What's In Your Trunk?

Friday Mar 13th, 2020


I was recently asked to do a presentation to our brokerage on a topic I love talking about. 

As REALTORS®, we often consider our knowledge, our education and our experience to be our “tools of the trade” and while that’s absolutely true, there are some physical tangible tools that often help us do the physical aspect of our jobs.

We also wear many hats as agents. We take on the roles of CEO, Marketing Director, Financial Analyst, Sales Manager, Maintenance and Customer Service - the list goes on and on. My background in the media, municipal government and the automotive business taught me to be prepared for many situations. It also gave me an idea what tools are important (the multitaskers!) and what may not be. A person with a diverse professional background will end up learning basic mechanical skills as well as the names and practical uses for many different power and hand tools.

This may seem like basic knowledge to some, but because it can save you lots of time and frustration in the future, it’s incredibly handy to know.

It may seem obvious to keep certain things in your car such as a screwdriver, zip ties, tape measure, pens, etc., but there are a few items with a variety of uses you may want to pick up.

Here’s what’s in my trunk:

Tool Box – Basic, plastic, locking. $10-20 from Walmart or Canadian Tire. Lock is important because it may contain expensive tools, lockboxes and your personal information. Get a small-medium sized one.

Zip ties – $5-20, many of us use them to attach signs to posts, bottom riders, etc. Because of how strong they are they can even be used around the house to attach a cabinet door, maybe an actual door, attach wires and cables to a beam, hide TV cables, etc.

Side cutters/wire cutters – $10-15, much stronger and more versatile than scissors, can be sharper and cut through wires, cables and even tree branches if they are in the way.

Multi-bit screwdriver - $15-25, get a good quality one like PicQuic - it's my favourite. Saves you from carrying 5-10 separate screwdrivers. Makes moving/removing items easy, saves your client from searching the garage or basement when you’ve suggested removing a shelf, rack, painting, etc.

Shower curtain rings - $5-10, used in place of zip ties to attach a bottom rider to a sign, reusable, easy to secure and remove, no zip tie to cut, no waste. Available in plastic or metal. Plastic will not rust, but metal may hold more securely. You can even use them to hang a shower curtain!

Sledgehammer - $25-50, usually a 2-pound hammer is fine. Used to bury a sign post if you put your own signs up. Also used to hammer in the post for an Open House flag

Lubricant – $5-10, I have both liquid wrench and white lithium grease. Both serve a purpose. Liquid wrench is basically WD-40 but not nearly as flammable. I just think it works a bit better and doesn’t smell as bad. White Lithium grease is good for squeaky hinges and is an oil rather than a spray. It is used in the automotive industry for door hinges because it doesn’t run down the door and stays where you put it. Liquid wrench is good for releasing rusty screws, possibly even a lockbox.

Windshield Washer Fluid – you never want to run out of fluid on the road but it can serve a variety of purposes. It can be used as an anti-freeze to release a door lock and arguably more importantly, a lock box. It contains ethelyne glycol which is an antifreeze. Some even contain soaps and detergents.

Mechanic/work gloves - $20-35, grip and strength, using tools, saves your hands from damage and wear and tear

Dry erase markers - $1-8, for writing on open house signs. Address, date, time, other relevant info. Some municipalities require the time and address to be on the sign, others ban most of the important info. Markers allow quick changes

Shop towels - $2-4, better than paper towels. Stiffer, thicker, multiple uses before they wear out. Can be used for glass/surface cleaning but also tougher jobs like cleaning a stove, outdoor surfaces, etc.

Light bulbs - $3-10, standard soft white LED bulbs for lamps/ceiling lights, GU-10 LED bulbs for track lighting often found in kitchens

Glass cleaner – windows, surfaces, even your car windows (especially if you advertise yourself on your car)

Snacks – always good to have granola bars or crackers for long days of multiple showings. Particularly if you are driving your clients around yourself

Lint roller - $2-5, for your clothes before a listing presentation or for after visiting a house with dogs. They also come in handy for furniture before an open house

Lysol wipes/hand wipes - $5 – particularly when we are in the midst of a viral epidemic, it’s critically important to keep surfaces clean, and keep your hands clean when you leave a property

Extension cord - $10-25, sometimes a lamp or other electronic device needs to be added to a staged or un-staged home and having an extension cord handy is a real time saver, also handy for a laptop when you’re far from an outlet

Binoculars – $25-200, see chimneys and potential roof damage, road signs etc.

Flashlight – $15-25, always good to have a durable flashlight for looking into dark spaces, outside, lockboxes in the dark, pathways, signs, etc. The flashlight on our phone is good up close but you risk draining your battery and even dropping your phone in a puddle, on ice, in mud, etc.


Let me know what you think! Anyone have anything else to add? I'd love to hear your ideas!


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