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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 drawn to investing in real estate, having a single-family rental property could be beneficial. But bear in mind, when searching for your next investment property, you must know exactly the signs of a badly executed renovation. A shoddy renovation can bring about pricy repairs and maintenance costs, adversely impacting your overall return on investment.

So, what are the common traces of a substandard renovation? Some of the most obvious traces include bad workmanship, substandard materials, and incomplete projects. Here, we talk about various known signs of low-quality renovations so you can avoid them.

Rushed Workmanship

During a property inspection, watching out for signs of rushed workmanship is focal. Detect uneven surfaces, namely wavy walls or flooring with obvious slopes, which could mean poor attention to detail during renovations. Misaligned fixtures may point to rushed installation or inappropriate measurements. For instance, doors that don’t close smoothly or unevenly hung cabinets.

In addition, it’s necessary to verify for inconsistencies in finishing, such as gaps in trim or uneven paint application, which can signify a rushed completion.

In bathrooms and kitchens, take note of slipshod grouting and caulking, together with observable patches or uncorrected errors, which can show potential issues that were overlooked during the renovation procedure.

Dangers of Low-Quality Materials

  • Paint and Finishes: Look out for peeling or chipping paint shortly after application. Uneven or streaky paint specifies improper application or low-quality paint. Low-grade finishes will scratch speedily or indicate signs of premature wear.
  • Flooring: Laminate flooring with visible warping or buckling, particularly 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 need repair or replacement.
  • Cabinetry and Fixtures: Cabinets made of flimsy materials that feel unstable or denote signals of sagging. Faucets, handles, or fixtures that rapidly rust or corrode suggest poor-quality materials. Countertops that swiftly scratch, chip, or stain, signifying low-grade surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows: Inspect for poorly installed doors or windows that don’t close efficiently or let in drafts. Signs of moisture damage around windowsills or door frames conclude poor sealing or installation.
  • Electrical and Plumbing Fixtures: Outlets or switches that are not aligned correctly or show sparking signs. Leaky faucets, pipes, or visible water damage on walls because of subpar plumbing work. Unsatisfactory or outdated electrical wiring, evident through flickering lights or tripped circuits.
  • HVAC Systems: Ineffective 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 concerns.

Cover-Ups and Quick Fixes

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

Look for inconsistencies or variations in finishes that might point out attempts to enshroud issues. Focus your attention on fast fixes that seem excessive to the overall renovation, as they might cover deeper, unfinished 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 various contractors or a lack of cohesive vision.

Deviations in craftsmanship quality may be indisputably evident in finishes, fixtures, or structural elements. Determining these faults helps assess the overall quality of the renovation and probable underlying issues that might make necessary closer examination or enhancement.

Documentation and Permits

Extensive documentation and valid permits are principal in assessing property renovations. A lack of proper licenses may mean that the renovation work was pulled off without acquiescence to local building codes or regulations. To make certain of compliance, examine the authenticity of renovation details with local authorities.

Proper documentation makes sure of the legitimacy of upgrades and conveys adherence to regulations, protecting against risks linked with unpermitted or non-compliant renovations. Checking permits and documentation ascertains a smoother investment process and alleviates the possibility of legal or structural issues later.

Structural Integrity

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

Ascertaining signs of rushed workmanship, cover-ups, inadequate documentation, and structural issues during property evaluations are vital for investors. These indicators frequently hint at more serious problems that might not be straightaway visible. Being conscientious during property inspections makes certain against investing in a property that might seem charming on the surface but harbors underlying issues because of subpar renovations. By prioritizing a complete evaluation, investors can make more informed and reliable investment choices in the real estate market.


If you desire to make wise real estate investments in Bullhead City, go no further than RPM Northern Arizona. Our services offer market research and other advantageous resources to aid real estate investors. Please get in touch with us online or call 928-757-7368.


Originally Published on July 22, 2022

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