Questions a Prudent Purchaser Should Ask (Checklist)

Please Note:  This checklist should be regarded as a starting point (not an all-inclusive list).


Applies to:

  Questions to Ask: Home-
What are the past uses of the property?
What hazardous substances has the owner / operator generated, manufactured, managed, treated, stored, disposed of, released, or sent off-site?
Have chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers been used, treated, stored, or disposed of at the property?
Are there any above-ground tanks, underground storage tanks, dry wells, or other buried structures where chemicals have been stored or disposed of?
Is there now / has there been a heating oil tank on the property?
See:  PLIA Home Heating Oil Tanks Information (external web site)
Is the property served by city sewer or septic tank?
(Chemicals dumped in a septic tank could be a source of pollution.)
Is the property on fill land?  If so, what type of fill material was used?
Is the property in an area-wide contamination zone?
For examples, see:  Maps of Area-Wide Soil Contamination
Is the property on former orchard lands or old berry fields?
Was the property used as a methamphetamine drug lab?  
Was the home (or any buildings, structures) constructed before 1970?  If so, you should check for lead-based paint, asbestos siding, and certain types of rock wool insulation.
Are there any materials or structures containing asbestos?
Are there now / have there been treated wood products on the property?  Check decks, garden beds, and playground structures for the presence of wood treated with Chromated Copper Arsenate, creosote, and/or other wood preservatives.
Is there electrical equipment with PCBs?
Are there now / have there been any farm dumps or landfills on-site?
Does the facility have the required environmental permits to operate in its current capacity?  
Have any discharges surpassed permit requirements?  What is the result of any state or federal Class 2 inspections of the facility in regard to National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits?  What are the results of any Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs)?  
What is the compliance record with environmental laws for the current and past facilities at the site?  
What is the condition of existing pollution control equipment?  
Are there any currently known environmental liabilities?
Is the property on or near any sensitive environments or habitats, wetlands, streams, or archeological sites?

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.