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How Often Should You Paint Your Rental Property and What Will it Cost?

One of the simplest ways to improve your rental property is by adding a fresh coat of paint. Not only does it improve your return on investment, but it can make your property look better than before with little effort. That said, many investors aren’t sure how often you should paint your rental and how much it will cost. So let’s go over how to tell when it’s time to repaint and how much you can expect it to cost. 


How to Know If Your Rental Needs Fresh Paint

You’ll know your rental property needs fresh paint when there’s evidence of chipping, peeling, or lead-based paint. You must address each of these issues before letting a tenant move in. After all, many of these issues may be affecting the habitability of the rental. 

Otherwise, it’s up to the landlord’s discretion. If you want to switch up the colors of your property or change the overall vibe, you can paint your property whenever you see fit. Sometimes, scuff marks, furniture marks, and small holes are noticeable throughout a rental, which may be a reason to paint. However, these reasons don’t affect habitability. 

Take a hard look at all the walls in your rental after one tenant moves out. Are there significant scuff marks, damaged paint areas, or obnoxious furniture marks? It may help to paint over these spots if you don’t feel like repainting the entire property. On the other hand, if the damage is extensive and makes the property look lackluster, consider a full repaint. 

Generally, landlords decide to repaint a rental every 2 to 5 years. It’s not necessary or cost-effective to repaint after every tenant moves out. After all, the costs of materials and labor can add up quickly. Next, let’s go over how much it will cost to paint your rental. 

How Much Does It Cost to Paint Your Rental?

The cost of painting a rental property depends on how many rooms you want to paint, what type of paint you want to use, and if you plan on hiring contractors. On average, it could cost a total of $1,000-$3,800 to paint your rental property. 

The average cost to paint an apartment is around $1 to $3 per square foot. So, you can calculate an estimate if you multiply the average by the square feet of your rental. But, the actual cost depends on the quality of paint you choose. The higher quality of the paint, the more expensive it will be. 

The next deciding factor will be whether or not you hire professional painters to complete the job. Painting the property yourself won’t be too hard, but you’ll have to clear enough time in your schedule to do so. On the other hand, you can save time by hiring contractors. Again, however, you’ll have to factor in the cost. 

The average cost to hire a painter is around $20 to $50 per hour. However, most contractors estimate the time it will take to paint and charge a fixed price per project. So next, let’s discuss whether or not you should hire a professional to paint your rental. 


Should You Hire Professionals to Paint Your Rental? 

It’s generally the landlord’s responsibility to paint a rental property, not a tenant’s. If a tenant wants to paint a rental, they must get permission from a landlord to do so. That said, whether a landlord wants to hire a contractor to paint or do it themselves is completely up to them.  

Owners can certainly save money by DIY painting their rental properties. However, painting your rental takes a lot of time and effort. Many landlords opt for contractors or Philadelphia property management to help get their rental properties in order before the next tenant moves in. 

Ultimately, hiring a professional is best unless you have extensive experience with painting rental properties. A contractor hired by your management team can likely handle the project swiftly and efficiently. If you want tips for choosing the best paint and finish for your rental property, just keep reading. 

Tips for Choosing the Best Paint and Finish

Painting can be a large rental property expense. Therefore, choosing the right paints and finishes is crucial to get the most from your investment. For rental properties, in particular, durability is extremely important. However, you can balance quality with affordability to ensure the best results. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while choosing the best paint and finish for your rental. 

  1. Color Is Crucial
  2. Balance Durability with Affordability
  3. Choose the Right Finish

Color Is Crucial


The last thing you want in a rental property is a mix of obnoxious colors on each wall. After all, painting a rental is not the same as painting the walls in your home. Instead, in a rental property, you should choose neutral colors that allow tenants to bring in their own personal style with furniture and decor. 

So, although you have all the colors in the world to choose from, stick with a neutral palette. Some safe colors are beige, gray, tan, cream, and deeper neutrals. That’s right–you don’t have to paint all the walls white to stay neutral. 

Balance Durability with Affordability

Generally, you’ll have to paint a rental property more often than you’d paint your own home. In addition, since there is more wear and tear in a rental, it typically requires more maintenance. As such, the costs of repainting your rental property every couple of years can quickly add up. So, choosing durable yet affordable paint is best for your pockets and your ROI. 

Remember that your walls probably need two coats of paint to achieve the best results. Therefore, choosing a mid-grade paint that’s still good quality is the best-case scenario. Another way to save money on paint is by buying one color for several rentals. That way, you don’t have to choose different colors for each property, and you can save money buying paint in bulk. 

Choose the Right Finish

Rentals experience higher turnover rates than owner-occupied homes. As such, wear and tear is often more noticeable on your painted surfaces in a rental. As a result, the finish you choose for your paint job can make all the difference. Here are a few different finish options and where to use them in your rental. 

  • Matte or Flat– This finish option is just how it sounds. It doesn’t offer any shine or gloss factor, making the colors look deeply saturated. That said, it’s not very easy to clean, so it’s best used in a low-traffic area. 
  • Eggshell– Eggshell finishes have a minimal sheen, making it easy to hide minor imperfections. However, cleaning is also quite challenging, so use it wisely. 
  • Satin– Satin finishes are the most common for rental properties. With a soft sheen, this finish is durable and works great for low or high-traffic areas. 
  • Semi-gloss– This finish is glossy and easy to clean, making it great for high-traffic areas like the kitchen or bathroom. 
  • High Gloss– Just as it sounds, high gloss finishes are very shiny and can make a statement in any room. However, if not professionally applied, it can look tacky and unforgiving.

How Can Property Management Help Paint Your Rental?

If you have multiple rental properties, figuring out how to paint them all in a reasonable amount of time can seem extremely stressful. However, if you know that you have a reliable management team on your side to help, you don’t have to worry about any of the small details. 

A full-service management team like Bay Property Management Group hires the best vendors for your rental property needs. With our services, you can feel confident that your property will be painted with precision and efficiency. Contact BMG today if you need rental management services in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, or Washington DC.