Skip to Content

How to Spot a Bad Property Renovation

Large bright room with windows of an ancient villa undergoing renovation. If you’re earnestly looking to get into investing in real estate, acquiring a single-family rental property could be worth it. That being said, when in search of your next investment property, you must be able to distinguish the signs of an imperfectly executed renovation. A shoddy renovation can lead to exorbitant repairs and maintenance costs, conversely impacting your overall return on investment.

So, what are the common manifestations of a second-class renovation? Some of the most visible manifestations include lousy workmanship, substandard materials, and incomplete projects. Here, we talk of some generally common signs of low-quality renovations so you can avoid them.

Rushed Workmanship

During a property inspection, carefully inspecting for signs of rushed workmanship is substantial. Identify uneven surfaces, in particular, wavy walls or flooring with clear slopes, which could simply mean poor attention to detail during renovations. Misaligned fixtures may point to rushed installation or unsuitable measurements. For instance, doors that don’t close smoothly or unevenly hung cabinets. Specifically, it’s relevant to figure out inconsistencies in finishing, for illustration, gaps in trim or uneven paint application, which can denote a rushed completion.

In bathrooms and kitchens, look for untidy grouting and caulking, on top of perceivable patches or uncorrected errors, which can signify potential issues that were overlooked during the renovation process.

Dangers of Low-Quality Materials

  • Paint and Finishes: Watch for peeling or chipping paint shortly after application. Uneven or streaky paint states improper application or low-quality paint. Low-grade finishes will scratch hastily or expose signs of premature wear.
  • Flooring: Laminate flooring with visible warping or buckling, mainly near moisture-prone areas, for illustration, bathrooms or kitchens. Tiles that crack or come loose, indicating improper installation or deficient tile quality. Carpets that have uneven seams, fraying edges, or thin padding can be problematic and may call for repair or replacement.
  • Cabinetry and Fixtures: Cabinets made of flimsy materials that feel unstable or point to implications of sagging. Faucets, handles, or fixtures that straight away rust or corrode convey poor-quality materials. Countertops that instantly scratch, chip, or stain, bespeaking of low-grade surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows: Check carefully for poorly installed doors or windows that don’t close correctly or let in drafts. Signs of moisture damage around windowsills or door frames point out poor sealing or installation.
  • Electrical and Plumbing Fixtures: Outlets or switches that are not aligned correctly or denote sparking signs. Leaky faucets, pipes, or visible water damage on walls considering subpar plumbing work. Awful 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 charge frequent repairs. The absence of maintenance records for HVAC systems can indicate possible issues.

Cover-Ups and Quick Fixes

Be observant of cover-ups in property renovations. Freshly painted foundations or walls might cover up structural flaws or cracks. Hasty cosmetic upgrades, as an illustration, new tiles or paint in specific areas, could mask underlying tests.

Look for inconsistencies or variations in finishes that might entail attempts to block out issues. Be wary of immediate fixes that seem unreasonable to the overall renovation, as they might cover deeper, uncertain 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 many contractors or a lack of cohesive vision.

Deviations in craftsmanship quality may be detectable in finishes, fixtures, or structural elements. Ascertaining these shortcomings helps assess the overall quality of the renovation and conceivable underlying issues that might necessitate closer examination or refinement.

Documentation and Permits

Complete documentation and valid permits are really important in analyzing property renovations. A lack of proper licenses may imply that the renovation work was worked on without observance of local building codes or regulations. To warrant compliance, check for the authenticity of renovation details with local authorities.

Proper documentation warrants the legitimacy of upgrades and expresses adherence to regulations, defending against risks attributed to unpermitted or non-compliant renovations. Looking over permits and documentation provides a smoother investment process and relieves the possibility of legal or structural issues after a while.

Structural Integrity

Studying structural elements carefully during property inspections is fundamental. Obvious signs like sagging ceilings, wall cracks, or uneven floors could express potential structural issues. Any visible signals of structural compromise, similar to these, warrant closer examination by a professional. Discovering and confronting structural concerns at the inspection stage helps prevent future exorbitant repairs and ascertains a secure investment in the property.

Being alert for signs of rushed workmanship, cover-ups, inadequate documentation, and structural issues during property evaluations is imperative for investors. These indicators commonly hint at more exhaustive problems that might not be bluntly visible. Being carefully thorough during property inspections warrants against investing in a property that might seem good-looking on the surface but harbors underlying issues resulting from subpar renovations. By prioritizing an extended evaluation, investors can make more informed and great investment choices in the real estate market.


If you wish to make wise real estate investments in Toano, look no further than RPM VA Peninsula. Our services offer market research and other helpful resources to aid real estate investors. Please get in touch with us online or call 757-251-9188.

Originally Published on July 22, 2022

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

The Neighborly Done Right Promise

The Neighborly Done Right Promise ® delivered by Real Property Management, a proud Neighborly company

When it comes to finding the right property manager for your investment property, you want to know that they stand behind their work and get the job done right – the first time. At Real Property Management we have the expertise, technology, and systems to manage your property the right way. We work hard to optimize your return on investment while preserving your asset and giving you peace of mind. Our highly trained and skilled team works hard so you can be sure your property's management will be Done Right.

Canada excluded. Services performed by independently owned and operated franchises.

See Full Details