Hi everyone. We are in the middle of remodeling our 2 bedroom units within an apartment building. Currently the wall colors in every unit is WHITE in satin and looks if it hasn't been painted since the 70's so lots of scuff here and there and overall just looks like it needs to be refreshed so we're looking to repaint the units.
My question has to do with wall colors. I know why white is used most times - its easy, simple and mudding compound doesn't stand out however, also looks simple and without depth in pictures and just basic. We are trying to attract a higher end long term Tenant and so regarding the walls would like to paint a color other than white, we're thinking beige's, tans and grays along those lines. Our thought is that 1) it looks much better in listings and; 2) makes it seem closer to a home which will hopefully translate in longer stays and; 3) updates the space in order to stand out among the immediate competition.
So in painting does anyone have any thoughts in painting the entire unit (excluding doors, trim and ceiling which will remain white) ONE color or would TWO colors be best and make a difference in 'rentability' for instance the living room, kitchen, hallway and bathroom all one color and the bedrooms another color. We'll ofcourse use the same color layout for all other units and ensure it is a sheen which is easy to maintain and clean. Does anyone have thoughts on this or even experience in the effects of paint colors and apartment unit rentability?
Hi @Alex R.
Neutral colors for rentals! Beige is a good way to go. I'd stay clear of anything other than one neutral color. :)
I paint everything with Swiss coffee white in either an eggshell or satin finish. White goes with every color furniture your tenant might have so I would stick with it. You could always tell your new tenant that you would be willing to paint an accent wall a different color of their choice.
We generally use 2-3 colors in each of our SFH's, but we use the same three colors in each different rental unit we own. That way when and tenant moves out I always have a can to touch up & know exactly which color it is. For example I always use a beige color (cream in my coffee) , a very light grey (azure snow) , and sometimes a very pale blue in laundry rooms/mud rooms etc.
Gives a more “homey” feeling instead of depressing white everywhere! Yet, it’s easy to maintain and easy to match colors. Plus, if its already painted a neutral color we have found tenants much less likely to take it upon themselves to break the rules in the lease and do their own painting.
@Alex R. We use the same paint scheme for all of our apartments and most of our flips that we do here in Connecticut. Sherwin Williams Navajo White on the walls, white trim paint, and white ceiling paint. If we are doing a higher end flip we may change up the colors, but we use this scheme 95% of the time.
The picture below is an example of how this paint color looks.
@Alan Pederson you know that is a great idea to allow them to paint an accent. I don't know if I like it for our 2 bedroom units but, I think I will definitely use that for our SFH's if the issue comes up, thank you.
@Kristi Gray I agree that a painted unit feels more homey and hopefully translates into a happier long term Tenant. Also, thank you for bringing up the issue that they'll be less likely to take it upon themselves to pain if it's already painting, we use so much of that same thought when are preparing a unit for lease, it's one of the reasons we ensure that we put up blinds on every window or provide a shower curtain liner with every turnover, some may scoff at the un-needed work but, it 1) ensures it is done correctly; 2) it saves the property condition and on property wear and tear; 3) sets level of expectation bar a little bit higher. Also, you're color choices are really great, I'm going to add them to my list. We do the same in our SFH's 2-3 colors; What are you thoughts of 2 different colors in units do you think it'll up it a bit or just minimal and un-needed? Our building is B-/C+ in a C+ neighborhood.
@Michael Noto that looks really good and appeases to most. I really like the color choice.
I do white in the kitchen and bath. It really brightens up the room. Tan everywhere else. Everything is semi-gloss. I always have some left over so touch ups are a perfect match.
Agreeable gray with white trim to make it pop . Looks super classy and modern
Moth Grey with white trim
Freshly painted looks nice. I hear people say this looks nice when I show it. There are a lot of dumpy slum lords around so renters like my places. I think multiple colors looks nicer but it's time consuming painting trim and you end up with more left over paint colors. Other LL mention freshly painted and any new updates as I do to. Most people don't want to down grade when they move. You have to consider your competition.
I use one color for all of my properties. It is a linen white. I used to use navaho white. Grey is trendy, but not for me.
I used eggshell paint for the walls. I use pure white semi-gloss for the trim. I use flat white for the ceilings, but I do not paint the ceilings for every turnover.
I use a variety of other types of paints for special projects. For example, a metal door, I will use a semi-gloss oil based paint.
Check out this thread. I took one poster's advice and the colors turned out well: https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/52/topics/393789-rental-units---best-sheen-and-color-of-paint
@Jim S. I just noticed you're from Michigan, I am to. I agree with your take, my though in painting colors is that - I'm going to paint anyway so why not paint it a neutral that appeals to most and at the same time sets me apart from the competition. I'm all about long term Tenants and if I can turnover a space which is clean, updated and functional that sets us apart and conveys that we are not slumlords but, actually care about the quality we're turning over and providing to them, hopefully it will translate into a better quality and happier Tenant which will take better care of the units and stay a bit longer because it feels like home. I want Tenants to move because they're relocating due to family/friends/job or because their situation has allowed them to no longer rent or other personal reasons, I don't want Tenants to move because of the condition of their units. I want to convey that we may not provide the very best top of the line out there but, what we do provide is clean, updated, functional and affordable.
You bring up a good point in regarding the competition, I agree there as well, paint is such a mundane thing but, its just a piece of the little and affordable things we're doing that hopefully will set us apart and allow us to secure the investment through Tenant retention.
Here's the two most common themes I see in new homes:
Sherwin Williams Paints
Walls: Kilim Beige SW 6106 (Flat)
Trim: SW 6105 Divine White (Satin)
Sherwin Williams Paints
Walls: Repose Gray SW 7015 (Flat)
Trim & Cabinets: Snowbound SW7004 (Satin)
Walls: Kilim Beige SW 6106 (Flat)
Trim & Cabinets: Snowbound SW7004 (Satin)
Walls- Beige satin
Ceilngs - white ceiling paint
Trim - White semi-Gloss
For our MF properties, we like owl grey for the walls, laminate flooring, white ceilings and trim. Seems to be very popular among tenants. Beige and brown tones work as well to give that warmer feeling. Unit photos of 2 different properties below.
If the exterior of the building is stucco, browns seems to go well and if it has wood siding on the exterior, we tend to go cooler greys. It definitely differentiates us from the competition.
Gloss is referable as it is wipeable.
Updated 5 months ago
I normally use the Behr ‘Almond Milk’ color, but I have it mixed in Glidden Speedwall which is cheaper.
@Paul Choi I like it. Paul, I like the staged photos. I'm just coming out of stabilizing a building we just acquired months ago... we now have the majority of the building with our own vetted Tenants, so it's time for a minor reno. So far we have just been fixings things and ensuring everything is functional, unbroken and safe but, we haven't started any remodel yet, we have just been painting for the units that need it (whose walls look all scuffed up and what not) as it can be done reasonably fast and immediately transforms the place and makes it look clean. When we start the reno, laminate flooring in the kitchen, living room, hallway and bathroom, although we're thinking about leaving carpet in the bedrooms... haven't quite decided yet. Some units will need updated vanities, mirror, lights and low flow toilets. Once these are done I would like to take staged photos to complete our marketing package.
I like your two colors, do you paint a unit all one color? .... I'm definitely on board with the Tan's and Grey's especially since we just painted 2 units with Behr Classic Taupe 290E-3 in eggshell. I think I may just play with two colors; one in Tan (the one we have already used) and another in the Grey family.... and I think I might paint a few in just Tan, a few in just Grey and then maybe a few with both (one color for the Bedrooms and another for the living, bath, hallway and kitchen) and then see if I notice a difference in showings and feedback from Tenants.
What sheen do you typically use in your units? Also how is your experience with Laminate and Tenant wear and tear on it.... do you have a preferred Laminate flooring you use?
Get away from white, been assisting with leasing and property turns for almost 3 years, and the first thing tenants notice about our properties is the paint colors. They tell us that they make the property look like home and not like a lab experiment. The colors are always neutrals nothing over the top or out there. We typically update our colors every couple of years to stay with the market, but put colors in the walls that the current houses on the market have in them.
@Drew Brown that's great advice. Drew a bit off topic but, if you had to narrow it down to the ONE amenity which Tenant's love or look for, in your experience what would you say it would be?
@Alex R. the amenities change depending on the class of tenant you are selling to. The tenants like the higher end look and possibly the feel. We have accomplished this in a couple of different ways. Putting in vinyl flooring that looks like wood, adding chalk board feature walls where they make sense, paint walls a color. The biggest thing at the end of the days is having a crisp clean property to present to prospective tenants. You could have slight out of date items and colors, but if everything is crisp, clean and working this will truly make a difference.
*The best amenities that a single family rental can have is in unit hookup for washer and dryers!
Let me know if you ever have any questions. I invest in the greater Lansing area, which looks to possibly be the same area your interested in, would love to help in anyway I can.
@Alex R. Sherwin Williams ‘sedate gray’ with white trim. The color somehow does a great job of looking different in various lights.
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