Top 10 Problems Found During a New Condo Home Inspection

How many professionals does it take to build or renovate a new condo?

Well, there’s the designer, the architect, technicians, framer, plumber, cabinet-maker or installer, masonry professional, welder, dry-wall finisher, painter, pipe fitter, iron worker, joiner, concrete pourer, numerous construction foremen, workers, apprentices and a whole lot more folks.

But the only people you have contact with are the real estate agent or project sales rep, the bank, friends and family, and your home inspector – the only truly impartial eye on the work done on the condo.

It is incredibly important to have your condo inspected by a qualified home inspector before you accept the condition of the property. With so many people working on a project, it’s only normal that things might get missed. Were the walls wet with paint on the day the caulking needed to be done in the bathroom? Perhaps they were, and so it was overlooked, and never got done. Maybe the designer didn’t talk to the heating company to find out the size of the unit that would be installed? Did an apprentice bump the edge of the cabinet as he was installing, and perhaps didn’t notice?

Testing the water pressure.

They’re all human mistakes, and your condo was built by a team of people, all of whom are capable of making mistakes.

Top 10 pre-delivery or new condo inspection problems:

  1. Caulking missing on glass shower doors – say hello to drippy, slippy bathroom floors.
  2. P-trap missing on a sink – this could lead to sewer smells entering your condo. Yuk.
  3. Missing grout – leads to leaks to floor below and the expense of possibly completely redoing tiling in a year or two to fix the problems the leaks have caused.
  4. Loose toilets – tippy and annoying.
  5. Damage on kitchen cabinets – you pay a premium for a new condo, the cabinets should be in perfect condition.
  6. Wood flooring mistakes – oops – there’s one maple panel in your oak floor. It’s right in front of the couch area… just where you’ll see it every day.
  7. Loose railings – you want to be safe when you go out on that terrace – maybe the rest of the building’s railings loose too?
  8. Clearance between door and terrace not graded – When it rains, you don’t want buildup on the terrace to seep into your home. The deck should be lower than the door.
  9. Exhaust hood or bathroom ventilation not properly installed – These are ventilation basics.
  10. Water tank inaccessible or badly installed – A conventional hot water tank needs to be changed every 10-13 years. We’ve seen everything from a condo’s air handler installed in front of a hot water heater to a rusty condensation type due to the hot water tank being installed right below. Either of these scenarios can cause problems in the near future

Multiple professionals, all with tunnel vision

Problems are sometimes caused by a design flaw or an installation by a professional that doesn’t think about “big picture”. Each professional is meticulous about his/her own métier, but not always well versed about how the work will affect other systems in the condo.

Is your new condo in an old building?

Common to Montreal these days, your completely renovated new condo’s plumbing system has been upgraded to copper, but what about the condo above? In a 1927 building, there’s a good chance it’s galvanized steel, prone to leak. It’s advisable to check what is happening around your unit in the building to avoid trouble in future like pipes leaking from above.

Condo Association Report

Be aware that you have the right to see the minutes of the last condo association meeting, to find out if there are any problems currently in discussion. The last thing a new condo owner needs is a big construction fault that needs to be repaired just when they’re getting ready to move in. Or, worse, a major expense added to regular fees because of a pre-existing problem.

Get informed before you move in! It could save you a whole lot of nasty surprises.

See also:

Are you Cut Out for Condo Living?