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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 keen on investing in real estate, taking a single-family rental property could be advantageous. Nevertheless, when going after your next investment property, you must be aware of the signs of a faultily executed renovation. A shoddy renovation can give rise to highly-priced repairs and maintenance costs, negatively impacting your overall return on investment.

So, what are the common signs of a lousy renovation? Some of the clear signs include awful workmanship, substandard materials, and incomplete projects. Here, we discuss some of the typical signs of low-quality renovations so you can easily avoid them.

Rushed Workmanship

During a property inspection, paying close attention to signs of rushed workmanship is weighty. Watch out for uneven surfaces, like wavy walls or flooring with apparent slopes, which could mean poor attention to detail during renovations. Misaligned fixtures may point to rushed installation or flawed measurements. For instance, doors that don’t close smoothly or unevenly hung cabinets. Equally, it’s principal to look out for inconsistencies in finishing such as gaps in trim or uneven paint application, which can characterize a rushed completion.

In bathrooms and kitchens, carefully look for dirty grouting and caulking, including palpable patches or uncorrected errors, which can disclose potential issues that were overlooked during the renovation process.

Dangers of Low-Quality Materials

  • Paint and Finishes: Look for peeling or chipping paint shortly after application. Uneven or streaky paint means improper application or low-quality paint. Low-grade finishes will scratch easily or signify signs of premature wear.
  • Flooring: Laminate flooring with visible warping or buckling, especially near moisture-prone areas like bathrooms or kitchens. Tiles that crack or come loose, insinuating improper installation or shoddy tile quality. Carpets that have uneven seams, fraying edges, or thin padding can be problematic and may need repair or replacement.
  • Cabinetry and Fixtures: Cabinets made of flimsy materials that feel unstable or convey warnings of sagging. Faucets, handles, or fixtures that easily rust or corrode show poor-quality materials. Countertops that just easily scratch, chip, or stain exhibit low-grade surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows: Look for poorly installed doors or windows that don’t close correctly or let in drafts. Signs of moisture damage around windowsills or door frames denote 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 resulting from subpar plumbing work. Inferior or outdated electrical wiring, evident through flickering lights or tripped circuits.
  • HVAC Systems: Inefficacious or noisy heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that may impose frequent repairs. The absence of maintenance records for HVAC systems can indicate possible complexities and issues.

Cover-Ups and Quick Fixes

Be cautious about cover-ups in property renovations. Freshly painted foundations or walls might obscure structural flaws or cracks. Quick cosmetic upgrades, for example, new tiles or paint in specific areas, could mask underlying problems.

Look for inconsistencies or variations in finishes that might mean attempts to cover issues. Be alert for hasty fixes that seem unbalanced to the overall renovation, as they might cover deeper, unsettled issues.

Inconsistency in Design and Craftsmanship

While inspecting a property, pay attention to design inconsistencies and craftsmanship variations. Sudden changes in style or inconsistent quality between areas could indicate more than one contractor or a lack of cohesive vision.

Deviations in craftsmanship quality may be exhibited in finishes, fixtures, or structural elements. Being aware of these flaws helps assess the overall quality of the renovation and likely underlying issues that might call for closer examination or alterations.

Documentation and Permits

Careful and detailed documentation and valid permits are focal in assessing property renovations. A lack of proper licenses may signify that the renovation work was brought off without compliance with local building codes or regulations. To secure compliance, inquire about the authenticity of renovation details with local authorities.

Proper documentation secures the legitimacy of upgrades and presupposes adherence to regulations, insulating against risks resulting from unpermitted or non-compliant renovations. Inquiring about permits and documentation certifies a smoother investment process and reduces the possibility of legal or structural issues as time goes on.

Structural Integrity

Verifying structural elements during property inspections is important. Indicators like sagging ceilings, wall cracks, or uneven floors could mean potential structural issues. Any visible signs of structural compromise, like these, warrant closer examination by a professional. Identifying and dealing with structural concerns at the inspection stage helps prevent future highly-priced repairs and ascertains a secure investment in the property.

Detecting signs of rushed workmanship, cover-ups, inadequate documentation, and structural issues during property evaluations is relevant for investors. These indicators typically hint at deeper problems that might not be visible. Being diligently aware during property inspections secures against investing in a property that might seem excellent on the surface but harbors underlying issues due to subpar renovations. By prioritizing an all-inclusive evaluation, investors can make more informed and helpful investment choices in the real estate market.


If you hope to make wise real estate investments in Temple, look no further than RPM Apex. Our services offer market research and other valuable resources to aid real estate investors. Please get in touch with us online or call 254-732-1599.


Originally Published on July 22, 2022

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