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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 intrigued with and eager to get into investing in real estate, getting a single-family rental property could be beneficial. However, when looking for your next investment property, you must be able to ascertain the signs of a dreadfully executed renovation. A shoddy renovation can prompt financially steep repairs and maintenance costs, detrimentally impacting your overall return on investment.

So, what are the common indications of a poor-quality renovation? Some of the most observable indications include unpleasant workmanship, substandard materials, and incomplete projects. Here, we go into detail with the common signs of low-quality renovations so you can effectively avoid them.

Rushed Workmanship

During a property inspection, attentively considering the signs of rushed workmanship is vital. Look for uneven surfaces, as an illustration, wavy walls or flooring with prominent slopes, which could actually indicate poor attention to detail during renovations. Misaligned fixtures may point to rushed installation or incorrect measurements. Take for example, doors that don’t close smoothly or unevenly hung cabinets. At the same time, it’s noteworthy to look for inconsistencies in finishing like gaps in trim or uneven paint application, which can mean a rushed completion.

In bathrooms and kitchens, be aware of disorderly grouting and caulking, plus obvious patches or uncorrected errors, which can present potential issues that were overlooked during the renovation process.

Dangers of Low-Quality Materials

  • Paint and Finishes: Notice peeling or chipping paint shortly after application. Uneven or streaky paint signifies improper application or low-quality paint. Low-grade finishes will scratch immediately or exhibit signs of premature wear.
  • Flooring: Laminate flooring with visible warping or buckling, especially near moisture-prone areas involving bathrooms or kitchens. Tiles that crack or come loose, denoting improper installation or bad tile quality. Carpets that have uneven seams, fraying edges, or thin padding can be problematic and may require repair or replacement.
  • Cabinetry and Fixtures: Cabinets made of flimsy materials that feel unstable or exhibit signs of sagging. Faucets, handles, or fixtures that quickly rust or corrode denote poor-quality materials. Countertops that easily scratch, chip, or stain hinting at low-grade surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows: Be alert for poorly installed doors or windows that don’t close perfectly or let in drafts. Signs of moisture damage around windowsills or door frames signify poor sealing or installation.
  • Electrical and Plumbing Fixtures: Outlets or switches that are not aligned correctly or show sparking signs. Leaky faucets, pipes, or visible water damage on walls because of subpar plumbing work. Substandard 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 make necessary frequent repairs. The absence of maintenance records for HVAC systems can indicate possible troubles.

Cover-Ups and Quick Fixes

Be on guard for cover-ups in property renovations. Freshly painted foundations or walls might hide structural flaws or cracks. Instant cosmetic upgrades, for instance, new tiles or paint in specific areas, could mask underlying problems.

Look for inconsistencies or variations in finishes that might show attempts to cover issues. Look for instant fixes that seem disproportionate to the overall renovation, as they might cover deeper, unfinished issues.

Inconsistency in Design and Craftsmanship

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

Deviations in craftsmanship quality may be apparent in finishes, fixtures, or structural elements. Identifying these weak points helps assess the overall quality of the renovation and possible underlying issues that might obligate closer examination or improvement.

Documentation and Permits

Precise documentation and valid permits are vital in assessing property renovations. A lack of proper licenses may suggest that the renovation work was brought about without obedience to local building codes or regulations. To ascertain compliance, check the authenticity of renovation details with local authorities.

Proper documentation ascertains the legitimacy of upgrades and signifies adherence to regulations, keeping against risks related to unpermitted or non-compliant renovations. Substantiating permits and documentation determines a smoother investment process and decreases the possibility of legal or structural issues eventually.

Structural Integrity

Carefully assessing structural elements during property inspections is critical. Clues like sagging ceilings, wall cracks, or uneven floors could describe potential structural issues. Any visible indicators of structural compromise, like these for example, warrant closer examination by a professional. Ascertaining and dealing with structural concerns at the inspection stage helps prevent future financially steep repairs and ensures a secure investment in the property.

Seeing signs of rushed workmanship, cover-ups, inadequate documentation, and structural issues during property evaluations is very important for investors. These indicators consistently hint at more severe problems that might not be bluntly visible. Being carefully attentive during property inspections ascertains against investing in a property that might seem beautiful on the surface but harbors underlying issues because of subpar renovations. By prioritizing a full evaluation, investors can make more informed and confident investment choices in the real estate market.


If you intend to make wise real estate investments in River park, go no further than RPM Platinum. Our services offer market research and other beneficial resources to effectively aid real estate investors. Please get in touch with us online or call 559-425-8550.


Originally Published on July 22, 2022

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