10 things you, the agent, DON'T want to see during a showing

Real Estate Broker/Owner with (831) 626-4000 CA #01772851 HI #RB-21268

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:


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.


Posted by

Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Broker/Owner/REALTOR 


Let me be your independent real estate broker for oceanfront and oceanview property in California and Hawaii.  If you are a seller/owner, I will travel to your property to help get it ready for sale, then list and market it. If you are a buyer and we have a Buyers Representation Agreement in place, I will preview property on your behalf anywhere in California and Hawaii.  Please call me to discuss how I can help you.

Search Hawaii Listings on www.HellaHawaii.com

Member: Honolulu Board of REALTORS; National Association of REALTORS; Hawaii Association of REALTORS; Del Norte Association of REALTORS; California Association of REALTORS; MLSListings, Inc., the premier MLS listing service in Northern California.



Hella Mitschke Rothwell (R)

Real Estate Broker/Owner/Realtor®
Licensed in California #01772851 & Hawaii #RB-21268

Tel. 808-226-1095 or 831-626-4000 

Fax 1-877-822-9332




HAWAII OFFICE: 1128 Ala Napunani Street, #1809, Honolulu, HI 96818

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Email: HellaRothwell@gmail.com

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Disclaimer: Hella Rothwell does not guarantee nor is in any way responsible for the accuracy of the information provided herein, and provides said information without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied.


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Erin Bates
CMG Financial and Expansion Marketing Services - Aurora, CO

Ha - great list. You are 100% right, all of these would scare most people away!

Mar 07, 2013 08:02 AM #1
James Daniel Jr.
Keller Williams Realty-City View - San Antonio, TX
Before You Buy or Sell Talk To James 210-560-3755

Great list, here in Arizona we don't want to see evidence of pigeons or roof rats in edition to these that you mention.

Mar 07, 2013 08:04 AM #2
Kathy Stoltman
Rockwood Realty - Ventura, CA
Ventura County Real Estate Consultant 805-746-1793

Hella, so important for the seller to repair these items or price accordingly to appeal to a contractor, but either way, if we see it we will write it in our disclosure.

Mar 07, 2013 08:07 AM #3
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Hella, I agree those are things are all surprises that I don't want to see or have the buyer find either.

Mar 07, 2013 09:17 AM #4
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Erin: Unfortunately we see a lot of these problems here. All of these things need to be addressed on the disclosures and fixed.

James: Each area has their own "pests", cute as some of them might be.

Kathy: These items can have a dramatic effect on the price, and whether or not the buyer can even get a loan without the items being fixed. And who will pay for them. Definite headache.

Debbie: I've just walked through too many of these recently. Guess a lot of home owners just have not had the money to maintain the properties and that's why they are either REOs or Short Sales now.

Mar 07, 2013 10:17 AM #5
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Home and Condo Specialists

Good advice for sellers to address these issues before placing their house on the market...I can't agree with any pests being "cute" though!

Mar 07, 2013 09:00 PM #6
Bob Ratliff
Robert Ratliff Realty - San Antonio, TX
"Sold with Bob"

Hella, Great advice and no way would I want to see any of these red flag problems you mentioned while showing my buyers a listing for sale.

Mar 08, 2013 01:42 AM #7
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Hella, great list of items to correct prior to putting a home on the market.   

Mar 08, 2013 02:13 AM #8
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Larry and Sheila: Sellers should be urged to get these things addressed before putting their home on the market. But let's face it, a lot don't, especially here and if it's a distressed sale.

Bob: Chances are, the loan will be stalled or even fail because of several of them

Joan: Before it even gets on the market would be a good time. But when it's a short sale, for example, you need to be especially vigilant because the sellers are not spending any money on repairs.

Mar 08, 2013 06:44 AM #9
Liz Wallace
Century 21 Sherlock Homes - Rockville Centre, NY
Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N

More than anything else I do not want to see anything that relates to critters.  It's really awful to see a REALTOR running in circles and screaming at the same time.

Mar 09, 2013 04:03 AM #10
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Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker
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