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Condo inspections need extra care!

A recent end unit condo townhouse inspection was normal, with a few typical issues noted. In fact, it was a terrific property with great space, and nicely upgraded. The odd thing was that there were areas of deteriorated wood on the balcony that made me question how well the HOA was maintaining the entire building.

Balcony deterioration

Is the HOA diligently maintaining the building?

Condo title usually means that the HOA maintains the building exterior including windows, external walls, roof, balconies, etc. In fact, most condo association rules do not allow the home owner to do any form of maintenance on these areas.

Most inspectors look at these elments for general condition, but do not inspect them in detail.

The entire building roof had recently been replaced, but these balcony problems were visible from the street so I decided to walk around the building to get a sense of the general condition of the building.

These few pictures speak for themselves. This was a very nice development in a great NOVA location. The condo interiors were outstanding, with many having extensive upgrades since the early 90s. The exterior of the building was badly deteriorated as these pictures show. The deterioration was widespread, suggesting seriously delinquent maintenance. The buyer, buyer agent, and broker were stunned. There were obvious problems with the HOA, the management company, or both. The value of these condos was certainly going to be impacted unless and until some serious remediation was completed. The buyer loved the condo, but was not prepared to take the risk that the work would be done, or that there would be large special assessments on the owners to cover the project.

The home inspection actually did kill this deal, but the buyers and the realtor were glad to be out of it before the buyer bought into some potential trouble.

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