Please keep in mind that I am in Del Norte County, Northern California, on the ocean, with Redwood trees that need a lot of rain and fog during the year. So "weather" plays a big part of what you DON'T want to see at a listing.
This is so important in California because agents, both from the buyers and the sellers side, have to put their VISUALLY OBSERVED problem findings onto the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement. And unless an agent is BLIND, the problems listed below should be disclosed if not done by the seller:
SO HERE IS MY LIST OF THINGS I DON'T WANT TO SEE WHEN VIEWING A LISTING:
1. Dry rot: look at the siding around the outside of the house, at ground level. Or look under the eaves and where the rain gutters are connected (or if the gutters are not connected properly against the house).
2. Mold: If you see "black stuff" anywhere on the walls, inside closets, the water heater area, anywhere in the bathrooms, that's a red flag.
3. Roof or window leak: Inside the house, look around vents, ceilings of rooms, around skylights, around and under window ledges. If you see discoloration, it might be from an old leak, or it might be from a current one.
4. Tiny droppings or mud tunnels: Chances are, there are termites.
5. Unexplained puddles on a dry day around the house, garage or basement: There's a drainage problem.
6. Drips under sinks or in shower stalls; in fact, anything funky in the bathrooms.
7. Strange looking wiring. We have a lot of homes that are over 50 years old. Some of the old style wiring, some new, some have a combination. The wiring might not be up to code.
8. Moisture inside double paned windows. Look foggy. The seal is broken.
9. Decks and stairs into the house. These might be weathered to a point where they might not be safe.
10. Water heater. Might not be braced properly in an older home.
CRITTERS: These are a blog by themselves: Here we have a variety of them that like to come into the crawl spaces, vents, attic spaces. These include squirrels, racoons, rats, mice. How do you spot their existance? Pebble sized droppings inside, pee smell, round #2s (racoon latrine) outside. Or "nests" (you'll know when you see them). Unmistakeable.
There are a lot of other things like renovations started but not finished, cracks in the driveway, dents in the garage door, etc. that are part of the seller's disclosures on the REAL ESTATE TRANSFER DISCLOSURE STATEMENT - or should be. But the 10 above are the ones that I pay particular attention to when I "eyeball" a home. And one that the seller often does NOT include.
SO I POINT THESE THINGS OUT TO MY BUYER & ON THE AGENT'S INSPECTION ADVISORY.