real estate agent tips

Your Realtor Survival Kit: How to stock your office-on-wheels

Bethany Ramos Cleaning, Industry Professionals, Organizing, Realtors

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Real estate agents are notorious for the amount of time they spend on the road. You practically live out of your car in the busy season.

According to Placester’s Life as a Real Estate Agent Survey, almost a third of agents spend the majority of their time outside the office. When you think about taking your clients from showing to showing, and even visiting a few houses twice, the road time adds up.

Experienced agents agree: Every realtor should have a few key items stocked in their trunk at all times. Along with the necessities, it’s also important to carry some sort of protection.

12 essentials to include in your on-the-road toolkit

Start by packing:

1. AAA card or similar service card.

Whatever your comfort level with auto repairs may be, having a roadside assistance membership that assures timely responses is a worthwhile investment. For quick help, download the AAA app, or look into a free roadside ridesharing app, like Urgently, where you pay only when you need service.

2. Batteries.

You might never need them, but they’re easy enough to store and keep on hand. And if you ever save an open house by silencing a squawking smoke detector, you’ll be the hero. For many agents, spare batteries and a portable smartphone power bank is the ideal combo.

3. Change of clothes.

Anything can and often does happen in real estate. So, if you can spare one of your nicer outfits to keep in a hanging bag on standby in your vehicle, you’ll be ready. A good pair of tennis shoes can also prevent a fall or twisted ankle if you need to walk a property or climb stairs in disrepair.

4. Cleaning supplies.

Try to have a few basic products in tow for a quick wipe-down at a property you’re showing. You can also use these cleaning supplies for a fast turnaround on a mini open house, an alternative marketing technique lasting about an hour.

5. Dog treats.

Storing treats in a sealed container can score you points with two-legged owners and four-legged friends. Offering a treat may help calm an anxious pet on a property you’re showing. But due to safety concerns, and because some buyers may be turned off by pets, agents often ask sellers to kennel or remove pets prior to a showing.

6. GPS navigation and paper maps.

You don’t necessarily need to carry an actual roadmap of the area where you’re heading. Just take a couple of extra minutes to print directions so you’ll have them if your GPS fails.

“Not only was the process smooth, but unbelievably fast. We will definitely use Cornerstone for anything we do in the future!” – Partner with us to make buying easy on your clients.

7. Light bulbs.

Lighting is everything when showing off the interior of a home. Having a spare pack of bulbs will ensure your efforts aren’t left in the dark. If there’s room in your trunk, it’s also smart to pack a stepladder.

8. Local business flyers and brochures.

Keeping a stack of business cards in the car is essential. Staying stocked with local business cards, flyers, and brochures is even better. Clients — especially those looking to move in from another city or state — will appreciate that you’re interested not just in selling them a house but in getting them connected to a new community.

9. Protective equipment.

Masks, goggles, and other precautions are important to shield clients when visiting fixer-uppers. Also, remember to carry pepper spray for your own protection and peace of mind.

10. Screenshots of your website and listings.

You can’t always rely on Wi-Fi or a local internet connection. As a safeguard, it helps to have a backup plan in the form of screenshots of each of your listings. Likewise, keep a “for sale” sign handy — stored in your trunk, along with a lockbox and blank files with all the documents needed to list a home or write an offer.

11. Shoe covers.

It’s a minimal investment (costing around $10 for 50 pairs of disposable booties) that might be worth having on-hand for pristine and impeccably maintained properties. Shoe covers both protect a home’s exterior and speak to its quality.

12. Tape measure.

When a potential buyer wants to know exactly how wide a room is, be prepared to answer with a simple tape measure that fits easily in a glove compartment. Agents suggest adding this to your all-in-one toolkit, along with a can of silicone lubricant spray for sticky locks.

Whenever clients aren’t in the car, take advantage. Turn your playlist into an audio library, filled with those audiobooks you’ve been meaning to get around to, and tune into these real estate podcasts.

Too busy to pack? 5 make-or-break items

If you’re pressed for time and haven’t fully stocked your mobile office yet, agents advise keeping these backup items in your trunk at the very least:
  1. 2-3 umbrellas
  2. Flashlight
  3. Hammer
  4. Safety device
  5. Zip ties

Aside from a file box and some basic office items, the most important thing to keep with you is a small toolkit containing these or similar items. You never know when you’re going to need to weather a storm or navigate dark stairs, and being prepared may determine if you make a sale.

Living out of your car during the workweek can be tough. But there’s a silver lining. Car deductions are considered one of the most common tax breaks for realtors. All those supplies you use to stock your traveling office may be tax-deductible too — so use an app like Evernote to scan and electronically organize receipts, and file the paper copies.

We’ll take it from here

You’re already doing more than enough pounding the pavement. Can we take care of the rest? Cornerstone’s Realtor Partners receive unparalleled support in the form of co-branded marketing materials, co-sponsored agent events, speedy buyer prequalifications, and streamlined in-house loan processing. Click here to get connected.

For educational purposes only. Please contact a qualified professional for specific guidance.

Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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