Inspection of the exterior grounds and drainage is visual and intended to determine if the grading is properly carrying surface water away from the foundation. It is based on normal weather conditions at the time of the inspection. Inspectors do not perform soil analysis or evaluate homes based on geological conditions.

  • Ideally, water should flow away from a property in all directions at a rate of one inch per foot for at least six feet.
  • Grading should not slope toward the property, and surface water should be channeled to the lowest part of the property away from the structure to prevent ponding of water. Provisions should be made for discharging runoff from the guttering system.
  • Inspectors observe trees and shrub to see if they affect the property. The physical condition of the trees and shrubs themselves is not evaluated. Trees and shrubs should not be touching the roof, siding or the electrical service entrance cables.
  • Walks and steps are inspected for tripping hazards. Walks and steps may be uneven, or may settle and should be reported.
  • Patios and porches are inspected for movement and how they are attached to the property. Signs of settling, warping, or rot may occur, especially where they connect with the property.
  • Driveways may settle, crack, or deteriorate and should be reported.
  • Retaining walls support and hold earth in place for landscaping purposes. Evidence of movement is to be reported. Proper drainage and lateral support measures should be incorporated into the construction of retaining walls and should be reported when these conditions are not present.