What’s wrong with this house?

Put your real estate thinking cap on and tell me what’s wrong with this house below. Take a look at two photos from the street and an aerial image from Google Maps. What story might a house like this tell? What marketing challenges would this property face? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Win a $5 Starbucks Card: I see a particular issue with this house, and I’ll email a $5 Starbucks gift card to the first person to mention it in the comments below.

garage door installation gone wrong - Sacramento Appraisal Blog

A closer look at the garage - Sacramento Appraisal Blog

House with issues - Sacramento Appraisal Blog

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  1. says

    Hi Ryan,

    In the current market with the investor activity right now I don’t think this house would be a problem to market at all since there are so many flippers looking again – they’ll need to fill in that health & safety issue/eyesore pool of course. It’s going to need a cash buyer, but it doesn’t seem like there is a shortage of cash buyers for flip houses right now – as long as the listing price is right. p.s. Interesting choice for the wrong side out garage door mounting – I can honestly say in almost 10 years of appraising I’ve never seen that before!

    • says

      You’re right about this one going all cash to an investor. Someone is definitely going to pick it up and flip it. There are some problems that’ll need to be solved though before it is marketed. I’m curious to see if anyone picks up on a couple of potential issues just by looking at the photos. I probably know more about the house, so it’s easier to see. I didn’t appraise this one, but came across it through a contact. It’s a stellar piece for conversation. This garage cracks me up (though I wouldn’t be laughing if my neighbors did that).

      • says

        Well, as far as other issues, I can’t tell w/o knowing the address and putting the lot line overlays on, but is there an encroachment issue with the pool? Also not too sure about the setbacks and permitting on the outbuildings but again without knowing the address or being able to zoom in or out more not sure.

        • says

          I hear you. It’s not easy to diagnose a situation without having Tax Records to work with and a zoom button. Your eye is serving you right to think there is an issue with the pool. I’m not sure about encroachment, but it’s not permitted for starters.

          • says

            Yeah – permitted or not I would think an investor would fill it in as it isn’t in working condition and pools aren’t positives for potential rental properties.

          • says

            If it was nice, it would be a keeper. But this is one ugly pool. I had a post a few months ago showing an unpermitted pool (Article was “10 uses for an unpermitted pool”). They might sometimes look decent, but most of the time a lack of permits is painfully obvious.

  2. Bryan McDonald says

    Wow! I have never seen a garage door installed backwards. That is one thing I love about being a real estate appraiser – it’s never boring!

      • Anne Graviet, REALTOR, CHS, C-REPS says

        The other side of the garage is the nicer side, it looks better that way from inside the converted garage.

        • says

          True, Anne. The only ones who will argue with that are the “outsiders” having to look at the less appealing side. I’ve seen people use a garage for a fence before too. It looked tacky in my opinion.

  3. says

    The pool looks like a vinyl liner that has popped up out of the ground.
    The aerial photo looks like there is a comp roof and solar panels, but in the front photo there is no roofing…
    The vent at the peak over the garage door looks blackened… Was there a fire? I still don’t know why you would install the garage door backwards…

    • says

      The pool is not permitted. It looks like a good candidate for a few loads of dirt. Google Maps has a dated aerial photo. The roof has since been ripped off. I’m not sure if there was a fire.

  4. says

    Looks like the roof is missing shingles, the shed is too close to the rear property line and the addition is probably illegal. And, the solar panels – probably not done to code, either.

    • says

      Ding ding ding. You hit on the issue I was thinking of. The addition is indeed illegal. This property is supposed to be just under 1000 square feet according to Tax Records, but there’s a fairly large add-on in the rear. It clearly looks like an addition from above, but what really stood out to me was how the owner tapped into the AC unit and brought a vent down through the roof (not too good of a look). 🙂 I’ll email you a Starbucks card Alison.

  5. says

    The acquisition price is key – low. I just posted on this topic. Flippers, rehabbers and investors are paying a premium in light of investor demand (and hedge funds siphoning off inventory) leaving thinner spreads to adequately repair all items for a retail/FHA sale. The thinnest flip I’ve seen had new carpet, paint and a free cheese tray on the fireplace. Investors looking for rentals can sometimes pay more and repair less. Hopefully, someone will make the home safe.

    • says

      Have you been seeing prices at the courtsteps go up in light of competition? I can imagine things getting tight for investors. It’s a good thing the market has seen a bit of an uptick lately to help have a little bit more wiggle room (however, I’m starting to see more “it’s going to be over soon” articles). How much value did the cheese tray add to the transaction?

      • says

        The cheese tray added negative value!

        I search MLS for REO candidates for rehab. Its thin of inventory that is priced low enough to be able to rehab the home for retail FHA sales.

        My brother Chris, who purchases on the courthouse steps says its been thin all year, many more buyers than properties, including novices buying worthless paper or homes they haven’t looked at. Many homes offered are not getting to the minimum bid level, so expect more REOs on MLS from that.

        Regarding the uptick, my gut is telling me that the wholesale prices (courthouse and REO) increased prior in anticipation of retail price increases….. so maybe some recovery for flippers who were missing their pro forma values. It never lines up perfectly.

        Did I earn a mug shot yet?

        • says

          It must have been really bad cheese.

          Interesting commentary. I guess maybe homes are overpriced on the courtsteps if they’re not getting to the minimum level? I’ve heard horror stories of newbie investors buying second mortgages and stuff they really should’ve done research on.

          You da man, Jeff. Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. says


    1. It looks like you all must have had one of those rare California hurricanes; all the shingles have blown off the front side of the roof.

    2. The AC/Heat ductwork to the (well constructed and finished) addition at the rear looks well engineered. More than likely, the quality and ingenuity will not be appreciated by appraisers, home inspectors, and many buyers.

    3. The shed/residence at the rear corner of the site should be replaced with either a travel trailer or motor home. Doing so would provide (comparatively) first class accommodations for the owners while the main house is gutted and rebuilt.

    • says

      Frank, you are a brave soul to live in Florida. As a native Californian, hurricanes seem utterly terrifying. I’d take an earthquake in a heartbeat. Had Alison not beat you to it just a few comments above, you would be the coffee card winner. Good eye to note the shoddy workmanship on top of the roof. The unpermitted addition was exactly what I was thinking of and the “upgraded” AC was the tell for me.

  7. Erin Maclean says

    The roof is missing on the ground photos, and I don’t see the solar panels either. The roofline along the front porch is also different. And what’s that triangle thing on the back part of the roof with the duct? Make me think ‘pot house’ although it’s hard to tell if the windows are blacked out. And the garage door looks to be properly installed in the aerial shot. I assume the google maps shot is older.

  8. MJ says

    It looks like the house has fire damage from the vent above the garage door and the joists showing on the front roof. I’ve never seen a garage door installed backwards.

  9. Patti says

    Poor, poor house, how you have been abused! What do you wanna bet if we could magically hear all the things this house has heard, “It’s my house! Why can’t I do whatever I want with it?” would be on the list! (“Permits? We don’t need no stinkin’ permits!”)

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