10 reasons NOT to put a pool in your front yard

Let me give you a bit of free real estate advice. Don’t put a built-in swimming pool in your front yard. I know that sounds silly, but since I had the privilege of walking through a house with a front yard pool last week, I wanted to bring it up. Enjoy a one-minute video tour and then I’ll give you some reasons NOT to install a pool in the front yard – some more serious than others. Watch below (or here).

10 reasons NOT to install a pool in your front yard:

  1. Buyers don’t want pools in the front yard.
  2. There is more privacy in the backyard.
  3. Your house may actually sell for less because of a front yard pool.
  4. Avoid perverts looking through holes in the front fence to check you out.
  5. It’s awkward to try to avoid drowning while walking to the front door.
  6. When people ring the doorbell you can’t pretend like you didn’t hear them like you can when swimming in the backyard.
  7. Skinny dipping seems much more risky in the front yard.
  8. A pool next to a sidewalk begs teens to throw stuff over the fence into the water.
  9. It’s a bad sign when buyers say, “what the heck were they thinking?”
  10. A front yard pool is really not a common feature. Spend time using Google Maps satellite view and I bet you’ll find it very difficult to find many front yard pools.

Now here are some pictures to help create a little more context. You would never know by looking at the home that there is a pool just steps away in the front yard. Obviously this pool needs some repairs, so it’ll be interesting to see if the buyer fills it in or repairs it.

front of house with pool in front yard - sacramento appraisal blog

front view number three with pool in front yard - sacramento appraisal blog

view from bedroom with pool in front yard - sacramento appraisal blog

view from front door with pool in front yard - sacramento appraisal blog

You may also enjoy 10 signs your pool is too big for the neighborhood or How much is a pool worth in the eyes of an appraiser?

Question: Anything you’d add to the list? What is #11?

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Homes that won’t make the Pinterest highlight reel

Sometimes I feel like my job is like watching HGTV since I get to see some truly amazing homes with incredible features and upgrades. In fact, I frequently talk myself down from a feeling of house envy after seeing some of what I see. However, there are other properties that don’t quite make the incredible list and would probably never make a Pinterest highlight reel either. Let me show you a few gems I’ve encountered recently. Enjoy.

stay out of backyard

Low-Grade Security System: If you want to keep people out of your backyard, all you need are some screws. I saw this on an investor flip in Sacramento recently.


Sort of Remodeled: This house has a stellar newer kitchen, but it’s funny to see the contrast between the kitchen and everything else. It felt a bit like The Brady Bunch home, except with a redone kitchen. If you keep something long enough though, it comes back in style, right?  🙂

burned bikes - photo by sacramento appraisal blog

Charred Bikes: What a telling image. It’s always delicate to appraise a home after a fire because the family is still grieving. It’s very hard to lose almost everything. My family’s home burned down when I was in High School and it wasn’t easy. Yet at the same time, in hindsight there were some very redemptive things that happened as a result of the fire.

retro wallpaper by sacramento appraisal blog

Retro Wallpaper: How do you like the belts? Which of these would you pick for one room in your home if you had to choose one? I think I would go with the green paper since it is the most tolerable for my taste. I saw all of this in one house recently, and I hope the buyers know how time-consuming it can be to remove wallpaper (assuming that’s what they want to do). I know some people love retro wallpaper, but most would remove it.

kids drawing on walls in a house - by sacramento appraisal blog

Kids Drawing on the Walls: This home was not abandoned and wasn’t a tagger rehab facility either (kidding). Several rooms  had simply been very well-traveled with markers and crayons from the kids.

house with additions - 530 pixels - by sacramento appraisal blog

What is it? (click the image): Click on the image above to view a larger photo of this interesting set-up. The main house has one bedroom and 1 bathroom and is connected through an added hallway to a “studio” that has 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. The layout is awkward, so the question becomes, is it a 3-bed/2-bath or 1-bed/1-bath? Technically by city standards it is all considered legitimate living area, though there are some quality and functional issues to consider, right?


dog pee and poo in a house - by sacramento appraisal blog

An Interior Free Range Dog Bathroom: First off, I’m sorry if you’re really grossed out. I promise not to show photos like this too often. I did actually showcase these previously on Letting the dogs pee outside is an okay idea. This newer large home was truly one of the most gnarly inspections I’ve been on, and I honestly felt nauseous afterward. I love pets, but there is a profound difference between having a pet accident on the carpet and a lifestyle that needs to change. If dogs are allowed to go freely and frequently in the home (when kids live there too), it’s time for a reality show intervention or at least a conversation from loving family and friends. By the way, if you were wondering if barking dogs can impact property value, the answer is yes.

Bonus Pintersty Photo: Let’s end on a happy note. This is me and my kids the other day at The American River. We love riding bikes along the trails and then exploring. By the way, I’m actually on Pinterest if you want to connect there.

Question: Which image did you like best?

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Some random things I’ve seen in real estate lately

One of the great things about being an appraiser is coming across so many random things while inspecting houses. Here are a few gems I’ve seen recently. Enjoy

NFL on the wall - RG3 - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

NFL Decor: If you’re looking for some ideas for Fall decorating, stop looking at Pinterest and start checking out NFL decals you can put in your Living Room. I saw this gem recently. I’m not too sure this would fly in my house.

built-in trampoline in ground - by sacramento appraisal blog

Built-in Trampoline: I don’t see many of these – especially when they are surrounded by concrete. On one hand I think it’s great, but on the other hand it could end badly for kids when they’re projected to the concrete. An alternative use in my mind could be a giant fire pit. Can you think of any other uses if the trampoline was not there?

american flag painted in neighborhood on wall - by sacramento appraisal blog

Neighborhood Patriotism: I saw this the other day at the end of a tract that separates two neighborhoods. It’s nice to see some patriotism on display. On another note, the shutdown has ended. What a relief!

Kitchen that was remodeled that needs to be remodeled again - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

It’s a “Newer” Kitchen: This is not a very exciting photo, but I think it says something about real estate. This is a standard kitchen that was updated in the late 1980s. This house is located in a classic area of Sacramento where most homes were built in the 1940s or so. Does this kitchen get an extra value boost for being newer in age? Well, the kitchen is larger in size than other original ones in the neighborhood and it does have some nice vaulted ceilings too. But the reality is this “newer” kitchen needs modernization again. Most buyers would walk in the house and think, “I need to redo this kitchen”, so it is not really much of an asset.

View into bathroom window from next door - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Meet the Neighbors: I’m always surprised that builders put houses right next to each other with a direct view into the bathroom. Yikes, I didn’t need to see that!! This doesn’t usually show up in older style neighborhoods, but part of the issue with newer houses is the lots are smaller and the houses are so much bigger, which makes this an unfortunate byproduct (I still think builders can plan better though). I saw this recently in a house undergoing construction in Elk Grove.

external obsolescence - sacramento appraisal blog

A Train in the Backyard: I posted this on my Facebook page recently. Would it bother you to live near train tracks? Would the potential positive of backing to open space be negated by the sound of trains passing by? Whenever I appraise homes with external obsolescence like this, I snap a photo of the tracks or the trains passing by if possible.

Any thoughts? I’d love to hear your take on one of the photos above.

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Random things I’ve seen while inspecting houses

One of my favorite things about appraising is the the random things I come across while inspecting houses. Here are a few gems  I’ve seen recently. Enjoy.

Foam Repair Job

Foam Repair Job: This window was leaking, so a large amount of foam spray was used to stop the leak. Not very attractive, but it did get the job done.  🙂

golf ball mailbox - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Golf Ball Mailbox: At this point in life I’m honestly more of a miniature golfer, but a reader sent this to me, and it made me smile. What do you think? Is it a selling point? What does this do for curb or neighborhood appeal?

new well in Rancho Cordova

A Well That Looks Like a House: Golden State Water Company recently demolished a house in Rancho Cordova and constructed a well in its place (since a new well was needed). Being that the previous house was surrounded by nothing but single family detached homes, it’s nice to see the new well was designed in a way to blend in with surrounding homes as much as possible. This is on the corner of Paseo Drive and Malaga Way.

warning sign quotation marks

“Warning” Sign on Porch: I promise you I am not a grammar snob by any stretch, but since I’ve run into The Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks a few times, this doorstep sign did tickle my intellect. When putting “warning” in quotations, it actually calls in to question whether it is a warning or not.

holes in backyard from dogs - by sacramento appraisal blog

Dog Digging: At first when I saw this backyard I thought either there was some sort of funky geological issue going on, a gigantic snake infestation problem or maybe the kids dug out a hobbit habitat. This is actually the result of a digging dog.

Any thoughts?

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