The reason why I look under kitchen sinks

I don’t know about you, but there are two reasons why I don’t let my kids play under the kitchen sink: 1) There are too many chemicals, so it’s an obvious safety issue; and 2) I honestly can’t stand to work under the sink, so I don’t want my kids to mess anything up, which might cause me to have to spend time there. After installing a new kitchen faucet recently, I vigorously stand by this point.

In truth, after inspecting thousands of homes, I can safely say the space under the kitchen sink can often be dark, cluttered and even dank. Other than checking for a garbage disposal, I always look in this area because it can be a hot spot for issues that need to be resolved (often quick and easy repairs).

Under the kitchen sink - photo by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

It’s okay if things are not tidy under your sink. But when I do see an “unknown blackish substance,” it’s something I need to disclose in the appraisal report. I never say “mold” as an appraiser because I’m not a mold specialist, but when I do see something like the photo above, I require the issue to be cured. It’s probably a very quick fix and a sincerely minor issue, but I can never make that assumption. The photos above are before & after shots from an FHA loan, and I simply disclosed there was an “unknown blackish substance” under the kitchen sink, and it needed to be cured. I was careful not to call the substance mold, fungus or even say it was growing. I did recommend further inspection by a qualified professional, and I included a standard disclaimer about reserving the right to change the appraised value in light of new information.

In the example above, the issue was easily cured (probably by using some basic products from Home Depot) and the loan closed without a problem. This is not usually an enormous red flag issue that buyers and sellers need to freak out about, but it is something that should be resolved.

Four Quick Recommendations:

  1. If you are a buyer, look under the sink to know what is there.
  2. If you are an agent, look under the sink to know what is there.
  3. If you are an appraiser, look under the sink to know what is there.
  4. If you are a seller, be aware the appraiser might call for repairs if seeing something like the photo above. It might be worth curing the problem before the appraiser comes (I’m not saying you should hide the issue if you know you have a mold problem).

Question: Do your kids play under the sink?

If you have any questions or Sacramento home appraisal or property tax appeal needs, let’s connect by phone 916-595-3735, email, Twitter, subscribe to posts by email (or RSS) or “like” my page on Facebook


  1. says

    I like your approach Ryan!! Too many appraisers overstate potential issues that can kill a transaction. It only takes a few words on a report to set alarms and underwriters call for a mold inspection/repair.

    We also had some issues with one appraisers comments on uneven floors and the settling. We suddenly needed a structural engineers report for a common issue in a 60 year old home. That’s why having an experienced appraiser is so important. I enjoy your blog – I’m just starting mine.

    • says

      Thanks so much, Jeff. I appreciate it so much. It’s important to state the issues and not overstate, though that’s a fine line. The reader of the appraisal report should be able to understand what is there since the appraiser is the “eyes of the lender” so to speak. There is definitely a difference though between saying, “There is black toxic mold and we’re all going to die” and “The appraiser observed an unknown blackish substance.” 🙂

      Congratulations on your blog. That’s fantastic. I clicked over real quick and saw you have a post up on HARP 3. Do you have any thoughts on any future possibilities for loans not under Fannie or Freddie? In other words, will Wells Fargo and other institutions offer principle reductions to their Borrowers that do not currently qualify under HARP?

      • says

        I haven’t got my header up yet, but it’s coming along.

        You may or may not qualify for a refi/ principle reduction under the National Mortgage
        Settlement. Contact your lender to see if you are listed as someone that could benefit from the lawsuit. See link to FAQ:

        If not you will have to wait and hope for HARP 3. HARP is a great program, but unfairly leaves out millions who would like the same opportunity.

        • says

          I see you’re local too (after a second click). Good to know an LO in Stockton. Thanks for the heads-up. I’ve been curious about that. It seems like HARP is a very helpful tool, but it’s very limited for so many who have loans with the big banks – and therefore don’t qualify. If you hear of any changes, feel free to post ’em (or blog about it of course).

          • says

            I live in Elk Grove, but have my office in Stockton. I’m tailoring my site to both Stockton and Southern Sacramento. I had an old site, but I decided to focus on me instead of the business.

          • says

            Good deal. You’re even more local than I thought. I’m in Elk Grove constantly. I have one Elk Grove appraisal in my bag right now. Good call on the site move. You are the brand, so it really makes sense. If I can ever be a resource regarding blogging, let me know. It’s something I have put quite a bit of thought and time into.

  2. says

    Likewise!! We can do a guest author blog post swap. We have a rotating list of appraisers now, but I will look into adding a Sacramento region guy for appraisals. I’m not sure how we would manage it. We usually use RELS for or street links for appraisers outside San Joaquin county. Our current appraisers don’t like to leave the county. But like I said I will be pushing my SEO and blog posts to both San Joaquin and Sacramento, so it may increase flow

    • says

      Thanks Jeff. I prefer to stay as close to Sac as possible. Most of my work is in Sac, Yolo and Placer. I haven’t been in San Joaquin for quite some time. I used to travel much further, but I tightened things up a few years ago to really focus on the markets closest to me.

  3. says

    Agree Ryan. We must look under the sink (and in some other areas) to check to see if any problems exist. These things should be resolved before the appraisal so the loan closing is not held up, and the buyer does not have to pay extra for an inspection to verify if the problem has been fixed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *