First time owning a rental. Tenant Turnover and Repaint?

3 Replies

Hello BP Family,

I recently purchased a quadplex and one of the units is vacant. My PM recommends repainting the whole unit. The unit is 2br/1.5 bath (1150 sqft) with a ceiling about 8 ft. I plan to repaint the unit over the weekend along with a handyman and knock it out. I have alot of free time. I plan to use the same/similar color already existing. And paint only the trim and the walls.

My question is as a noobie I am repainting the whole unit. For senior landlord do yall paint the whole unit after turnover? When do you repaint the whole unit? Can I paint indiivudal rooms?

If I repaint the whole unit does it sound like something that can be completed in a weekend? Never painted before but the handyman I am hiring has. I plan to not use tape and cut carefully around trim and edges. I also plan to paint the wall than the trim so I can paint faster on the walls. 

Prep work isn't too much. There aren't many nail hole or holes. I do need to clean some wall thoughts.

One thing I learned early on: pick a paint color scheme and stick with it.  Don't paint one room tan, one gray, one green, one blue, etc....  I go with light beige or gray, and the whole unit gets painted the same color.  No fancy "accent" walls.  And NO, tenants can NOT paint!  Ever.  Nope.

This will make touch up easier between tenants.

I recommend a Satin sheen on bedroom and living rooms & hallways.  Semi-Gloss in bathroom and kitchen.  Easier to wipe up/clean.

I do not repaint in between each tenant, unless there are damages or significant dings that have to be painted over.  I bill the security deposit at $200 per room we paint.  The paint I buy has a 25 year warranty: dirt, grime, grease, scuffs, scratches and dings are NOT normal wear and tear.  They are DAMAGE.

If you paint between each tenant and average 3 years per tenant, then in 20 years you'll have 6-7 coats of paint on the wall.  It will be a mess....

I also have "Class C" units, and the fact I paint at all puts me well ahead of my competition most times.  I define Class C as "clean, safe, and functional."  Nothing fancy.

Consider using a Wagner paint stick, available at Lowes for about $20.  It sucks the paint out of the can up into the handle, then you just squeeze a trigger as you go to feed paint into a special perforated roller.  Keeps you from having to keep reloading out of the paint tray.  I can paint a 10 foot long x 8 foot high wall with one of those in 4-5 minutes, easily.  Clean up at the end takes awhile, and if it's too messy sometimes I'll just toss it.  Not worth wasting half an hour and 50 gallons of water trying to clean up a $20 tool.  You can wrap the head in plastic (grocery bags) to keep the paint roller from drying out if you have to pause for the evening so you don't have to clean it every day.

Happy painting!

P.S.  I don't paint units myself any more.  I did when I started out so I could get the "feel" of it, but painting a Class C unit is a very low dollar value task.  I have a helper who does a good job at $15/hour and is dependable and doesn't have to be baby sat.  I provide tools and paint: he does the rest.  That's my next best piece of advice: make sure you are doing the highest dollar-value add tasks.  Hire out the rest.  Wealthy men do tasks worth $1,000 / hour.  Janitors clean up for $10 / hour.  Which one do you want to be?

@Robert Hernandez Hi Robert, there are definitely some helpful resources out there that can help you with making this decision as far as what colors to paint the unit. @Erik W. is spot on in that you want to make sure you are doing the highest dollar-value add tasks. 

That said, once you get the place painted and are ready to start your search for that next tenant, there are some great tools that can help you bring a certain level of automation to your rental process so you search for that next tenant becomes that much easier (ie. a platform that helps with listing the property to 10+ sites, tenant screening, digital lease creation, online rent collection, and maintenance tracking). If you need any recommendations, I'd be more than happy to help.