Skip to Content

How to Spot a Bad Property Renovation

Large bright room with windows of an ancient villa undergoing renovation. If you’re intent on investing in real estate, achieving a single-family rental property could be beneficial. That being said, when in search of your next investment property, you must be able to ascertain the signs of an imperfectly executed renovation. A shoddy renovation can bring about exorbitant repairs and maintenance costs, badly impacting your overall return on investment.

So, what are the common manifestations of a bad renovation? Some of the most perceptible manifestations include unfavorable workmanship, substandard materials, and incomplete projects. Here, we deal with some of the usual signs of low-quality renovations so you can properly avoid them.

Rushed Workmanship

During a property inspection, taking a watchful look at signs of rushed workmanship is important. Detect uneven surfaces, in particular, wavy walls or flooring with detectable slopes, which could imply poor attention to detail during renovations. Misaligned fixtures may point to rushed installation or inaccurate measurements. For illustration, doors that don’t close smoothly or unevenly hung cabinets. Similarly, it’s crucial to validate for inconsistencies in finishing, for example, gaps in trim, or uneven paint application, which can denote a rushed completion.

In bathrooms and kitchens, consider closely shoddy grouting and caulking, also blatant patches or uncorrected errors, which can denote potential issues that were overlooked during the renovation process.

Dangers of Low-Quality Materials

  • Paint and Finishes: Look out 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 present signs of premature wear.
  • Flooring: Laminate flooring with visible warping or buckling, mainly near moisture-prone areas like bathrooms or kitchens. Tiles that crack or come loose, signifying improper installation or mediocre 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 manifest signs of sagging. Faucets, handles, or fixtures that straight away rust or corrode convey poor-quality materials. Countertops that instantly scratch, chip, or stain, implying low-grade surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows: Look into 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 reflect sparking signs. Leaky faucets, pipes, or visible water damage on walls on grounds of subpar plumbing work. Inefficient or outdated electrical wiring, evident through flickering lights or tripped circuits.
  • HVAC Systems: Unsound or noisy heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that may entail frequent repairs. The absence of maintenance records for HVAC systems can indicate possible issues.

Cover-Ups and Quick Fixes

Be on the lookout for cover-ups in property renovations. Freshly painted foundations or walls might shroud structural flaws or cracks. Unanticipated cosmetic upgrades, as an illustration, new tiles or paint in specific areas, could mask underlying problems.

Look for inconsistencies or variations in finishes that might mean attempts to veil issues. Be attentive to expeditious fixes that seem too much to the overall renovation, as they might cover deeper, problematic issues.

Inconsistency in Design and Craftsmanship

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

Deviations in craftsmanship quality may be obvious in finishes, fixtures, or structural elements. Learning these vulnerabilities helps assess the overall quality of the renovation and impending underlying issues that might necessitate closer examination or revamp.

Documentation and Permits

Complete documentation and valid permits are very important in contemplating property renovations. A lack of proper licenses may imply that the renovation work was performed without conformity to local building codes or regulations. To establish compliance, check out the authenticity of renovation details with local authorities.

Proper documentation establishes the legitimacy of upgrades and expresses adherence to regulations, screening against risks attributed to unpermitted or non-compliant renovations. Looking into permits and documentation makes sure of a smoother investment process and diminishes the possibility of legal or structural issues in time.

Structural Integrity

Attentively observing structural elements during property inspections is basic. Clear manifestations like sagging ceilings, wall cracks, or uneven floors could be evidence of potential structural issues. Any visible signals of structural compromise, similar to these, warrant closer examination by a professional. Recognizing and handling structural concerns at the inspection stage helps prevent future exorbitant repairs and affirms a secure investment in the property.

Noticing signs of rushed workmanship, cover-ups, inadequate documentation, and structural issues during property evaluations is critical for investors. These indicators commonly hint at more major problems that might not be unequivocally visible. Being completely observant during property inspections establishes against investing in a property that might seem beautiful on the surface but harbors underlying issues as a consequence of subpar renovations. By prioritizing an all-around and detailed evaluation, investors can make more informed and safe investment choices in the real estate market.


If you would like to make wise real estate investments in Lynchburg, look no further than RPM Cairn. Our services offer market research and other helpful resources to productively aid real estate investors. Please get in touch with us online or call 434-215-3028.

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