How To Get Your Rental Back to Move-In Ready (After You’ve Customized Your Heart Out)

published Jun 22, 2015
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(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Who likes getting their security deposit back? We do! If you’ve gone crazy with color or went ahead with a full-blown gallery wall (and have the holes to prove it), then you’ll need to take a few steps to make sure you save your security. After all the boxes are packed, don’t forget to address this stuff.


So you went nuts with the shelving or you got fanatic about frames. No biggie. It’s time to patch away. This is a pre-paint step so make sure to leave plenty of time for patching (especially drying time before you can pick up a brush) in your moving schedule.

(Image credit: Kathryn Bacalis)


If you’ve been enjoying your personalized color choice (worth it!) you’re probably gonna need to return your walls to white (or a landlord-approved color, make sure to check). Especially if you chose a bright or deep shade, you’re gonna need a good primer and a couple of coats of your neutral. Don’t automatically reach for the cheapest can, sometimes a higher grade can actually save you cash.

→ Splurge or Save: What You Need to Know About Buying Paint

Remove (and save) your add-ons

Did you give your kitchen cabinets a lift with your own knobs? Maybe you switched out your shower head? Don’t forget to put the original builder-grade versions back so you can keep your expensive add-ons for your next place.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)


You knew it was coming: the dreaded move-out clean. Never fear. Your final clean is actually the easiest one you’ll ever do since you’re unencumbered by furniture or well, anything in your space at all. Follow our list so you don’t forget anything.

→ Get Your Deposit Back: A Move-Out Cleaning Checklist

Time to tell us your security deposit tales. Do you always get your cash back?