homes faster, easier and more successfully. Home buyers can browse real estate listings on the website or the free iOS app.

About the OAHI

Through education and advocacy the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors cultivates a thriving home inspection industry based on the highest standards of professional development and ethical standards. In doing so, OAHI cultivates the ‘gold standard’ for home inspectors among consumers and the government. OAHI is the only provincially recognized body of home inspectors by The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors Act, 1994. OAHI is a not-for-profit association.

OAHI member inspectors see homes differently.

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