- A real estate agent's day can be full of unexpected (and sometimes messy) surprises. Be prepared to tackle any situation with the right tools.
Between the listing appointments, buyer showings, open house events, home inspections and office meetings, real estate agents tend to spend a lot of hours in their vehicles.
And when you’re accustomed to all that windshield time, your car becomes a stash spot for important items — things that help you do your job and essentials you simply can’t live without.
Last time, we named 11 tools you should keep in your trunk, but this time we’re offering even more suggestions for how to stock your car wisely. (Maybe it’s time to think about a bigger ride.)
You can’t count on any listing to have enough light to see all the things you need to see — especially if that listing is vacant or if there have been issues with upkeep.
Bonus: A heavy-duty flashlight can also do double duty as a weapon.
2. Tape measure/laser measurement tool (or both)
How many square feet is that room? How far away is that tree from the porch? You won’t have to guess if you’re packing these.
3. Staple guns
These can come in handy for putting up signs in some areas.
4. WD-40 or graphite
Sticky locks get annoying fast. WD-40 or liquid graphite will make short work of them, though.
5. Rubber mallet and tent spike
Pound a sign into the ground like a pro. You’ll need something to make the sign hole (tent spike), and the rubber mallet keeps things from getting out of hand.
6. Other assorted tools
Some agents like to bring even more tools with them in their cars, like screwdrivers, hammers or pliers. Only you know whether one of those multi-tool keychain fobs will do the trick or whether you need better resources than that.
7. Box/bag for containment
You probably don’t want all this stuff rolling around in your truck, so use a box or bag to organize and contain your treasures.
Marketing items or important documents
It never hurts to be prepared when it comes to letting everyone know that you just landed a listing. Take those signs with you (after all, that’s what the rubber mallet and tent spike are for!)
9. Blank documents
Imagine how impressed your prospects will be when you can produce a listing agreement or buyer’s agent contract on demand. This agent’s got it together!
10. Black Sharpie or other permanent marker
You never know when you might need to make a little change to one of those contracts or something else. This will help.
11. Dog treats
These will not only spread goodwill with your clients with fur babies, but if you go the route of Daniel Gale agent Tina McGowan, the biscuits themselves can be an advertisement for your services.
12. Business cards
These are so small that putting an extra five or so in your glove compartment is barely noticeable — but you’ll be happy you have them if your regular stash runs out.
For the open house
13. Toilet paper
Nobody wants to be stuck in a bathroom without the proper resources. And you don’t want anyone at your open house in that scenario, either.
14. Shoe covers
New carpeting or a seller who can’t abide muddy floors? Put these at the door for potential buyers to slip on.
15. Hand broom/dustpan
Handy for sweeping up entry areas, decks or anywhere else that might need a little polish.
16. Zip ties
There are oh, so many uses for these little devils — hanging signs is probably the most common (and least creative) way agents use them.
17. Dog leash
Maybe your seller’s dog is in a kennel or perfectly well-behaved, but you never know when you might need to lead a stray elsewhere.
18. Light bulbs
A flashlight is fine when it’s just you, but if you’re hoping to show this place to prospective buyers, they need to be able to see everything, too. Technology these days is so amazing that you can even buy portable light bulbs to stick on the wall if you’re not sure about the wiring.
For your new listing
No time like the present to get that new listing set up for viewing — and you can’t do that without a lockbox.
20. Window cleaner
Pro tip: Window cleaner doesn’t just clean windows. (Still, please always check the bottles to make sure the surface you want to clean is suitable for what you’re using.)
21. Paper towels
You’ll need something to wipe around that window cleaner, naturally, and a roll of paper towels is both portable and disposable.
22. Plastic trash bags
Heavy-duty ones are best — you really never know what you might need to bag up until you get there.
You used the zip ties to put a sign up, and if you need to take it down, you’ll probably need a pair of scissors to do it. (There are plenty of other uses for a pair, too.)
24. Face masks
If you live in an area with damp weather (and basements) during part or most of the year — and especially if you work with properties that might not have been kept up for a while — then you may want to pack a disposable face mask to protect your lungs from whatever is in the air at that listing.
25. Old towels for wet floors or spills
Sometimes paper towels just won’t cut it. A towel or two that’s fit for the dogs can make cleanup easier if there’s a big spill.
Is there anything more annoying than a smoke detector that won’t. stop. beeping? If you carry some batteries on you, though, it’s no big deal.
27. Wasp spray
This likely doesn’t apply to every agent in every climate — but if it applies to you, trust us: If a time comes when you really need it, you will regret not making room for the wasp spray.
If you’re not comfortable leaving plastic bottles in your car, pick a brand that uses glass instead.
Getting caught somewhere between meals — or skipping a meal entirely — is something agents are all too familiar with. Stash some snacks (preferably snacks that could serve as an actual meal in a pinch) to alleviate the problem.
30. Change of shoes
Messes happen, and you might have somewhere to be after they do. At least you can swap out your shoes (or put on the beaters before you start trekking around a listing).
31. Hand wipes
When you can’t wash your hands, every parents knows that the next best thing isn’t sanitizer, it’s wipes — which are also ideal for eliminating sticky messes.
32. First aid kit
If you can’t bring yourself to pack a whole kit — we realize this list is getting long — then at least make sure you have Band-Aids on you.
33. Cell phone chargers
Sometimes your car charger doesn’t work, and sometimes you need a charge when you’re planning to venture away from the vehicle. A portable charger makes that simple.
34. Bug spray
Whether it’s a spider (or five) or fleas trying to hitch a ride on your pants, once you’ve needed bug spray and not had it, you’ll never go back.
35. Seasonal or personal items
Whether it’s rock salt and a small shovel for winters with heavy snow or a combination of umbrellas, galoshes and rain ponchos for the rainy season, you probably have an idea by now what weather merits what tools. Try to keep those tools in your car so that you’re as safe as possible in the elements.
And if you happen to be vertically challenged, for example, then maybe you want to think about investing in a collapsible step-stool or something else to help you reach.
This can be controversial, but it bears mentioning: You might want to keep some safety items in your car (though probably not in your trunk), like the weapon-type of safety item. Whether that means a gun or pepper spray or investing in some self-defense lessons, always know what you’re packing and where it is.
We know this list is by no means comprehensive. What would you add to it?