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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 eager to start investing in real estate, having possession of a single-family rental property could be helpful. Still, when searching for your next investment property, you must know and identify the signs of an inadequately executed renovation. A shoddy renovation can cause unprofitably expensive repairs and maintenance costs, badly impacting your overall return on investment.

So, what are the common clues of an unsatisfactory renovation? Some of the most common clues include poor workmanship, substandard materials, and incomplete projects. Here, we’ll talk about various typical signs of low-quality renovations so you can successfully avoid them.

Rushed Workmanship

During a property inspection, carefully looking for signs of rushed workmanship is crucial. Search for uneven surfaces, for instance, wavy walls or flooring with observable slopes, which could signify poor attention to detail during renovations. Misaligned fixtures may point to rushed installation or faulty measurements. By way of example, doors that don’t close smoothly or unevenly hung cabinets. Likewise, it’s really important to look into inconsistencies in finishing such as gaps in trim or uneven paint application, which can denote a rushed completion.

In bathrooms and kitchens, watch out for shabby grouting and caulking together with identifiable patches or uncorrected errors, which can imply potential issues that were overlooked during the renovation process.

Dangers of Low-Quality Materials

  • Paint and Finishes: Identify peeling or chipping paint shortly after application. Uneven or streaky paint suggests improper application or low-quality paint. Low-grade finishes will scratch quickly or express signs of premature wear.
  • Flooring: Laminate flooring with visible warping or buckling, precisely near moisture-prone areas, that is to say, bathrooms or kitchens. Tiles that crack or come loose, denoting improper installation or below-par 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 reveal traces of sagging. Faucets, handles, or fixtures that right off rust or corrode denote poor-quality materials. Countertops that easily scratch, chip, or stain attest to low-grade surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows: Watch out for poorly installed doors or windows that don’t close accurately or let in drafts. Signs of moisture damage around windowsills or door frames mean poor sealing or installation.
  • Electrical and Plumbing Fixtures: Outlets or switches that are not aligned correctly or convey sparking signs. Leaky faucets, pipes, or visible water damage on walls originating from subpar plumbing work. Inefficient or outdated electrical wiring, evident through flickering lights or tripped circuits.
  • HVAC Systems: Non-working or noisy heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that may need frequent repairs. The absence of maintenance records for HVAC systems can indicate possible troubles.

Cover-Ups and Quick Fixes

Be mindful of cover-ups in property renovations. Freshly painted foundations or walls might shroud structural flaws or cracks. Instantaneous cosmetic upgrades, for illustration, new tiles or paint in specific areas, could mask underlying disadvantages.

Look for inconsistencies or variations in finishes that might convey attempts to cover up issues. Closely consider instant fixes that seem uneven to the overall renovation, as they might cover deeper, unsolved 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 many contractors or a lack of cohesive vision.

Deviations in craftsmanship quality may be obvious in finishes, fixtures, or structural elements. Figuring out these flaws helps assess the overall quality of the renovation and most likely underlying issues that might mandate closer examination or adjustments.

Documentation and Permits

Clear and detailed documentation and valid permits are substantial in assessing property renovations. A lack of proper licenses may mean that the renovation work was executed without checking local building codes or regulations. To check compliance, check the authenticity of renovation details with local authorities.

Proper documentation makes sure of the legitimacy of upgrades and denotes adherence to regulations, securing against risks related to unpermitted or non-compliant renovations. Checking permits and documentation makes certain of a smoother investment process and causes less possibility of legal or structural issues later on.

Structural Integrity

Assessing structural elements during property inspections is vital. Hints like sagging ceilings, wall cracks, or uneven floors could be potential structural issues. Any visible warnings of structural compromise, such as these, warrant closer examination by a professional. Distinguishing and trying to sort out structural concerns at the inspection stage helps prevent future unprofitably expensive repairs and establishes a secure investment in the property.

Identifying signs of rushed workmanship, cover-ups, inadequate documentation, and structural issues during property evaluations is salient for investors. These indicators normally hint at more extensive problems that might not be outrightly visible. Being watchful during property inspections checks against investing in a property that might seem appealing on the surface but harbors underlying issues through subpar renovations. By prioritizing an all-embracing extensive evaluation, investors can make more informed and sure investment choices in the real estate market.


If you aim to make wise real estate investments in Windsor, go no further than RPM Hartford Metro/Greater New London. Our services offer market research and other suitable resources to aid real estate investors. Please get in touch with us online or call 860-436-9955.


Originally Published on July 22, 2022

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