Checklist for a Residential Property Inspection

Written by gae-lynn woods
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Residential property inspections are necessary for owners and managers of leased property, and also for real estate brokers and purchasers. Inspecting a property for existing and potential problems can help owners and managers maintain their properties in good condition, and avoid costly repairs in the future. Tenants can also benefit from checklists for residential property inspections when they move in and at the end of their lease period.


The City of Centerville, Ohio recommends examining fences, steps, porches, sidewalks, foundations, and driveways to ensure they are in safe working order. Inspect outbuildings such as garages or sheds to ensure they are watertight and that doors and locks are functioning. Also inspect the condition of the yard or grounds for trash, junk, or unlicensed or inoperable vehicles. Ensure swimming pools are maintained in a sanitary condition.


Check for cracks and the weathertightness of windows. Inspect locks to ensure they are in working order, and open windows to ensure they can remain open without a means of support. If screens are in place, inspect them for tears or holes.

Floors, Walls, and Ceilings

During a residential property inspection, check carpets to ensure they are not torn and no trip hazards are present. Walls and ceilings should be free of mould and peeling paint. Check floors to ensure they are structurally sound.


Check exterior doors to ensure they are weathertight and in good working order. Also ensure that exterior door locks and chains and interior door locks are operable.


Test toilets and all faucets to ensure they are working during a property inspection. Ensure floors can be maintained in a clean, dry condition. Check that ventilation and heating fans are working properly, and if a window is present, ensure that it can be opened to provide ventilation. Ensure electrical sockets are equipped with ground fault mechanisms to avoid electric shocks.


Check all appliances to ensure they are in good working order. Identify any insect problems such as ants or roaches. Ensure floors can be maintained in a clean, dry condition.

Fire Safety

Ensure each level of the property has at least one smoke detector and test each. Verify that each bedroom has a functioning window in case of fire. Check that all combustible materials are stored away from sources of ignition such as fireplaces, gas appliances, and stores of gasoline in garages.

Electrical and Plumbing

Checklists for residential property inspections should ensure all electrical sockets and switches are in good working order and that cover plates are in place and undamaged. Ensure water fixtures have adequate pressure and do not leak. Check drain pipes to ensure they do not leak.

Air, Water, and Soil

The State of Washington Department of Ecology recommends that buyers and tenants check air quality by noticing unusual smells or fumes. Taste and smell the tap water to identify unusual odours or tastes that may indicate a water quality problem. Check with the owner to determine if any septic problems have occurred. Be alert for dead foliage and oily or stained dirt that might indicate poor soil quality.

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