One of the great things about this job is that no two days are the same. However, one thing is for certain — real estate agents are on the go 24/7. We spend a lot of time in our cars driving between showings, listing appointments, meetings and more.
With that in mind, we have to make sure we have the right tools readily available so we can easily deal with any situation that might come up. Not being prepared can cost you time and money.
Our team keeps a working list of necessities for all members to add to and share with new colleagues when they join us. It’s interesting to see what others add. They’re almost always very useful! Great ideas are best put in action when shared, so here is our list of items we all have in our cars.
1. Health and safety
First and foremost, health and safety on the job is of paramount importance. A small first-aid kit is always recommended, as well as items to protect yourself, team members and your clients from COVID-19.
We recommend hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, Lysol spray and wipes, face masks, and disposable booties. We have long used booties when showing homes, and if you’re working with a developer client and expect a large number of visitors to the home, you may want to suggest an automatic shoe cover dispenser.
These are inexpensive, can be ordered online, and allow for quick and easy application. Finally, we recommend each team member always have extra supplies at hand, so the whole team is protected and prepared.
It goes without saying that you need your cell phone everywhere you go — in full working order, at full charge and with hot spot capabilities in case of a poor Wi-Fi connection. It’s also incredibly useful to have a portable cell phone charger and charging cable to plug into your car.
We also have our laptops and iPads on hand. Of course, a laptop is great if you have a chance to stop for a break, jump on the MLS and prepare contracts, but an iPad comes in handy when you’re out in the field.
Sometimes, showing a client plans, images, virtual staging, renders and what not can be cumbersome on a laptop while on a tour. It may also be hard to see images on a phone screen. That’s what an iPad is perfect for.
3. Business cards and paperwork
How many times have you met someone you really wanted to stay connected with but couldn’t because they ran out of business cards or didn’t have any on them?
For agents, having business cards is an absolute must at all times. Each time you don’t hand over a business card when you meet someone new is a lost opportunity. And yes, while you can verbally give your information to someone to save on their phone, business cards are a physical reminder that will stay on someone’s desk, kitchen table or car console and keep you top-of-mind.
Blank, hard copy C.A.R. forms and pens are a must, too. They’ll come in handy in case you need to write an offer or listing agreement on the spot and don’t have a computer or are having technical issues. Make sure you have a few copies on hand, just in case you make a mistake.
4. Nuts and bolts
We know in advance when we will be hosting an open house, so thankfully, we don’t need all of these items in our cars all the time. However, be sure to check your open house necessities before you set off for the day. This includes open house signs, sign-in sheets, pens, water, setup sheets, brochures, health and safety products, booties, candles, lighters and snacks.
And don’t forget the tools needed for the open house signs — a hammer, screwdriver, nuts, bolts or rings to attach riders.
5. Unexpected, yet useful
Over the years, we’ve learned that there are a few unexpected items that can make or break a showing or a meeting — so, don’t leave your home without them. Here are our top three.
Measuring tape, in addition to scotch and masking tape, will come in handy for many, many reasons. Trust us!
Toilet paper, liquid soap, paper towels, guest towels for all those times nature calls while at a vacant listing.
Dog treats for when you encounter dogs at showing. They can quickly become a distraction from the job at hand.
6. Other Inman authors’ recommendations
Want more tips on nifty items to keep on hand? Here is a list of other Inman authors’ recommendations from previous years.
- Staple guns
- WD-40 or graphite
- Rubber mallet and tent spike
- Box or bag for containment (to organize your tools!)
- Black Sharpie or other permanent marker
- Hand broom or dustpan
- Zip ties
- Light bulbs
- Window cleaner
- Paper towels
- Plastic trash bags
- Old towels for wet floors or spills
- Wasp spray
- Water and snacks (for you)
- Change of shoes (for if messes happen)
- Emergency makeup or grooming kit
- A fresh-pressed outfit
- Air freshener
- Oral hygiene products
- Service provider list
Erinn Nobel (for snowy season):
- Ice scraper
- Tow strap
- Boots, scarf, hat, gloves
- Jumper cables