Chimney Inspections have been around in Los Angeles for about 10 years. They are a specialized inspection that focuses solely on the Chimney. Due to the highly technical nature of Chimneys and the difficulty in inspecting them without the proper equipment (Telescoping Rods, lighting, and video camera), most General Home inspectors won’t be able to tell you much, if anything, about the condition of the chimney, and whether it is safe to use or not.
I always recommend a chimney inspection if the property has a chimney (including condos). Chimney inspections are pretty common now, so expect your future buyer to have one when it is your turn to be the seller. Most people only use a chimney a few times a year during holidays, if at all. Sellers have caught on to this, and are not giving out big credits for $10,000 or $20,000 like they use to. You might see in listing remarks “fireplace is decorative only”. Sellers are excluding chimneys from credits and selling them as is. Even if you can’t get a credit for the chimney, it is good to know what is going on with it and to make sure it is safe if you want to use it.