|Even if you aren’t technically trained, there are easy ways to judge the quality of condo construction. Book an appointment to view the property and bring along a flashlight, a “night light”, and a golf ball. Then follow these five simple tips:
#1 Test the Major Appliances and Heating/AC Units
When you arrive at the condo, begin by testing the heating and air conditioning systems. Turn on the oven and the heat. If you’re viewing the property in winter, you may prefer to turn off the heat and crank up the air conditioning. As you tour the condo, these systems will have time to boot-up and prove their worth, and if they aren’t functioning properly you’ll be able to detect it within 10 or 15 minutes. Make sure that heat or air conditioning is delivered to every part of the condo, and that the oven heats up in a timely manner. Just be sure to turn everything off or back to the original settings before you leave.
#2 Check the Plumbing and Electrical Systems
As you walk from room to room, check the plumbing by briefly turning on the various taps and watching to see if the water pressure is sufficient and if drainage is fast. Slow drains may just need cleaning to remove clogs, but lack of pressure in any building – or sluggishness in a brand new condo – may mean that the plumbing system is inadequate.
Turn on lights in every room, and use the “night light” you brought to test the wall outlets. If you plug it in and it doesn’t light up, the outlet is probably dead. Any outlet near water – such as in the kitchen and bathrooms – should be the special kind that interrupts the flow of electricity in the event of a power surge. If the condo does not have them it needs upgrading. Three-prong outlets are important for rooms where you will operate computers and small appliances, so survey the condo to determine if those are present in sufficient numbers.
#3 Check the Walls, Ceilings, and Floors