Many real estate boards and organizations are predicting that 2014 will be a strong year for real estate in Canada, especially in the Greater Toronto Area. This assessment is not exclusive to low-rise properties, as sales of residential homes were not the only real estate sector to see growth in the latter part of 2013. According to the Toronto Star, “Almost 4,300 new condos sold in the fourth quarter of 2013, the best quarter in one and a half years.”* This upward trend is expected to continue, with the spike in condo sales “coupled with growing signs of consumer confidence, has developers gearing up for the launch of new projects, largely concentrated in the sought-after downtown core, close to transit lines.”*
Moreover, the steady rise in prices for low-rise homes in the Greater Toronto Area may have an influx of individuals considering condo ownership. The Toronto Star reports, “Sky-high house prices, and a shortage of low-rise homes in the City of Toronto in particular, is also likely to drive more buyers to condos this year.”* With more people expected to pursue condo ownership over home ownership, there is additional emphasis being put on the following concerns: what is a Condo Inspection, and do I need one?
The Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Consumer Services has released a helpful guide for those new to the condo market, outlining what to expect when buying a condo, including a comparison of new versus resale units, condo fees and association memberships, and much more. With reference to inspections, the Ministry of Consumer Services says, “We recommend that buyers of resale condos get a Home Inspection. A quality Home Inspection will help you make an informed decision before buying a home. It will help you to understand a home’s condition and value.”**
Many do not see the value in having a Condo Inspection performed. Condos are so different from low-rise homes, and this can lead condo buyers and real estate agents to conclude that they don’t require an inspection. There’s no roof to get on, no basement, no visible structure, and often no separate heating and cooling system - so what’s the point of an inspection?
While a condo does differ from a low-rise home, it still possesses the potential for issues, which buyers should be made aware of. Your inspector won’t get on the roof, but they will be looking for evidence of what is happening in the unit above yours – is there any leakage or moisture seeping into your unit? There may or may not be a complex heating system in your suite, but there are many other systems within your unit that will benefit from being assessed by a professional, like the electrical and plumbing systems. Your inspector will also check your appliances, both for functionality and safety. Are they working properly? Have they been recalled for safety issues? At the end of your inspection, you will receive a detailed report of the issues that have been uncovered, with cost estimates and timelines for maintenance.
Although many people consider a condominium to be low-maintenance, this is generally only true with respect to the common elements. Electrical, plumbing and heating problems that crop up within the unit can surprise many new condo owners. A leaking shower stall, water-damaged hardwood floor, and aging heating coil can each cost thousands of dollars to repair.
Having a Home Inspector go through your condo with you, letting you know of any existing issues, or areas where issues may arise, will help you gain a more complete understanding of what to expect should you become the owner of the unit.
At Carson Dunlop we have Home Inspectors on staff who have been specially trained to assess condos. They do not inspect a condo as if it were a home, but recognize that it is a very different type of dwelling, and perform their inspection accordingly. Our Condo Inspections include:
- An inspection of and consultation on the systems within your unit, focusing on their current condition and how they should be maintained
- A detailed investigation of all major appliances
- A check for manufacturer recalls on appliances
- A detailed inspection report that documents the condition of systems, components, and appliances, including illustrations, technical diagrams, and helpful maintenance information
- Membership in the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association
- An optional warranty plan for the unit - the Horizon Home Warranty
We also recommend that condo buyers have a Thermal Imaging Inspection performed with their condo inspection.
Scheduling a condo inspection is easier than you think. Book your inspection online or over the phone at 800-268-7070. Request the time you need - weekday or weekend, our condo inspectors are available to help you.