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How to Spot a Bad Property Renovation

Large bright room with windows of an ancient villa undergoing renovation. If you have a keen interest in investing in real estate, getting a single-family rental property could be noteworthy. Except, take note, when looking up your next investment property, you must be able to identify the signs of a terribly executed renovation. A shoddy renovation can set in motion high-cost repairs and maintenance costs, very negatively impacting your overall return on investment.

So, what are the common hints of a deficient renovation? Some of the most blatant hints include terrible workmanship, substandard materials, and incomplete projects. Here, we discuss several familiar signs of low-quality renovations so you can suitably avoid them.

Rushed Workmanship

During a property inspection, finding signs of rushed workmanship is imperative. Look out for uneven surfaces, for instance, wavy walls or flooring with obvious slopes, which could mean poor attention to detail during renovations. Misaligned fixtures may point to rushed installation or inexact measurements. Examples are doors that don’t close smoothly or unevenly hung cabinets. Also, it’s important to check for inconsistencies in finishing such as gaps in trim or uneven paint application, which can connote a rushed completion.

In bathrooms and kitchens, check if there is poor grouting and caulking, coupled with clear patches or uncorrected errors, which can denote potential issues that were overlooked during the renovation process.

Dangers of Low-Quality Materials

  • Paint and Finishes: Be observant for peeling or chipping paint shortly after application. Uneven or streaky paint shows improper application or low-quality paint. Low-grade finishes will scratch easily or seek for signs of premature wear.
  • Flooring: Laminate flooring with visible warping or buckling, above all near moisture-prone areas for instance bathrooms or kitchens. Tiles that crack or come loose, could mean 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 show obvious signs of sagging. Faucets, handles, or fixtures that quickly rust or corrode denote poor-quality materials. Countertops that instantaneously scratch, chip, or stain, showing low-grade surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows: Search for poorly installed doors or windows that don’t close sufficiently or let in drafts. Signs of moisture damage around windowsills or door frames show poor sealing or installation.
  • Electrical and Plumbing Fixtures: Outlets or switches that are not aligned correctly or reveal sparking signs. Leaky faucets, pipes, or visible water damage on walls on account of subpar plumbing work. Ghastly or outdated electrical wiring, evident through flickering lights or tripped circuits.
  • HVAC Systems: Dysfunctional or noisy heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that may necessitate frequent repairs. The absence of maintenance records for HVAC systems can indicate possible issues.

Cover-Ups and Quick Fixes

Be sharp and alert for cover-ups in property renovations. Freshly painted foundations or walls might enshroud structural flaws or cracks. Instant cosmetic upgrades, that is to say, new tiles or paint in specific areas, could mask underlying nuisances.

Look for inconsistencies or variations in finishes that might indicate attempts to shroud issues. Focus on fixes that seem quite different compared to the overall renovation, as they might cover deeper, unsolved issues.

Inconsistency in Design and Craftsmanship

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

Deviations in craftsmanship quality may be palpably evident in finishes, fixtures, or structural elements. Recognizing these mistakes helps assess the overall quality of the renovation and possible underlying issues that might warrant closer examination or correction.

Documentation and Permits

Detailed documentation and valid permits are essential in evaluating property renovations. A lack of proper licenses may convey that the renovation work has been actualized without compliance with local building codes or regulations. To verify compliance, check the authenticity of renovation details with local authorities.

Proper documentation assures the legitimacy of upgrades and specifies adherence to regulations, safeguarding against risks correlated with unpermitted or non-compliant renovations. Confirming permits and documentation secures a smoother investment process and minimizes the possibility of legal or structural issues in time to come.

Structural Integrity

Appraising structural elements during property inspections is essential. Negative signs like sagging ceilings, wall cracks, or uneven floors could denote potential structural issues. Any visible suggestions of structural compromise, such as any one of these, warrant closer examination by a professional. Checking for and taking on structural concerns at the inspection stage helps prevent future extortionate repairs and properly ensures a secure investment in the property.

Searching for signs of rushed workmanship, cover-ups, inadequate documentation, and structural issues during property evaluations is indispensable for investors. These indicators largely hint at more intensive problems that might not be outright visible. Being vigilant during property inspections protects against investing in a property that might seem captivating on the surface but harbors underlying issues as a result of subpar renovations. By prioritizing all-inclusive evaluation, investors can make more informed and confident investment choices in the real estate market.


If you care to make wise real estate investments in West hills, go no further than RPM West San Fernando Valley. Our services offer market research and other invaluable resources to aid real estate investors. Please get in touch with us online or call 818-727-0100.


Originally Published on July 22, 2022

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