As a real estate professional, you’ve got to be like Mary Poppins — prepared for anything and everything.
Of course you need pens and your Supra key…
But being at peak real estate readiness goes so far beyond that!
After all, you’re in and out of the office all day, visiting properties that might be unoccupied or in remote locations — literally anything can happen!
Here’s a list of the things every agent NEEDS to keep on hand (and a few things that are just plain nice to have).
THE MUST HAVES
This is self-explanatory. You’re out and about and talking all day; you’re gonna get PARCHED. So bring plenty of water. And while you’re at it, bring some for your thirsty clients, too. They’ll look at you like the hero you are!
2. Paper Towels
From wiping up muddy footprints to giving your client’s kid a wet paper towel so they don’t get their jelly-covered hands on the listing’s nice, white sofa (why do they always have white sofas?!), paper towels can do just about anything. Keep a roll in your car kit and see just how many uses you can find for them.
3. Toilet Paper:
I know I don’t have to tell you what to do with toilet paper! I also know, though, that if you forget this, you’ll be really sorry in the very near future, so it had to be added to the list. (Oh, and Pro Tip? Make sure the water is on before letting anyone use the bathroom.)
4. Blank Paperwork
Mistakes happen, so double down on the paperwork. Also, you never know who you’ll run into, so keep extra paperwork on you just in case. You never know when you’ll have to write up a new client on the fly!
What are the chances that you’ll make it back to the office, over to your home — or even to a restaurant — for your three square meals a day? Exactly zero. Pack nutritious, non-perishable snacks for those eating-on-the-go days. (And then while you’re at it, throw in a few Nutella-and-Go packs, too. Treat yo’self; you’re worth it!)
6. Swiss Army Knife
Make like a Boy Scout and Be Prepared. A small or medium Swiss Army knife can help out in a multitude of situations — everything from tightening a screw to opening a bottle of wine (hey, you never know!) can be managed with this pocket-sized beauty. If you don’t want to carry a whole tool kit, get one of these instead. (If you DO want to carry a tool kit, keep reading… you’ll learn what yours needs!)
7. Measuring Tape
One of the things that clients say that makes agents roll their eyes the hardest? “This place is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT and it has literally everything I’ve ever wanted! But… my grandma’s china cabinet might not fit…” Nip that problem in the bud and show them how you can cram the old bat’s piece of junk… er, I mean, fit dear Granny’s priceless antique in a place of honor easily by carrying a measuring tape.
8. Breath Mints
You KNOW that after a garlicky quick lunch at The Olive Garden (c’mon, unlimited soup, salad, breadsticks? YEP.) your next client is guaranteed to be a close talker. Keep mints on hand to save you both from breathing your garlic-scented exhalations — and this works both ways, too. Share them with the close talker and you won’t have to breathe in their old man coffee breath, either.
9. Phone Charger
One of Newton’s Laws is that a phone in need will be a dead phone indeed. This is a disaster, obviously, because you NEED that phone for calling and texting and creating a mobile hotspot and (be honest) playing round after round of Candy Crush while you wait for your people to show up. Keep an extra charger on hand at all times. Bonus points if you keep an external battery, too.
10. Marketing Materials
From business cards to Branded Booklets (shown below – from The Lighter Side of Real Estate, of course), you’ll want to keep the right marketing materials on hand. Look profesh by having the materials you need when you need them.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Life happens, and not all listings are spotless and gorgeous. With just a few cleaning supplies, some elbow grease, and 15 to 20 minutes, you can take a house from dingy to delightful.
Did you know that grimy appliances are one of the biggest turn-offs to buyers? Spotty mirrors are a drag, too. You don’t have to go crazy cleaning the whole place, but a few swipes here and there can work wonders for a buyer’s first impression.
12. Magic Eraser
The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a wonder product. Want to see if stains will come off a bathroom sink? Magic Eraser. Your buyer’s kid wrote on the wall while you guys were busy in another room? Magic Eraser. Annoying neighbor comes by and won’t shut up? Magic Eraser. OK, OK, it won’t solve that last problem, but it will solve just about anything else, so keep one of these on hand.
13. Small Trash Bags / Grocery Store Bags
These are great for everything from carrying your items around (duh) to picking up surprise dog droppings that may be dotting your listing’s yard. Keep a few on hand and you’ll be helping the environment, too. Reusing is part of recycling, after all!
We all know first impressions matter, right? Sweep off the porch and make that first look be a look of love. A broom is also great if you notice any lingering dust bunnies or dog hair tumbleweeds, too.
Most people HATE mopping. Swiffering, though? Not so bad! While you’re working on the floor, you can make it shine like the top of the Chrysler building quickly with a Swiffer.
16. Air Freshener
You know the old adage: If it smells good, it sells good! OK, so I just made that up, but you know what? If it smells bad, it ain’t selling at all. Bring a can of Glade and do your best to make it smell like Grandma’s apple pie up in there. You won’t cover up the stench of cat urine, but just about anything else will disappear into the cinnamon-scented background.
THE TOOL KIT
If you’re like me, you wish for an adultier adult to show up when you’ve got real problems. If you keep a tool kit at the ready, you won’t have to call your dad when the s-word hits the fan.
17. Hammer / Mallet
Ready to proudly display a shiny, new For Sale sign on your latest listing? Well, bad news – you can’t. Unless you live in perfect soil land, you’re gonna have to wrassle to get that thing in there. Enter that classic invention called the hammer. Even if the ground is dry, clay-y, or frozen, you can whack your sign into place with just a little bit of effort. Voila! This baby’s gonna get sold, folks!
A multi-tool is like a Swiss Army knife on steroids. Pick the right one and you may never want to leave home without it again! With things like pliers, a saw, wire cutters, and more, you’ll be ready to MacGuyver just about any situation that comes your way.
19. Zip Ties
These babies solve a multitude of problems. A small baggie of zip ties can help you secure a swinging gate, carry multiple keys or key rings, or even make quick-and-dirty traction on your shoes for snowy or icy walkways. They’re basically the real estate version of duct tape, so bring ‘em with you.
GO THE EXTRA MILE
They say the devil is in the details, and when it comes to the little extra touches that set your service apart, they’re right. Small, thoughtful touches are the kind of thing it takes to go from “Yeah, we used Jessica for our sale, it was fine” to “OH MY GOSH, you HAVE to work with Jess! She’s a bonafide GODDESS of REALTY!” Who doesn’t want that, right?
20. Hand Towels
Paper towels are great, but plush hand towels are greater! If you’ve got an empty house to show, this tiny small touch can make a big difference.
21. Coloring Pages and Colored Pencils
Clients have kids and kids get bored FAST. Bust out some coloring pages and colored pencils and you can easily buy yourself twelve more minutes of quiet, sweet quiet. Pro Tip: you can screw up a wall or the aforementioned white leather couch FAST with crayons and markers. Colored pencils give kids 97% of the enjoyable coloring experience and they only have a fraction of the mess potential. That’s just smart science.
22. Happy Meal Toys
Kids who are too little to color can still play with a Newscaster Nick or Frosty the Puppy. (I honestly have no idea what kind of toys are popular right now… does it show?) Next time you’re grabbing a to-go meal, get the small toy and keep it on hand. That will get you some quiet time AND the gratitude of the parents. Win / Win.
Not every house is in the land of sunshine and lollipops. From time to time, you will come across some gnarly stuff, and having gloves on hand will help you deal with those things. Have you ever picked up a dead rat or tarantula from a yard? I have! Trust me, the gloves helped big time.
24. Feminine hygiene products
This one’s for the ladies (obviously). Have extra girl stuff on hand… both for you and for the client who gets caught unaware. (Pro Tip: It will happen on the day you’re wearing white pants. It’s a Murphy’s Law thing, I guess, so be prepared.)
25. Tylenol / Advil
We all know that even the smoothest sales can still cause headaches. Be prepared with some trusty pain reliever. You’ll also be ready if you twist your ankle, jam a shoulder trying to open a stuck door, or wake up with a little wine-over from the night before. We here at Lighter Side of Real Estate are NOT medical professionals, but still. Pain reliever. It’s a good thing.
26. Band Aids
No one will be around to kiss your boo-boos, but that doesn’t mean that boo-boos won’t occur. Pack a few Band Aids and be prepared for splinters, scratches, and cuts.
27. Light Bulbs
It’s not fair, but there are a few small things that will cast houses in a bad light. (No pun intended.) A dim house is one of those things. You can’t bring in lamps and overhead lighting, but you can make sure that the ones that are already there are in good working order. A box of bulbs will go a long way towards this.
28. Dog Treats
Not all Fidos are friendly, but you know what? All Fidos love treats. If you have a snack or two at the ready, you can usually get past even the most pernicious pup. (I got this trick from my pool guy. When he first came over, my dog would go crazy with rage. Now she goes crazy because she loves him so darn much. Give it a try!)
29. Jumper Cables
Stuff happens. And stuff usually happens when you’re in the middle of nowhere and you need to be somewhere else AND there’s no Uber around for hours. If you’ve got jumper cables, you can save yourself or you can save someone else. Again, step into your role as real estate hero with this one simple item.
30. Hand Sanitizer
You’re shaking hands, you’re touching doorknobs, you’re walking around houses with no concept of when they last wiped things down. Generally speaking, hand sanitizer is not the best option, but in a pinch – especially in flu season! – it’s better than doing nothing and winding up with the plague, am I right?!
Not every house is on a neat little street in suburbia. As a real estate warrior, you’ll be called on to visit houses in all kinds of conditions in a myriad of locations. Keep these things at the ready and you’ll be prepared for just about anything.
Remember the lighting issue? Well, it gets worse. Some properties have no power at all. A candlelight showing isn’t ideal, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Also, even if a property does have power, you may have to have to head into a dark garage or shed. Keep a flashlight around and you’ll be much more prepared for this.
32. Mud Boots
You might have to trudge through new construction, or it might just be rainy season in your area. No one wants to ruin their good shoes on a muddy lot, but no one wants to lose a sale by being a Francis Milquetoast either. Slip on some mud boots and git ‘er done… all while keeping your fancy shoes nice ‘n’ tidy.
Okay, first of all, flip flops are eminently comfortable. Second, they make good shoes to slip on if it’s raining cats and dogs OR if you just want to run into the grocery store at the end of a long day. Best of all, they’re cheap, lightweight, and small, so they fit in your car kit with a minimum of fuss.
I don’t have to tell you what an umbrella is for, do I? Everyone knows you need an umbrella because it rains sometimes, but you’d be surprised at how many people run around like headless chickens because they didn’t pack one. Do future you a favor and keep an umbrella on hand, will ya? Your hairdo will thank you later.
35. Shovel (cold climate essentials!)
I live in a warm climate, so I don’t even know what I’d do if a driveway was snowed in. Honestly, I’d probably cry. You’re a real estate hero, though, so you’ve got to be prepared for anything. Pack a shovel (you can get collapsible ones at your local military surplus store) and be prepared to dig your way out of anything.
Sticky locks got you down? Not anymore! Don’t go crazy with this stuff because it stains clothing – just a dab’ll do ya.
37. Wasp Spray
Stinging insects and creepy dudes beware. Wasp spray is an effective tool for getting rid of all kinds of pests. Knock down that pesky nest in the eaves by the front door, or disable a potential attacker without letting them get into arm’s reach — wasp spray’s got your back either way. (PS this does not constitute legal advice. I know you’re smarter than this but it’s 2019, so I feel like I’ve got to say that, ok?)
38. Bug Spray
Mosquitoes. Ticks. Chiggers. Biting flies. Whatever keeps you up and itching at night, bug spray will help with it. Pack it in and enjoy hours of bug-bite freedom.
Unless you fancy looking like a George Harrison/lobster hybrid, you need to protect your skin. When you’re driving around town or even showing the back 40 of a rural property, make like a Baywatch lifeguard and slap on the sunscreen, alright?
These are items that are simply for your personal comfort. You’re out there, having a long day, workin’ your butt off, and a little comfort goes a long way towards making you feel better about that.
40. Fold Up Flats
Can we be honest? Heels suck. Period. They look amazing, but they make everything from your feet up to your back ACHE. Unwind with a pair of fold up flats… they take up a tiny footprint (ha!) and give you the kind of Ahhhhhhh you’re looking for at the end of a long day.
If you live in a climate that gets cold, a blanket can be a life-saver. Winter happens everywhere, though, so a blanket is a good idea for just about everyone. Get comfy and cozy while you’re sitting in your car or at a chilly open house — you’ll be a much happier human and a better agent when you’re warm and comfortable.
Time To Go Shopping!
Now that you’ve got this handy list, you can hit up your local Tarjayyy and keep a First Agent kit in your car. You’ll be ready for anything, including your next big sale.
P.S. This list was compiled in part by the awesome agents in the Inner Circle Engage group. Not in with the in crowd yet? Guess what – when you join the Inner Circle here, not only do you get access to a whole library of marketing materials that will make your real estate life easy, you’ll get to be a member Inner Circle Engage, too. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have on Facebook, and a fantastic resource for the modern real estate agent.
What are you waiting for? Join the Inner Circle and get in on all the fun!