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Townhome Inspections in Calgary

by | May 15, 2023

As you look for a new home in Calgary, the home inspection likely isn’t a major factor in your decision between a single family home or a townhome.

However, understanding what a home inspector reviews and considers during the inspection process can provide added insight as you house shop. Both types of homes have their advantages and disadvantages.

It can be difficult to know which one is right for you, but utilizing this additional information  helps ensure you’re making a more informed decision.

Townhome Inspections in Calgary
Home Inspectors Calgary

Inspecting Detached Single Family Homes vs. Townhomes

  • Detached single family homes refer to your tried and true traditional standalone home. These are your homes that do not share any walls with neighbouring homes. Single family homes can range in size from small bungalows to large estate homes, and they often come with larger yards and more outdoor space than attached townhomes. 

    From a home inspection standpoint, detached single family homes generally come with less complexity, but make up for it by requiring one or two more exterior walls to be inspected. Because there are no shared walls or roofs to worry about, inspectors can focus on inspecting the entire home with much less concern towards neighbouring units.

    One major advantage of detached single family homes is that they often offer more privacy and a greater sense of ownership than attached townhomes. Due to building elements not being shared by multiple people, homeowners have more control over their property and can often make changes and upgrades more easily.

Inspecting Attached Homes, Townhomes or Row Housing

  • Attached homes, also known as row housing or townhomes, are homes that share one or more walls with neighbouring homes. In some cases a unit may share a wall at both sides, and the rear. This means that they often have a smaller footprint, and stand on a smaller plot of land than detached single family homes. When it comes to inspections, attached townhomes present unique challenges. Sharing a wall directly with neighbouring homes means it’s important to understand how each unit interacts with the other. This proximity to the neighbour means that there’s the potential for issues on their property to have negative effects on your own unit. 

  • During the inspection of a townhome your inspectors will pay special attention to the shared walls and the roof. The shared wall acts as a fire separation between units in the event of a fire, and damage to drywall or openings added by home owners will compromise this. Your Calgary Home Inspectors will ensure this separation is intact from foundation to the underside of the attic roof. In mentioning roofs, it’s critical that your inspector is looking at the roof design, how it drains, where it terminates and kicks out water and how this affects your property. Another overlooked component is the downspout locations – are these draining across property lines? Is your neighbours drainage causing pooling, or negative drainage on your plot?

Freehold vs. Condo Land Titles for Townhomes

  • Freehold and condo land titles are two different types of property ownership in Canada, and the type of land title can have a significant impact on townhomes and their inspections.

    A freehold title means that the homeowner owns the land and the property on it, which gives the homeowner the most control and flexibility over their property. This type of ownership is common for detached single-family homes and some townhomes, especially those that are not part of a condominium complex.

    On the other hand, a condo land title means that the homeowner owns their unit within a larger building or complex, but does not own the land the building is on. The land is owned and managed by a condo corporation, which oversees the maintenance and repair of common areas such as hallways, elevators, and parking lots. This type of ownership is common for high-rise apartment buildings, townhouse complexes, and some low-rise buildings.

Condo Inspection

Freehold Inspections vs. Condo Inspections for Townhomes

  • When it comes to inspections, the type of land title can impact the extent of the inspection. For example, if you own a freehold townhome, the inspector will inspect the entire property, including the building and the land it sits on. This can include the exterior of the building, the roof, the foundation, the grading and drainage around the property, and any outbuildings or structures.

    If you are purchasing a townhome with a condo land title, the inspector will typically only inspect the interior of the unit, as the condo corporation is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the building and the common areas. It is important for homeowners to understand what type of land title they have, as this will impact the extent of the inspection and what items will fall under the home inspector’s scope.

    Additionally, the type of land title can also impact the homeowner’s responsibilities for maintenance and repairs. With a freehold title, the homeowner is responsible for all maintenance and repairs on their property, including the exterior of the building and the land it sits on. With a condo title, the condo corporation is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the building and the common areas, while the homeowner is responsible for maintaining the interior of their unit.

Detached Home Inspections in Calgary
Calgary Home Inspection

Booking your townhome inspection in Calgary

  • The choice between a townhome and a detached single family home will largely come down to personal preference and life stage. Both types of homes have their advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to weigh these factors carefully before making a decision. In the case of townhomes understanding the difference between freehold and condo land titles is important when it comes to both ownership and home inspections. Homeowners should be aware of the type of land title they have, as this will impact the extent of the inspection and their responsibilities for maintenance and repairs.

    Whether you’re looking for a townhome or a detached single family home we are committed to helping you make an informed decision about your home purchase. Your Calgary Home Inspectors can help you understand what to expect during the inspection process and identify any issues that may need to be addressed.

    If you’re ready, schedule a  townhome inspection in Calgary here. Looking forward to working with you!

Home Inspection FAQ’s

  • Is it more expensive to inspect a detached single-family home than a townhome?

  • The cost of an inspection can vary depending on the size and location of the home, but in general, detached single-family homes require a more comprehensive inspection and therefore are more expensive to inspect.

    Should I be present during the inspection?

    It is always a good idea to be present during the inspection so that you can ask questions to both understand your new home better and understand any potential issues your home inspector identifies.

    Can I use the inspection report to negotiate the price of the home?

    Yes, if the inspection report reveals any significant issues with the home, you can discuss those with your realtor and they may be able to negotiate a lower price with the seller.

    How long does an inspection typically take?

    The length of an inspection can vary depending on the size and condition of the home, but it typically takes between 2.5 to 3 hours to complete.

    What happens if the inspection reveals significant issues with the home?

    You will be glad you had a home inspection. As unfortunate as significant issues are, it’s ultimately better to know about them and be able to address them appropriately. Significant issues with the home may constitute negotiating room with the seller, or in the worst case you have the opportunity to walk away from a purchase altogether. Losing a few hundred dollars towards the cost of a townhome inspection in Calgary far outweighs losing thousands upon thousands of dollars when you’re blindsided down the road by an issue you hadn’t identified prior to closing your deal.