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A Re-Paint Brings Rewards With The Right Prep

A fresh paint job sounds like a renovation “nobrainer” and the cheapest way to create a big rental uplift if you do it yourself correctly, says investment coach Ilse Wolfe says.

By: Ilse Wolfe

30 September 2022

To most people painting seems the easiest DIY part of your renovation, Ilse Wolfe says. “And sure, most people could give it a crack and make it acceptable.”

But the cost, and time, required often comes as a surprise, mainly because the value of a good paint job is all in the preparation.

In terms of “bang for buck” Wolfe says painting is the easiest way to add substantial cost and a good impression to your rental.

This is why it’s step No.5 of the Cashflow Hacking List, a six-step approach to turbocharging any BRRRR project.

But there is much more to it than simply picking up a paint brush. Here are a few tips to get you thinking.

More Than Paint

A professional painter can cost between $10,000 and $20,000 and take up to three weeks to complete a job.

“But take $1000 into any hardware store and you can get everything you need to paint the interior of your home,” Wolfe says.

However, the actual painting of walls only makes up about 10 per cent of the total job.

“Existing houses come with baggage – things like old wallpaper, and peeling glue,” she says.

“And so, prior to painting it may be necessary to strip the wallpaper, complete the Gibbing and skimming the bumps from the walls.”

This sort of work is extremely labour intensive and can add a week to the original quote if you are hiring a professional.

It means you have to be prepared to do that work yourself if you want to save, she says.

Rank The Walls

For this reason it’s a good idea to look at the walls of any potential house before committing to buying.

Wolfe says walls come in “ranks” of difficulty.

“The worst case scenario is old, old wallpaper that is bumping and lifting (approx $20K),” she says. “A notch below that is smooth wallpaper that isn’t peeling.”

In this instance a professional painter can paint directly over this type of wallpaper (approx $10,000 to $15,000).

Wolfe says the best-case scenario is no wallpaper at all.

“Instead, there are walls that are already painted – so a light repaint will do (approx $10,000).

“But there’s a bonus level,” she says. “If your house has good quality walls and has been painted with a decent colour palette, one single coat and it looks like you’ve done a full paint job.”

Time Is Money

Painting is 50 per cent of the entire renovation job.

“If your entire cashflow hack is six weeks long, skimming and painting your property can be three weeks,” Wolfe says. “It’s a big time-consuming element.” This is why spray-painting, which can be done in one to two days, is an attractive option.

But this type of paint, used commonly with new builds and professional builders, can be a risk, she says. “

A spray-painted finish is different to a rolled finish. A rolled finish is preferable because if you need to repaint a patch, you will see the difference”.

Spray painting is a skill in itself because you have to be able to use an airborne applicator, so it usually requires a professional.

However, Wolfe says you can hack the results by working in pairs, side-by-side.

“If you have one person spraying, and the other person rolling over it immediately, you can get the best of both worlds; speed and finish,” she says.

Matte V Gloss

When considering colour, the “black white” paint is the whitest of white and is very popular.

“It’s inoffensive and will appeal for mass market reach,” she says. “However, it’s also most obvious for wear and tear. So, you may have to do a top coat refresh more often.”

A similar balance is considered between matte and gloss paint.

In terms of finish, Wolfe says matte is popular.

“It’s on trend, it doesn’t reflect light, it looks more premium and it will hide any painting mishaps … like uneven rolls or bumps.

“But matte absorbs everything, whereas low-sheen or satin (or gloss) has more of a repellent quality.”

In terms of price, the two are on par. The decision will come down to what is best for your rental.

This means that while a matte paint may look better, and hide your DIY amateurism, it may require more frequent top-ups to keep it looking fresh. This could be more expensive in the long run.

A gloss finish would be easier when wiping toddler artwork off the walls, but it’s less forgiving when it comes to showing imperfections.

Review Windows

Pay close attention to the surfaces that require painting when doing your initial property inspections.

“Professional quotes are for ceilings and walls only,” Wolfe says. “In a rundown 60-year-old house, there is a lot of work to be done in the windows.”

Things like bogging, retouching, priming and repainting can be so “fiddly” it’s an extra $5,000 on to any base quote, she says.

Similarly, different surfaces require different paints. For instance, window and door trims need a hardier paint than ceilings.

“If you’re DIYing it, help yourself by keeping the same colour across paint types, even though you need hard-wearing paints for different surfaces,” Wolfe says. “This way imperfections are less obvious.”

All things considered, an interior paint job is a sure-fire way to move your property up the ranks. But if you’re DIYing you’ll need to prepare for more than just a wet paint brush

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