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Condo checklist: Things you need to inspect

If you want flexibility, access to amenities, and getting to live in some of the best locations in San Diego, vertical living by means of a condo is the way to go. But just like with any other real estate property, you must keep a discriminating eye in order to find the one.

I’ve prepared an inspection checklist to help you find the perfect condo. Save this on your phone or print it out and take it with you as you explore high rise condos for sale in San Diego. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know!

Your condo inspection checklist

As you tour condos for sale in San Diego, take note of the following:

In the condo unit

Floors and ceilings
  • Spots or marks
  • Cracks
  • Spacing in between flooring and baseboards
  • Loose or cracked tiles
  • Sloping floors

(Spots, marks, and loose tiles and/or wood planks are indicative of water damage caused by leaks. Meanwhile, a sloping floor is a major structural issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible).

Walls and windows
  • Cracks on the walls
  • Rough or rugged walls
  • Spotting on both walls and windows
  • The windows don’t close seamlessly

(As with floors and ceilings, cracks imply structural issues and spots can indicate water damage and the presence of mold. If you have problems closing the windows, you might have trouble with air circulation in the condo).

  • Doors close quietly
  • Locks are in proper working order
  • All the keys to the doors are accounted for
Kitchen, bathrooms, and plumbing
  • Fixtures (faucets, showerheads, toilets, sinks, etc.) are in proper working order
  • Cabinets open and close properly
  • Furniture and other fittings are the right size for the space
  • There is steady water pressure coming from the faucets and showerheads
  • No pipe leaks found
  • Flushes work well
  • No water damage in the shower
  • *Water heater works and meets current standards

(Gaps in the caulking can lead to water leaks and, eventually, damage. Because most of the plumbing features require technical expertise, it’s best you invite a professional home inspector to check these with you).

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)

Like plumbing, this one is more for the pros. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t do your own bit of work. Ask the agent or the previous owner to tick the appropriate boxes:

  • The HVAC is part of a central system
  • The condo has its own HVAC
  • The HVAC works properly

You can also ask about the operating costs of the HVAC as these can greatly affect your overall household budget. It can also be that the HVAC system is expensive to maintain but hardly efficient.

Electrical system

Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Scorch marks near or around fuses and breakers
  • Loose wiring
  • Some of the outlets and switches don’t work

Engage an electrician to visit the condo unit so they can test the electrical outlets, check if there are any sparking wires, identify if there are any system upgrades needed, and determine whether the installed electrical system is safe or a potential fire hazard.


Entire building and amenities

Do a walkthrough of the building and tour the amenities available to see if everything is in good condition. Also check if the following are available:

  • Parking spaces
  • Street and outdoor lighting
  • Security cameras and other parameters
Services offered

Some condos go the extra mile and provide additional services, such as concierge and laundry. Ask what’s available and if they’re included in the HOA or otherwise.

Technical audit

Ask the management if the condo already underwent a technical and reserve fund audit. This will help you determine the overall condition of the building.

Condo documents and use of funds

This is optional, but you can also ask to see minutes of meetings from the past year to see how issues, like structural improvements and repairs, were handled.

A couple of reminders

    • Don’t think twice about hiring a professional to come and take a look at the features you’re unfamiliar with. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
    • Ask the seller’s agent if you can take pictures for documentation, just in case an expert’s opinion isn’t readily available.
    • If you have any questions about the condo while touring the unit, go ahead and ask. It’s best to get as much information as possible before you commit to buying a property.
    • Don’t settle on a condo if you’re bothered by the condition of some of its features. Work with a real estate agent in San Diego, CA to find a condo that doesn’t compromise on your safety and quality of life.

Contact me, Max Mervis, at 619.980.8385 or max(at)sandiegohighrises(dotted)com to learn more about buying a condo in San Diego.