Every rental property requires maintenance to keep things in good order. Some landlords prefer to hire licensed and insured contractors for maintenance and repairs. Other landlords take a do-it-yourself approach, especially for minor repairs and basic maintenance. For landlords in the Greater Washington, DC area, a well-stocked landlord’s toolbox will come in handy to:
- Do routine maintenance and repairs
- Spruce up a property between renters
- Respond to maintenance requests from tenants
- Perform preventative maintenance
Invest in a good set of basic tools
Even landlords who aren’t hands-on maintenance experts benefit from investing in a good set of basic tools. By doing so, they are prepared for easy fixes and small tasks that don’t require a professional. Hiring contractors in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and Washington, DC can be costly. Additionally, contractors may not have the time to do repairs for several days or weeks. With a well-stocked and well-organized landlord’s toolbox and some free time, landlords can save money and get the maintenance work done in a timely fashion.
What to include in a landlord’s toolbox
A landlord’s toolbox should include:
Power drill and bits – Battery-operated drills go anywhere. No need to plug into an electrical outlet.
Screws and screwdriver – The aforementioned power drill with a flat blade and Phillips head screwdriver bit is a fast, versatile, and labor-saving alternative to a hand-held, manual screwdriver.
Tape measure – Retractable and sturdy. Remember the old adage: Measure twice, cut once.
Wrenches – Crescent wrench, pipe wrench, socket wrench set. Having the right tool makes the job go faster.
Pliers – Traditional slip joint and needle nose. Typically, pliers are small and lightweight, so carry a few varieties.
Utility knife and replacement blades – A handy tool when you forget your pocketknife at home
Protective & safety equipment – Earplugs or a different form of hearing protection, gloves, goggles safety glasses, and a bright flashlight so you can see what you’re doing.
Duct tape – Comes in handy in a pinch to hold objects together.
Hammer and nails – Sometimes, a hammer is all you need to fix a problem. Nothing fancy.
What to include in a landlord’s tool closet
Not every tool will fit in a landlord’s toolbox. Tools and supplies also can be stored in a maintenance closet or cabinet. A landlord’s tool closet should include:
Plumbing supplies – Toilet plunger, adjustable wrench, plumbers snake. Fix the plumbing problem without outsourcing the work to a plumber.
Painting supplies – Dropcloth, paintbrushes, putty knife, rollers, paint, spackling compound. A fresh coat of paint does wonders.
Saws – Hand saws and power saws have specific uses, based on the shape of the saw and the shape of the teeth.
Caulk – An effective sealant around windows, doors, bathtubs, and showers. Available in latex, silicone, and specialty varieties
Electrical supplies – Voltmeter or multimeter, wire-strippers, electrical tape, wiring. Be cautious when working with electricity and don’t hesitate to call a professional.
Well-prepared for quick fixes
A landlord’s toolbox and maintenance closet full of high-quality tools make hands-on maintenance projects run more smoothly. There’s no need to run to the hardware store or order tools online and wait for their arrival. Landlords are ready for just about anything. When a repair requires a specific tool, they’ll reach into the landlord’s toolbox and tackle the project. Check out the Popular Mechanics’ list of the 50 Tools Everyone Should Own.
Save with DIY maintenance
A fully stocked landlord’s toolbox encourages DIY and saves money that otherwise would be spent on a mechanic, roofer, plumber or electrician. Carry around a landlord’s toolbox, and home maintenance tools will be within reach.
New Funding Resources is a private lender operating in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and Washington, DC. Our private hard money loans help our clients build profitable real estate investment portfolios. We are experienced landlords ourselves and openly share our buy and hold expertise with our borrowers.