A Guide to Performing a Thorough Exterior Inspection

Welcome to the vendor training course on completing an exterior inspection. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss the best practices for conducting an exterior inspection and the essential photo documentation required. Let’s get started!

Approaching the Property for Exterior Inspection

When conducting an exterior inspection, it’s crucial to approach the property in a deliberate manner to avoid raising any suspicions. The primary goal of the inspection is to determine the occupancy status (vacant or occupied) and assess the condition of the property. Some indicators that the property is occupied include personal items present, a car in the driveway, or full trash cans.

Photo Documentation for Occupied Properties

If the property is determined to be occupied, you must take the following photos:

  • Front of the House
  • Property Address
  • Street Scene
  • Key Identifiers (supporting the occupancy status) and any damages

When taking a photo of the front of the house, make sure to capture the entire front, including the address. If the address is not visible, take a zoomed-in photo to confirm that you are at the correct property. The address can usually be found on the front of the house, mailbox, address post, or curb.

A street scene photo provides valuable information about the neighborhood and helps assess whether it is stable, declining, or improving. This photo must be included with your inspection results.

Determining Vacancy

The best way to determine if a property is vacant is to look through a window for personal items or furniture. A photo of an empty interior is a strong indicator of vacancy. Other indicators of a vacant property may include overflowing mail, notices or citations posted, the buildup of flyers and phone books, previous vacancy notices, or disconnected/removed utility meters.

First-Time Vacancy Requirements

If a property is determined to be vacant and it is the first time being reported as such, you must place a “first-time vacancy” sticker on the door and take a photo of it as proof. The sticker should not be placed on windows, trees, mailboxes, or any other location besides the door. Additionally, you must fill out the “first-time vacancy certification form” and submit it with your inspection results.

Exterior Vacant Inspection

If the property is determined to be vacant, you will continue with an exterior vacant inspection. During this inspection, you must do a walk-around of the entire exterior and capture all aspects to identify any damages. The following photos are required:

  • Front of the House
  • Each Side of the House
  • Back of the House
  • Street Scene
  • Property Address
  • Front and Back Roof
  • Air Conditioner Unit
  • Garage
  • Key Identifiers (supporting the vacancy status)
  • Supporting Volt Stick (determining the electric status)

Roof Inspection

When taking photos of the front and back roof, make sure to stand at a suitable distance to capture the entire roof. Look for any missing shingles, holes, broken or missing gutters, downspouts, or other conditions that may cause damage from outside elements. Any damages must be reported in your inspection report.

Garage and Outbuildings Inspection

When inspecting garages or outbuildings, make sure to check their security and take a photo. Additionally, you must take a photo of the air conditioning unit to verify that it’s in place and intact. If the unit is missing, take a photo of its previous location and report it as missing in your report.

Testing the Exterior Meter

When it comes to testing the electric supply at a property, it’s important to follow proper protocols. Depending on the type of meters, the power may run from the pole to the meter but not to the breaker box in the interior. In this case, you must test with a volt stick at the exterior meter and report the status of the electricity in your inspection report.

If you don’t have access to the exterior meter, testing at an alternate exterior location such as an exterior outlet or the air conditioning unit cable is acceptable. However, it’s important to note that testing at the exterior meter is the preferred method.

Inspecting Properties with Pools, Spas, or Hot Tubs

When inspecting properties that have pools, spas, or hot tubs, safety must be your top priority. It’s important to ensure the water area is secure and the outside of the pool area is fenced in. If the gate to the pool is not locked or the water area is unsecured, you must call from the site and report it immediately to safeguard yourself, clients, and United Field Services Inc. Unsecure pool areas present a potential danger and can be a huge liability to all parties involved.

In conclusion, this course serves as a helpful guide to learning more about property inspections and there are additional inspection courses available for further learning.