Property Inspection Checklist

Inspecting a property should be done any time it changes hands, whether the situation is sale, rental or lease. Both the party handing the premises off and the party taking possession should do a property walk through in addition to the official property inspection which should be carried out by a professional. The following checklist is a guideline only; not all properties will include everything on the list. However, it can serve as a fairly comprehensive guide to the main things which should be checked out.

Property exterior - structural safety

  • If the foundation cracked or wet or the structure is leaning badly, serious foundation damage may have occurred. Have a foundation repair specialist check it out.
  • The roof should be in good repair, with flashing intact and no missing shingles. Have a roofer inspect it if there are signs of water damage or leaks.
  • Inspect the supporting beams for sign of rot or insect damage. Flooring should be even and properly nailed or screwed down. Railing should be intact.

Property exterior - maintenance

Property exterior - appearance

Property interior - structural

Property interior - maintenance

Property interior - appearance


Inspections should cover several key areas; structural safety, maintenance, and appearance. If it is a rental property, agreements should already be in place about what duties and tasks are the responsibility of the owner, and what upkeep should be attended to by the leaseholder.

If ownership of the property is being transferred, there may be issues that will have to be addressed, with the seller and buyer coming to an agreement about who is responsible for what. In some cases, the selling price of the property may be adjusted to allow for repairs or renovations. Both the interior and the exterior of all structures on the property as well as the land surrounding it should be inspected to save unhappy surprises down the road.

Knowing what you are getting into can have an impact on decision making, particularly when budgets are tight as taking on a dilapidated property can end up being a costly investment. Some areas may have features native to the area, or implements in place to deal with severe weather. Check local building codes if you are unsure if the property is safe. Certain portions of the property inspection are best handled by professionals, so don’t hesitate to employ a specialist if you see something that looks dangerous or not up to code.