Home Inspections on Townhouses

June 9th, 2017
Home Inspections on Townhouses

Are You Getting a Proper Townhouse Inspection?

It is thought by most people in the real estate industry that a townhouse inspection is quicker, easier, and will turn up less defects than a single family home inspection.  That could not be further from the truth! A townhouse inspection usually takes the same amount of time and equal amount of work as a single family home inspection and often finds many of the same defects.

During a townhouse inspection we will inspect the unit and the common areas.  Many home buyers believe that an inspection of the common areas is not necessary because they are typically owned by the association itself. However, if the townhouse inspection turns up that the complex will need a new roof soon, and the association has not budgeted for this, who will be paying?

A townhouse inspection will never be thorough if it only includes looking at the single unit itself.  An inspector must look at all aspects of the building which includes not only the common areas but also the roof and exterior.  Some inspectors will offer lower prices because they do not include these areas in their townhouse inspections, but the entire inspection could be a waste of time and money at that point because so many problems could be passed over.

Some Common Problems Found During a Townhouse Inspection


Roof defects in townhouses are incredibly common. Often times, a home inspector will find defects that nobody is even aware of yet or in some cases, an inspector will find defects that have been found and unsuccessfully 'repaired'.

An inspector will look for  things like tree branches resting on rooftops, shingles that have reached or are about to reach their lifespan, and how ice and snow is removed from rooftops.

Old Shingles

All of these things you will want to know before purchasing a townhouse aswell as if the townhouse association has funds allocated towards roof replacement.

Exterior Maintenance

A proper townhouse inspection will reveal any defects in the exterior maintenance of the townhouse complex.  Although exterior maintenance is also the responsibility of the townhouse association, once again, if they are not aware of these defects, will they have funds allocated to pay for the repairs?

During a townhouse inspection an inspector will look at many things such as retaining walls, guardrails and handrails, siding, ducts and much more that could potentially cost you money if defects turn up. 

A defect in siding like stucco, for example, could end up costing a townhouse owner an incredible amount of money.  Invasive moisture testing should always be completed When inspecting stucco townhouses.

Stucco Damage


Often times, decks in townhouse complexes are the responsibility of the homeowner. An easy indicator of this is seeing decks in different states of repair. If all the decks throughout the complex look similar, than it is usually safe to say that they are the responsibility of the townhouse association.  In either case, it is important for a townhouse inspection to include the deck.

Rotting Deck

An inspector will look at if the deck is safe and properly constructed.  Many deck defects can turn up during a townhouse inspection some of which include use of improper nails, rot, and improperly attached decks.

Saving Money In The Long Run

Sure, if you want to save a few bucks up front you could forgo an exterior inspection of a townhouse. If you want to save even more money, you could even completely opt out of a townhouse inspection altogether!  However, defects are very commonly found on the exterior of townhouses and these problems are often the expensive ones that we can assure you will cost more than the possible $100 you could save forgoing and exterior inspection.  

Simply put, a townhouse should always be fully inspected inside and out prior to purchase.  A townhouse inspection is equally as important as a single family home inspection and can turn up some potentially big future expenses.

Save money. Get a townhouse inspection!