Condo report writing

I am doing my first shared roof condo. How do you go about writing up roof and exterior in a condo if it is not going to be inspected? The pic is the condo I am inspecting and the location of the unit is the 3rd floor.


I usually look over the exterior and roof because there might be something that could affect the interior of the clients unit. The HOA might not be aware of it so if there’s a problem, I’ll put in the report.

If there are issues with, let’s say, the roof, then in my Roof Summary, I’ll put this:

“The Homeowners Association (HOA) is responsible for the roof system. Any mention of roof system issues in the report are complementary only.”

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“The Homeowners Association (HOA) is responsible for the roof system."

That is a risky statement to be putting in your report.

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That’s the standard for most condo’s and townhomes with the exception of Fee Simple scenarios. No risk if you know the HOA requirements.

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I wouldn’t put that statement in either.
Verify interior only, although most condos are owned from the paint in.
A brief walk around the exterior to check out any obvious safety or utility issues is as far as I go.
The bylaw should spell everything out and is up to the buyer to review.

I always inspect the exterior and roof when possible. If the roof is in poor condition and in need of repair or replacement, then I report this to the buyer. I don’t want the buyer to be surprised by a Special Assessment, by the HOA for a new roof after they move in. Same goes for other big ticket items like parking lot pavement or painting.
As a home inspector, our job is to report on the condition of the property. Whether an item is the owner’s or the HOA’s responsibility, the condo owner will have to either directly or indirectly pay for it.


I usually just state …"This is an interior inspection only ".
And the client already know it.

Alan: I agree with you. I do the same, for the same reasons. Anyone else agree with Alan, or is this just the “Arizona position”?

Dan Evans CPI, AI
ASHI Inspector #262370
NACHI Cert Prof Inspector #15082422
AZ HI Cert #62054
Sky Island Inspections LLC
Proudly Serving Southeastern Arizona


I agree with Alan, and inspect the exterior and roof when possible for the reasons he noted.


I approach condominium inspections like this.
1: Private area only. Fee $400.00 plus applicable taxes.
2: Private and Common areas. $500.00 plus applicable taxes.
1: Private area. Inspect and report on the private area only. Attached surfaces and features. Veneer, Deck, Balcony, Outlets, Gas connections, tubing, etc. Reports ><60 pages.
2: Private and Common areas. The building, walk driveway, Garage if applicable. Plumbing, utility rooms, services, water catch basins, Lot, Foundation, Veneer, Windows, Roof, Fire egress, etc. This is inspecting a commercial/residential building, remember. Report over 100 pages.

“The Homeowners Association (HOA) is responsible for the roof system. Any mention of roof system issues in the report are complementary only.”

I would not put that in my reports as (at least in my state and local), HOAs will very when it comes to responsibility of the roof and exterior. Some will assess a special fee when the complex is going to replace the roofs or make repairs to a roof that is common to a particular building, they may asses those effected. This is very much more likely for those that have composite shingles rather than tile. It is best to inform your client to read the HOA documents. I have found where some will also asses a fee when the common streets and parking areas are in need of refinishing or repair.

I inspect the roof or drainage area as far that it may effect (above) the unit I’m inspecting, even if the client’s unit is below another dwelling. I report it the same and if a defect, report it and then maybe inform them to check their HOA documents for responsibility.

Afternoon Stephen.

Typically/usually, the condo association building’s contingency fund covers the cost of repairing/replacing common areas. Moreover, the condo association will not totally deplete the contingency fund. It will not happen. As well, there may not be enough funds to cover the job. So. …
Typically/usually, to makeup the cost of/for common area repairs/replacement, IE; roof covering, veneer, windows, common areas that require repairs/replacement, the shareholders, condo owners, pay a percentage. Costs are adjusted by SQ. FT. Typically/usually divided by the square feet of living space owned by the share holder.
That is not to say that in certain cases the Association will bare the direct cost of repairs but that would be highly unlikely.

I charge the same for a condo as an SFM. And I inspect and report on all accessible exterior above, below, and around the client’s condo unit. Including parking lot, sidewalks, stairways, lighting, decking, etc.
IMO - anything less is lazy and a disservice to my client. If the client is paying a $3K a year maintenance fee, they should be informed of neglected or delayed maintenance.

And they should pay extra for it.
If they want a complete interior and exterior inspection then they will pay for it.
However, I leave that up to them.

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As well, taking on extra liability, by inspecting the commercial/residential building, increases your odds of errors and omissions.
1: I hope and inspector understands the risks.
2: I hope the inspector is insured for such occurrences.
3: I hope the inspector is properly trained/credentials.
4: I hope the inspectors fees reflect extra liability and training.
5: I hope the inspector understands the potential lost clients, marketing and income from/by omitting habitable space only and I have just scratched the surface of SOP, marketing, income, liability.

That’s a preposterous claim.

Do you knock on the neighbor’s door and ask to inspect the adjoining party wall too?
You going to inspect the exterior and roof of a high rise condo? Or the roof of a 4 story condo for a unit owner on the 2nd floor?
Do you get permission from the proper agency/HOA/owner to access the common areas, when the purposed buyer isn’t able or authorized to grant you access to these areas?
Where do you draw the line? Do you inspect the rec room and gym equipment because they “pay 3k a year maintenance fee”? Or the pool/spa, trash shoot, etc?
Many of these areas are locked and are not accessible, others are clearly off limits, which presents a trespass issue, so it isn’t “laziness” that prevents an inspection.

Not all “condos” are as simple as they sound.

Okay. Now - after all that - hows about just read that little snippet you added from my original response. SEE Keywords: “accessible exterior”.
And in this case…when viewing the photo in Tim’s original inquiry - what kind of hurry would an inspector have to be in to not check the exterior of that building?

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I liked this reply so much - I hit the “Like” button twice. Then realized that that doesn’t work. Apparently “1” or “3” are the magic numbers for the “Like” button.

Also agree. So it’s at least one Virginian’s position.
And this - building maintenance personnel come in all flavors. I can’t imagine telling my client “I didn’t bother looking at that 25’ elevated wood deck - maybe it has some detached joists, maybe not. Get that 19 year old kid (who 2 months ago was working at Taco Bell) riding around the facility on a golf cart, to check it out for ya”.

You can do whatever additional you want… That is up to you .
Time is money and if you spend additional time you should get additional money.
I’m sure if we noticed any significant exterior issues we would inform the client, but it wouldn’t be in my report.