The cut side should be uniform with not a lot of shortcuts on it
The tip side should be fairly free of vm, however some of my best fleeces had tons, it just matters depending on how much work you want to put in.
Check for creepy crawlies, if there is a moth or larve walk away quickly, their entire stock could be contaminated
2. Snap Crackle Pop test
pull out a lock from the tip end and while holding it with both hands quickly "snap" it next to your ear
If you hear crackling or tearing noises the animal was sick/malnourished sometime during that fleece growth and won't be very fun to process, if it snaps or pops in your ear it is a good sound fleece.
3. Check your primitive fleeces for breaks
This is something that I didnt do with my first primitive fleece, I bought it because it was pretty and bought it on a whim, glad I only paid $10 for it. Back on topic, any primitive sheep breed ie Shetland, Icelandic, Jacob, Navajo Churro, etc will go through a natural shedding during the appropriate season changes, thus, if the shearing is done too late you will find what seems to be short cuts in your finished batts/roving/rolags or a lot of waste left in your combs. This is because the old growth has begun to shed off and the new growth has emerged. A skilled shearer can see this and roo the fiber from the sheep. Which takes the fleece from the sheep without shearing.
Never shy away from any natural color, some of my best dye jobs are done on other colors besides white like rose gray and caramel colors
5. Know what your getting
If you decide to buy more than one fleece open all of them, inspect each one know what you are getting, just because one fleece is nice doesnt mean they all are.
6. Just because something is free doesnt mean that you need it
Now that you opened up the door to raw wool you will have offers by anyone asking if you want their fiber, most of the time its free because they dont use it. Again check it, make sure its suitable for what you want or if it is trash.
7. How is it priced?
Is it priced per pound or per oz or as a complete fleece? If priced per weight ask for it to be skirted before it is weighed. Skirted pieces get tossed, why pay for something to automatically go to the trash.
8. Will it work?
Do you have a specific project in mind? Is it soft enough? Is it durable? Longwools are especially useful for socks and outerwear and soft merino type is good for close to skin.These are a few of my pointers.