Adventures in Moving, Part 2

  • By Meadow Brook
  • 03 Mar, 2017

Holy-damaged walls, Batman!

It’s a cold weekend in February. I am kid-free and have no plans this particular Sunday afternoon. In order to keep my moving prep on schedule, I decide that I’m going to go ahead and get my walls cleared off and prepped.

No big deal, right? Just need to get nails out and fill the holes. It’s 2pm--I’ll be done by dinner. . .

[Skip ahead 4 hours] . . .Not done yet. . .

Prepping your walls for move-out is almost always left for the end of the moving process, and that can be a big mistake. Unless you are someone that never put up any décor (and never had a toddler), you will likely underestimate how much time it will take get the walls “move-out ready”.  Until everything is off the walls, it is hard to understand exactly how damaged they are.

"Damage" comes in many forms. Here are some examples that are NOT considered normal wear and tear:

  • Nail holes of any sort are commonly considered damage, even if that is your landlord’s preferred method of hanging décor on your walls.

  • Like to burn candles or incense in your home? Remember, that smoke doesn’t just disappear into the ether. Over time, smoke from incense and candles can leave grey residue on your walls that doesn’t clean off.

  • It is not uncommon to see brown “drip” marks if you’ve lived in a place for any length of time. Condensation in a humid environment, the errant drink spill, sneezy cats—there are a number of things that can cause these; what’s important to know is that they don’t just happen out of nowhere. ( Some kinds paint damage due to condensation may be considered “normal wear and tear”—ask your landlord if you have questions about this. )

  • Do you cook a lot on your stovetop? If you’ve lived in your home long enough, you will probably notice the walls around your stove and sink have a yellow/orange sheen to them. This is from grease buildup from both cooking and cleaning your cooking instruments.

  • If your bed doesn’t have a headboard, chances are good that your hair and skin have made contact with the wall by your bed—multiple times. Don’t be surprised when you see a greasy area after you pull your bed away.   

So, now that you see what’s happening with your walls, a more important question emerges: What do you do now?? Different landlords have different rules about what they want you to do before moving out. It is important to talk with your landlord before making any repairs to your walls. Insufficient repairs, use of incorrect materials, and poorly done work can end up costing you more in the long run. (In fact, cleaning your walls with soap and water may also create more work for your landlord after move-out!)

As it happens, I know my landlord pretty well, so I’m very aware of the things I need to do to maximize my deposit return.

1.   First and foremost, my landlord does not allow residents to paint the walls—so I didn’t.   My management uses a standard off-white for most apartments; when a resident paints over this white with any kind of color (even a light color), the walls must be primed (sometimes several times) before the original color can be put back on. This takes several hours—even days—and often a resident will not do it on their own before moving. A small sized apartment in need of priming and full paint can take 12 or more person hours of work (at about $50 per hour labor plus materials). Do the math: 12 x $50 = $600 + the cost of materials. 

2.   My landlord prefers that residents use nails for hanging pictures, but the holes must be filled and sanded before move-out.   After 10 years of hanging pictures and rearranging said pictures, that left A LOT of nail holes. (I tried to count but stopped at 200.) Nail hole filler is cheap, and easy to use so filling didn't take long. But the fill marks need to be sanded with a fine grain sandpaper (I used 150-180 grit) before they can be painted. This takes a lot longer, so plan accordingly. ( I have textured walls, so sanding took even more time—instead of sanding to flat, I had to sand to blend.)

3.  Don’t use toothpaste, soap, or any other homemade concoction to fill nail holes.   Contrary to what the internet says, THIS IS NOT A LIFE HACK—IT IS RIDICULOUS. If a landlord sniffs or touches or looks-at remotely closely, you will be found out, and likely charged for cleaning and re-filling the holes.

4.   If your landlord says it is a good idea, you can prime any areas of grease or dark scuff marks so they are ready to paint.   Again, because I know my landlord really well, I know that we use a white spray primer when necessary. It works for the smoke marks, oily spots by the bed (i.e. ‘bed head’), the greasy areas in the kitchen, dark scuff marks, and the places where my cat found it necessary to love up on the wall. (I have a weird cat.) If you decide to do any priming, you must be careful not to get paint on the carpet, cabinets, or anywhere else that it is not supposed to be. This can result in more charges.

5.   If you know there is damage, but do not feel confident that you can repair it properly, then leave it alone. Yes, there will be charges from the deposit, but it will likely be less than if your landlord has to undo bad work before making the repair.   

The most important thing to remember when prepping your apartment for move-out is this:  if in doubt, ask your Landlord.  

By Meadow Brook 07 Jun, 2017

I realize it’s been a while since my last post. In that time I’ve been packing, cleaning, and generally preparing myself, my son, and my cats for the big transition. Here are a few tips that I can pass on from the past few weeks.

By Meadow Brook 03 Mar, 2017

It’s a cold weekend in February. I am kid-free and have no plans this particular Sunday afternoon. In order to keep my moving prep on schedule, I decide that I’m going to go ahead and get my walls cleared off and prepped.

No big deal, right? Just need to get nails out and fill the holes. It’s 2pm--I’ll be done by dinner. . .

[Skip ahead 4 hours] . . .Not done yet. . .

By Meadow Brook 03 Feb, 2017

I’ve moved several times throughout my life; in college, I moved in and out of dorms every semester; after college, I lived in several different residences before settling down at my first apartment here at Meadowbrook; and now, after ten years in the same place, it’s time to move again. 

As I prepare to move this summer, I thought it would be a great opportunity to post a series of blogs to help others who will be moving this year. This first installment involves paring down one’s possessions . . . or getting rid of STUFF! 

By Meadow Brook 13 Dec, 2016

1.   Make arrangements to pay January rent.
January is the easiest month to forget to pay your rent. You can certainly pay your rent online, but if you want to avoid the transaction fees, you can pay your rent before you go or leave a post-dated check with the office. (We can hold post-dated checks as long as they are dated before January 5!)

2.   Keep the heat turned on.  
Your lease requires you to leave the heat set to 60 degrees during the winter months, even if you are away from your apartment.  

Why? -->The heat from the apartments in the building is enough to keep water pipes running smoothly.
          No heat = frozen water and broken pipes.  
          Broken pipes = lots of water running all over.  
       Who pays for this damage? -->Whomever turned their heat off.

By Meadow Brook 21 Nov, 2016

It’s the week of Thanksgiving. For most people, this is about the time when the cravings for turkey and pumpkin pie overwhelm any desire to be productive. For me, it simply means I have four days to get my apartment clean before family comes over. . .

By Meadow Brook 16 Nov, 2016
Many times in the last several years, the leasing team has sat in the office discussing topics that come up often in our line of work; these topics include educating new renters, methods of passing on relevant information to residents without being too aggressive, and even finding unobtrusive ways to connect the different types of people in our community.  Most of the time these conversations end the same way--with lots of ideas, but no immediate plan of action.  

We finally decided to start the "Meadow-blog".  

To some, jumping on the blog bandwagon at this point may seem a bit outdated--even "passe".  But hey, better late than never, right?  

In all seriousness, though, we aren't writing a blog just to write a blog.  Our goal here is to create a hub of information that will be useful to our residents, both current and prospective.  In the immediate future, we plan on passing on helpful cleaning tips (which may be very useful before moving out of a home), fun DIY decoration projects that won't damage your home (i.e. affect your security deposit), resources (both physical and online) that may be of use to people in our community, and lease reminders (including dates that are important to remember.)  

We have no set timeline for our blog posts, so we'll post as we have the time to create content.  And hey--if you have an idea for a post in the Meadow-blog, let one of us know.
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