How To Spot a Bad Renovation?

How To Spot A Bad Renovation

So you’re in the market for a condo or home and wanting it to be reno’ed and ready for you to move in the day you get the keys. In addition to a home inspection, here are a few things to look out for:

1) Permits

Check with the city for permits. If the reno was substantial and involved structural changes or major changes, the owners would have been required to get them. This means an inspector would have come around to ensure the quality of the work and to make sure it was done to code. If they were doing more minor renos, such as replacing flooring, kitchen counters and cabinets, then they would not need permits and there would likely be no record with the city. In this case, you’re going to be looking for the quality of the finishes as an indicator of the craftsmanship done on the house.

2) Electrical

Has the electrical been updated from knob and tube (a form of electrical wiring no longer used that’s still found in older homes). Insurance companies are leery of it and you may have trouble finding insurance. If you are concerned, find a junction box to dig a little deeper. If you look inside the junction box, you may well see evidence of knob and tube if it is there. Often, flips done on the cheap will keep the existing knob and tube wires and simply install a new electrical panel to save costs. This doesn’t insure it isn’t elsewhere in the home but it’s a start.

3) New Floors

If you’re paying a pretty penny for a new place with new floors, check out how level they actually are. Though the floor might look pretty, if there is a dip or sag, there might be a problem with the floor joists. Although a lot of older homes have quirks, it’s worth investigating if this was caused by something structural like a supporting wall being removed improperly, floor joists cut to make room for ductwork or rotting of the supporting wood. 

4) Quality of Finishes

Low quality materials and products can be an indicator of a renovation that has been done cheaply. Things to consider might include: 

 

– Do the doors close properly and how heavy are they? Good quality doors tend to be denser and heavier.

– Are new tiles level and does the grout (material in-between each tile) look uniform?

– Look where the wall meets the ceiling. Is the line at which they meet straight and level?

– Look at the baseboards and crown molding. Do the joints look clean and professional or are they sloppy and uneven?

– Can you see gaps, knicks and dents? If they haven’t taken the time to fix these, there may be bigger issues behind the walls.

There’s so much to uncover in determining the quality of a reno. Consult a qualified home inspector or trusted contractor and keep your eyes peeled for red flags.

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