You’ve closed on your mortgage and the moving truck has come and gone. Though you’re anxious to turn what looks like a bare house into a suitably decorated home, you need to assess what you need to buy first. Here’s our list of what every first-time homeowner should put at the top of their list.
Just kidding! If you’re a first-time homeowner, it’s important to settle in to the financial newness of homeownership. Even if you’re comfortable with your monthly mortgage payment, you’ll want to gauge the month-to-month costs of homeownership that you may not have experienced as a renter like utility bills, cable, Internet, home maintenance, etc.
This is why we’ve compiled a list of some of the must-have or eventually-needed items so you’re not living in a bare home. It’s a good idea to budget for bigger items like furniture, electronics or upgraded appliances over the first year of owning your home so you can access what you need and what you want.
The truth is, you don’t know how many spare house keys are floating around and who has them. Make the investment to switch out all of the locks on exterior doors, including the door that leads in from the garage.
If the home sellers had their window coverings as part of their reserved items, you’ll want to be able to establish some privacy in your home eventually. Even if you want to install wood blinds down the road, you’ll need to make do with some sort of window covering. Bonus tip: if you’ve moved during the cooler months, insulated thermal curtains can help keep your heating costs down.
Even though your home is brand new to you, you’ll need a well-stocked tool box more than you’d think, even in the first month of homeownership (i.e. hanging pictures or art, mounting your TV, painting, measuring floor space, etc.) Look for a starter tool kit that contains:
- Claw hammer
- Flathead and Phillips screwdrivers
- Measuring tape
- Utility knife
- Adjustable wrenches
- Putty knife
Whether you plan on replacing the dated carpet, are trying to preserve the carpet or just want to add a pop of color and coziness to your new home, floor coverings are necessary.
We’re not talking about home décor here. You’ll need to hit up your local home improvement store to stock up on snow shovels, ice melt, a lawn mower, weed trimmer, edger, etc. to keep your curb appeal up. Bonus tip: if you buy a lawn mower or snow blower in the off-season, you’ll likely score a better deal.
Emergencies are best handled when they’re prepared for, so make sure your house is stocked with the necessities you’ll need in case of a power outage, inclement weather, or fire. At the very least, purchase a fire extinguisher for your laundry room, kitchen and garage. Put together batteries, flashlights, candles & matches, and a basic first aid essentials for an instant emergency kit. It’s also a good idea to keep extra batteries for your smoke detectors on hand.
Lighting is something you need and serves as a reflection of your personal style, so if the style of your home currently says “builder-grade”, now is a good time to replace. For living areas and bedrooms, look for ceiling fans with light kits to keep the temperature of your home comfortable year-round.
You never realize how much stuff you have until you have to move it. If you moved your belongings in cardboard boxes, now is a good time to invest in some clear plastic storage containers and get organized while you’re putting your belongings away. When it comes time to buy furniture, see our list of tips for adding storage space to your home.
For more tips and ideas on make your first house your home, follow us on Pinterest. Purchasing your fist home in the near future? Download our free Mortgage 101 Handbook for everything you need to know about the home financing process.