Calendar icon November 2, 2021

An Easy How-to for Painting Your Home's Interior

A DIY paint job can be easy by following these steps.

So you’re looking to do some wall painting? That’s easy enough, right? You just need to grab a brush and a can of paint and get started. Except that is not what you’re supposed to do, unless you want your paint job to come out looking like you just put paint in a water gun and shot it at the wall.

A painting project, like any home improvement project you want to invest in, will turn out quite a bit better with a bit of planning and the right tools. Not sure what you need? Well, you’re on the right blog.

Make sure to pick the right color.

First comes the prep work, which is arguably the most essential part of painting a room. Before you even begin thinking about doing the actual painting, make sure you spend the appropriate amount of time picking your color. Have an idea of what color you want when you go to the store and bring back some samples. If possible, get more than one sample of each color, as the more surface area of the wall your sample takes up, the easier it will be to envision that color all around the room. The paint store people might not let you do that, but if they do, you should take full advantage.

Once you’ve acquired your samples, tape them to the wall or ceiling you’re intending to paint and check them out in different lighting during different times of the day. This will allow you to see what each color looks like in all different types of light and give you time to mull over your options.

After selecting a color, it’s time to choose the type of finish you’d want.

There's no industry standard for paint. What one manufacturer may call flat could actually be matte and vice versa. Be sure to test the actual paint or do some research first.
  • Flat: Flat paint is the anti-gloss and therefore the best option for covering imperfections in your wall. The downside is that the surface can easily get marked up and may need retouching on a more frequent basis. At the same time, flat paint is easy to touch up since you're not having to worry about blending to match the current shine. Nowadays, most flat paint will stand up to mild cleaning—just look for "washable" on the label.
  • Matte: Matte paint results in an almost shine-free appearance—a little bit more gloss than flat paint. This finish is sometimes referred to as suede or velvet finish. Given it does have a little bit of gloss, it can handle slightly more cleaning than flat paint.
Flat and matte are best suited for low traffic areas as they are easier to mark and scuff, while not being particularly easy to clean
  • Eggshell: Eggshell paint has a light shine making it easy to clean but doesn’t have the smoothness factor that makes imperfections standout. Those two factors make eggshell finish paints very popular.
  • Satin: Satin paint is the middle ground between matte and gloss. This level of shine really starts to highlight imperfections; this sacrifice makes it easier to clean.
The more shine a paint has, the more glossy it is. As you move from the spectrum of no-shine to shiny, paint becomes easier to clean. Keep this in mind when you're painting kitchens or bathrooms where the walls have a high potential to become dirty.
  • Semi-gloss: It's got that bright shine, but still not quite glossy. Semi-gloss is easy to clean and ideal for trim, cabinets, or doors.
  • High-gloss: Gloss is the opposite end of the spectrum from flat. It provides the maximum shine for your wall which can be a really fresh look. But cool comes at a price. This finish will show every imperfection. Due to their durability, high-gloss paints are often used for doors in high-traffic areas and trim.


What supplies you'll need to paint.

Now that you’ve got your ideal color and finish selected, it’s time to acquire the appropriate tools.

  • Paint: Painting a room without paint is tough.
  • Paint roller: For covering large open spaces like walls, a roller is the most efficient tool. It will give you cleaner and more even strokes than a brush.
  • Paint tray: A paint tray holds the paint for the roller. The roller and tray can typically be purchased together for about ten dollars.
  • Painter’s Tape: Painter’s tape is a critical tool for any in-home paint job. Use it as a divider between the area you want to paint and any area you don’t. Painter’s tape goes on and peels off easily and will give you a nice clean straight edge. You can get this for about five bucks.
  • Brush: If you don’t have painter’s tape, or you’re painting an area that has inward corners or places that a roller will struggle to reach, simply use a brush to touch up the edges. Often, a brush will come in the package with the roller and tray.
  • Ladder (maybe): You might need a step stool or a step ladder if you can’t reach everything you want to paint. These will run you north of fifty dollars, but chances are you already have one. If you don’t, you should get one. It’ll last you your whole life and be useful in lots of home fixes.
  • Drop cloth: A drop cloth will cover the floor and furniture so you can’t spill paint on either. Make sure you get a size big enough to cover everything around the area you’re painting. These are cheap and start at around four dollars.
  • Wallpaper steamer (maybe): If you have wallpaper, you’ll need to remove it before you begin painting. Wallpaper steamers are expensive, often starting above $40, although you can buy used ones for a little less.
example pricing for some paint items


Remove any wallpaper.

Using your newly purchased wallpaper steamer, strip off any wallpaper and then thoroughly clean the walls to rid them of any dirt or grime that has built up. Next, clear everything around the areas you intend to paint and move it as far away as possible. Make the space as open as you can. Cover the floor and anything that couldn’t be moved with the drop cloth to protect it. After you’ve cleared the space and laid the drop cloth, tape the cloth down and then adhere painter’s tape to the edges of the area you will be painting. Now it’s time to get started.

To prime or not to prime?

Sometimes it’s necessary to apply a primer beforehand, and sometimes it’s not. Primer is meant for walls and places where an even and uniform coat are critical. Determining whether this step needs to be taken is done by determining whether there are elements of the wall you are painting that will cause the paint to dry unevenly.

Are you painting drywall, which needs a coat of primer to avoid irregular drying due to its absorption qualities? A primer will help here. Has the wall been painted before? A previous coat of paint will carry out some of the functions of a primer and is often sufficient on its own. Is the wall damaged, warped, featuring an irregular surface, porous, or does it have nail holes? A primer is recommended in these situations to level out the surface and decrease the impact of any irregularities in the wall.

In some situations, you can use a paint and primer mix, which can save you some money and make things move faster.

If you decide a standalone primer is necessary, apply just like you would paint, ensure evenness, and then give it two to four hours to dry. Be positive that it is completely dry to the touch before proceeding.

Let’s do that painting.

Once you’ve decided to prime or not to prime and you’ve applied the coat if necessary, it’s time to bring your room to life. Dump that paint in that paint tray and get ready for action.

First, you’ll use your brush to paint the corners and edges where you’ve applied your tape. Use a horizontal sweeping motion to ensure evenness and make sure every sweep is in the same direction.

After you paint corners and edges, use your roller to cover the wall. Roll the roller through the tray of paint and then begin your roller stroke about three-quarters up the wall. Roll from there almost to the bottom, still leaving two or so feet between the edge and the end of your stroke. Once the paint on the roller has thinned to the point where it isn’t pooling on the foam, roll all the way to the top and bottom of the surface. This practice will help to ensure the most uniform coat possible.

How many coats is too many coats?

For wall painting, you’re probably going to need multiple coats. If you’re repainting, the number of coats required varies depending on the old color and the new color. A darker color over a lighter color will need probably no more than two, while a lighter color over a darker will need as many as five or six. In a situation that would require a significant number of coats, a primer might be useful in providing a blank and uniform canvas that cuts down on the workload.

While you’re painting, it’s essential to keep in mind that paint will dry a slightly different color than when it’s first being applied to the wall. It often goes on a darker color than the samples you had taped to your wall. Don’t panic. It will dry the right color.

After you’ve let your final coat dry, you’re ready to put your room back together and enjoy the ambiance of the freshly painted room.

Keep learning

Chambers Theory Endorses Second Nature’s Resident Benefits Package

Chambers Theory is a world-renowned property management team with clients in more than 30 countries worldwide. They specialize in serving the U.S. military, State Department, and Foreign Services families. Their motto “Real Estate With Intelligence” is more than just a saying. It’s on full display through the introductory videos for landlords and residents on their website in seven languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese, French, Croatian, and English) - all spoken fluently by their own property management (PM) team. Since its founding in 2018, Chambers Theory has been achieving extraordinary performance benchmarks. They’ve led the marketplace in delivering the “Golden Triangle of Success” to their clients, which means the lowest vacancy, the highest average rents, and the highest quality of tenants of any property management firm in its same service area. They’ve also donated over $100,000 to local charities and community organizations, while also leading the way in promoting sustainability practices in real estate and property management services. Their outstanding team attributes their success to their ability to develop and utilize their emotional intelligence skills to capacity to care with all their interactions with both landlords and residents. That’s why they fully endorse the Resident Benefits Package at Second Nature! Find out more about what a Resident Benefits Package is, its benefits, and how it can help create a Triple Win for you, as well as your residents and investors. Related: The State of Resident Experience Report

Calendar icon July 18, 2024

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Investor Experience Platform™️ IXP™️

An Investor Experience Platform™️ (IXP) in property management is a suite of products, services, and benefits offered by property management companies to property investors. Just like a resident benefits package is a way to drive value for residents, investors, and property managers, the IBP™️ is an innovative approach to property management that focuses on driving value for an investor's assets and turning that value into profit for the property management company. In this article, we’ll dig into the different features that an Investor Experience Platform™️ can include, and how those benefit not just investors, but property managers and residents, too. What Is an Investor Experience Platform™️ (IXP)? As stated above, an Investor Experience Platform™️ (IXP™️) is a comprehensive suite of services that offer property investors higher quality property management, stability, and profit. An IBP™️ typically includes concierge-level services beyond basic property management – such as property insurance policies, eviction guarantees, rent guarantees, maintenance plans, asset performance reports, etc. These services are aimed at maximizing the investor’s assets, stability and convenience, profitability, and peace of mind in managing their properties. They're commonly managed through an investor experience platform to securely manage and monitor the performance of these assets online, which we'll discuss later. The first step to outlining an IBP™️ is to define what your basic management fee means and covers. If the answer is, it’s collecting rent, handling maintenance, and general communication – does that include maintenance coordination or is that a separate fee? Does it include asset reporting or is that an additional service? In your management agreement, define what the management fee is, what it covers, and how much it is. An IBP™️ can be an effective tool for articulating the new and differentiated things that an investor wouldn’t be able to do on their own and that you are offering beyond basic property management. Articulate your unique and differentiated services (IBP™️) and use that as a tool for positioning and charging for what it’s worth. What’s Included in An Investor Experience Platform™️? An Investor Experience Platform™️ should include a range of solutions to help deliver consistency, insight, and asset protection to a property owner’s portfolio. After all, professional property managers don’t have to be functional managers of a home – they can be strategic partners in the management of financial assets. You might hear services similar to the IBP™️ called an “owner benefit package,” but at Second Nature, we believe that the “investor” term is useful in encouraging a longer-term mindset, and emphasizes the economic value professional property management can bring. According to Eric Wetherington, VP of Strategic Initiatives at PURE Property Management: “As property managers, we need to think more like asset managers. This client made an investment, and we should be guiding that client through managing that investment, not just collecting rent.” To build and manage a winning IBP™️, property managers need an Investor Experience Platform that unlocks scalable product and service customization, digitized onboarding, accounting policy automation, and more. In addition, Investor Experience Platforms provide transparency and convenience for your investors. Here are some of the most valuable services that property managers can offer through an innovative Investor Experience Platform™️. Property insurance program Similar to offering a renters insurance program through an RBP in the lease agreement, property management companies can offer an insurance plan to investors to cut costs and ensure the safety of their assets. Most management agreements will include the requirement that the investor carries insurance on the property and that the property manager is additionally insured. But what if you as the property manager could help manage that for the investor – at scale? Property Insurance for investors should have dynamic pricing based on individual investors’s property portfolio and needs. The benefit beyond flexibility is the savings they’ll see on their premiums while also getting insurance that’s tailored to the needs of their specific property class. At Second Nature, we work primarily with single-family rental properties and small multi-family residences. Property Insurance Programs can bring scale that will drive economic value for the investor over what they could get retail on their own. They’d still have the option to go get their own insurance that meets requirements, but they can pay you a small fee to manage it for them. Rent guarantee An IBP™️ can include a number of financial guarantees to protect property investors and drive ancillary revenue for PMCs. A rent guarantee, or rent protection, ensures a consistent rental income to investors by protecting them against resident defaults or non-payment of rent. If a resident fails to pay rent, the property management company covers the unpaid amount and takes necessary steps for eviction or collection, providing financial security and minimizing the risk for property owners. Rent guarantees work for professional property management companies that have enough properties to balance the loss of rent if a resident doesn’t pay. The risk is low and the additional profit from fees for this guarantee can have a very high ROI, while driving satisfaction and stability for the investor. Plus, if you’re using services in an RBP to help incentivize on-time rent payments, you’ll rarely find yourself out in the cold. Eviction protection guarantee An eviction protection guarantee also goes beyond the normal scope of property management services and can be used as a secondary source of revenue. Eviction Protection is a service provided by property management companies to property investors that offers additional security and financial protection in the event of an eviction. Under this guarantee, the property management company assumes the costs associated with the eviction process, including legal fees and court expenses. It helps alleviate the financial burden on property investors and provides peace of mind by ensuring that they are safeguarded against potential losses resulting from resident evictions. The eviction guarantee helps protect property owners from the complexities and potential costs associated with evictions, ensuring a smooth and efficient resolution to tenant-related issues. Pet guarantees & other guarantees A pet guarantee is a service offered by property management companies to property investors that aims to address any potential issues related to allowing pets in rental properties. It typically involves implementing policies and procedures to ensure responsible pet ownership, such as thorough pet screening, pet agreements, and collecting additional pet deposits or fees. The pet guarantee may also include services like pet damage insurance or assistance with pet-related issues during the lease term. It provides property investors with a framework to accommodate residents with pets while minimizing risks and maintaining the condition of the property. For many residents, finding a pet-friendly apartment increases retention and profitability. They’re willing to stay longer and pay more for a pet-friendly place. And–get this–pet damage is less likely to happen than damage from kids! It’s not a huge risk to the asset, but can provide a big benefit in terms of satisfied, longer-term residents. Maintenance plan Home warranties are a four-letter word for property managers. They’re a massive headache to deal with, and yet there’s high demand for them among property investors. Because of that, most property managers charge a fee for home warranties, for each they have to file. Imagine if there was a world where home warranties weren’t needed. Here’s the thing: Professional property managers already have the vendor network and the know-how to coordinate maintenance jobs. What they don’t usually have is a product that’s priced to give the investor the experience they want. Let’s say right now an investor is paying $50 a month for a cheap home warranty. The warranty only covers 40% of issues and it creates all these extra people and friction in the middle. For anything moderately significant that goes wrong with a property, PMCs generally must contact the investor for permission to get work done. It’s all a massive hassle and loses time in maintenance requests that leave residents frustrated. What if there was a product that costs, say, $150 to $200 a month but it actually covered everything? Instead of having sudden expenses and emergencies, this maintenance plan smooths out the experience and makes it more predictable for the investor. For PMs, it means taking the initiative on fixes without waiting for approval. Imagine a world where you didn’t have to get owner approvals for 95% of maintenance issues – because they’re already budgeted for and already paid for. For residents, it means better maintenance, and faster. Another Triple Win! Asset performance reports Another piece focuses on property managers as asset managers. Think about any investment app, like Robinhood, Acorns, etc. You can log in to these apps any time, 24/7, and see how your stock and investments are performing. In most investment classes, you can see in real time how your assets are performing. Why shouldn’t property investors have that as well? An IBP™️ can include exactly that: a dashboard or online portal that shows investors regular reports on how their property is doing. They could get updates on the value of their home over time, the home price appreciation, rent price over time, and project rent growth, typically maintenance costs and how they’re doing against that, and more. Resident Benefits Package Another piece to include in your IBP™️ is to highlight the benefits of your resident benefits package to your investors. Explain how features like a filter delivery program protect their assets and reduce HVAC repair costs. Show how a renters insurance program can ensure coverage and protection. Give numbers on how credit reporting incentivizes on-time rental payments and helps ensure financially stable renters. Explain how a movie-in concierge saves both time, headache, and money. Each of the pillars of an RBP is critical to encouraging better resident behavior, increasing renter retention and lease renewal rates, reducing vacancies, and more – all primary goals for a property investor. A note about Rent Advance Programs There’s been due buzz about “Rent Advance” offerings, though many advise caution when approaching this financial product. It works in some ways like cash advance programs, which can satisfy urgent needs, but not be more valuable for anyone long term. The way it works is PMs offer to send a year of rent upfront to the investor in a big chunk, and collect monthly from the resident. The investor typically pays a 5-10% premium on the advance, which can be their entire expected return. So the question becomes, where do they put that cash to get a better return instead? Another thing to think about is who would actually use this product. Investors who don’t have enough cash on hand? How does that benefit anyone in the long run? What happens when there’s a big maintenance bill later? Does this encourage better decisions and practices by the investor? To date, there’s been pretty low adoption of this program, which is another sign it may not be hugely beneficial to everyone involved. But plenty of innovations start that way, evolve, and find traction. One case where it might be a value generator is if an investor is looking to take a cash advance and put it toward a down payment for another house. That would benefit the property manager as well, promising more business, and the PM could offer a lower rate for getting more properties to make the financing more attractive than hard money loans or other alternatives. The jury is still out here, it’s an interesting one to track. How Can Investors and Property Managers Benefit From an Investor Experience Platform™️? Investors and property managers can benefit from an Investor Experience Platform™️ in several ways. They’re also great for residents in the sense they build more stability and quality into the renting process. Here are just some of the benefits of an IBP™️. Enhanced investor attraction An Investor Experience Platform™️ provides incentives and advantages that can attract more investors. Financial guarantees and protections against the risks associated with evictions or late payments can increase stability, while services like a maintenance plan can ensure premium care of their property assets without increasing their workload. By offering attractive perks, property managers can differentiate their offerings and generate greater investor interest. Increased investor retention Both IBP™️s and RBPs help build loyalty with residents and investors. By fostering a strong relationship and demonstrating ongoing value, property managers can build trust and loyalty among investors, and retain them over the long term. IBP™️s help establish the stability, transparency, and asset growth for a real estate investment that an investor hopes to achieve. Improved property performance An Investor Experience Platform™️ can also contribute to improved property performance. For example, by offering discounted property management fees or access to professional services at reduced rates, property managers can help investors optimize their returns and reduce costs. Additionally, incentives such as rent guarantees or eviction protection can mitigate risk for investors and attract more capital to the property. Streamlined communication and transparency A well-designed Investor Experience Platform™️ facilitates effective communication and promotes transparency between property managers and investors. This can involve regular reporting on financial performance, property updates, and the sharing of relevant market insights. Transparent and consistent communication builds trust and confidence among investors, fostering a positive and long-lasting relationship. Competitive advantage A comprehensive Investor Experience Platform™️ can give property managers a competitive edge in the market. When investors have access to exclusive benefits and advantages, they are more likely to choose a property managed by a company that offers a compelling package – and to recommend it to others. Say hello to increased investment inflow and a stronger market position for your PMC. Should You Make an Investor Experience Platform™️ Mandatory? The first thing most property managers ask us when we’re talking about an RBP or an IBP™️ is: Should I make this mandatory for all investors or do I make it a flexible opt-in/opt-out program? Unlike RBPs, where best practices are more proven and established, different PMs are taking different approaches with their IBP™️s. Some have a mandatory level of service set at a flat price. Others may say they’re fine offering a base level of service without these differentiated products, giving investors the choice to simply pay a baseline management fee and opt out of the IBP™️ premium service. Some may offer a baseline to all investors and then give them the chance to opt in for premium IBP™️ services. There are a lot of ways to do it. With the RBP, we’ve found that making it mandatory does not generate nearly as much pushback as people expect – and can be a strong value add overall. Final Thoughts About an Investor Experience Platform™️ The Investor Experience Platform™️ is an innovative way to generate ancillary income and create more value for investors and residents. Similar to Second Nature’s premier Resident Benefits Package, the IBP™️ can deliver high-quality service for investor experience – and help create a triple win for investors, residents, and property management companies. The IBP™️ reinforces the value of a professional property management company for investors and helps differentiate you from the crowd. Stay tuned to learn more about the latest in the IBP™️ space, or learn more about how a resident benefits package can launch a whole new level of value for your PMC.

Calendar icon July 17, 2024

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