In addition to a budget for buying a home, you may also need to create a budget for things to buy for your new house. For many first-time home buyers, after weeks of waiting for mortgage approval and signing piles of documents, they might think a major hurdle has passed when the sale finally closes. However, that stuff is only the calm before the storm.
With new keys in your hands, you may open the front door to your marvelous new home, only to ask yourself: "Why does the house look so bare?" That's when the realization hits you—you have a lot of shopping to do.
Things to Buy After Buying a Home
Ironically, one of the first things homebuyers have to do is buy more things. This news comes as a shock to many first-time homebuyers, especially those who previously lived in an apartment. If you're saving up for your first home, make sure to include these in your budget along with closing costs.
Keys and Locks
After buying a home, one of your first purchases should be new door locks. You can either replace the locks or "rekey" them so that old keys no longer work. Changing locks isn't difficult to do on your own, but you can hire a locksmith if you'd rather leave it to the professionals. This is also a good time to think about a place to hide a key so you won't get locked out of your house.
It's important to change locks because you don't know who has a copy of the key from the old owner. It's common for homeowners to leave keys with friends and family, and a few spare keys may still be dangling from keychains somewhere out there. Even if you're buying a new home, keys are still handed out to any contractors working on the property.
At the very least, you will need a cooktop/stove, oven, refrigerator, washer, and dryer.
If new appliances are out of your price range, then you can buy used appliances. However, if you're considering older, relatively inefficient appliances, the initial savings of the older appliances should be compared to the long-term utility bill savings of newer appliances.
Measured by acres grown, grass lawns are the largest irrigated crop in the United States. Therefore, it's likely that the house you buy has a grass lawn, and if so, you will need to buy a lawn mower (or hire a gardener). The best mower for your home will depend on the size of your lawn. Consumer Reports publishes reviews that are extremely helpful when comparing brands. You can also search for used mowers on Craigslist or in your local newspaper.
Every home needs a garden hose, and don't forget about weed-whackers, shovels, and rakes, as well. You can buy basic gardening supplies like these at any major department store. Other tools to consider include a push broom, which comes in handy for sweeping your garage floor. Many brooms also have handles that unscrew, so you can use it as an extension pole with a wall sander. Depending on how much you plan on gardening, you may want to pick up extra tools like a watering can and wheelbarrow.
Tools and Repair Items
Every home needs a well-stocked toolbox. Aside from buying a toolbox itself, other essential items include:
- Hammers: ball and claw
- Screwdrivers: flathead and Phillips
- Assorted screws and nails
- Plumber's wrench
- Basin wrench
- Small power drill and drill bits
- Staple gun
- Tape measure
Optional and Situational Purchases
The exact requirements for new homeowners will depend heavily on where they live and what they enjoy doing. Here are a few common situations that may or may not apply to your new home.
More Tools for DIY Projects and Renovations
Every home should have a toolbox with the tools mentioned above, but that's the bare minimum. If you bought a relatively new house and you love everything about it, you may be fine with a bare-minimum toolbox. However, if you enjoy do-it-yourself projects or have some renovations in mind, make sure to upgrade your toolbox with extras like:
- Assorted paintbrushes
- Paint scraper with steel brush for cleaning paint brushes
- Five-gallon container for mixing paint
- Paint screen
- Paint roller and sleeves
- Drop cloths or plastic sheeting
- Electrical tester
- Wire nuts
- Assorted sandpaper
Do you love your new yard? Make sure you can comfortably spend time out there. Lawn chairs, patio umbrellas, and a barbecue grill are among the most common starter items for homeowners creating their perfect patio. You can always start with inexpensive variations of patio furniture and barbecues. If you use them frequently, you can upgrade later.
Snow Removal Equipment
If it snows where you live, you'll need to remove it. Many cities and counties give homeowners a certain period of time to remove the snow from nearby sidewalks. If you fail to meet those requirements, you could end up with a citation. Even if you don't have a sidewalk on or adjacent to your property, homeowners should be prepared to clear their driveway and front steps for their own safety, and to avoid potential liability if a third party is injured while walking on an icy driveway or walkway on their property.
Possible tools for this include snow shovels and snowblowers. Snowblowers can be expensive, but you may be able to find used snowblowers for sale.
Ice-chippers and bags of salt or sand also come in handy during freezing weather.
Window coverings can pull together a house's appearance while adding a dash of character. You can choose from blinds, drapes, Roman shades, scarves, toppers, curtains, honeycombs, sheers, or shutters.
If your budget is already stretched thin and your windows are bare, check out self-adhesive paper blinds with clips. These are easy to install, and they can be as cheap as $5. You can keep these as a temporary fix until you save up for a look you'll be happy with long-term.
Linens, Towels, and Floor Coverings
Newly painted walls can call attention to older, worn items. After moving into a new home or renovating a bit, you may find that your old towels are better suited for washing the car than hanging in your bathroom. Floor mats, area rugs, comforters, and pillow sheets can also elevate the appearance of a room.
Prepare for Pets
If your previous lease prevented you from owning a dog or cat, you may now be excited to adopt a pet and bring it into your new home. Some cities have restrictions on the number and types of pets you can have, or they may require a city license for your dog or cat, so check with your local authorities.
Consider making your home pet-friendly before bringing your new pet home to live. If you're adopting a puppy, for instance, you might want to separate new furniture from the puppy's space until the dog is housebroken.