Things to Buy After Buying a Home
Stocking the Home for First-Time Home Buyers
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. Many first-time home buyers, after weeks of waiting for mortgage approval and then signing piles and piles of documents that nobody reads -- because if you don't sign, you don't get the loan -- might think a major hurdle has passed when closing finally happens. However, that stuff is only the calm before the storm.
This is what really happens. With keys in your hot little hands, you open the front door to your marvelous new home. You're both so excited. However, this is where you might stop dead in your tracks to ask: "Why does the house look so bare?" Because that's when it may hit you that you have a lot of shopping to do.
Things to Buy After Buying a Home
You probably have not thought about all the items you will need to buy for a new house that you did not need in an apartment. This news comes as a shock to many first-time home buyers. So, if you've scraped together your last two nickels to pay closing costs, here are ways you can save a little on some of your new purchases:
- Keys & Locks The first thing you should do is re-key or change your door locks. If the previous sellers were like most people, the neighbors, friends and coworkers all might have a set of keys to your house. Even new home builders give out keys to contractors. It's smart to change the locks and / or install deadbolts.
The easiest solution is to remove the locks from your doors and take them to your local hardware store to re-key. You can buy all new locks, but that's expensive. Or, you can call a locksmith to change the locks for you, which is cheaper than you may think. Then, think about a place to hide a key so you won't get locked out of your house.
- Lawnmower Unless you plan to hire a gardener or your yard is filled with rocks or drought resistant vegetation, you will need to buy a lawnmower. Not surprisingly, many new homes in California have no lawns. The back yards are dirt, which means new homeowners here are forking out cash to lay sod or growing their own grass from seed.
Consumer Reports publishes reviews that are extremely helpful when comparing brands and will suggest a "Best Buy" in lawnmowers for you. You can also search on Craigslist or in your local newspaper for used lawnmowers.
- Garden Supplies Every home needs a garden hose. You can buy those at a low price, plus find adjustable sprayer heads or lawn sprinklers at Target or in the gardening department at Loews. Don't forget about weed-whackers, trowels, shovels, rakes or hoes. A push broom comes in handy for sweeping your garage floor, plus the handle unscrews so you can use it as an extension pole with a wall sander. Consider a watering can, and wheelbarrow or wagon.
- Tools & Repair Items to buy for a new house Every home needs a well-stocked tool box. Besides buying a toolbox itself, other essential items are:
- Hammers: Ball and Claw
- Assorted Screw drivers: Flathead and Phillips
- Plumber's Wrench
- Basin Wrench
- Small Power Drill and Drill Bits
- Nail Driver
- Staple Gun
- Tape Measure
More Stuff to Buy for a New House
- Paint Brushes: one-inch to four-inches
- 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 Screws and Nails
- Assortment of Sandpaper
- Outdoor Entertaining Lawn chairs, patio furniture and umbrella, and a barbecue grill are among the starter items most people put out back. A nice starter grill is a Weber charcoal grill, and it's very inexpensive.
- Snow Removal Equipment If it snows where you live, you'll need to remove it. Many cities give homeowners a certain period of time to remove the snow and you can be cited if you don't. Apart from clearing the driveway so you can get your car out of the garage, remember the sidewalks and front steps.
Snowblowers can be expensive.
But you can also find used snowblowers on Craigslist. If a snowblower is not in your budget, then look at flat- and curved-snow shovels, plus ice-chippers and a bag of salt or sand come in handy when the ground freezes.
- Window Coverings You can choose from blinds, drapes, Roman shades, scarves, toppers, curtains, honeycombs, sheers or shutters.
If your budget is stretched too thin, check out self-adhesive paper blinds with clips. These attach by peeling off the adhesive covering and sticking the top of the blind to the underside at the top of your window. They are pleated, so you can fold them up and clip them when you want to open the blinds. They cost less than $5, and serve as a good temporary solution.
- Appliances Many new homes are equipped with new appliances, but when buying an older home, depending on where you live, it might be customary for the seller to take some of the appliances. Not all appliances are fixtures, either.
At the very least, you will need a:
- Cooktop / Range
- Washer & Dryer
- If new is out of your price range, then consider buying used appliances, which will save you roughly 75% or more of the cost new.
- Linens, Towels and Floor Coverings Now that you can paint your rooms any color you choose, you might also find a need to buy new towels for the bathroom. Newly painted walls call attention to older, worn items, and your towels might be better suited for washing the car or your dog than hanging in a fresh, new bathroom. Consider also floor mats for the bath or area rugs for your larger rooms.
If you need new duvet covers, sheets or bedspreads, you can often find good bargains at places like Linen-n-Things or Bed, Bath & Beyond.
- Domestic Pets Maybe your previous lease prevented you from owning a dog or cat, but now that you own your home, you can adopt a pet! Some cities have restrictions on the number of four- and two-legged critters you can have, so be sure to check with your local authorities. Also, ask if you need a city license for your dog or cat. Many new homeowners are concerned about saving a life and choose to adopt from a local shelter.
The Icing on the Cake After Buying a House: PETS
Consider making your home pet friendly before bringing your new pet home to live. Think twice about adopting a young pet and whether you will have time to train a puppy or teach a kitten not to claw your sofa. Sometimes, adopting an older pet is a better choice for your first pet in your new home. Do not feel guilty if you don't have the time to raise a young pet, and instead check out those already acclimated to a house.
Can't stress this enough: visit your local SPCA or City Animal Control to find homeless pets to adopt or learn more about adoption at the A.S.P.C.A. Don't buy pets from a pet store because many disreputable pet stores buy their inventory from a puppy mill.
Some pet stores sell pets carrying diseases or worse, a contagious and deadly virus, because the animals came from unreliable breeders who did not vaccinate.
Thoroughly investigate a breeder before you fall in love with a purebred. On the other hand, if you adopt from a shelter, your pet will be vaccinated and spayed / neutered. Plus, you will be saving a pet's life, and it won't cost you an arm and a leg to add a loving companion to your new home.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, CalBRE #00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.