Of course, the safe answer is always to get a home inspection no matter what type of property your’re purchasing. That being said, many people don’t really feel like home inspections for NYC apartments are entirely necessary. The nature of NYC condos and co-ops means that there are many units managed within the building, and it’s usually the responsibility of a property management company or the building owners to make sure that the apartments are safe and livable. For this reason, many buyers think it might be a waste of money to pay for a home inspection for a property that’s being managed and overseen.
The fact of the matter is that if you want peace of mind, you should get a home inspection whether you see it as necessary or not. Yes, it will cost you, but the price of a home inspection is tiny compared to all the other closing costs. Moreover, it could ultimately save you from repairs that could be extremely costly.
You might be viewing a New York City apartment and think that it looks in good condition or think that there are no repairs to be made, but to an untrained eye, potential problems can easily be passed over. This is where a home inspection comes in handy.
Home inspections for New York City apartments that are in smaller or older buildings are even more necessary. There’s a reasonably high likelihood that something’s wrong with the unit, such as issues with the roof, problems with the HVAC system, or electrical wiring that’s on the verge of bursting into flames. You really won’t know unless you hire a home inspector.
Costs for home inspections vary largely depending on the company or inspector that you choose and the size of the home being inspected. Typically speaking, they usually cost somewhere in the range of $500 to $1,000 for an average-sized apartment. Bear in mind that if the apartment you’re purchasing has specialty systems, this can drive up the cost of a home inspection. Now, if you’re trying to purchase something like a luxury townhouse, inspections could get in well into the $2,000 to $3,000 range.
Just as with any home inspection, apartment inspections take about an hour to two hours to complete. The home inspector will arrive and view the property, going over all vital systems such as heating and air conditioning units, electrical wiring, appliances, and everything else applicable. You should walk with your home inspector and feel free to ask questions if you’re unsure what they’re looking at. Your inspector will likely go over any significant issues that they find, so you’re immediately aware. Otherwise, you have to wait for your report to see what the lowdown is on your inspection. Reports typically only take a few business days to prepare before you receive them.
Your inspection report will then detail everything from minor issues to much more serious problems. Some NYC inspectors might also include repair estimations with the report. When you receive your inspection report, do your due diligence and take the time to go over it in detail. You don’t want to overlook any potential issues because the cost of those repairs can add up quickly, particularly if they’re serious.
Although the best advice is to be cautious and opt for an inspection most of the time, there might be a few situations where an inspection isn’t all that necessary and might end up being a waste of money. For example, if you’re planning on a complete renovation and intend to gut the apartment, a home inspection probably isn’t required. Your money would probably be better spent on the renovation itself. With a complete renovation, the vast majority of systems and items being inspected are going to be removed, so paying the cost for a full inspection is a waste.
You may also be able to get away with skipping a home inspection if you’re purchasing an apartment in a completely new development. If the new development has been built within very recent years, there’s a slim chance there would be issues.
Some buyers may also choose to forego a home inspection in a very competitive market. The housing market in New York City can be highly competitive. If you’re concerned about the apartment of your dreams slipping through your fingers while you wait for a home inspection, you may be willing to risk skipping it. Forgoing a home inspection can also help you stand out in a competitive seller’s market.
While you don't need to get a home inspection when buying an apartment in NYC, the most important thing to remember is if you don’t get an inspection, you risk having to pay the price of potential repairs. If you feel confident there won’t be any significant, costly problems, then feel free to give an NYC apartment inspection a miss. However, if you’re unsure, it’s always better to air on the side of caution and hire a professional home inspector, just to be sure. It’s better to be safe than sorry.