Tools you will need as a Property Manager

tools-198x300This is not some metaphor for learning how to identify different personality types, their personality temperaments or strategies for conflict resolution.  This post is literally about the actual physical Property Manager Tools you or any rental property owner, should have.  We will start with the most basic and work our way up to the more advanced.

You have invested in a rental property, and either you fixed it up yourself (in which case you most likely already own the all the tools we will cover) or you paid to have the work done, but you are ready to lease it and start managing it yourself.  So here is a list of tools that you should keep in your car at all times.

Tool Box: get yourself a cheap plastic box to keep in the trunk of your car, so that you tools aren’t sliding loose everywhere.

Screwdrivers (Phillips head and Flat head):  These guys come in very handy.  During inspections, an  inspector might try to fail you over something as silly as a loose switch plate cover, but not if you have your screwdriver to fix the situation.  Also when you are at a house, being able to fix small items like loose switch plate covers, loose door hinges, etc., your self is much cheaper than having to call your handyman for these 2 minute jobs.

Hammer and some finishing nails:  These will get you by in a pinch if you have to tack in a loose base board, or even help a new tenant hang a picture frame.

Tape measure:  Potential Tenants will often think rooms are too small for their “luxury” furniture, but by simply taking measurements and showing them how big a room is you can alleviate a lot of their concerns.  A standard King Size bed is approximately 6.5 x 6.5 feet.  Add half a foot to each side for their extremely large four poster that great grandma left them in her will, and you have a 7×7 foot objection you have to overcome.

Needle nose pliers:  These come in handy for prying nails out of walls, floors and some minor electrical work.

Plunger: Yup, the clogged toilet is a very real disaster for a Property Manager, and no matter how much you stress that tenants need to be able to take care of this themselves, they don’t seem to want to.  Also a small pipe snake is handy too.  If you’re run into a clog your snake can’t fix, it’s time to call the plumber.

Advanced Tools:

Once you get into these tools, you have decided you are going to play the role of handyman, not just Property Manager.  I caution you here.  While you may be pretty handy around your own house, when you are in a rental you will be doing everything while your tenant is right there watching you, and it is very funny how new repairs just magically seem to materialize while you are in the house.   The ten minute rehanging of a blind becomes a two hour checklist of things you did not plan to do that night.

Crescent wrench:  If you do not know what this is call the handyman and save yourself the grief.

Monkey Wrench: If you are going to stop those leaks under the sinks you will need this.  Be careful using them on new pipes made of PVC.

Drywall scraps and quick setting mud:  if you insist on patching holes yourself, learn to do it right.  There is nothing more unsightly then looking at poor patch jobs covered by paint.  This does not help the rentability of your home.

Drywall Saw: see above comment.

Plumbing and Electrical Toolkits:  These Toolkits will be covered in later posts.  These are for the more advanced do-it-yourselfers.

Mobile Phone:  Your tenant calls you at 11pm about that disgusting toilet, don’t hop your car and rush out there.  Tell them to try plunging the toilet, and if that doesn’t work to call you in the morning.  Whether they call you or not, call them back and see if the toilet still needs help, then either make the decision to take care of it yourself or pay the handy man $20 to do it.  I always considered this $20 well spent!

 Image courtesy of ponsulak /