10 Things You Should Always Keep in Your Garage, According to Real Estate Pros

published Nov 9, 2021
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Your house is impeccably decorated. Not a frame or coffee table book is out of place. The bedrooms are invitingly cozy, the kitchen is pristine and primed for entertaining, and the living room beckons visitors to sit. You are ready to hit the market.

But wait! There might be one room you’re forgetting: the garage. A perfectly staged home tour can go off the rails if a buyer steps into a musty, messy storage space such as a garage, shed, or utility room, and Pittsburgh-based realtor Michelle Goetzinger offers a reality check for sellers: “Buyers see the storage area as a direct reflection of how the current owner took care of the house.”

Not only does the space need to look organized and clean, but it also needs to demonstrate that you’re on top of repairs and have kept the home in tip-top condition. Sweating a little because you can’t recall the last time you picked up a hammer? Don’t worry. Here’s a real estate agent-approved list of 10 items that you should always keep in your garage, particularly if you plan on listing your home ASAP.

Extra Paint Cans

No matter how careful you are, it’s almost impossible to keep your walls looking spotless day in and day out (yes, spilled morning coffee and pasta sauce splatters, I’m looking at you). That’s why Brady Bridges, a real estate agent in Fort Worth, Texas, advises keeping extra cans of paint on hand for touch ups on the fly. You’re even more at risk at dinging paint as you’re moving around furniture while staging. 

“Moreover, you can never totally protect the walls when you have children around,” Bridges says. “The best idea is to keep a backup and polish over the damage.”

A Tube of Caulk

Bridges goes on to add that a tube of caulk will always earn its keep. Not only does a quick caulk touch up make a world of difference in freshening up your home before listing, but it can also help you save money by lowering home repair costs. “You can seal the gap between the wall and the window frame with caulking. It aids you best in the winter by preventing drafts.”

Extension Cords

Who hasn’t found themselves in a pinch without an outlet at arm’s distance? That’s why Dawn Templeton, broker and owner of Boise’s Templeton Real Estate Group, says, “Keep a long extension cord so that you can work from anywhere. You can also set up a charging station to minimize the search for an electrical outlet whenever you need to power your tools.” An added bonus: Potential buyers will see this as a sign that you’ve thoughtfully designed your space.

Tile Grout

Architect Anton Giuroiu, CEO and founder of Homesthetics, has a solution for a nagging problem that plagues many of our kitchens and bathrooms — and could be a turnoff for buyers. “Tile grout quickly gets dirty and discolored, resulting in floors and walls that always look dirty even when they’re not,” he says. “However, with a grout saw and some tile grout in your garage, a DIY fix would only take you a few hours, and the result is immaculate-looking tiles.”

A Staple Gun

For quick fixes before an open house or showing, or even a DIY repair, there’s one easy-to-use tool that should always have a place in your garage. “Whether you need to staple upholstery, do the wirings, or install home insulation, a heavy duty staple gun is your best friend,” says Stephen Keighery, CEO and founder of Home Buyer Louisiana.

Swatches of Tile, Countertops and Carpet

It can be tempting to toss all remnants of a renovation project as soon as the last nail is in the wall and the invoice is paid. But, Becki Danchik, a broker for Warburg Realty, reminds homeowners to always, always keep swatches. “If you have done any renovations or cosmetic work, like replacing floor tiles, countertops, or a backsplash, make sure that you have a sample of the material, with the brand name and specs, that you used in case you or a future owner needs to replace a piece of it down the road.”

Spare Hardware

Along the same lines, it’s also a great idea to keep spare hardware around. Imagine you spent hours installing new cabinet hardware, only to break one two years later. Svetlana Choi, a broker for Warburg Realty, suggests, “Have a few spare switch plates and doorknob, so if they require replacement they will also match the rest of the home.”

Credit: Martin Poole/Getty Images

Basic Tools

Jody Stein Davis, a realtor with The Mountain Girls Team of Keller Williams in Chattanooga, Tennessee has a good reminder for all homeowners to have a basic tool kit at the ready, particularly as you’re taking on last-minute punch list items to get your house ready to sell. “Must-haves would be a tool kit or tool organizer with standard power tools, as well as hammers, screwdrivers and a power drill,” she notes.

Phillip Ash, the founder of Pro Paint Corner, adds two more items to that list. He recommends locking pliers and claw hammers as garage essentials. “Locking pliers are useful for clamping jigs in woodworks and fixing leaking pipes or broken knobs.” Additionally, claw hammers can be used for pounding or extracting nails from wood. “There’s always something to repair at home, so if you can handle minor repairs, a claw hammer is a handy tool to have around,” Ash says.

Scotch Electrical Tape

Veronica Rose, the first female master electrician in New York City and the president and CEO of Aurora Electric, has the all-in-one item that will save the day on more than one occasion. “For the average homeowner, Scotch Electrical Tape can help tackle everything from keeping your holiday lights safe and tangle-free to replacing a light receptacle or wrapping the handles of your metal tools for electrical insulation and a better grip,” Rose says.

A First Aid Kit

Lastly, just in case repairs go awry, Mitchell David of Beach Life Ocean City believes a garage should never go without a first-aid kit. While let’s hope you never need it, David says, “There is a possibility that you might be in need of some first kit while you are working inside the garage and having one by your hand could prove to be valuable.”