Start inspection on the interior or exterior?

I was taught to start my inspections in the attic. On the New York State HI exam starting on the exterior was the correct answer to this question. Does it matter? My instuctor had told me that if you start on the outside you will track mud or dirt in the house and you my also lose your client’s attention ouside. What do you guys think?

I’m just a newbie but I have a case of those ugly “booties” similar to those worn by a doctor or a lab tech. working in a clean room.
I start outside unless it’s raining (FWIW) then put the booties over my boots when I head inside


Start On The Outside And Roof Then Booties If Needed

I think every one starts on the outside .
Example when you drive up and look at the home you have started.
First impresions are very important and I like to get this info down as I see it .
I always carry soft shoes to do the inside .


Thanks for the advice. I’m gonna break the habit and start on the outside first.

Roof, exterior, take off shoes and do the interior, most people like that I work in my stocking feet.:smiley:

I used to also go in stocking feet till I got a needle in my toe . Now indoor shoes .


I start outside in work boots, then change to casual shoes for inside work.

Okay, how’s about this one…I start inspecting it in my mind as soon as I get the call…


Nice touch Bruce. I believe however that most state labor laws and OSHA would not find it acceptable that you’re working without proper footware.

I always start in the kitchen. I do the roof only after looking throughout the entire structure, including attic and garage for visible signs of water intrusion relating to specific areas of the roof.

I’m a newbie too but I start outside taking in the lay of the land, what obvious signs are going on with neighboring homes, etc. Suspicious items you find outside may or may not confirmed once you are inside the house. And of course, clean your feet, booties, etc.

There’s no right or wrong way. If its pouring rain, I’ll start inside hoping for a let-up before I’m ready for the O/S. If I get there 20-30 minutes early, I’ll knock on the door to see if anyone is home - then start O/S so we’re ready to rock and roll when the others show up. If its got 12" of snow and people are already there when I show up, I start I/S and finish up O/S.

If they’ve got a pool, its in the summer and all the bikini clad housewifes on the block are laying around the pool - I start out on the roof, then move to the patio, then the backyard, then inspect the siding on the back of the house, then check the rear gutters, etc … eventually I reluctantly drag myself I/S.

I play it by ear as to where I start - depends on a lot of scenarios.

Not enough dirt or water here to make mud so I start outside, at the pool like Dan said.:wink:

I start the inspection driving through the neighborhood. Based on the year the “hood” was constructed, I can get a good idea of foundation stability, siding/roof covering wear & tear…etc…

If I notice the streets and sidewalk are catywhompus, it is likely the foundation will be stressed as well…

Taking a few trips around the exterior will definately provide insight as to
what may be happening in the attic and interior.

I’m in Texas, so I go barefoot and just hose down my feet before going inside…:wink:

Bravo…I also do something similar. I pull the listing info and pics from the web. Pull the tax records sometimes, map it, get a preliminary idea of its age etc. I recently did a forclosed property and had a disclosure in hand before I left the house. I knew I was in for a tough inspection before I left the house. It helped to get the mindset right.

I try to get there 30 minutes early and start on the out side.
When evryone gets there I’m almost done

I too always get there early because.
One time I was looking close at the chimney and suddenly I had a Young lady looking over my shoulder asking about the flashing.
Scared the dickens out of me .
We all know how easy it is to get of a ladder onto the roof and how it is more awkward to get off the roof onto the ladder .
Well their I am trying to help this lady in high heel shoes get onto the ladder
with out getting too personal with her .
I thought I was going to have to call the fire Dept to get her off.
I now get the roof done and my ladder folded up before the client gets to the inspection.


I always do the outside first. I arrive on site 30 minutes early and get the exterior inspection completed and written up. By the time my clients arrive, I’m ready for them and the the issues are all written up.

As for trudging mud into the house after doing the outside, most listing agents will follow me around (with paper towels) and wipe up my mess.

Just kidding…I use these when inspecting the interior.

I agree with the “newbie” Robert about “the lay of the land.” I’ve actually written about this in Inspect and Protect, and the first thing that I do is to “study the lay of the land,” and ask myself how “an enemy” might ambush or attack me. Knowing that Roofs and Grading and Drainage comprise the greatest number and most expensive lawsuits, I imagine forty days and forty nights of rain and ask myself, “where’s the water going to go?” My advice to everyone is to take your time, take pride in what you do, relax and enjoy yourself, but regard every inspection as an incursion into hostile territory. Happy Holidays.