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How to spot bathroom problems during a virtual tour

By Mike Wheatley | October 9, 2020

Bathrooms are usually always smaller spaces within a home, and so it’s possible that home shoppers could miss some important problems while checking out a property through a virtual tour.

Some problems might require further inspection, and so it’s up to real estate agents to act as their clients “in-person eyes” while searching for a property online.

A recent article in highlighted several common bathroom problems that aren’t easily spotted during a virtual tour.

For example, it’s almost impossible to take a look under the bathroom sink while using a platform such as Zoom. It’s unlikely the agent will offer a look there, and the buyer may well not even think to ask. So agents are advised to check for water damage inside the cabinets that are usually underneath the sink.

“The bathroom is the number one place for water damage, so it’s a good idea to check under the sink for leaking,” Kari Haas, a real estate professional at Windmere Real Estate in Bellevue, Wash., told It’s also worth zooming in on the bathroom fixtures during the tour, so the buyer can see if there’s any signs of corrosion or leaks. Also, turn on the faucets of the sink, tub and shower to check the water pressure.

Another potential problem area is the bathroom floor. Agents need to inspect closely for areas of cracking in the floor tiles, separation or damaged grouting, and any “softness” that’s felt underfoot. These could all indicate problems with either the past or the current plumbing, said Wendy Gladson, a real estate consultant at Compass in Los Angeles.

Also keep an eye out for Mildew. Once again, this can be found by inspecting the tile grout. “If there are gaps, there could be hidden damage behind the walls, and if there is mildew, it speaks to ventilation and poor maintenance,” Gladson said. Agents should also open and close shower doors for their virtual buyers to help them ensure they function correctly.

The next item on the checklist is the toilet. For a simple check, stand over it and jump up and down to see if it’s loose and requires a new wax ring. Also check that the flooring is solid too, as this could indicate the presence of rot if it’s not.

Finally, agents should take note of and comment on any odors in the bathroom. The seller might be using as air freshener to mask a problem with mold, for example.

“Homes on a septic system that have a strong odor could be a sign of an issue that could cost you more later,” Gladson told

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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