In some cases, professional painters may include additional charges for specialized equipment that homeowners can't purchase on their own. Because professionals have licenses and access to such equipment, it's simpler to let them get those themselves. But providing some of the smaller equipment and extras directly really can help to cut down on the total cost of your project.
Picking exterior house paint colors is a lot different than picking a color for a shirt or a car. It may help to drive around to observe colors that other homeowners have combined on homes that are of similar size and design as yours. There are also online resources that provide homeowners with the ability to create virtual makeovers of their home by combining colors together through their software programs as well.
There are cases where apartment complexes allow you to choose from a color wheel of neutral hues before you move in. Some charge a fee for calling in a painter to do the walls, while others offer new paint as a benefit of moving in. If you're not a fan of neutral colors, consider looking for an apartment that allows you to paint the walls a more expressive tone. Otherwise you can invest in boldly colored furniture and posters.