Check for cracks in asphalt or concrete on driveway, sidewalks, and paths. These can be a tripping hazard, and can invite water that will do more damage during the colder months.
Make sure retaining walls have no bulges or loose areas. One heavy rain or snowfall, and you could have a mud slide on your hands. Make sure the weep holes built into the wall are clear.
Examine porches and decks for sagging ceilings, loose rails or boards, and damaged steps. Check to make sure the posts are still firmly in the ground and not loose, or worse yet, rotted completely out of the footing.
Give fences and stone walls-and their gates-a once-over for leaning and loose parts, which could fall or blow off during a storm.
Look for stains on the siding, which could be a sign of a water problem or a roof issue.
Look for signs of insect or bird nests in soffits, eaves, or attic vents. If you see signs of animal waste in a certain area, look around for the possible nest or culprit.
Take note of where paint is peeling, brick mortar is missing, or stucco is cracking on the house's siding.
Look for leaning on the chimney. Check that the flashing is in good condition, and not peeling up or missing.
Check gutters and downspouts for debris or improper pitch, especially during a rain storm. Look for stains on the soffit, which could be a sign of a leak.
Examine the foundation for cracks and bulges.
Take a look at the sill, checking for rot and insects. Look for raised mud channels, which indicates the presence of termites. Use a sharp knife or other probe to see how much the wood gives.
Make sure the grade of the ground around the foundation slopes away from the house.
Look at the roofing. Are there cracks, missing shingles, crumbling pieces? Check asphalt for dry, blistering, alligatoring, or curling shingles; wood for rot and splits; slate and tile for broken pieces; and flat roofs for holes. Be especially vigilant under trees, where falling branches or jumping animals could have done damage. Once the leaves have fallen, look more closely at where branches touch the house.
Examine the flashing and vent/chimney caps for missing or damaged parts. Look for rust.
Look for moss and other debris on the roof.
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