After the structure and equipment of the basement have been thoroughly examined, the inspection of the exterior parts of the house should follow.
If the walls are of masonry, there may be cracks, broken bricks or blocks, especially above door and window openings. See whether mortar joints need repointing. Look for efflorescence (moldy white blotches or streaks) on the face of the wall, particularly below window sills and near downspouts.
The principal signs of defects or deterioration in stucco are cracks and the chipping off or falling out of particles. The most likely places for such cracks to appear are over doors and windows and near the ground. These surface marks are more readily seen after a rain. Discoloration in the form of dust or rust streaks may also appear below window sills or other ledges.
If the house is of frame construction, examine the siding for loose or decayed boards. Look for blisters on painted surfaces and indications of cracking or paint peeling. Because blisters generally result from moisture back of the paint film, look for possible sources of moisture such as leaky roofs and defective downspouts or water pipes.