The prospect of being a new homeowner — particularly a first-time homeowner — is exhilarating. Finally free of your landlord, you have the chance to personalize your new abode.
Of course, without a landlord, you also have the added responsibility of managing the upkeep of your new home. And, as any experienced homeowner will tell you, there’s always something in need of repair. If you’re a plumber, electrician, or are just generally handy, this article probably isn’t for you. But for the novice homeowner who has yet to face a dripping faucet, frozen pipes, or a broken light fixture, here’s a rundown of all the basic tools you’ll want to have on hand.
Basic tools you should have as a new homeowner
These are the tools you’ll want to have at the ready should you need to make a repair, hang a picture, seal drafty windows, or fix whatever else may go wrong.
- Hammers. You’ll want a claw hammer for hammering larger nails and removing them, and a lightweight hammer for smaller jobs.
- Cordless drill and drill bits. An indispensable tool for drilling, this battery-charged wonder is also an excellent screwdriver.
- Manual screwdriver. A set that includes multiple sizes of both Phillips-head and flat-head screwdrivers. Ideal when electricity is out or you’ve forgotten to charge your cordless.
- Multi-bit screwdriver. It’s a great two-in-one screwdriver.
- Adjustable wrench. Excellent for tightening or loosening just about anything.
- Pliers. You’ll need two types, a needle-nose and a tongue-and-groove plier.
- Hacksaw. This handy saw cuts through wood, plastic, and metal.
- Tape measure. It’s essential to get your measurements right.
- Extension cord. Because the outlets you need to use always seem to be out of reach.
- Electrical tape. There is nothing you can’t do with electrical tape.
- Staple gun. If you can’t tape it, staple it.
- Utility knife. For quick cuts. Get one that retracts to avoid accidents when not in use.
- Scraper and putty knife. Essential for paint prep, among other things.
- Ladders. You’ll need a sturdy step ladder and a two-step aluminum ladder for light and lower jobs.
- Plunger. You’ll want one of these available in every bathroom.
- Stud detector. This handy device makes it easy to find a secure spot for hanging pictures.
- Level. Make sure whatever you’re building or hanging is truly on the level.
- Caulking gun. Easy to use device that helps seal drafty windows and bathroom tiles.
- WD-40. Keep this spray lubricant handy to quiet squeaking doors and loosen rusted screws and bolts.
Safety and storage
Safety is a very important part of home repair. In addition to turning off the water when fixing pipes or the electricity when working with outlets, protecting your hands, eyes, ears, and nose are critical. You’ll want to have:
- Work gloves. Recommend having several pairs available of various weights.
- Goggles. Protect those eyes! Better safe than sorry.
- Dust mask. Be sure to have a mask available when sanding or doing any job that creates a lot of dust.
- Earplugs or earmuffs. Highly recommended for lawn mowing or any activity that involves loud noises.
- Flashlight. It never hurts to have several of these throughout the house in case the electricity goes out.
- Toolbox. You’ll need this to store all your new tools.
YouTube. When it comes to learning how to fix just about anything, YouTube is a homeowner’s best friend. Just search and you’ll find both professional and amateur video to walk you through home repairs or installations.
Reader’s Digest’s “The Family Handyman” Series. For the new (and even experienced) homeowner looking for a good overview of the basics, Reader’s Digest has a series of popular titles called “The Family Handyman.” Starting with “100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know: How to Save Money, Solve Problems and Improve Your Home,” this series covers everything from kitchen storage solutions, to easy plumbing repair.