Apartment - Clean-up

7 Replies

Hello, my name is Josh, I just closed on my first property today. It is a triplex that I am planning on living in one unit and renting the other two out. Currently two of the units are already filled with tenants on month to month leases, so I plan on signing a 6 month lease agreement Dec 1st. with those two. 

For the vacant unit I want to eventually rent it out so I'm looking for advice and how to clean it up after a tenant leaves to get it ready.

Currently it smells like the last tenant has been smoking inside the building. What is the best way to wash the walls and floors to get rid of that? 

Also it is wall to wall carpet except for the kitchen and bathroom which are tile. So, is there a good way to clean carpet or do I need to rip it out and put new flooring down. 

If I do replace the flooring should it be hardwood floors or new carpet. 

The walls also need to be repainted so I'm not sure if there is a more or less cost efficient way of just buying paint at Lowes and putting it on the wall. 

How can I tell if it is going to be cost efficient to get new windows installed. Currently one of the windows is broken so should i just get one new one or replace them all at once.

Finally any recommendations on rehabbing the units that are still occupied. Or should I just wait till they decide to leave before trying to improve them. 

I am just starting out so I am trying to keep cost down but I don't want to ignore something that will cost me more in the end. 



Wait until they leave to improve but fix anything that is broken now.

As far as the other one you can try to clean the carpet but if it’s old it might just be worth replacing. Mine was smoked in and I replaced the carpet and repainted the walls. You can’t smell anything now.

I would probably just replace the one broken window unless you really want to replace all of them.

I would rip out the carpet and replace with vinyl laminate.  Even when cleaned carpet usually look grubby.  

Just replace the 1 window and go from there.  Replacing all the windows is a big ticket item probably 10k plus.

Buy good quality paint (probably 30 dollars a gallon).  More likely you can get away with 1 coat.  Painting cost more in labor than the actual paint.  Don't use white it does not cover stains very well.  

Thanks for the info, I've found a lot if different price ranges and different types of vinyl flooring. Does anyone have a link to one that they get I'm not sure what a reasonable price would be. The first room + closet is 175 sq ft. 

If you're talking about Allure vinyl planks, wait and see if Home Depot (if you have a Home Depot near you) has their yearly Black Friday sale.  They typically offer one color of the Allure (their choice of color) on sale for 99 cents a square foot.   Many landlords/investors purchase this online if it sells out quickly through the stores.

Both Lowes and Home Depot are currently offering "early" Black Friday sales.


In the past we've used Autumn Oak color of Allure ($1.79/square foot), Cherry (.99 Black Friday special); the Walnut is currently on sale at $1.52/square foot in my area if you don't want to wait and see about if there is going to be a Black Friday sale via Home Depot.

For washing walls from a previous smoker, many landlords recommend using TSP (wear gloves and, often; the recommendation is a face mask with this).


To get rid of the smoke smell buy a good primer and repaint, then get rid of the carpet. I've tried cleaning walls over and over and the smell doesn't come off until the paint does. 

Replaceing the carpet with vinyl planks does a couple of things; if you or your tenant spill something on the floor the vinyl planks are harder to stain, they are much easier to clean.

For the occupied units fix only what needs to be fixed and save the improvements for when they are gone. 

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