Buying a Duplex, Triplex, or Quadplex in San Antonio? Home Inspections for Multi-Family Dwellings
We’re seeing more and more multi-family dwellings bought and sold in San Antonio, and most buyers are wise enough to get a home inspection for these buildings. While of course we’ll say home inspections are important and should be performed on any home being bought, there multi-family housing has a particular need for them.
Why Are Home Inspections Important for Multi-Family Housing?
Multi-family housing is typically constructed in a manner similar to most any other housing, with a few differences, such as parting/demising walls between each unit to isolate them from one another in case of a fire. More often than not, multi-family homes have multiple floors, which come with all the usual problems that owning a multi-story home come with, such as drain leaks. Often, each unit will have their own individual water-heating system, as well other appliances depending on home, all of which require inspection.
The most important reason for getting a home inspection performed on a multi-family home is to take inventory on the condition of the property. Consider this: almost all multi-family homes are purchased as income or investment properties. The primary reason to purchase these homes is to turn a profit through rent, but in the process of generating revenue, expenses are going to come up. With multiple units, you’re going to have multiple tenants, tenants who may have very different attitudes and means of addressing or reporting problems when they arise (or if they haven’t been fixed yet).
Let’s face it: not all landlords take care of their properties (or their tenants) equally. Some landlords neglect a building to the point of disrepair, and will only step in to perform maintenance if it jeopardizes their ability to extract rent. Our primary goals when inspecting multi-family homes are to observe and document any deficiencies or problems that are present, including problems that were not addressed by the prior owners. We also try to include a verbal condition report of some of the appliances and systems of each unit, such as the condition of the condensers or water heaters.
The inspection report should show the investor not just what is immediately a defect, but also the general condition of the property and what maintenance may be coming due in the future. We want you to be able to not just negotiate for repairs with the current owner, but to better plan where your next dollars are going to be spent.
What is the Difference Between Single-Family Housing and Multi-Family Housing Inspections?
Overall, much of the inspection and the report is the same, but there are accommodations that must be made. For instance, we try to number/letter each picture included in the inspection report so that deficiencies listed correspond to a specific unit for easier correction. We try to include pictures of each individual condenser unit, each water heater, etc.
We spend more time looking at the ceilings and floors of multi-family buildings, because leaks, floods, and water splashes are so much more common and it is typical for multiple stories to be present. In this case, we want to make sure that any water damage present is investigated so that the cause of the water damage can be immediately repaired and ideally, prevented in the future.
Another big difference is the timing of the inspection: most of the time, multi-family dwellings are occupied, so scheduling a day for each tenant to be home to grant us access to the interior is often difficult. We HIGHLY recommend that as soon as you enter contract on the building, the buyer’s agent, listing agent, and/or property management get together to inform the tenants and come up with a concrete date for inspection access.
How Much Does a Duplex, Triplex, or Quadplex Inspection Cost?
Great question, but unlike single-family homes, this is one that we can’t easily answer.
Simply put, there are more variables to consider when inspecting multi-family housing in comparison to single-family housing. Because of this, you’re going to need to call or email us directly for pricing on multi-family housing inspections.
(Check out our other inspection services, like Thermal Imaging, Foundation Survey, WDI/Termite Inspections and More!)
Buying a Multi-Family Home?
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Contact Your Home Inspectors
Home Inspector Kyle D. Scott
TREC # 23813 - TDA # 0819063
Ensure Home Inspections provides thorough inspections, detailed reports, and personalized consultations at affordable prices in San Antonio, TX & surrounding areas to Homebuyers, Homesellers, and their realtors. Offering WDI/Termite Inspections, Thermal Imaging, Drone Roof Inspections, Foundation Elevation Survey and more!
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