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How to Spot a Bad Property Renovation

Large bright room with windows of an ancient villa undergoing renovation. If you’re engrossed and keen on investing in real estate, possessing a single-family rental property could be helpful. But in fact, when on the alert for your next investment property, you must be informed of the signs of an awfully executed renovation. A shoddy renovation can develop into incalculable repairs and maintenance costs, adversely impacting your overall return on investment.

So, what are the common clues of a bad renovation? Some of the most noticeable clues include dreadful workmanship, substandard materials, and incomplete projects. Here, we discuss a handful of common signs of low-quality renovations so you can very well avoid them.

Rushed Workmanship

During a property inspection, taking a careful look for signs of rushed workmanship is critical. Be alert for uneven surfaces, for example, wavy walls or flooring with detectable slopes, which could indicate poor attention to detail during renovations. Misaligned fixtures may point to rushed installation or erroneous measurements. To cite an instance, doors that don’t close smoothly or unevenly hung cabinets. In addition, it’s very important to investigate for inconsistencies in finishing, including gaps in trim or uneven paint application, which can denote a rushed completion.

In bathrooms and kitchens, watch for shoddy grouting and caulking, with blatant patches, or uncorrected errors can signify potential issues that were overlooked during the renovation process.

Dangers of Low-Quality Materials

  • Paint and Finishes: Ascertain for peeling or chipping paint shortly after application. Uneven or streaky paint insinuates improper application or low-quality paint. Low-grade finishes will scratch rapidly or present signs of premature wear.
  • Flooring: Laminate flooring with visible warping or buckling, notably near moisture-prone areas including bathrooms or kitchens. Tiles that crack or come loose, signifying improper installation or mediocre tile quality. Carpets that have uneven seams, fraying edges, or thin padding can be problematic and may dictate repair or replacement.
  • Cabinetry and Fixtures: Cabinets made of flimsy materials that feel unstable or manifest signs of sagging. Faucets, handles, or fixtures that quickly rust or corrode denote poor-quality materials. Countertops that straight away scratch, chip, or stain imply low-grade surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows: Probe for poorly installed doors or windows that don’t close decently or let in drafts. Signs of moisture damage around windowsills or door frames insinuate poor sealing or installation.
  • Electrical and Plumbing Fixtures: Outlets or switches that are not aligned correctly or exhibit sparking signs. Leaky faucets, pipes, or visible water damage on walls arising from subpar plumbing work. Horrible or outdated electrical wiring, evident through flickering lights or tripped circuits.
  • HVAC Systems: Inadequate or noisy heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that may cause frequent repairs. The absence of maintenance records for HVAC systems can indicate possible issues.

Cover-Ups and Quick Fixes

Be on the lookout for cover-ups in property renovations. Freshly painted foundations or walls might screen structural flaws or cracks. Abrupt cosmetic upgrades, by way of example, new tiles or paint in specific areas could mask underlying hardships.

Look for inconsistencies or variations in finishes that might connote attempts to cover issues. Focus your attention on sudden fixes that seem too much compared to the overall renovation, as they might cover deeper, problematic issues.

Inconsistency in Design and Craftsmanship

While inspecting a property, pay attention to design inconsistencies and craftsmanship variations. Unexpected changes in style or inconsistent quality between areas could indicate several contractors or a lack of cohesive vision.

Deviations in craftsmanship quality may be clear in finishes, fixtures, or structural elements. Knowing these downsides helps assess the overall quality of the renovation and impending underlying issues that might require closer examination or adjustments.

Documentation and Permits

Complete documentation and valid permits are necessary for appraising property renovations. A lack of proper licenses may mean that the renovation work was performed without conformation to local building codes or regulations. To establish compliance, inquire into the authenticity of renovation details with local authorities.

Proper documentation establishes the legitimacy of upgrades and hints at adherence to regulations, screening against risks connected to unpermitted or non-compliant renovations. Inquiring into permits and documentation ensures a smoother investment process and diminishes the possibility of legal or structural issues in time.

Structural Integrity

Ascertaining structural elements during property inspections is critical. Clues like sagging ceilings, wall cracks, or uneven floors could hint at potential structural issues. Any visible signs of structural compromise, like these for instance, warrant closer examination by a professional. Perceiving and resolving structural concerns at the inspection stage helps prevent future incalculable repairs and affirms a secure investment in the property.

Distinguishing signs of rushed workmanship, cover-ups, inadequate documentation, and structural issues during property evaluations are key for investors. These indicators typically hint at more in-depth problems that might not be unequivocally visible. Being conscientiously watchful during property inspections establishes against investing in a property that might seem alluring on the surface but harbors underlying issues as a result of subpar renovations. By prioritizing a comprehensive evaluation, investors can make more informed and appropriate investment choices in the real estate market.


If you strive to make wise real estate investments in Federal hills, look no further than RPM Metro. Our services offer market research and other applicable resources to successfully aid real estate investors. Please get in touch with us online or call 410-290-3285.


Originally Published on July 22, 2022

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