Experts suggest a remodeled bathroom typically adds between three and five percent to a New York apartment’s value, and a remodeled kitchen can add as much as 15 percent. However, there’s a difference between real remodeling and a new coat of paint. Look for these hidden updates during your inspection to work out whether your dream apartment is really remodeled and worth its asking price.

Check the Windows

Just like electrical appliances and roof tiles, windows wear out and need to be replaced. This should be part of any remodeling work completed on dwellings older than 15 years, as it makes an apartment more energy-efficient and keeps out drafts and rainwater. You can determine whether the windows are new by looking for gaps in the frame and moisture on the inside of the glass. Replaced windows should also open and close easily.

Examine the Floors

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Image via Flickr by Juan José Richards

It can take just a tiny crack to make floors uneven. Uneven floors could point to a larger foundation issue or something serious like a rotten joist or subfloor. These problems will always be corrected during remodeling. If the floors are smooth, like hardware, tiles, or linoleum, you can easily test them using a marble. It shouldn’t roll when placed down on an even floor. Uneven carpeted floors are harder to detect, especially as dishonest sellers can lay down new carpet to make a floor appear brand new.

Check the Wiring

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Image via Flickr by Housing Revolution team

It can be expensive to replace a faulty electrical system, so some dishonest sellers let this slide. A professional electrician is the most qualified to judge whether this remodeling work’s been done, but you can get a few clues during your inspection. You shouldn’t see any wiring as you examine the apartment. All lights should also be in good working order. Most sellers won’t leave dead bulbs in for an inspection so a light that doesn’t work may point to faulty wiring.

Look for Water Damage in the Bathroom

Water is the leading cause of damage to bathrooms and a symptom of minute cracks that form as bathrooms age. If this room has been remodeled, you should expect any water damage issues to be resolved.

Look for signs of water damage around the toilet, shower, and vanity during your inspection. Check for signs of moisture on the bottom of the toilet tank and on the floor around this fixture. Flush the toilet and look for visible leaks. Then move to the shower stall and look for water stains or soft areas on the tiles, grout, and around walls. Check for evidence of water damage in and around the vanity. You may need a flashlight to inspect this space thoroughly.

Ask to See Any Paperwork

Many remodeling jobs require the work of professionals, including the installation of replacement windows and new electrical systems. If your seller says projects like these were part of their remodeling efforts, you’re well within your rights to ask for proof. The seller should be able to provide paperwork to back up these claims.

Don’t fall for a cheap coat of paint when parting with your cash. Instead, look for these hidden updates to work out whether an apartment’s really been remodeled.

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