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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 at getting into investing in real estate, possessing a single-family rental property could be valuable. Having said that, when seeking your next investment property, you must understand and know the signs of a deficiently executed renovation. A shoddy renovation can set off financially wasteful repairs and maintenance costs, contrarily impacting your overall return on investment.

So, what are the common pointers and signs of a low-grade renovation? Some of the most clear pointers include unsatisfactory workmanship, substandard materials, and incomplete projects. Here, we speak about different commonly known signs of low-quality renovations so you can avoid them.

Rushed Workmanship

During a property inspection, being alert for signs of rushed workmanship is primal. Determine uneven surfaces, for instance, wavy walls or flooring with evident slopes, which could signify poor attention to detail during renovations. Misaligned fixtures may point to rushed installation or improper measurements. As an example, doors that don’t close smoothly or unevenly hung cabinets. In particular, it’s imperative to determine for inconsistencies in finishing, for instance, gaps in trim or uneven paint application, which can delineate a rushed completion.

In bathrooms and kitchens, be concerned with careless grouting and caulking, besides detectable patches or uncorrected errors, which can indicate potential issues that were overlooked during the renovation.

Dangers of Low-Quality Materials

  • Paint and Finishes: Be watchful for peeling or chipping paint shortly after application. Uneven or streaky paint means improper application or low-quality paint. Low-grade finishes will scratch swiftly or reveal signs of premature wear.
  • Flooring: Laminate flooring with visible warping or buckling, specifically near moisture-prone areas, for instance, bathrooms or kitchens. Tiles that crack or come loose, hinting at improper installation or poor tile quality. Carpets that have uneven seams, fraying edges, or thin padding can be problematic and may necessitate repair or replacement.
  • Cabinetry and Fixtures: Cabinets made of flimsy materials that feel unstable or show clear signs of sagging. Faucets, handles, or fixtures that immediately rust or corrode insinuating poor-quality materials. Countertops that abruptly scratch, chip, or stain exhibit low-grade surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows: Investigate poorly installed doors or windows that don’t close effortlessly or let in drafts. Signs of moisture damage around windowsills or door frames specify poor sealing or installation.
  • Electrical and Plumbing Fixtures: Outlets or switches that are not aligned correctly or present sparking signs. Leaky faucets, pipes, or visible water damage on walls because of subpar plumbing work. Wretched or outdated electrical wiring, evident through flickering lights or tripped circuits.
  • HVAC Systems: Not properly working or noisy heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that may involve frequent repairs. The absence of maintenance records for HVAC systems can indicate possible nuisances.

Cover-Ups and Quick Fixes

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

Look for inconsistencies or variations in finishes that might indicate attempts to blot out issues. Focus attention on instant fixes that seem inordinate 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. Hurried changes in style or inconsistent quality between areas could indicate different contractors or a lack of cohesive vision.

Deviations in craftsmanship quality may be shown in finishes, fixtures, or structural elements. Distinguishing these irregularities helps assess the overall quality of the renovation and prospective underlying issues that might impel closer examination or correction.

Documentation and Permits

Thorough documentation and valid permits are salient in judging property renovations. A lack of proper licenses may lead us to conclude that the renovation work was carried through without conformity to local building codes or regulations. To ensure compliance, inspect the authenticity of renovation details with local authorities.

Proper documentation makes sure of the legitimacy of upgrades and connotes adherence to regulations, protecting against risks that come with unpermitted or non-compliant renovations. Inspecting permits and documentation ensures a smoother investment process and allays the possibility of legal or structural issues afterward.

Structural Integrity

Investigating structural elements during property inspections is essential. Indicators like sagging ceilings, wall cracks, or uneven floors could connote potential structural issues. Any visible clues of structural compromise, the same as these, warrant closer examination by a professional. Grasping and meeting structural concerns at the inspection stage helps prevent future financially wasteful repairs and safeguards a secure investment in the property.

Noticing signs of rushed workmanship, cover-ups, inadequate documentation, and structural issues during property evaluations is essential for investors. These indicators regularly hint at more serious problems that might not be quickly visible. Being really watchful during property inspections makes sure against investing in a property that might seem lovely on the surface but harbors underlying issues on account of subpar renovations. By prioritizing an extensive evaluation, investors can make more informed and great investment choices in the real estate market.


If you desire to make wise real estate investments in Middleton, go no further than RPM Greater Madison Metro. Our services offer market research and other advantageous resources to assist real estate investors. Please get in touch with us online or call 608-310-1290.


Originally Published on July 22, 2022

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