Should this be a do-it-yourself job?
June 5, 2009 2:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving out of my apartment, and my walls need to return to thermostat.

I moved into this apartment a year ago, and immediately knew something needed to be done about the color on the walls, which we have dubbed 'thermostat'. Right now, my living room is robin's egg blue and an accent wall of teal. My kitchen/dining room is "cantaloupe smile". As said in our lease, the walls have to return to their previous color. We can either do it ourselves, or have it done through the management by an independent company, and then pay the management.

Whether or not we paint the apartment back depends on one thing: money. I have the time, nor do I mind doing it myself. I would just like to know how much it usually runs for the management to paint back the apartment. Any ideas?
posted by shesaysgo to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
It seems like the first data point you need is the amount the management would charge you.
posted by Perplexity at 2:52 PM on June 5, 2009

Well, they're going to have to pay paint + materials + labor (possibly + random markup/service fee since they know you're legally obligated to have it painted) while you'll just have to pay for the paint + materials. If you don't mind doing it yourself, I think you'll save quite a lot of $ that way.
posted by BlooPen at 2:56 PM on June 5, 2009

Completely depends on about 100 factors - you'll have to ask the mgmt company. (Also, might it be noted in your lease?)
posted by tristeza at 2:56 PM on June 5, 2009

Why not ask them?

Or, if you are taking a poll of sorts, of how much it cost others, please tell us where in the world you are?
posted by Houstonian at 2:57 PM on June 5, 2009

have the time, nor do I mind doing it myself.

You've just answered your own question. It'll cost a lot more for them to do it. Do it yourself - it's always cheaper.
posted by jimmythefish at 3:03 PM on June 5, 2009

It will be way cheaper to do it yourself, no matter where you live.

If you are only concerned about cost, go buy some paint and slap it up on the walls.
posted by orme at 3:06 PM on June 5, 2009

If you do paint it yourself, invest in the best primer (ask the paint store) you can get. Those deep colors will be a bitch to cover, and good primer will do a lot to reach that goal.
posted by Danf at 3:18 PM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'll explain why it's best to ask the management company.

Quite a few years ago, I rented an apartment and painted the trim (baseboards and such) a bright, dark green. We had the same proposition: Somebody has to paint it back, but who can do it cheapest? I decided that of course I could do it cheapest, what with my labor being free...

Now, what I didn't know was that because of rules or laws, plus the amount of time since the last carpet upgrade in the apartment, our apartment was due for new carpet. The maintenance crew was going to strip all the carpet, massively spray paint around with fancy equipment, and then lay down new carpet. I, however, was taping around the carpet and edges, carefully applying (about a bajillion coats) of paint. Also, I bought paint retail, and they bought at a volume discount.

I painted that trim, but when we moved out the management person told me she was surprised. I said, "Well, surely I can do it cheaper since my labor is free!" And then she told me how much it would've cost.

It would have been cheaper for them to do it. I taped and painted and worried, and it cost me extra to do it.

Now, will this be true for you? There's absolutely no way to know. The people who know are the ones sitting down at the office, who collect your rent and do your post-move inspection.
posted by Houstonian at 3:19 PM on June 5, 2009 [5 favorites]

as everyone else has said, you need to check with the management company.

It just so happens that I am in the process of moving out, and need to paint. If I leave it to the management company? $100 per wall. I plan on painting.
posted by namewithoutwords at 3:42 PM on June 5, 2009

What Houstonian said.

Also, the management company might be willing to give you the paint at their cost.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:01 PM on June 5, 2009

I would just like to know how much it usually runs for the management to paint back the apartment. Any ideas?

Approximately your security deposit.

You'll see.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:44 PM on June 5, 2009 [4 favorites]

You may have your own reasons for not contacting the landlord. But if not, I'm not sure what you have to lose by talking to them to find out what they expect you to do in order to get full return of your security deposit.

In SF, this is required by law, and the landlord must provide this written list with reasonable time for you to fix everything on the list. But I don't know where you live.

Also, if you speak with them, you may find that they would benefit if you to move out before the end of the month so that they will have more time to show the apartment, or get a better rate on repairs. In other words, maybe they will pay for the painting if you leave several days earlier than your lease period.

I just moved out of my place, and my landlord was so eager to get the place ready for the next tenant that he refunded my full security deposit and the last month's rent in exchange for vacating the apartment just 4 days early. I was very scared about fighting to get my deposit back, imagining all the outrageous charges he could come up with. But then I talked with him - I never would have imagined such a great outcome.
posted by buzzv at 6:13 PM on June 5, 2009 landlord paid *me* to paint the walls crazy colors. Wait, my landlord was my parents. Never mind. But seriously, get a quote. You can paint surprisingly quickly these days with foam rollers and as long as you have a good primer as Danf says, it'll be a two-three coat job. I wouldn't be surprised if your landlord had a stiff administrative fee on top of costs to simply to discourage tenants from painting all the walls and then making the land lord deal with the hassle of hiring painters, supervising, etc.
posted by mrmojoflying at 7:22 PM on June 5, 2009

Another vote for asking. Sure, some landlords will screw you to the wall, but some are nice. When I moved out they had to repaint all the walls and replace the carpet. Total cost to me: $0.00. They counted it as regular wear and tear on the place. Got all of my deposit back minus $20 for cleaning the place up. (But I left it a mess, I was too tired to clean after moving. $20 well spent.)

But get it in writing so if they say $50, and then bill you $1,000, you'll have some defense.
posted by Ookseer at 11:09 PM on June 5, 2009

Ask. Most places are going to assume that they need to repaint anyway if you've been there for any length of time. If you've used dark colors, tell them -- and offer to lay a coat of primer down, which may get you a split if they're not willing to pick up the whole cost.

Worst case, right now, is that you have to repaint everything anyway, which is what you're planning to do -- so talking to them can only reduce that cost.
posted by eriko at 8:39 AM on June 6, 2009

I wish there was a rule that people couldn't post an AskMe question where (a) AskMe readers simply cannot answer the question, as we have no idea what sort of markup the management company would charge, and (b) the answer could be found by one phone call to the right person.
posted by salvia at 10:09 AM on June 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I just went apartment shopping last month and this subject came up. In a few places, the very candid folks who were showing us around let us know that paying to have it done would be significantly more expensive than just doing it yourself - on the order of twice the cost or more.

If you have the time, do it yourself. You can spend the rest on new paint for your new place.
posted by phredgreen at 8:41 PM on June 6, 2009

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