Most condo developers in Puerto Vallarta offer a one-year warranty which begins the day you sign for possession. A good developer will have their representative walk through the property with the buyer and show the features promised in the purchase contract. During this walk-through, you must document any deficiencies of the property. This document is called a punch list and itemizes the work that the developer may do as part of the warranty. Once you create a punch list and sign the document accepting possession, it can be difficult to add anything. That is why a thorough inspection is so important.
Research shows that most new condo owners in Puerto Vallarta previously owned detached homes, so knowing what to look for in a condo may differ. In addition to being new to condo living, buyers tend to be new at buying property in Mexico. This unfamiliarity with foreign construction practices may also cause issues.
To make it less daunting, you can either spend your own time researching what to look for, use an inspection checklist, or hire an inspection specialist to do the work for you.
If you prefer to do it yourself, here are some essential items that one could easily overlook. One of the most significant things buyers tend to forget is to inspect the floor. Most condos in Puerto Vallarta have tiled floors, either marble, slate, or ceramic. Check for cracked tiles and unsealed grout lines. If your condo has baseboards, confirm there is grout in the space between the floors and walls. Water that gets behind and under tiles can cause damage, including mold. Damp wood behind baseboards attracts termites.
Another item on your checklist should be to check all plumbing in the unit. In addition to flushing all toilets, running taps in all sinks to ensure adequate water flow and no leaks, check the pipes and hoses under sinks to ensure they are correctly clamped. In Mexico, it is not unusual for hoses to be installed without clamps, and movement from ground settling, earthquake tremors, and everyday use can loosen the hoses. You are responsible for the costs to repair any damage caused to your unit and any unit below yours when you own a condo.
Adequate drainage can be a problem in new condos. It is not unusual for workers to throw unused concrete down the drain. This can cause you a huge problem down the road, so run your taps and make sure there are no blockages.
Another kitchen and bathroom-related item that is important to check is whether sinks, showers and countertops have been grouted and sealed. Carefully inspect under your sinks. Most cabinetry in newly built condos uses fiberboard. Fiberboard is problematic if it gets wet since it swells, has difficulty drying, and can mold and attract termites. Countertops and showers made with a porous stone or tile need to be sealed; otherwise, they will stain.
Many condo developers provide some appliances that come with the unit. Generally, these include the oven, stove, hood fan and dishwasher. In the excitement of being in their condo for the first time, new homeowners often forget to check whether these items work. Be cautious when opening the door of your dishwasher the first time. It is not unusual to find that the dishwasher has only been put into place but is not secured to the cabinetry. Make sure to add it to your punch list if it needs to be secured. It would be best to run the dishwasher for one complete cycle to ensure that it works and there are no plumbing issues. Before turning on and testing the oven and stove, smell to ensure the gas line is connected correctly and not leaking. Turn the hood fan on and test the variable speeds. Remember that hood fans in Mexico generally circulate the exhaust into the room and not outside. If you have tools handy, check to ensure the charcoal filter is there and in place correctly. Make sure your developer provides you with the user manuals for all appliances and information on their warranty.
At this time, you should also receive the correct documents from the developer. These may include a copy of the condominium by-laws, condo regime documents, budgets and building insurance. If available, ask for copies of the architect’s/contractor’s floor plans that include all outlets and plumbing so that you have them for future use. These items are just a few that should be on your checklist. A good list will have at least fifty items, ensuring you reduce your risk of problems down the road.
If you do not have the time to invest in researching everything you should inspect, contact me for a free inspection checklist. If you prefer to hire a professional to do the walk-through with you or on your behalf, I am also happy to assist. Good condo inspectors are booked months in advance, so contact them at least three months before your walk-through.
The furniture in the images of this article is available from SOLutions Mexico – Vallarta’s most trusted furniture store (www.solutionsmexico.com). Sheryl Novak is the owner, who is the expert on furnishing your home in our challenging climate (termites, UV rays, high humidity, and salty ocean air). Contact her immediately after you purchase your new condo – she will save you money and costly mistakes. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending her a message by Whatsapp 52 322 136 5156.