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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, procuring a single-family rental property could be useful. At the same time, when trying to find your next investment property, you must take into consideration the signs of an ineffectively executed renovation. A shoddy renovation can produce cost-intensive repairs and maintenance costs, unfavorably impacting your overall return on investment.

So, what are the common marks of a second-rate renovation? Some of the clearest marks include unsatisfactory workmanship, substandard materials, and incomplete projects. Here, we touch on some of the most common signs of low-quality renovations so you can appropriately avoid them.

Rushed Workmanship

During a property inspection, catching evidence of signs of rushed workmanship is really important. Locate uneven surfaces, that is to say, wavy walls or flooring with perceptible slopes, which could mean poor attention to detail during renovations. Misaligned fixtures may point to rushed installation or wrong measurements. For instance, doors that don’t close smoothly or unevenly hung cabinets. On top of everything else, it’s necessary to look for inconsistencies in finishing, for instance, gaps in trim or uneven paint application, which can denote a rushed completion.

In bathrooms and kitchens, focus special attention on messy grouting and caulking, besides prominent patches or uncorrected errors, which can unveil potential issues that were overlooked during the renovation undertaking.

Dangers of Low-Quality Materials

  • Paint and Finishes: Be observant for peeling or chipping paint shortly after application. Uneven or streaky paint hints of improper application or low-quality paint. Low-grade finishes will scratch in a flash or manifest signs of premature wear.
  • Flooring: Laminate flooring with visible warping or buckling, exactly near moisture-prone areas for instance bathrooms or kitchens. Tiles that crack or come loose, can denote improper installation or second-rate tile quality. Carpets that have uneven seams, fraying edges, or thin padding can be problematic and may indicate repair or replacement.
  • Cabinetry and Fixtures: Cabinets made of flimsy materials that feel unstable or view indications of sagging. Faucets, handles, or fixtures that instantly rust or corrode denote poor-quality materials. Countertops that instantly scratch, chip, or stain, revealing low-grade surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows: Check for poorly installed doors or windows that don’t close perfectly or let in drafts. Signs of moisture damage around windowsills or door frames hint at 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 because of subpar plumbing work. Defective 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 require frequent repairs. The absence of maintenance records for HVAC systems can indicate possible annoying problems.

Cover-Ups and Quick Fixes

Be attentive for cover-ups in property renovations. Freshly painted foundations or walls might mask structural flaws or cracks. Quick cosmetic upgrades, in particular, new tiles or paint in specific areas, could mask underlying troubles.

Look for inconsistencies or variations in finishes that might cover up attempts to blot out issues. Notice abrupt fixes that seem unequal to the overall renovation, as they might cover deeper, undetermined issues.

Inconsistency in Design and Craftsmanship

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

Deviations in craftsmanship quality may be clearly seen in finishes, fixtures, or structural elements. Perceiving these weaknesses and flaws helps assess the overall quality of the renovation and potential underlying issues that might entail closer examination or enhancement.

Documentation and Permits

Clear documentation and valid permits are critical in assessing property renovations. A lack of proper licenses may show that the renovation work was transacted without submission to local building codes or regulations. To determine compliance, inquire about the authenticity of renovation details with local authorities.

Proper documentation shows the legitimacy of upgrades and indicates adherence to regulations, protecting against risks associated with unpermitted or non-compliant renovations. Investigating permits and documentation assures a smoother investment process and lessens the possibility of legal or structural issues subsequently.

Structural Integrity

Carefully observing structural elements during property inspections is central. Pointers like sagging ceilings, wall cracks, or uneven floors could connote potential structural issues. Any visible indicators of structural compromise, namely these, warrant closer examination by a professional. Recognizing and facing structural concerns at the inspection stage helps prevent future uneconomical repairs and warrants a secure investment in the property.

Being watchful for signs of rushed workmanship, cover-ups, inadequate documentation, and structural issues during property evaluations is crucial for investors. These indicators most often hint at more detailed problems that might not be exactly visible. Being especially attentive during property inspections protects against investing in a property that might seem delightful on the surface but harbors underlying issues arising from subpar renovations. By prioritizing a thorough evaluation, investors can make more informed and fearless investment choices in the real estate market.


If you long to make wise real estate investments in Goose Creek, go no further than RPM Instant Equity. Our services offer market research and other valuable resources to suitably aid real estate investors. Please get in touch with us online or call 843-898-5743.


Originally Published on July 22, 2022

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