Buying your first house? Congratulations! It’s an exciting step and a milestone achievement. But independence from a landlord means responsibility for all the maintenance falls on you.Independence from a landlord means responsibility for all the maintenance falls on you. Click To Tweet
That’s ok. There isn’t anything you need to know you can’t learn from a YouTube video. And if you’re prepared with the basic equipment and tools every homeowner needs, you can be your own maintenance man. Here are the essentials to buy when buying your first house.
The first thing you’ll want to do is replace the door locks on your house. You may wonder why that’s necessary if they’re in working order. It’s because most people give spare keys to extended family members or neighbors for emergency purposes and aren’t too concerned getting them back when they move. So it’s likely people you don’t know have keys to your house. But, if you think life is enhanced with more surprises in it, keep those old locks.
If you bought a brand new house in a subdivision, you’re going to need window coverings for nearly every window. Immediately. The cheapest option is pleated paper shades. They’ll do in a pinch, but I don’t recommend them. If you ever want to look out your windows, you have to manually re-pleat them to raise them – which is a pain. One swipe of a pet’s paw will destroy them. And you’re going to have to spend money to replace them anyway. At least go with real shades, inexpensive blinds, or curtains/drapes.
If you bought an existing house, most windows will already be covered unless the previous owner stipulated in the contract they were removing them. You will still want to plan for a bit of replacement or redecorating.
Stocked Tool Box
Newlyweds moving right from their parent’s homes need it all. If you’ve been renting elsewhere, you likely own some toolbox basics already. A homeowner’s toolbox should include a hammer, flathead and Phillips screwdrivers in small and large sizes, needle-nosed pliers, adjustable pliers, tape measure, level, assorted nails, screws, and anchors, flashlight, and a stud-finder. Not immediately essential, but very very nice to have is a cordless drill and bit set – especially if you hang window coverings not made of paper.
Unless you have a drought-proof xeriscape, pay a hefty HOA for community maintenance, or plan on hiring a lawn service, you’ll need a lawnmower. If you don’t purchase (and use! Learn how here.) a lawnmower, your neighbors will leave you notes – of varying cordiality – advising such. As finances allow, you’ll also want to invest in a weed trimmer, leaf blower, and hedge clippers. Think curb appeal.
Some of the best things about owning your own home are being able to keep a little flower or vegetable garden and to wash your own car. These endeavors require a hose. Garden tools and a car wash kit are good things for a new homeowner to add to a birthday or Christmas wish list.
You’ll want to keep the aforementioned garage tidy. You’ll be surprised at all the stuff that blows in. You can blow it all back out with a leaf blower. A lot less fun is pushing it out with a push broom. One or the other will do the job though.
Painting crown molding, hanging window treatments, and changing can lights are a few chores that require the use of a step ladder. Improvising is dangerous. I know this for sure.
If you live in an area that gets snow, prepare for it. Buy an ergonomic snow shovel. Your back will thank you. You’ll also be happy to have a plastic 5-gallon pail with a lid. Fill it with rock salt and use it to keep steps and walkways clear of ice after you’ve shoveled them.
This is the one thing you buy hoping you’ll never need it. But you never know. Dryers sometimes catch fire. Taco shells fall over and ignite against a heating element. And fireplaces with the chimney built too short in new construction smoke like the dickens. Again, all this I know for sure. Have a fire extinguisher.
A barbecue isn’t technically an “essential,” but life in a house without one is hardly worth living. Agreed? Even a small charcoal grill is a luxurious asset to your realm. And when you take that first bite of the barbecued burger, your taste buds will say: “Welcome to the ‘burbs, kid!” and “Congrats on buying your first house!”