Property inspection checklist

If you're planning to buy property, you should first do a detailed onsite inspection. By checking out conditions (indoors and outdoors) before you buy the property, you can prevent surprises later.


Applies to:

Things to check clues to potential problems:
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

For more details: Hazardous Waste Considerations in Real Estate Transactions

Disclaimer: Ecology provides this cleanup guide as a service to the public. Please be aware that it is not exhaustive and you may also need to obtain information from other sources. Subject matter experts have completed a quality review of the information in this cleanup guide, but there is no assurance that it is free from errors. This cleanup guide cannot be relied upon to create rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party in litigation with the state of Washington.