Our evaluation of the exterior areas is as follows:


  • Proper grading and drainage away from the property.
  • Evidence of standing water
  • Leaks in the septic system (if applicable). If it has been more than 5 years since it was serviced, it is recommended to have the tank pumped and inspected. Have seller provide documentation
  • Yard, landscaping and trees in acceptable condition.
  • Drives, walkways, entrance landings and patios (if applicable):
    • in acceptable condition and free of trip hazards.
    • sloped away from the foundation.
  • Tree branches or bushes touching house or overhanging the roof.
  • Decks:
    • Foundation posts rotted or insect damaged
    • Condition of decking
    • Loose boards
    • Wood rot
    • Splintering/trip hazards
    • Structural concerns
    • Properly constructed (workman-like fashion)
    • Adequacy of guardrails and spindles
  • Wood or composite steps in acceptable condition for time of construction
    • Secure and performing intended duty
    • General maintenance items
  • Steps and handrails
    • Common/predictable settling of masonry steps
    • Wood or composite steps in acceptable condition for time of construction
    • Improper slope or trip hazards
  • Handrails
    • Present or in need of repairs
    • Needed – 4 treads or 30″
  • Porches
    • General condition
    • Condition of guards – (if applicable)
    • Condition of posts or pillars
  • Detached garages and carports
    • Structural condition
    • Roof
    • Pedestrian entrance doors (if applicable)
    • Overhead door (if applicable)**
    • Electrical (if applicable)
  • Splash blocks and underground leaders**
    • Downspout drainage directed away from home
    • Loose/missing downspouts
    • All splash blocks are in place and directed away from the property
    • Disconnected downspout extensions 


  • Items we feel are unsafe to operate
    • may cause personal injury
    • may cause physical damage to personal property.
    • These will be noted as not inspected.
  • Fences and gates are not included in the Standards of Practice. However, we will note any major concerns we may have.
  • Overhead garage doors on detached garages are tested for operation only.
    • We do not do any resistance testing as this can physically damage the door.
    • If the door is more than 3 years old we recommend servicing by an overhead garage door company.
  • Underground leaders cannot be tested for damage or functionality. It is recommended that you consult with the current owner as to any known problems at the time of sale.
  • Outbuildings such as storage buildings that are more than 20 feet from the property or that are not on permanent foundations are not inspected. Any glaring defects (roof or rotted wood) will be noted as part of ongoing maintenance.
  • Pools, spas or hot-tubs. We will note any electrical safety defects. (i.e. GFI’s not working or responsive).
    • Due to the cost of repairs, it is recommended that in-ground pools and related components be evaluated by a licensed pool contractor.
    • Check with the current owner as to any known defects with spas, hot tubs or above ground pools.
  • Irrigation systems are out of scope of the standard home inspection. We do offer a fee based inspection if agreed upon ahead of time and provided the system has not been shut down for the season. We will run the irrigation system and note any defects. Otherwise, this system is disclaimed. If the property has an irrigation system, due to the cost of repairs, it is recommended that it be inspected.
  • Wells or springs.
    • These may be the water source in some rural areas.
    • It is recommended that these sources be tested for bacteria and other contaminants by your local agricultural agent.
  • Common areas in multi-family housing complexes.

Other posts in this series:     

Exterior Surfaces
– Other
– Other
– Other