It’s so exciting to open that door to your new home. Now what? Well, it’s time to think about all the things you need to make it your home, to make it comfortable, and to maintain it.
You’ve been focused on getting to the closing and packing up from your old place. Now you need to purchase those necessities and extras to get the house in tip top shape.
“I always tell my first-time buyers to expect some bumps along the way, but enjoy,” says Shelly Borota, who has been a real estate agent for 10 years for Century Realty in DeWitt, Iowa.
It can be overwhelming to come up with a list of all the things you’ll have to buy once you start moving in. But Borota says that one of the main things to think about throughout the home buying process is to keep some reserve money saved to help with those things you’ll need to buy.
Here is a top list of things a new homeowner needs to buy that will ease your frustration and turn your new house into a home quickly:
Outdoor maintenance equipment
You’ve been living in a condo or apartment for a while. You didn’t need a snow shovel, a lawn mower or weed whacker for around fences, trees and sidewalks. Now, you do.
You also might need a hedge trimmer, gardening tools to plant flowers for great curb appeal and a hose to water those plants. A rake in the fall can be handy along with a big broom to sweep the garage floor, sidewalks, patio and porch.
Borota just had a couple buy a five-acre homestead. The sellers allowed them to keep the tractor and lawn mower as part of the negotiation deals. That way they didn’t have to sell it themselves, and the homeowners didn’t have to buy new ones.
A tool box
It’s pretty hard to tighten anything, fix anything or even hang pictures without a hammer, nails, screwdrivers and a measuring tape.
Your tool box doesn’t have to be equipped with expensive tools. In fact, you can buy a homeowner’s tool kit filled with just what you need for $25 at the big box hardware stores.
Toilet paper and other necessary items
Toilet paper may sound so basic, but just ask new homeowners what they forgot when they came to their house for the first time. It probably was toilet paper.
It’s just one of those things you have to have but many times forget to bring along especially when you first get your keys.
“I’ve had a friends forget toilet paper in all the rush of moving,” Borota adds.
Plus, you might want to remember to buy some deodorizers for the air and carpet to get rid of the former owners’ scents. Every home has its unique smell.
New locks and keys
You need to change them the minute you move, Borota explains.
“The seller might have had the best intentions. But they also might have lent out a key to a nephew who mowed the lawn or a neighbor who fed the cat,” she says.
You can go to a store like Home Depot to get the locks rekeyed, or to get different keys that have the same code as their original keys. Most people don’t know that, Borota says. You can also grab a few deadbolt locks for added security.
Although it is an unwritten rule that those who sold the house should clean the house spotlessly before leaving, that doesn’t always happen.
You’ll want to clean cupboards, medicine cabinets, sinks, toilets and just about every surface before really moving in, regardless of how it looks.
Some disinfectant cleaner for the countertops and sinks would be good, too. Bring along some stove, window and floor cleaners, too. And those handy dust catchers that can get up high to the ceiling fans are great, too, to get things immaculate.
Lightbulbs, extension cords and more lamps
Borota has seen in many houses that are distressed or have been lived in by older people, the lightbulbs are burnt out all over the place.
So, to bring some brightness to the space – especially if you have to paint or clean carpets – just replace with bright, energy saving LED bulbs.
Also, replaced bulbs in the canned lights, the outdoor fixtures and in the bathrooms. Extension cords come in handy for placing lamps in places that outlets aren’t available.
The U.S. Fire Administration’s guide talks about five different types of fire extinguishers with different uses from getting rid of oil, wood, metal or other types of fires. Some of the extinguishers cover multiple uses and fires. You can contact your local fire department if you would like fire extinguisher training or have any questions.
The kind of ladder you buy depends on what and where you going to use the ladder for, such as painting a 10 foot high ceiling or one to cleaning the gutters outside.
Ask your hardware person for advice on the heavy-duty rating of the ladder, and what weight can it support. If you weigh 250 pounds but the ladder only withstands 200 pounds, you need a different ladder.
Being a first-time homebuyer takes some courage, imagination and patience. It also will take some money to buy the things to spruce up that new house and keep it safe and comfortable. Don’t hesitate to ask your realtor or your family members for advice and some help along the way.