Must-Have Tools for New Homeowners

By Ashley Wirgau on October, 18 2021
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Ashley Wirgau

The first year of homeownership tends to be a learn-as-you-go journey for many beginner buyers. Even turn key properties come with their fair share of maintenance needs, so being prepared with a healthy range of tools can make all the difference those first 365 days. So, what do you really need and where can you get it? Let’s take a look:

The Standard Tool Box

Every homeowner, regardless of their level of handiness, will need a basic tool box filled with the essentials. A set of Allen wrenches, flat head and Phillips screwdrivers, an assortment of pliers including needle nose and diagonal cutting, a utility knife and a trusty old hammer should be included. Additionally, a tape measure and level will be helpful for household needs like hanging pictures. Those family photos (and a multitude of other potential projects) are also going to require a variety of nails and screws. If you aren’t quite sure which ones to purchase, Home Depot offers a quick overview of each nail and screw type and their specific uses.

Oftentimes, purchasing a “ready-made” tool set is the most cost-efficient way to buy. There are countless options out there, but Bob Vila has some opinions on which set is the best. Check out his list of top-rated all-in-one sets to get you started.

All the Extras

Once you have your tool box taken care of, it’s time to move on to the extras. One of the next tools you will want to invest in is a cordless drill. This small machine of convenience will make everything from hanging mirrors to building garden beds a lot easier. Like everything else, there are a ton of options available, but Consumer Reports usually has it right, so browse their quick list of drills that made the cut.

Any new homeowner will also want a step ladder, and most likely an extension ladder, as well, to help tackle those hard-to-reach places. Better Homes & Gardens has compiled information to help point folks in the right direction based on the specific kind of ladder they might need. Those with high ceilings might also want to invest in a light bulb changer, so that ladder can stay stored away when alternating those super high bulbs.

New houses always come with their share of projects big and small, and this is where even more extras enter the scene. A staple gun has multiple uses from reupholstering furniture to hanging insulation. Paint brushes and an electric sander are also bound to come in handy at some point down the road. Even if you don’t plan to repaint an entire room, trim boards and walls require sprucing up when scratches and dings become noticeable.

Ready to Take Things Outside?

For most new buyers, their initial home is the first time they have been responsible for yard maintenance. Depending on the size of the property, additional equipment might be necessary, but for the majority of homeowners, they can get away with just a few items. A lawn mower will obviously be a top priority, and pruning shears, a weed whip, as well as a rake and shovel are probably a good idea, also. A power washer is one of those items that falls on the fence as one could be rented as needed, but anyone who enjoys a squeaky clean exterior would likely make their money up in the first year if they chose to simply buy their own.

In Case of Emergency

Finally, you can never be too prepared. Will that new home brave the first year without power outages or plumbing issues? Let’s hope so - but in the event something does go amiss, it’s best to have what you need on hand. Big box stores generally close by 9:00 pm, and you don’t want to be stuck in an emergency with nowhere to turn. It is best to purchase a generator, plunger, drain snake, fire extinguisher, axe, multiple flashlights, lighters, and duct tape ahead of time as they can serve as a nice bandage until help arrives (like the hired professionals you will need to call once the sun comes up).

The world of a new homeowner is filled with lessons, but those lessons go much more smoothly when you’re ready for them. In between the furniture malls and Homegoods runs, make sure to stop by your local hardware store to grab what you really need to make your house a home – a solid tool kit with some extra essential items that will keep your home a happy one should something go awry.