The lack of kitchen venting is common, even in high priced newer buildings in Cambridge, and it should not be assumed that you would have the right to add venting to the outdoors unless the master deed to the condo specifies that right, or the board of directors to the association assures you permission to do so.
That being said, you have the additional issue to consider as to whether the lack of venting in baths in this condo, (a situation which would presumably exist in at least some of the other units in the building as well) has created any long term damage to the structure of the building. Your home inspector is right in flagging this matter as a potential issue, since long-term accumulating airborne moisture in bathrooms has a degrading effect on the structure surrounding the bathroom. Each building reacts differently, and it is possible that any deterioration or degradation would be minimal in the building you are considering. If your inspector found evidence of advancing deterioration, then you may want to explore the question with one or more trustees to the board of the condominium, whether the association is planning to address the issue. If so, ask about what special assessments may result. Depending on the design of the building, remediation of this issue could be fairly simple, if the bathrooms abut or are located near exterior walls to the building. On the other hand, if this is not the case, it could be considerably more expensive to address the issue. Venting of moisture is important, and you are right to ask about this issue. Hope this helps!
If we had the address we could pull some sales data for you in the building to get a sense of activity. If ventilation is a problem in all of the apartments and the resale numbers are strong you likely won't have issues at resale other then educating new buyers.
Every property on the market in Cambridge: http://goo.gl/dmS8d
The bathroom is another story. I have been in several of the older high rise buildings in Cambridge where they did not exhaust but they did have a window in the bathroom to "vent" the excessive moisture etc. Still this is not an absolute deal breaker or a feature that would cause major price drop in the property.
If I can stress one thing more than anything else when your first buying property is buy for LOCATION. It is one think you can never change about a property and it is a large key to how a property holds value. If you are looking in a high rise or mid rise building the other consideration is how healthy is the condo association? Is there a person or entity that owns a large portion of the association? These factors all contribute to financing and resale.
Please contact me, I am here to help. I work as a full time Realtor in Cambridge
1. First, determine if deterioration has taken place in the bathroom as a result of sustained excessive humidity over a long period of time.
2. Secondly, check with the condominium association as to whether complaints about unventilated bathrooms have been registered by other unit owners, and if so, what the association is considering doing about it.
3. Thirdly, have your agent conduct some research going back 5 or 6 years into other sales in the building, to give you a solid base on which to formulate your own conclusion as to whether price appreciation has been strong in the building.
Then make your own decision. If you love the place, and the answers to the above three questions give you a good comfort level, go for it.
Keep in mind, Cambridge is a very pricey market, and one that was only marginally affected by the maelstrom of foreclosures. It consists largely of old housing stock that exists in various states of renovation. It is literally impossible to accurately assess the quality of an investment in Cambridge with broad blanket statements. One good place to start would be to look at your home inspection report and see if it highlights any structural bathroom deterioration.
Hope that helps!
Stove top self venting is easy and should not be a concern except for those that need high powered fans for many types of food and cooks.
That would be the only possible complication that comes to mind. Let me know if I can help.