ENVIRONMENT & NEIGHBORHOOD
- Evaluate the community and neighborhood. Visit the site both
during the day and at night.
- What is the age, condition and value of the house compared to
others in the neighborhood?
- Is the site free from flooding? In a 100 year floodplain?
- Is the house conveniently located near your place of employment
schools, shopping, library, medical care, park & ride, church,
- What are the local zoning laws or deed restrictions?
- How do local property tax rates and services compare with other
- Are adequate fire and police services provided?
- Check the surrounding neighborhood for possible hazardous waste
sites, air and/or noise polluting industries, etc.
- Is the house old enough for lead paint, asbestos, lead soldered
pipes etc. to be present? (Houses built before 1978 may have
LOT AND GENERAL CONDITIONS
- What is the condition of walkways, driveways and steps? Any
- Does the lot have good drainage? Any yard or downspout drains?
- Is there any indication of water ponding next to the house or
ground contoured to slope toward the house?
(Detrimental to the foundation.)
- Is the home oriented for maximum benefit and protection from
sunlight, wind, rain etc.?
(A north-south orientation is generally more desirable.)
- Does the yard have adequate privacy? Room for kids to play?
Room for pets?
- Has the landscaping been well maintained?
HOUSE - FOUNDATION & EXTERIOR
- Has the house been remodeled, added on, or had any foundation
repairs performed? Does the seller have building permits,
warranty information, or other documentation?
- What is the overall condition of paint, brick or siding?
- Is there a potential for foundation damage from tree roots or
shrubs which have been planted too close to the house?
- Has the house, garage, or any other structures on the property
been built without proper setbacks or built on home inspection
easements, right of way etc.? Check your survey.
- Are all openable windows screened?
- Is adequate exterior lighting provided at entry, porches,
- Do exterior doors open and close without dragging or sticking?
ROOF AND ATTIC
- Is the age and condition of the shingles comparable to others
in the neighborhood?
- What is the average life expectancy for this type of roofing
material? ________ yrs.
- If multiple layers of roof are present, how many?
(3 layers maximum) Does the roof sag?
- Is the attic well ventilated? Are attic vents screened and
in good condition?
- Type, condition and thickness of insulation? (Modern homes
have 6 to 8 inches of attic insulation.)
- Are water pipes in attic insulated?
- Do bath or kitchen vents terminate in the attic where they
could cause potential moisture problems?
- Any indication of past or present insect, bird or rodent
infestation in attic?
- Is storage space available in attic?
- Is the attic easily accessible?
HOUSE - INTERIOR & FLOOR PLAN
- Evaluate the floor plan by walking through the house as if
going about your daily routine.
( Versatility of floor plan and serviceability.)
- Does the house have enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Adequate room sizes and storage space? (Measure if in doubt.)
- Does placement of windows and doors allow for a variety
of furniture arrangements?
- Do windows provide good cross ventilation and adequate natural
- What is the general condition of carpets and hard surfaced
- What is the general condition of drywall, wallpaper, paneling
and any wall tile in baths or kitchen?
- What is the general condition of cabinets, vanities and counter
HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING
- What is the age of the furnace and air conditioning system?
______ yrs. Is it efficient? (Older conventional furnaces
may be only 60% efficient.)
- Has the heat and air been serviced annually?
- Is the A.C. properly sized?
( "Rule of thumb" is 1 ton per 550 square feet. )
- Are filters adequately sized and located where they can be
easily replace or cleaned?
- Is ductwork in good condition?
- Are there air registers in every room?
( Older homes may not have registers in bathrooms. )
- Is equipment located where it can be easily serviced, and is
protected from physical damage?
- Is there excessive dirt or mildew around ceiling vents?
( This results from filters not being changed or improper
sizing of ducts and equipment.)
- Is equipment located where normal noise levels will not
be objectionable or annoying?
- Is there a separate disconnect switch for the compressor, if
located out of sight from the breaker panel?
- Does the house have at least 100 amp service? Are the service
entrance wires located at least 10 ft. above grade level or
higher if over a driveway? Away from pool or other possible
- Is the house wired with aluminum wiring? Some houses built
from the mid 60's to early 70's may have dangerous wiring.
- Is exterior wiring installed properly with weatherproof outlet
covers and switches? Is exterior wiring installed in conduit?
- Are adequate electrical outlets provided in every room? (Any
point along a wall should not be more than 6 feet from an outlet.)
- Are light switches conveniently located at the entrance of each
room, at both ends of hallways and at top and bottom of stairs?
- Is the service panel located where easily accessible, or is it
in a clothes closet or other potentially hazardous location?
- For older homes: Are electrical outlets grounded? Are
G.F.C.I. (shock saver) outlets provided in baths, exterior and
- Any "handy man" or do-it-yourself type modifications to wiring?
- What type of piping does the house have? Galvanized pipe can
corrode or buildup mineral deposits. Copper pipe may be
soldered with lead based solder (houses built before 1989).
Polybutylene pipe has a history of coupling related failures.
- Is there a main shut off valve to the house, and do fixtures
have individual shut off valves for servicing and repairs?
- How old is the water heater? Heaters become inefficient
with age due to mineral buildup. (Normal life expectancy is
- What is the distance from the water heater to the fixtures
which will be used most often? (Water temperature drops
approximately one degree per 1 ft. of piping.)
- Does the house have a main sewer/drain cleanout?
- Are sinks and tubs free from rust, chips etc.?
- If the house has a tiled shower, is there any indication of
previous leaking or heavy caulking around the drain or base
tiles? This could be an indication of a leaking shower pan,
which can be expensive to repair.
- Are washer and dryer hookups conveniently located?
- Is there an access panel to inspect the tub plumbing and drain?
- If the house has a private well, has the water quality been
tested. How far is the well from the septic system if present?
How deep is the well? Does seller have a copy of the well
- If the house has a septic system; how large is the tank? When
was it last serviced or pumped out? Where is the drainage
field or seepage pit located?
- Any indications of previous smoking or not drawing properly?
- Does the damper work?
- Is there a buildup of creosote in the flue? Has the fireplace
ever been cleaned?
- Does the chimney have a rain cap/spark arrestor?
CRAWLSPACE OR BASEMENT
Is it dry? Any indications of previous water penetration?
Any indication of previous plumbing leaks or poor drainage?
Has adequate ventilation been provided?
Is there adequate crawlspace clearance for inspections and
Has the foundation been leveled or additional supports added?
Any history of termite infestation or wood rot?
WOOD DESTROYING INSECTS
- Has the house been previously treated for termites, carpenter
ants or other wood destroying insects? If so, when? ________
What type of chemical was used? ____________
Is the home under contract?
Company and renewal date. __________________________
- Is soil in flower beds built up above the slab or weep holes?
- Any rotted wood on house? Any wood forms imbedded in slab or
wood debris in crawlspace? Any wood to ground contact? Any
excessive moisture conditions? (These are common conductive
SECURITY SAFETY AND CONVENIENCE
- Is the front entrance visible from the street? Any shrubs or
other places for attackers or burglars to hide?
- Are hose bibbs conveniently located?
- Are exterior doors of solid core construction with quality
locks and hardware?
- If security bars are present, can they be opened easily in an
- Is the home equipped with U.L. approved smoke detectors?
- Are both gas and electric dryer hookups available?
Dryer vented to the exterior?
- Does the neighborhood have street lights?
- Is mail delivered to the house or neighborhood mail
- House or curbside trash pickup? Is heavy trash pickup
- Can you obtain copies of building plans, permits, and
operating manuals for appliances?