OMG FILE: Saturday Feb 5, 2011 Worst MLS Photo

THE WORST MLS  Photo, from the O.M.G.Files of Robert Butler – Aspect Inspection

Here it is. The worst photo I’ve ever seen on an MLS listing (and the only one).

I’ve never seen another one taken at night! This was late December a year or two ago. This may have been late afternoon, but  the street lights are on, and it’s got to be the saddest home presentation I’ve ever seen.

I copied this image directly from the MLS page so I could enlarge it and examine details. I was scheduled to inspect it in 72 hours. It had been a quadruplex renovated into a triplex.

This is a drive by shooting! The bright spot above the stop sign is not a street light. It’s the flash reflection off the car window when the agent took the photo with his cell phone. He didn’t even roll down the window to take the picture!

I thought this one is going to be interesting and it was. There were so many issues in this property that this sad photo is actually representational. My client however was looking for a project. I had to impress upon him how big a project it was/is. He was undeterred. He got his project and then some.


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post


That something was off rang like a bell.

I once did an inspection that went very well. That something was off rang like a bell.

The urban environment external to a home can affect its desirability. The clients’ tolerance of that is what counts. It’s the other side of the coin. So what are the ‘masked’ issues or factors and what is your clients’ tolerance level, real or perceived. You can’t see them by just looking at the property.

I once did an inspection that went very well. The duplex was in good shape. The potential buyer, my client, kept asking me what could be wrong. There was nothing really wrong with the building so I asked him why he was wondering this. He said he could not figure out why the price was so low.

And it was low for its comparables. But the building was OK. So I asked him was there anything odd or unexpected in dealing with the seller or their agent. He said no, other than the time changes.

I said what time changes. He’d call for a viewing appointment and hours after they would call back and change the time, but by only an hour or two. He said they even did that for the inspection appointment. He was told not to come early as there would be no one there, but the neighbours’ dog would get up set.

I thought about that for a minute. Hmm… I did not hear a dog…hmm…. but I did hear…A ha!  I’d arrived about 15 minutes early, like I often do and not only did I hear it but I saw it too. I just didn’t think of the significance at the time.

The house was right under the approach flight path leading in from over the lake to the airport runway. So when I got there 15 minutes early I was able to look up and read the call numbers off the bottom of the plane that was passing then.

I told my client this and he was relieved. He said that was worth the price of the inspection just for that.

Apparently at certain regular time periods there would be streams of planes coming in one after another. This was on a set schedule, but could vary depending on the wind direction, when another approach would be used.

This explained the appointment and inspection schedule changes. So nothing was wrong with the house and my client didn’t care about the planes. He just wanted to know why it was under valued.

So you not only do you have to look at the property, you have to look at the environment around the property and what is routinely going on there. But the clients’ tolerance is the deciding factor.

Trying to hide why the property was under valued caused an artificial problem in this case. Full disclosure is the way to go. Would this issue be a hidden defect? Hmm….

N.B.: This blog was inspired as a response to the following post by Valerie Zinger;


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Who farted?….What’s wrong here?


A real estate agent mentioned that “not one seller had removed any snow” when he was showing condos after a snow fall. This was a response to another agents’ discussion of properties that were not really ready or optimized for viewing, or maintained safely for viewing – snow shovelling.

This reminded me that I often see clusters of condos for sale. There’ll be realtors signs all up and down the walk, at the curb, in the flower beds and attached to balconies. All at the same address.

I see this repeated at other multiple condo dwellings, either near by or in similar developments. i prompts me to think: ‘Who farted?’

In other words, whats going on here? What’s wrong with that place? Is there some problem endemic to this building? Is there a financial or political fight going on in the management, the condo association.

If there had been a problem or an incident it may be fixed now but the financial fallout could still be occurring. The costs incurred could have ramped up the condo fees so as the make it a problem for many of the original buyers.

There is some transitory nature to new condo /home buyers due to early career, job or relocation changes in their lives, but sometimes a multi-unit condo starts to look like an apartment building going through annual spring migration. So you might wonder.

This is not a good indicator, so clients, potential buyers should ba asking their real estate agents to enquire into this. It could just be coincidence, but you don’t want any suprises, esdpecially big financial bites.

On the other hand if condo owners repeatedly see big clusters of signs arround the building, as association participants , they might look to find ways  to minimize the visual blight. Standard size signs in one area (say curb side), no balcony signs, etc. One agent mentioned this today, because some condos and some cites create sign rules and enforce them.

I don’t know if is legally advisable, but could one realtor office repersent sales for all the the condos in given building? The idea being, that only one sign would do for all in the building. I don’t know if that is practical, but I’m sure some would find it an unfair practice.

SO have you seen these clusters of signs and what to you think about that property when you do?




Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post