Property Inspection Checklist

Recommendation:  Before buying property, conduct an on-site inspection of the property using the checklist below as a starting point.


Applies to:

  Some Things to Check / Clues to Potential Problems: Home-
Be sure to check both indoors and outdoors
Air Quality:
Do you detect unusual or noxious fumes or odors?
Drinking Water Quality:
Do you notice an unusual taste, color, or odor:
Has there been any change in the quality of the drinking water?
Surface Water Quality:
Are there any settling ponds on the property?
Is there any unnaturally colored surface water present?
(in puddles, ditches, ponds, lake, stream, river, etc.)
Groundwater Quality:
Is there now / was there ever a septic system on the property?  If so, check past history of the property -- chemicals may have been dumped into the septic system if certain types of business uses or illegal drug lab activity occurred.
Land (Soil) Quality:
Lack of vegetation; presence of sick or dead vegetation
Presence of oily or stained dirt
Indication of current or past storage of fuel, chemicals, hazardous substances
Presence of chemical, pesticide, or unknown containers (empty or full)
Containers or drums with unknown contents
Presence of fill consisting of waste materials
Adjacent Properties / Surrounding Area:
Proximity of property to known or suspected hazardous waste sites or sources
Proximity of property to industrial or commercial areas
Proximity of property to a major highway or railroad line
For commercial properties,
Consider conducting a 'Phase II Site Assessment'
(often done by a contractor)
See:  Selecting an Environmental Consulting Firm (.pdf)

For more detailed information, please read:

See Also:

Disclaimer: This ‘Guide’ is provided as a service to the public. The information provided herein is intended to be helpful, but it is not exhaustive and the user may need to obtain information from additional sources.  Although the ‘Guide’ has undergone review to ensure the quality of the information provided, there is no assurance that it is free from errors.  This ‘Guide’ cannot be relied upon to create rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party in litigation with the State of Washington.