Chicago Home Inspection

“Should I have my condo inspected?” is a question we hear a lot. Even though the condominium owners association is often responsible for the exteriors, there are still a lot of components that the condo owner is responsible for.

The list of defects we have found in condos would surprise most people. In older complexes it would not be uncommon to find windows with multiple failed thermal panes. Rotting decks. Electric baseboard heaters that are inoperative. Plumbing defects such as failing galvanized plumbing, leaks, and water damage. Aluminum wiring is a potential safety hazard in 60’s and 70’s era condos.

Newer condo units are not exempt from defects either. Combustion air and missing firewall protection is common as well as improperly installed appliances and mis-wired electrical outlets.

There are a lot of newer complexes that have had siding problems. These are commonly associated with unsealed concrete block, poorly tuckpointed brick, improperly installed vinyl and EIFS Stucco (i.e Dryvit) exterior cladding materials. Siding replacement is very expensive and not normally covered by monthly dues. As a result the condo associations have had to assess owners to have repairs of the faulty siding performed. Unfortunately there are still complexes that have not repaired their siding.

A prospective buyer should not take comfort that they do not have to worry about the exteriors. Often the association is unaware that common systems have failed, making the problem worse and therefore more expensive to repair. The trained eye of an inspector can see when there are problems and alert you as a prospective buyer.

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. Even if the seller did not disclose the defects on the Form 17. An inspection will help you document defects, and give you an opportunity to address potential issues with the seller.