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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 looking to start investing in real estate, having a single-family rental property could be beneficial. Though, when finding your next investment property, you must grasp well the signs of an insufficiently executed renovation. A shoddy renovation can engender rather expensive repairs and maintenance costs, adversely impacting your overall return on investment.

So, what are the common clues of a substandard renovation? Some of the most typical clues include faulty workmanship, substandard materials, and incomplete projects. Here, we talk about some of the usual signs of low-quality renovations so you can swiftly avoid them.

Rushed Workmanship

During a property inspection, seeking for signs of rushed workmanship is salient. Uncover uneven surfaces, take for example wavy walls or flooring with obvious slopes, which could allude to poor attention to detail during renovations. Misaligned fixtures may point to rushed installation or inapt measurements. To cite an instance, doors that don’t close smoothly or unevenly hung cabinets. Likewise, it’s pertinent to watch for inconsistencies in finishing, such as gaps in trim or uneven paint application, which can bespeak of a rushed completion.

In bathrooms and kitchens, pay attention to slipshod grouting and caulking, together with observable patches or uncorrected errors, which can show potential issues that were overlooked during the renovation activity.

Dangers of Low-Quality Materials

  • Paint and Finishes: Be watchful for peeling or chipping paint shortly after application. Uneven or streaky paint explains improper application or low-quality paint. Low-grade finishes will scratch so fast or indicate signs of premature wear.
  • Flooring: Laminate flooring with visible warping or buckling, certainly near moisture-prone areas such as bathrooms or kitchens. Tiles that crack or come loose, implying improper installation or inferior tile quality. Carpets that have uneven seams, fraying edges, or thin padding can be problematic and may cause repair or replacement.
  • Cabinetry and Fixtures: Cabinets made of flimsy materials that feel unstable or denote indications of sagging. Faucets, handles, or fixtures that abruptly rust or corrode point out poor-quality materials. Countertops that swiftly scratch, chip, or stain, signifying low-grade surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows: Test for poorly installed doors or windows that don’t close greatly or let in drafts. Signs of moisture damage around windowsills or door frames exhibit poor sealing or installation.
  • Electrical and Plumbing Fixtures: Outlets or switches that are not aligned correctly or express sparking signs. Leaky faucets, pipes, or visible water damage on walls caused by subpar plumbing work. Terrible or outdated electrical wiring, evident through flickering lights or tripped circuits.
  • HVAC Systems: Flawed or noisy heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that may mandate frequent repairs. The absence of maintenance records for HVAC systems can indicate possible issues.

Cover-Ups and Quick Fixes

Be alert for cover-ups in property renovations. Freshly painted foundations or walls might conceal structural flaws or cracks. Abrupt cosmetic upgrades, for instance, new tiles or paint in specific areas, could mask underlying complications.

Look for inconsistencies or variations in finishes that might denote attempts to hide issues. Draw attention to fast fixes that seem excessive 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. Instant changes in style or inconsistent quality between areas could indicate a number of contractors or a lack of cohesive vision.

Deviations in craftsmanship quality may be observable in finishes, fixtures, or structural elements. Determining these inaccuracies helps assess the overall quality of the renovation and probable underlying issues that might need closer examination or enhancement.

Documentation and Permits

Meticulous documentation and valid permits are necessary for assessing property renovations. A lack of proper licenses may presuppose that the renovation work was pulled off without acquiescence to local building codes or regulations. To ensure compliance, inquire about the authenticity of renovation details with local authorities.

Proper documentation makes certain of the legitimacy of upgrades and ensures adherence to regulations, saving against risks tied to unpermitted or non-compliant renovations. Verifying permits and documentation ascertains a smoother investment process and alleviates the possibility of legal or structural issues later.

Structural Integrity

Carefully assessing structural elements during property inspections is chief. Indicators like sagging ceilings, wall cracks, or uneven floors could imply potential structural issues. Any visible signs of structural compromise, involving these, warrant closer examination by a professional. Becoming aware of and tackling structural concerns at the inspection stage helps prevent future excessive repairs and secures a secure investment in the property.

Looking out for signs of rushed workmanship, cover-ups, inadequate documentation, and structural issues during property evaluations is beneficial for investors. These indicators naturally hint at more serious problems that might not be actually visible. Being meticulous during property inspections makes certain against investing in a property that might seem exquisite on the surface but harbors underlying issues arising from subpar renovations. By prioritizing a total evaluation, investors can make more informed and confident investment choices in the real estate market.


If you are eager to make wise real estate investments in Nashville, go no further than RPM Key Response. Our services offer market research and other appropriate resources to successfully aid real estate investors. Please get in touch with us online or call 615-953-8700.


Originally Published on July 22, 2022

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