Real Estate Analysis and Commentary in [CITY]

What do you do when it comes to getting the best price for your home and knowing and understanding the value (or cost) of issues. . Most home owner will clean the home, clean their baseboards, and even go as far as removing unwanted clutter in the backyard, so the home “shows” well. The challenge is selling your home when you continually ignore big warning signs that there is a problem or better yet, leave everything dated and still expect the same price as the neighbor who has upgrade the home inside, inside the walls, and outside.


Professional maintenance is most likely the solution, but so many times Realtor’s ignore the signs because they want you to sign their contract. They figure if there is enough demand, there will be someone who will buy the home and then it’s their problem not the sellers. Whether acting as a Realtor or an Appraiser it is beyond my responsibilities to be knowledgeable about all types of construction issues, but over time their things that make a Realtor or An Appraiser stop and take note.

Some times these issues have already been handled by the homeowner, they just forget how important it is to paint the ceiling, if you’ve had a roof leak and repaired it. Or let a potential buyer know you’ve added drains, when they see cracks in the concrete for a home that is on the bottom of a sloped mountain.


Warning signs that I’ve seen as an Appraiser and Realtor include the following:

(This list is not a complete list, I am sure other Appraisers and Realtors could additional items.


  • Electrical box is missing cover plate.
  • Some Electricians may tell you need a whole new panel which costs $$$ or you may call around and find an Electrician who can replace the plate for $ dollars less.
  • Sidewalk that stick out of the ground, so high you can trip on it, typically caused by tree roots, but not always. This situation can be costly if it’s near a pool. The concrete cracking is a sign of movement. Many times it is typical for the area but it can be more than that. It can be moisture shifting a pool, not enough drainage, or tree roots. Matching concrete is impossible. In the case of the tree roots, you will need to cut the roots, remove them, replace the entire piece of concrete, which will most likely not be a perfect match which can lead to a much bigger patio remodeling project and more money than expected. Or in the case of the pool, it can cost over $30,000 dollars to replaster, redo concrete, and add in drainage so that the patio will function as it is suppose too.
  • If you are tripping in a backyard, look for the cause? It’s most likely gonna cost some money to fix it.
  • When you walk the home you can feel a slope. This does not always mean there is much wrong with the home, other than the owner’s may not have had the home leveled when they installed the floors, however it can also be a BIG warning sign that there is a foundation issue.
  • Water spots on a ceiling. This may be a sign of an old leak or an active leak. It should be investigated. If you are the seller, I would recommend if you know the roof was fixed or replaced, be sure to spend the $$ and have the ceiling repainted. Seeing leak signs is a big turn-off to most buyers.
  • Peeling paint is a warning sign on the outside that the home may not have been properly maintained, and if it’s on the inside look for water, mold, and other signs of unexpected issues. Interiors typically do not peel.. unless there is moisture (water) involved.
  • Giant trees which may be appealing to a buyer for purposes of shade, and should be evaluated based on their locate and appeal. Getting one tree trimmed can set you back a few dollars, but a ton of trees gets expensive fast.
  • Roof that has waves in it. It looks like a roof, but its just about to call it a day. The average roof in Los Angeles is at least $6,000 to $10,000 dollars and that is for a no frills version ( no tile, no extra ply wood, 15 year life roof 1600 sq ft.) Prices vary and go up and up. It can get expensive.
  • Look for asbestos products underneath the flooring or hidden in closets. You may find the deep dark secrets of a home by looking it’s closets. Especially if the home was built before 1987. The cost of having asbestos removed from a home can be much more than expected, and with all the new lead based paint laws and more.. if you think it’s going to be easy to may not be smiling when the contractor hands you his estimate.
  • Your home has tons of walls and there is no way to remove them without huge expenses. Some homes are easy to remodel, others are not. Plumbing is challenging and costly to move in a concrete foundation; wall removal can be extremely expensive as well. If your neighbor’s home sold for $$$ and yours isn’t it could be because the neighbor spent a fortune remodeling. In Los Angeles there are homes that have been rebuilt from the ground up and they go for a premium price. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get the same price for your home if its old and outdated.
  • Muddy ground can be a sign of a drainage issue. This is usually fixable but can cost $ for drainage. Sometimes it's not fixable if a patio has been installed wrong, it can be replaced but the cost just went form under $1000.00 to way more than $1000.00
  • A gushy spot in the ground under a laminate floor. This can be a sign of a cracked drain line in a home especially if it's when the drains come together in the living room.   There may be mold, and all types of stuff under the floor.  Please take it seriously. The cost to repair get extremely expensive.  You may have to replace flooring, molding, paint, and deal with mold.   All those repairs can add up.  

If you are the seller and see any of the above items these maybe the reason you’re not obtaining the price you’ve listed your home for. These are all items a professional appraiser will notice when valuing a home and a buyer may too.


Take note, and review your home for more than dust, and you will be a successful home seller who experiences less frustration with the repairs requests process when you get into a sale contract And, if you are a buyer take note before you buy a home. You will be much happier when the bills to live in the home don’t become the only thing you think about. 

For any questions regarding residential home values be sure to vislt www.  I'm Pamela Evans, Certified Residential Appraiser, License No. 3002198.  I work predominantly in Ventura County and Los Angeles County.