David Lightner, CPI

Owner / Inspector

NJ Lic.24GI00104200

NJDEP MET12884

 

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Condominium and Townhome Inspections

                                                                            Call us to schedule at

(848) 565-7741

 

One of the first questions I’m asked is “If I’m buying a condominium (townhome), do I really need to get it inspected?”  Yes, you really should have it inspected. Even though the condominium (townhome) Home Owners Association (HOA) is often responsible for the exterior and common areas, there are still a lot of components that the condominium owner is responsible for. A prospective buyer should not take comfort that they do not have to worry about the exteriors. Often the association is unaware how the exterior conditions affect the unit’s interior.

     When I start my inspection I usually take a look around the exterior of the unit. I’m looking for anything that may have an adverse effect (water infiltration areas) to the interior. I check the steps, stairs, railings and walkways for your safety concerns. These items could be presented to the homeowners association for correction.

      The list of defects I have personally found in condos would surprise most people.

         Older complexes that were built in the 60’s and 70’s would not meet today’s standard building practices. Even though the building materials used during that time were acceptable, today we are experiencing major issues with them.  It would not be uncommon to find windows with failed thermal panes, broken sash cords. Poorly constructed decks that are not properly secured to the building, loose railings, undersized floor joists/no joist hangers (Safety Issues). Plumbing defects such as failing galvanized plumbing, leaks, and water damage. Aluminum wiring was widely use and is a potential safety hazard. Most electrical panels that were used during this time were; Zinsco and Federal Pacific Electric service panels (Major Concern). They are associated with circuit breaker failure, a latent fire hazard which may be present in the home.

      In the 80’s and 90’s, condominium/townhomes complexes became popular and new building materials and systems were used to meet this demand. One of the problems I find is when the Truss framing (roof rafters) have been compromised  to make room for mechanical equipment/ductwork. Missing insulation, not enough ventilation or disconnected vent pipes are common in attics. Some of the new siding products used had problems also. These are commonly associated with LP Inner Seal, Weyerhaeuser, and EIFS Stucco exterior cladding materials. Siding replacement is very expensive and not normally covered by monthly dues. As a result, the condominium/townhome homeowner’s associations have had to assess condo owners to have repairs of the faulty siding performed. Unfortunately there are still complexes that have not repaired their siding.

       Newer condo units are not exempt from defects either. Not enough ventilation for heating systems (Safety Issues) that are installed in closets. Water damage around toilets and showers is another concern found regularly. Improperly installed appliances such as; dishwashers, garbage disposals, washers/dryers”. Electrical distribution panel not grounded properly (Major Concern) or outlets wired backwards (Safety Issues) just to name a few defects.

      The purchase of your home is a large investment, and it is important to find out as much as you can before you close on the property. It is too late to ask the seller to fix defects after closing. The trained eye of an inspector can see when there are problems and the inspection will help you document defects, and give you an opportunity to negotiate repairs with the seller.

 So, do you feel you should have your condominium or townhome inspected?

                                                       Call us to schedule at

(848) 565-7741