Oh Crap! The lights went out again!

The term “Obsolescence” is often used in real estate appraisals. We go into External Obsolescence and Functional Obsolescence in great detail in our guide “Buying the Recession-Proof House.”

Recently I came across a great example of Functional Obsolescence while appraising a house that was being purchased:

Here are two photos of “conditions” this property suffered, both of the basement bathroom:


This photo shows the door to the bathroom… hitting the new toilet as it closes.

This is fine if you don’t mind using the bathroom with the door open!

The problem could be easily fixed by re-installing the toilet with the door closed. The door will hit the toilet when it is opened and won’t open as far, but at least it will close. You could also put in a toilet with a smaller bowl. But this “condition” must be noted in the appraisal, and it has a negative effect on value.



This highlights another issue that is less obvious – but more severe – in the same bathroom.

If you look in the circled area, you will see light switches on the left side of the hall. That is the wall across the hall from the bathroom door.

The light switches on the left are for the lights in the bathroom on the right.

This is functional obsolescence and requires more extensive work to repair than the door-hits-the toilet issue, because in-wall wiring is involved.

Because this bathroom was in the basement, it did not have a big effect on the value estimate. However, having grown up with a couple mischievous siblings, I would expect a lot of dark times in the bathroom in this home  –  well, once the door is able to be closed!

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