What's in your tool belt?

A similar question was asked about a week ago but I didn’t see any clear answer.
I’m trying to get a fix on what my start-up expenses will be for rehabbing and
selling homes. In particular I’d like to hear what the essential tools are, power
and manual, to do the job? Also any opinions on purchasing power tools from
local pawn shops? I see quite a few for sale around here.


Essential rehab tools (and, of course the requisite knoewledge to deploy them!):

Nail sets
Cordless drill (get the 18V!)
Circular saw
Saber saw
Hand saws
Hack saw
Screwdrivers (straight and Phillips)
Wood chisels
Compound miter saw (10")
Table saw
Various nail bars, pry bars and crowbars
Levels (24", torpedo, string)
Plumb bob
Various paint brushes
Roller frames and roller covers
Drop cloths
Saw horses
Ladders (6’ step, 4’ step, 24’ extension)
Chain saw

The list could go on and on!

I just bought a pneumatic power brad nailer – it is the ‘cat’s behind’ for nailing molding, baseboards, etc. – what a timesaver!

I wouldn’t hesitate to buy decent tools at a pawnshop. Make sure it is in complet operational/safety condition and try to get a 30-day warranty. I buy my rental property lawnmowers at pawnshops all the time.

you left off the Home Depot credit card!

You forgot the safety glasses and First Aid Kit! 8)

I also have 911 preprogrammed on my phone’s speed dial

Cool! Thanks for the list kdhastedt.
Pretty much the same things I was thinking.
What about an electric or airless paint sprayer?
Do they have any real value in a rehab scenario?
After reading another post here, I would say a respirator
would be essential too.

I went window shopping online today to price tools.
As I feared kdhastedt, your list comes to about
$2500. So yeah mcwagner looks like plastic has to
top the list of useful tools. :wink:


An airless paint sprayer is a very good idea. You us it once instead of a painter and you paid for it. I have rented them in the past but I do not recommend that you buy a used one. I found two of them that my dad picked up from auctions and neither one of them worked. I even sent them in to get cleaned and they still didn’t work.

You would be suprised at how quick you paint the inside or outside of a house when you mask everything off. It is much faster than rolling!


I have free slave labor (partner) for painting…(THIS IS A JOKE!!! It’s my wife and she works her buns off on our properties!).

A sprayer would be a good idea but they are pricey and I HATE masking…I don’t even use making tape - ever.

I used to work for an old (and I mean old…Henry was 80 when he quit) carpenter…he told me that if you keep your “finners” (fingers) out from under the hammer head, it hurts a lot less…but, yes you should have a first aid kit (I actually have one on site and another in the pickup)…safety glasses are for girley-men (yes, that’s another joke, I have some of those, too).


just buy your tools as you need them and try to hide them into your rehabs budget. After you do a few houses you have most everything that you need. Before i did my first house, i already had DeWalt 18v Coordless drill/ Recip. Saw combo and my basic hand tools but by the end of the project i had a 10" Mitre saw(I really do wish it was a compound mitre saw) my painting supplies, flooring tools, sander, and tile saw. I borrowed my Dads skill saw, and for Xmas that year i got a 18v coordless Skill saw from my parents. i had everything i needed for the next project. Just this last Xmas my fiancee bought me a DeWalt Table saw that had a rebate for a free Jig saw. So i am pretty much set now. So in my mind, pretty much all my tools were either free or substituted into the rehab budget.

I know this doesn’t help in March, but if you go to Lowe’s after Christmas, you can find real killer deals on power tools. I know a guy that goes in and flips them. He buys all he finds at this particular Lowe’s and sells them on e-bay at discount prices and still makes enough to pay for his Christmas. Over the years that is how I got my wet say, compound miter saw, and band saw.

Black95 touched something I was wondering about. How much tool purchases can you count against the profit of your investment?

5 years a go I doubled my house size with 3 1/2 car gar underneath. I did all the work myself except for cement, plumbing, HVAC and gutters. In retrospect here are the essentials above what has already been mentioned: Drywall - get everything related that is possible to buy - lifts, stools, good screw shooter, ect. Air tools - when you get to a nail size you need, buy a good air tool for it. Never hand pound if at all possible - Air tools are worth their weight in gold. Lights - have good lights - the halogen set works great, but don’t get paint on them - it doesn’t smell good…


Oh, I forgot to mention - look in your paper for items for sale. I got a full sized (not bench top) craftsman 10" table saw for $125 (the owner was getting a contractor grade one) and from the same guy a 12 inch crafsman bandsaw for $100. It had no motor (so he had lots of calls from the Amish, but I called at 8:00 in the morning) and I had an old furnace motor that I put on it. (These were the older Crafsman and are great quality) The bandsaw is great for hobby stuff. Then in another ad I got a Craftsman Skill saw for $10, Craftsman Sawzall for $15, Craftsman 10" miterbox for $50 (with 3 foot table built on each side!!) and a Crafsman 8 inch radial arm saw for 200. I picked up all the items but the Radial arm saw right away and was kicking myself for not getting the radial arm saw and called him back. He still had it. Turns out that was the best purchase. It is the best thing for cutting vinyl sideing ever invented. Love it. The Skill saw needed brushes ($5) and I had to retap the set screw hole on the sawzall. Everything else was near perfect. The guy was a pro finisher and was going to all Milwaukee tools.

Any tool purchases can be deducted against your rental income. If you have $4K in tools, expense them. You can take as much as you spend, as long as it is legitimate.

Not only tools, trailers, storage units for space, a LOT of things can be deducted in your business expenses.

But like a lot have said before, “THE TIM TAYLOR FIRST-AID KIT” is one of the most important tools to have, next to your safety glasses!!

<<But like a lot have said before, “THE TIM TAYLOR FIRST-AID KIT” is one of the most important tools to have, next to your safety glasses!!>>

Isn’t that the First Aid Kit with the tourniquets and the on-site EMS crew/ambulance (or AM-BA-LANCE as they say here…)?