24736 Calvert Street

Woodland Hills, CA 91436

(310) 429-6681


"Do I need a Geological

Inspection Report?"



If you are purchasing a hillside home in southern California, or already in escrow, you may be asking yourself this very question.


A geological inspection report (also known as a geologic escrow report) is usually conducted during the escrow period and is used to assess the geological risk involved in the purchase of a hillside home.  Geological escrow inspection reports for the Los Angeles area are designed to educate the buyer about geologic conditions that influence the present and future performance of the property and existing structures.  Potential geologic hazards that go unrecognized can manifest at any time, causing potential financial losses along with legal liability.  There are many potential geologic hazards that may be present within the hillside areas, some of which may be completely obvious to the professional but overlooked by the layperson.  Therefore, a geological inspection report presents vital information to the buyer that a typical home inspection report may not provide.


At Bay City Geology, our licensed engineering geologists specialize in hillside developments, especially properties located within the Santa Monica Mountains.  We have focused our careers to Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, and are extremely familiar and confident working within areas of complex geology such as Malibu, Topanga, and Palos Verdes.  Our geologists have the patience and perspective to provide each client with the necessary geologic evaluation, so that the conditions influencing a hillside purchase are clearly understood. 


A typical Geology Escrow Report is as followed: 


  •       Detailed research of available records on file at the Department of Building and Safety. 

Valuable information can often be found within the city records such as permits for past construction, information regarding past slope failures or mudflows, "Orders to Comply" instructing the property owner to correct a condition at the site, information regarding past earthquake damage at the site, prior soils or geology reports prepared for the site, and legal documents warning future property owners of specific site conditions and/or placing restrictions on use of the property.  Typically, records date back to the early 1950's; therefore, documents covering the original construction may or may not be available.

  •     Reconnaissance (visual walkover) of the entire property and existing structures. 

The geology escrow inspection is conducted onsite with the buyer and/or their representative.  Two hours is typically required.  No subsurface testing or sampling is performed during the geological inspection.  Detailed observations from a geologic perspective are conducted both inside and outside of the residence.  Interior observations are importnat because visual signs of distress may exist that would indicate adverse geological conditions such as landsliding, creep, settlement, and reaction of expansive soils.  Any of these could influence the performance of the residence. 

  •     Discussion of findings with client followed by written report. 

The site meeting is concluded by a discussion with the client and/or their representative.  Many hillside properties are typically in need of minor improvements to site drainage and hillside slope planting.  Any observed geologic hazards will be communicated to the client.  Following the site visit, a written report is provided to the client.  At Bay City Geology, the report is emailed typically within 24hrs. following the escrow inspection. 

The geology escrow report will include a summary of the research, detailed descriptions of the observations made during the inspection, and recommendations for mitigation of observed geologic hazards or adverse conditions.  Discussion will include both surficial and overall stability of the hillside, local and regional geologic structure, engineering geology, debris flow hazards, seismicity, and site drainage. 

Note: A geologic escrow inspection report is not indented for submission to government agencies that issue building permits.  If the buyer anticipates construction such as room additions, pools, decks, retaining walls, or accessory buildings, an engineering geology and soils report will be required to perform subsurface excavations including collection and testing of samples along with quantitative analysis.


Contact us today to schedule a 
geology escrow report in the Los Angeles area 
and geo-educate yourself about the 
Dream Property you are looking to buy!