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Is It Time to Paint Your Rental Property?

It’s difficult to make a generalization about how often to paint the interior of a rental property. Typically the life expectancy of interior paint is noted by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) as 10 to 15 years.

Technically that may be so, but how realistic is that timespan? The fact is wear and tear can vary between tenants.

If you’ve wished for easier ways to manage painting and repainting your rental property, we’ve got a few questions for you to consider.

  1. What quality of paint are you using? Some paints fade more easily than others. Other products may not hold up well during the cleaning process. Even wiping down some paint products using a damp cloth can remove paint layers. Why use cheap paint if you want your property to look fresh without having to constantly repaint?

If you’re leasing to families, people with pets, or younger tenants, consider using a “tougher” paint product inside your rental properties. Paint that can hold up to “washing” and “scrubbing” are better choices if you know the tenant can’t help but be hard on the property.

  1. Do you know how long ago you painted the property? Keep track of the date and you’ll know exactly where you are in the paint lifecycle. A solid timeframe can help you decide whether to stretch a paint job with a touchup.
  1. Where’s your paint card with the details on the brand, color number, and finish? So many people stack half empty paint cans in a garage thinking they’ll remember the specifics of when, where, and how the paint was used. Instead of mulling over information from years ago (remember, you could go as long as 10 to 15 years without needing to paint), write it all down and put it with the other data about your property.
  1. Are you using a professional painter? DIY projects aside, using a licensed vendor who has experience working in rental properties may seem like a big expense, but it can payoff in the end. Develop a working relationship with a good professional painter, and you’ll have a reliable ally who can tell you what finishes can be painted over and what needs a fresh start. Professional painters know how to properly prepare surfaces so the paint lasts longer, and they’ll know the difference between a good quality paint product and those that are runny and cheap.  InterNACHI mentions surface preparation and the quality of paint as the two most telling aspects of a paint product’s life expectancy.
  1. BONUS QUESTION - What color are you painting the interior of your rentals? Going with white may sound easy, but have you looked at the long, long list of white paint colors? Basic color schemes cycle in and out, so knowing the current popular paint scheme can be a good place to start. Currently grey palettes are favored. Finding a grey that works with both beige and grey upholstery can help potential tenants visualize their furniture and possessions in the space, and that could make renting the property a little easier.

To learn what shifts are happening in the home décor market, keep up with the latest builder’s magazines and home decorating publications. It’s also a good idea to visit new housing developments in your local area to see what styles and colors are being showcased in their model homes.


Use the same paint scheme in every rental home you own.  It makes buying paint a simple process and takes away the extra work of choosing a different scheme for each home.

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