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I'm going to examine the crawlspace under a house I'm considering buying. What type of things should I look for? Here's my list so far:

  • Water, moisture, and dampness -- finding it's source.
  • Electrical lines -- their type and condition.
  • Foundation -- condition... cracks, signs of movement.
  • Wood condition -- signs of termites, wood rot, decay.

Anything else? Keep in mind that I'm a newbie. =)

And yes, we're having professional inspections done too.


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This will really depend on what part of the world you're looking at, and what type of construction you're dealing with. In California, you'll be looking for earthquake reinforcements; in northern Alberta you'll probably be more concerned about insulation. – chris Sep 14 '10 at 16:27
Fresh graves. =) – JohnFx Sep 15 '10 at 18:05
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Some things we found under our crawl space that you can keep an eye out for:

  • Joist hangers weren't secured to code, not enough nails.
  • Insulation wasn't properly secured and was sagging.
  • If the crawlspace is part of an addition, make sure ducts and vents arn't coverd up and carry through to the exterior of the house. Make sure any vents aren't leaking air and flow is good.
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You had insulation? – Joe Sep 14 '10 at 13:39
When I checked out my new house, I saw several vents via visible light into the crawlspace. Later on, I removed a vent in the course of other work and it was covered with insulation on the inside! Just because some are venting, doesn't mean that someone didn't do something goofy to some others! – Brian Knoblauch Sep 14 '10 at 16:46

You also may be able to check out a lot of the plumbing while you're down there. I'm sure this isn't that common, but I've found a broken drain pipe (god knows how that happened), and two (so far) never-glued PVC connections in the crawlspace under our rental cottage. Also look for signs of leakage or deterioration.

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