Apartment Inspection Checklist: Hidden Problems You Can Avoid
When you are on the lookout for an apartment or unit to call home, being prepared with an apartment inspection checklist is essential. Just like when you purchase a house, having your apartment inspected by a professional is one of those must-do activities. Whilst there are some differences between houses and apartments in terms of the scope of a pre-purchase building inspection, the core principles are the same.
Looks can be deceiving
The apartment you are looking to purchase may very well look to be in great condition. Current owners will certainly have done all they can to ensure it is presented well. A fresh coat of paint, new curtains and possibly even hired-in-furniture; all helping to give your potential new home the perfect feel. As with purchasing a house on a separate block of land, what is visible to an untrained eye may not be the whole truth. When it comes to purchasing a unit or apartment where you are living in a communal area, you need to consider more than just your four walls. You must also be aware of the condition of the overall building that could impact your financial situation in the long term.
It goes without saying that a building inspection on an apartment or unit is essential because once you sign on the dotted line you are not only responsible for repairs to your own apartment, but you may also be required to contribute to the repairs of common areas of the property.
Apartment inspection checklist
There are two main components to your apartment inspection checklist: the strata report or body corporate search and a professional pre-purchase building inspection. Both of these are easy to organise and together will help you make an informed decision.
1. Strata search
The main purpose of the strata search is to be informed about the overall property you are looking to buy. There may be ongoing issues with the building that are not obvious but you can be guaranteed that the strata report will uncover all there is to know and ensure you are aware of any hidden problems that you can most definitely avoid.
A strata report, in addition to a copy of the latest Annual General Meeting (AGM) minutes, will offer details relating to the following:
- annual body corporate fees
- current financial status
- pending or past maintenance and repair work
- reported defects and plans to address them
- previous or proposed special levies
- building insurance
- history of disputes or legal claims.
When purchasing an apartment, this report will paint the full picture and help you to identify hidden costs. It will also report concerns about ongoing issues that may highlight future expenses to which you could be expected to contribute.
2. Pre-purchase building inspection
Many people believe that a pre-purchase building inspection is not needed for a new property and not of much value for an apartment given the size compared to a home. This is a mistake. Whilst the inspection of an apartment can be completed in a much shorter time than a house, it is still very much an essential part of the equation. Knowing exactly what you are buying is critical, especially if there are unexpected hidden expenses coming your way.
Regardless of the age or quality of the property you are looking to purchase, a building inspection carried out by a professional is a must. Whilst the strata report will give you a clear view of the overall concerns related to the building and common property, there may be specific issues with your intended new home and surrounds that have not been detected or reported.
Building inspection report coverage
A building inspection will consider both the internal areas of your apartment or unit as well as the immediate exterior. It will also cover the general overall condition of the building.
A room-by-room inspection will identify any defects or concerns. It is important to be aware that issues commonly found in homes are also often present in an apartment too. Rising damp, electrical faults, cracks in walls, concerns with water pressure and even the presence of termites may be found.
An inspection will also review ventilation in the laundry and bathroom that could result in mildew and damp timber. It will also consider noise potential from neighbours, such as sounds that permeate due to flushing toilets, air conditioners and general movement.
Whilst access to the roof space may not be possible, a professional inspector will closely examine the overall condition of the building and any visible signs of damage that could cause issues with your new home. Even though issues noted may not be a direct concern to you, they could form part of a special levy that your body corporate can require you to pay. Communal living zones can end up being expensive.
Before buying an apartment, you should request a copy of the latest Annual General Meeting (AGM) notes, visit the complex during the day and at night to gauge the living environment and noise level, organise a strata search and most importantly have your apartment professionally assessed.
Professional building inspections are a must
Don’t take the look of an apartment or unit you intend to purchase at face value. Only the experts in property inspections will be able to advise you whether your investment is sound and, most importantly, safe. Hidden expenses can be avoided.
You can choose to be present for your inspection, too. Even though you are entitled to a detailed report outlining noted concerns, it pays to be present. For an investment of a few hundred dollars a combined building and pest inspection will give you peace of mind. You may uncover hidden information about your intended purchase, which may help you to negotiate the purchase price or empower you to walk away.
Once you have done your research and you are armed with your apartment inspection checklist give Action Property Inspections a call.
When you choose Action Property Inspections, you can be confident that your property will be given a thorough inspection, inside and out.