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Have that Florida condo inspected before you buy

Back in the 1980s, there was a phrase used by President Reagan to describe the U.S. position in discussions with the Soviet Union about nuclear arms reductions: trust, but verify. The nation would trust the Soviets to live up to their agreements, but would need to verify that they had actually done so.

A recent article on home-buying used the phrase as well. Those who buy a new house or condominium should trust that the builder is delivering the structure as promised, but should verify that it does not have construction defects.

In an ideal world, construction firms would all have workers who follow instructions and install windows, flashing, roofs, doors and everything else properly. General contractors would not cut corners on materials and methods, and city inspectors would double-check everything to ensure that the structure was good to go.

The home inspector who wrote the article notes that that ideal world does not yet exist. And even though your new purchase might come with a one-year warranty, you should not assume that any and all construction defects will be apparent in that time - or that the builder will acknowledge that the flaws exist and that his firm will fix them.

In a previous article, the inspector included photos of "crazy new-construction" defects that ranged from jaw-dropping errors in electrical systems, flashing, gutters, ductwork, balcony support, plumbing, heating, insulation installation and more.

Clearly, the builders and/or construction workers and/or designers responsible for the examples had made serious mistakes and decided that it was easier and/or cheaper to simply ignore them and pretend all was well.

The author strongly suggests having a big new purchase, such as a house or condo, examined by a reputable home inspector who will recognize defects and help the prospective buyer get them fixed before the sale is finalized.

Homeowner associations and condo owner associations can help protect their members' investments by consulting a Florida construction law attorney experienced in effective construction defect litigation.

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