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excalibur
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To all inspectors out there that have condo units in they're home town.Every time i have a condo unit to inspect i always check any concerned documents that could bring a potential problem for my client safety.

My last verification concerned a 2 bedrooms unit 1998 located on the second floor in Monteal ,Canada. My first detection was some water infiltrations,on the living room ceiling ,that were recently repaired. My client had a document stating that the water infiltrations , of this unit was verified in 2005 by an engeneer company but they never found the exact problem. They said that the leaks could come from an improper installation of the flashing located on an exterior balcony located over the ceiling of the second floor unit.The reserved cash condo association showed the bank was at zero. All those expenses were given to expertise and other fees.I told my client to call the engeneers and the president of the condo association for more informations on the costs of the repairs and other important infos. The engenner told him that without been sure,the costs of the repairs should be around 20.000$ to 30.000$ but more tests will be done in the summer 2006. I explained to my client that those extra fees will be the condo owner's (6) responsibility and will bring future important costs. My client did not by the unit for those reasons This 2 bedrooms was going to be sell for 190.000$. After more verifications, i learned that all 6 balconies were having the same problem ! 20.000$ X 6.

I just thought to remind you that it is always good and in the interest of your client to verify every concerned documents for his own protection " I thruly beileve that the loyal job of being an inspector is not limited to the building components verifications but you guys already knew about that right ?

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I think it is to far out of the scope of a Home Inspection to review condo documents and advise the client as to their meaning. This sounds like lawyer work.

I feel My job is to find the defect and then advise the client that they should verify who would be responsible for the repairs and cost.

All condo are different. I have seen cases where there was a bad roof but the condo association did not have enough reserves so the unit owners were billed for the full cost of the roof.

The only time I will review documents for the client is if there was a repair made and the clients asks my to look at the receipt to give an opinion weather or not it was the right type of repair.

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Well Mark my client ask me to look in those documents and after reading them you can't just say nothing at all! If you are concern of your client purpose and it is not the home agent that will do so, in my opinion if you don't recommend that your client makes further verifications ( like it says in the above) .I understand the lawyer's concerned but this is always good after the sell.Before problems , why not suggest and advise your client of a protential problem ? It is the inspector minimum recomendations. If you don't do so , i don't undestand how my job can be properly done !

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I always recommend that my customers review the condo documents; if possible, have them read a year of meeting notes also. That's where the dirt is usually hidden. It's very easy to hide problems in obscure budgets & management company lingo.

If a customer wanted me to "read" the documents, I'd be glad to; it isn't complicated, hard, or anything else. It's just condo notes. Very often, it's illuminating. Of course, one should recommend that they go over this stuff w/their attorney (if there is one), but otherwise, I do whatever my customer wants me to do, & charge accordingly. Baseline, don't do anything you are uncomfortable with, or know nothing about.

Personally, I object to the role of "home inspector as functional moron" that the realtor-zoids try to rope us into. The idea that our job is "only about the house" is a mistaken one; we can't be pushing our way into areas we are not welcome, but I have no problem reviewing information for my customers. Usually, I'm the only one doing it effectively; everyone else is involved in trying to make the deal happen.

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Hi,

If they've got the documents when I'm on-site I'll look at them. Otherwise, they'll have to do their own homework. I don't just do paint to paint.

If I have access to the roof I go up on the roof. I also go through every public area in the building, utility room and electro/mechanical rooms, if I can get into them.

If I see a bad roof, I'll randomly pick another building and check that roof too.

If I find a rotting exterior deck, balcony or carport, I walk the entire complex and get a count of how many others look like they're rotting.

If I find improperly installed siding, windows or doors on the customer's building and issues being caused by that, I'll look at a few more buildings to see if the issue is repeated elsewhere.

If I find drainage and landscaping issues with the building in question, I'll walk the complex and see if they are indemic throughout.

If I find a crawlspace with vapor barriers not installed properly, debris everywhere, water, etc, etc, I try to get into one or two others to see if the problem is repeated.

Sure, I'm inspecting that condo, but the client might be buying into a whole passle of other issues. If I can give them the information that makes them aware of that, I do.

I charge the same for a condo that I do for a full home. I've got one price for everything up to 1500 square feet and it goes up after that, so they're paying for it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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That's pretty much my approach, although multi-building complexes are rare in my market. The inner city condos are always a single building. I charge like a single family, & it takes just about as long. Of course, most of the buildings I see are from 4 - 20 units; not that hard to check out a single roof, exterior, porches, etc.

On the giant >100 unit towers, I'm paint to paint, w/a review of mechanical in the building.

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I get so much grief over this little statement I make when the main disconnects are located in a common LOCKED meter closet, it's unbelievable:

"Suggest client label meter & disconnect/shut-off for easy identification. This can be done by checking the meter number that is included with your utility bill.

Client should have full & complete access to electric meters with main disconnects so the electricity may be turned off in case of emergencies or when work is being conducted."

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

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Hi,

Yeah, I always tell them to spread the word to everyone in the complex that they're supposed to all have access to the panel array and everything is supposed to be labeled. The only one's who seem to freak out over it though are the little old biddies that they normally choose to make the condo association president. They're usually on a power trip and don't want to give up that little bit of control.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Where do you draw the line regarding the scope of your inspections? We all know that if you stuck to the ASHI standards it would be a poor inspection, so most inspectors exceed this scope to meet the minimum acceptable "standard of care" in your area.

For example: the standards don't require you to walk on roofs, but if you don't, and most others inspectors do, then you will not have a defensible position in court if you miss something.

We all exceed the standards everyday. My point is that it is very easy to cross the line. There are many parties involved in a real estate transaction. Inspectors, Realtors, Attorney's, mortgage company's, and Tile company's we all have a scope of the transaction that is our responsibility.

If you feel comfortable reviewing legal documents for your client and giving them advice, than fine. Condo by-laws are legal documents. Because I think it is best to recommend that the client have them reviewed by a attorney does not make me a functional moron.

Most inspectors get upset with other's like agents or appraisors encroach on our responsibilities. We should also be respectful of other peoples professions.

Finally, I don't understand the comment that was made that It's not right to recommend that the client verify something. Everyday Inspectors recommend that something be done. Many times we recommend the something needs further evaluation like by and engineer or a mold expert. Whats wrong with recommending that the client verify who will be responsible for something.

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Hi,

Well, I think that unless specifically prohibited, the "line" is drawn where each individual inspector feels comfortable drawing it. No more no less. The initiator of the thread voiced his opinion. You disagreed with it and some others agree and disagree with you. There's no foul there. That's the way of it.

I think you took Kurt's comment about 'functioning moron' way too personally and out of context. Read Kurt's comment again. He says, "I object to the role of "home inspector as functional moron" that the realtor-zoids try to rope us into." He wasn't naming you or anyone else specifically is one and, unless you are one of the folks who allows themselves to be led around with a nose ring by realtor-zoids, there's no reason to infer that he did.

As for making recommendations that the client should verify something, I don't think anyone is saying not to do that either. If I look at documents that a client has on-site I always tell them to make sure they are careful to also have someone else who's smarter than me look at them as well and to ensure they do their due diligence. I don't consider myself the sharpest tack in the bulletin board by a long shot, so I'm not shy about covering my butt with a redundant recommendation (It's an Army thing.).

A few recommendations I make with regularity, even when there's no basis for them, is to recommend that clients check with the municipality to ensure that a permit for an oil tank install or decommissioning was never issued for properties over 40 years old where there's no overt indication that there's ever been a tank; to get the sewer line between the house and the street scoped on all pre-1970 homes and to check whether their home is in an active slide or flood zone. These are recommendations that put me in my comfort zone and I'm sure there are probably some that you or someone else makes that I would feel are uncalled for but they are what put you in yours.

If the realtor doesn't like it, too bad, I'm the one inspecting the home, not them, and I'm the one carrying the liability.

It's just a discussion board. Nobody is condemning anyone else here for doing things their own way - just commenting about differences in their approaches. After all, if everyone did everything exactly the same way without deviation for the same reasons, there wouldn't be any need for places like TIJ, would there?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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