Must Have Tools and Equipment for House Flippers

24 Replies

Hello BP,

I'm doing a personal research here. I am trying to compile a list of must-have home renovation or improvement tools and equipment for flippers. By tools, I mean physical tools, not software.

What would you consider must-have tools and equipment for flippers? If you have to do some of the tasks yourself, what will you consider your must-have tools? What tools or equipment do you find yourself often using during your flips? Are there equipment or tools that you rent?

Looking forward to your responses.

Thank you very much.

Isaiah Oloyede, Real Estate Agent in Massachusetts (#9​5​5​8​3​9​1)
  • to start: 
  • large level and small level 
  • power tools (drill, saws, nail gun, multi tool) 
  • screw drivers
  • hammers
  • measuring tapes
  • stud locator
  • chalk string
  • pry bar
  • vices
  • magnet
  • wire stripper 
  • flashlight
  • tapes (duct, blue, masking)
  • paint brushes, rollers, pans
  • gloves 
  • putty knife
  • straight edge cutting tool
  • steel wool
  • papertowels, shop towels
  •   garbage bags
  • magic eraser

@Deren @Karen Thank you for this list of items. 

Isaiah Oloyede, Real Estate Agent in Massachusetts (#9​5​5​8​3​9​1)

Adding to the list above.

4 foot step stool

8 or 10 foot ladder

On the nail gun you might go a long time before you need it.

An electric circuit tester. Tells if it's hot or shorted.

Reciprocating saw/sawzall. Once you start doing more than cosmetic repair.

Various widths of blades for spreading and working "mud". 2", 4" and 12-16".

Kilz!!!

Lots of old towels for clean up.

BFH, sawzall, portable table saw, 12" compound sliding chop saw. wet tile saw, multiple drills, pry bars, portable compressor,

Every imaginable small hand tool. From screw drivers to Pex crimper.

The reality is that once you start you will not have every tool you need and will be buying and replacing as you go along for your first flip.

Rent or buy cheep tools for one off jobs, buy the best quality tools for every day use.

The right tool for the job will cut your work time in half.

@Frank Adams  Thank you. An electric circuit tester is very important. Safety first! 

@Chris Svendsen  Thank you. 

@Will Barnard  You are right. Shovels and Wheelbarrow are often overlooked. Thank you.

@Thomas S. Thank you for the tips on renting or buying cheap tools for one-off jobs.

Isaiah Oloyede, Real Estate Agent in Massachusetts (#9​5​5​8​3​9​1)

A pick up truck ,  or a minimum of a 5 by 8 utility trailer  minimum 3000 lb capacity . ( 5000 lb is better) . 

One of the best investments I have made is a 5 by 8 dump trailer . Its lower than a truck , easy loading , it will carry 2 tons , it dumps . Its used for hauling materials all the time . For demos it saves so much compared to dumpsters . Sure I have to make 3 trips compared to a 20 yard can . But thats a savings of $100 per load . Since its a single axle , there is no tipping fee in my county . (normally $ 75 a ton ) .  Plus a dumpster just screams to neighbors to throw in their trash . 

As far as tools go , you need 1 of everything , sometimes 2 .  If you cant afford to buy it , rent it . 

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

A pick up truck ,  or a minimum of a 5 by 8 utility trailer  minimum 3000 lb capacity . ( 5000 lb is better) . 

One of the best investments I have made is a 5 by 8 dump trailer . Its lower than a truck , easy loading , it will carry 2 tons , it dumps . Its used for hauling materials all the time . For demos it saves so much compared to dumpsters . Sure I have to make 3 trips compared to a 20 yard can . But thats a savings of $100 per load . Since its a single axle , there is no tipping fee in my county . (normally $ 75 a ton ) .  Plus a dumpster just screams to neighbors to throw in their trash . 

As far as tools go , you need 1 of everything , sometimes 2 .  If you cant afford to buy it , rent it . 

 Matt totally agree when my company was Heavy into buying court house steps the most effective thing I bought was the dump trailer with power lift... hands down.. if you don't have power lift your guys are stuck at the dump for and 1 hand unloading the trailer or truck.. with the power lift you lift it drive forward its dumps in 5 seconds our done.. great thought there.. and when I retired from that end of the business I sold it for what I paid for it..

@Jay Hinrichs  The dump trailers hold their value . and its so nice to back up at the landfill right next to a guy hand unloading shingles , open the gate and push a button . Gone in less than 5 minutes . 

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

@Jay Hinrichs  The dump trailers hold their value . and its so nice to back up at the landfill right next to a guy hand unloading shingles , open the gate and push a button . Gone in less than 5 minutes . 

cant honestly say I ever did go to the dump and watch it.. but I was paying guys by the hour.. so I monitored it that way.. great tool 

@Matthew Paul Thanks for the tip on the dump trailer. 

@Jay Hinrichs Thanks for the tip on the shoe covers.

Isaiah Oloyede, Real Estate Agent in Massachusetts (#9​5​5​8​3​9​1)

For hand tools.... such as screw drivers, pliers and wrenches... go to the store and see if you can hold and use the tools just a little bit. I personally have a preference to certain "grips" and prefer something that's comfortable in the hand but can handle a lot of abuse.

Don't go cheap. I have a couple pairs of insulated pliers that just have a coating on the handle. I recently purchased a pair of dewalt spring loaded needle nose pliers and sure it's a couple bucks more but the difference is night and day.

Take care of your tools - the worst thing is rust or corrosion on tools. I used to store my tools in the garage. But with the climate where I live the winter's are tough on tools that are stored in the garage. I learned that the hard way. Also keep all sharp tools maintained. Drill bits, saw blades, chisels etc they should all be sharp not only is it easier to do the job but it's safer.

Demo:

Pry bar - most used tool I think I own!

Hammer - perhaps even a sledge

Saws - a sawsal is a must!

Electrical:

Basic screwdriver set

needle nose pliers

voltometer - circuit tester

flashlight

electrical tape

murrets

Plumbing:

large and small pipe wrench

hack saw

copper pipe cutter (I have one big one that I can change the blades to, and then I buy a cheap very small one for tight spaces that usually lasts 5-10 jobs)

pex crimper - if you working with a lot of pex.. if you only have one job you can rent this tool

cresent wrench

imperial and metric wrench set

socket set

torch

Construction:

carpenter square

regular square

tape measure

skill saw

drill

utility knife

snap chalk line

In my opinion those are the basics that should be in your tool box at your disposal for all your needs. As you start to do more you may need some more specialized tools but the above list you can pretty much take down and build a whole new house.

The dump trailer is a great idea if you're able to dump at your local land fill. If you don't have a truck that can haul a dumpster, getting a dumpster bin works well.. there are also a product here for smaller jobs called "bagster" you buy a mini dump bag that you would probably load in one day (i think the limit is 3000 lbs) and a local waste company will pick it up when you call them. (look up bagster)

A preprinted pad of lien waivers. No payment goes out without one signed/notarized.

As a flipper you shouldn't need any traditional tools. Unless you are buying yourself a job as a contractor and/or laborer.

Matthew Olszak, Real Estate Agent in IL (#471019601)
847-447-6824

@Matthew Paul

You just solved an ongoing question for us. Thank you.

your knowledge of code is far more important then any tool you own

The only hand tool I would add to the above lists is a multi-tool, also called a jamb saw.

The dump trailer is hands down my favorite. 

Screw/drill driver.

Flashlight.

Ladder.

Tape measure.

Note pad/pen.

These usually end up coming to every house I look at before making an offer. After I own it, I have a lot more tools, but these are my musts for looking over a potential flip.

Tools are not as important as the knowledge and experience to use them. If you are not a plumber or electrician then you do not require those tools. Leave it to the pro's. If you are, then you need those. Same goes for carpenters and tile installers. DYI mainly stay to finish work like paint and spackle and some basic carpenter tools and cordless drill is a great basic tool. I have thousands if $ in tools that I have amassed collected over time. Some new and some acquired at garage sales. You can never have enough tools or enough safe dry space to store them.

@Steve S. Thanks for your tips.

@Frank Gucciardo I agree that I need a solid contractor with all the right tools. I am just trying to compile a useful list for someone who might be interested in doing some DIYs. Thank you for pointing that out. 

@Matthew Olszak I agree with having lien waivers ready to go. I don't intend to buy myself another full time job as a contractor or laborer. Thank you.

@Ola Dantis No. I am not considering becoming a contractor. Thank you for the tip on getting a really good laptop. It will make onsite project management easier. Thank you.

@Gareth Fisher Thanks for pointing out how important it is to be knowledgeable of the code. 

@Peter Bowen Thank you.

@Brian Pulaski Thank you for your list.

@Sid Leibowitz Thank you for your insight on the importance of knowledge and experience with the tools and leaving certain tasks for professionals. Thank you.

Isaiah Oloyede, Real Estate Agent in Massachusetts (#9​5​5​8​3​9​1)

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