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Hidden Problems You Might Not Spot in the Bath During a Video Tour

Given that many folks looking to buy a home still aren’t comfortable checking out a property in person due to the coronavirus pandemic, video tours continue to be a popular way to get up close and personal with a house’s features. ‘

Unfortunately, when touring a home via video, it might be easy to gloss over some important areas like the bath. A smaller space than most others in a home, it might seem like that all you need to inspect in this room might be the toilet, shower, and vanity.

Since its purpose is purely functional, though, that makes the bath a crucial space and one you shouldn’t rush through in any tour. For instance, here are 13 potential problem areas you and your real estate agent should be sure to inspect in the bath.

1. Strange odors

When your agent is showing you the bath in a video tour, be sure to look out for an air freshener. While it might be the buyer’s personal preference to have fragrance in the bath, the appearance of an air freshener also could mean that the homeowner is masking issues with the plumbing or mold. If a house on a septic system is emanating a strong odor, for example, this could mean there’s an issue that could cost you money down the road. 

2. No vent fan

At first glance, an ordinary bath fan might not be worth a second look. But think again. Although a fan isn’t really necessary if a bath has a window, you could be surprised when you look to flip a switch to get rid of steam and there is no fan (or window) available. 

3. Insufficient lighting

Since you won’t be touring the home in person, it might be difficult to ascertain if the bath is well-lit or if the lighting situation needs attention. That’s why it’s important to ask your agent to turn on all the lights so you can see exactly how bright or dim the room is.

4. No privacy

While a window can provide natural light and help a small bath feel larger, you probably don’t want your neighbors to watch you brushing your teeth every morning. If there’s a window, ask your agent to show you the view, and in urban areas, you also might want to make sure that the window isn’t too close to your neighbor’s house.

5. Squishy floor

If there’s tile in the bath, ask your agent to show you close-up shot of it. Then, look to see if there are any areas of cracking or separation in the tile, any damaged grouting, and any softness that could indicate problems with pests or any past or current plumbing issues.

6. Old tubs

Even if the tub looks brand new, it could be an older one with an inexpensive cosmetic upgrade like re-glazing. As for re-glazing, the finish won’t last for long, so you’ll want to look for any bubbling or sags.

7. Problems under the sink

Because the bath is the No. 1 place for water damage, it’s a good idea to check under the sink for leaking. Ask your agent to zero in on the fixtures so you can determine whether they are in good shape or corroded, or if any of the fixtures or pipes are leaking. Next, ask your agent to turn on the faucets of the sink, tub and shower, and note if the water pressure is strong or barely trickling.

8. No storage

If the only storage to be found is underneath the vanity or medicine cabinet, there won’t be much space to keep your towels and other necessities. And don’t assume that a closet in the bath is for storage, because it could be housing mechanical components or a water heater. It’s important to see inside all of the cabinets and behind any doors, and it would be helpful to know if there is a linen closet in the hallway outside of the room.

9. Mildew or gaps in the shower grout

Any gaps in the grout could mean that there is hidden damage behind the walls, and mild mildew could poor ventilation and maintenance. Also, be sure to ask your agent to open and close the shower doors to make sure they function properly.

10. A tiny shower

You won’t be able to get a good sense of how big or small the shower area is from a live video. So, it might be helpful to have your agent bring along a measuring tape to see exactly how big the space is. Also examine whether there is any space inside the shower or tub area for items like a niche or shelf.

11. The bathroom is in an odd spot

Multiple bathrooms are a plus, but not if they don’t serve your lifestyle. Many people find it strange to have a bathroom in the kitchen, for instance. It’s also good to know how far the bath is from the living area. Have your agent to walk you through the spaces leading to the baths, ask if there is a level that doesn’t have a bath at all and verify how many bedrooms share a bath.

12. Not enough outlets

Outlets are something you probably wouldn’t even think twice about when you’re touring a house in person, but it’s something that you definitely should notice. Some older homes might be lacking outlets, so it’s always better to check than be surprised later.

13. A bad toilet

Since the toilet is used several times daily, it should get a second glance in the video tour to ensure that there’s no serious trouble. Get your agent to stand over the toilet and jump up and down to see if the toilet is loose and needs a new wax ring. If the flooring around the toilet isn’t solid, that also could be a sign of rot. While you’re at it, ask what type of toilet it is: Is it water-efficient, and does it have a bidet attachment? These things could significantly improve or detract from your bathroom experience.