How Did They Manage This

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

I have heard it said that inspecting a condominium is an easy job. I don't know who said it, but I don't think they were inspecting condo's in Connecticut. The majority of condo's here seem to be built in the 80's. There are some from the 1970's all the way up to now, but the 80's seems to be the decade of the condo.

The last two units I inspected were both built in the early 70's, I know, it doesn't jibe with my observation. I have been in both complexes numerous times. As with any set of buildings, a company is in charge of the maintenance. One complex is obviously well maintained, the other not as well, but I have seen worse.

Roof pools, not for swimming.

One part of any unit I make certain to look at is the roof. While I understand the exterior maintenance is under the responsibility of the maintenance company, a lot can be learned about on how well they are doing their job by examining the outside of the unit, especially the roof.

The unit I inspected most recently was in the complex with the okay maintenance company. Most of the buildings in this community have flat roofs, with the unit I was looking over being no exception. When inside I noted damage and repairs to the ceiling, this being a second floor unit. So as is my routine I got out the ladder and went up to the roof for a look. It had been pouring rain all morning, so this was an opportune time.

When I got up to the roof what I saw was no surprise. Pools of water right over the spots with the damage I saw inside. That's going to leak again. What I noticed next was a surprise. And quite concerning.

Deteriorated electric wire taking a swim in a roof poolThere was a wire, an electrical wire, running right through the pond on the roof. I followed it to a nearby security light attached to the roof edge. The other end went to another light. The wire was first off, not an outdoor grade, it once being mostly white. The white insulation however was mostly gone, a victim of the sun's UV light. The individual wires that had once been under the protective sheathing, were now getting some sunny rays of their own.

This installation is so wrong, so unprofessional that I would have a hard time even pinning it on old Uncle Bob. One would have to assume that since the work was done on the roof, the "installer" must have figured no one would see and be the wiser.

It is important to take a good look at the entire complex. Does it look nicely maintained or is it rough around the edges.

If you don't pay attention you could be in for a shock later on.

Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

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Rainer
278,100
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Don't you get a lot of snow up there? I am surprised that you have flat roofs!  But that electrical "work" is inexcusable.

Jun 26, 2012 11:18 PM #15
Rainmaker
592,740
Than Maynard
Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma - Purcell, OK
Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862

A roof top swiming pool is a great feature. I assume they get a premium for this? ;-)

Jun 26, 2012 11:21 PM #16
Rainer
57,945
Wayne Jackson
Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109 - Hayden, ID
North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake

James, Great pictures. Flat roofs are nothing but trouble. Fortunately they are very rare in my area.

Jun 26, 2012 11:43 PM #17
Ambassador
1,333,700
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jim, you missed the boat here (and did you have one to inspect the roof by the way?) that wire is a combination feed to a light and ice melting equimpment.

Jun 26, 2012 11:59 PM #18
Rainmaker
2,666,604
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

I love your pun at the end.  Sounds like it may also be time for them to hire a new maintenance company.

Jun 27, 2012 02:11 AM #19
Rainer
262,320
Robert Sole
REM Inspections LLC - Winter Springs, FL

I don't know haow many times I have heard "It's a condo so you don't have to inspect the exterior or the roof".  I politely tell them that I feel the buyer should know the condition of both the roof and the exterior if they are buying the unit.  I always inspect the exterior just as I would on a single family home and I also inspect the roof if I can get to it.

Jun 27, 2012 02:17 AM #20
Rainer
134,121
Laura Murray
Weichert - Silver Spring, MD
Search Montgomery Co., MD for homes www.MDRealEstateOnline.com

Reasons like this is why I will only hire licensed legal workers. I also am not happy when you hire a licensed contractor and they bring in day laborers to work under their license.

Jun 27, 2012 02:21 AM #21
Rainmaker
288,406
Tim Bradley
Contour Investment Properties - Jackson Hole, WY
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY

Good reason to ask the HOA how much money they have in reserves...to pay for that new roof.

Jun 27, 2012 04:01 AM #22
Rainmaker
316,101
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi James, nice post and love the pun intended in your last line.                              

Jun 27, 2012 04:03 AM #23
Rainer
284,418
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA

James-- Robert (#20) along with Tim (#22) nailed it -- condo purchasers need a thorough inspection including roof & exterior to know whether the group tasked with managing the complex are doing a reasonable job of keeping on top of the extended time frame items.

Jun 27, 2012 04:43 AM #24
Rainmaker
434,606
Adam Brett
The Adam and Eric Group - Fullerton, CA
The Adam and Eric Group, Fullerton's Finest

Thanks for posting James, a valid point about the importance of having condo's inspected. Appreciate you taking the time out to share this.

Jun 27, 2012 08:24 AM #25
Rainmaker
841,117
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Jim -- I am glad your normal routine is to take out your ladder and get a look at the roof. Many inspectors do NOT do that. The buyers were lucky they chose you to do the inspection.

Jun 27, 2012 11:07 AM #26
Rainmaker
901,947
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

You are right - when it comes to a condominium it really important to look at the entire complex.

Jun 27, 2012 11:38 AM #27
Rainmaker
3,301,144
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

James -- yes, you are exactly right --- condominium inspections need to take into account all aspects of a complex -- not just the interior.   I tell my buyers the same thing -- don't just look at the unit itself --- you're buying into an  association and the grounds and common areas can give very important clues.

Jun 27, 2012 01:28 PM #28
Ambassador
2,556,088
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Jim, whoever did the job must have assumed that the people that hired him wouldn't look up there either. A serious accident waiting to happen

Jun 27, 2012 01:48 PM #29
Rainmaker
683,909
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Richard, No question BURs are always problematic.

Edward, I've seen some sloppy stuff in some of the older complexes. 

Michael, I'm not, but it is document for my client who was advised to do so. 

Rob, More like a boiling kettle :)

Robert, I think a little of both.

Richie, Unfortunately larger buildings can only be topped with flat roofs. 

Kathryn, Yes we do, but the buildings are built to take the snow or at least it was thought up until 2 winters ago.

Than, I'm sure it's include in the HOA fees :)

Wayne, Thanks, there are more than a few here in CT. 

Jun 27, 2012 09:40 PM #30
Rainmaker
683,909
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Charlie, Now that would be a great feature for this roof. However me thinks they may have a flaw in their design :)

Debbie, Thanks. It may be that time indeed. 

Robert, The CT SoP does not differentiate inspecting a condo from a house. In order to follow the rules one must inspect the exterior. That being said, the exterior should be done as you say, as a minimum standard of care for the client. 

Laura, I would think as long as the work is done well and correctly, it should not matter who does the labor. 

Tim, That was discussed. 

Sandy, Thanks.

Steven, Absolutely. Part of what a buyer is paying for is maintenance. 

Adam, My pleasure, thanks for taking the time to read.

Jun 27, 2012 09:50 PM #31
Rainmaker
683,909
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Barbara, Thanks. It's funny you say that (about the ladder), because that was mentioned by this buyer's agent too. 

Joy, It's what I do as I'm driving to the unit. You can learn a lot by looking around. 

Michael, Thanks. Buyer's are focused on the house, we can help broaden their perspective. 

Ed, Yep, I think that may have been the thought process. 

Jun 27, 2012 09:54 PM #32
Rainmaker
233,461
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

What do you do with high-rise condos?  Do you charge extra for this?

Jul 08, 2012 11:59 AM #33
Rainmaker
683,909
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Reuben, This was hardly high rise, but if I need to go on the roof and I can get there easily and safely, I go. No extra charge.

Jul 09, 2012 10:51 PM #34
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