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New condos are especially prone to construction defects

New condominiums are appealing to buyers for many reasons. They have the fresh sparkle of a never-been-lived-in home, but without the maintenance, yard work and landscaping responsibilities that come with a single-family home. They often include attractive amenities like pools, fitness centers and common areas. They provide the opportunity to participate in a community that has been built from the ground up. And, one would think, they're free from the costly repairs that often plague older homes.

However, new condo complexes aren't without problems. In fact, they're more prone to construction defects than newly built single-family homes, townhomes or converted condominium buildings, according to a recent report from the Community Associations Institute.

Poor workmanship a major issue

The report found that poor workmanship is the most prevalent problem across all new housing types. Subpar construction can lead to a wide range of issues, from water intrusion to cracking walls and unstable foundations to mechanical and electrical malfunctions. Of these, the most common - and costly - defects involved:

  • Waterproofing
  • Roofing
  • Structural soundness

Beyond poor workmanship, defects also frequently resulted from design issues and subpar materials.

The financial toll of these defects

It's no surprise that construction defects take a toll on condo owners. They can decrease property values, hinder your ability to sell and rack up significant repair bills.

In just under half of the reported cases involving condominium construction defects, the warranty had already expired by the time the problem came to light. This far-to-common situation often necessitates litigation (or alternative dispute resolution) to hold the builder accountable.

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