12 Things You’ll Need for Your First Home

Congratulations on buying your first home! I’m right there with you—I made the leap into homeownership at the tail end of 2020.   

You probably accumulated plenty of “stuff” before buying your very first home, so I’m not going to tell you to buy plates and a frying pan. Instead, I’ve listed things you need for protecting your first home, plus some practical items you’ll need sooner than later. 

1. Home security system

Your home should always feel like a safe haven, and a home security system helps keep it that way. Think beyond burglaries: the best home security systems can also protect your home from fire and water damage. Some also offer up a ton of convenient home automation. 

Now that you’re a homeowner, you’ve unlocked a whole new level of home security. The biggest names in the biz—namely Vivint and ADT—install hardwired equipment and therefore require homeownership. But you can still go the DIY security route.

2. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Your new home should already have smoke detectors installed, but it’s up to you to make sure they work and are installed in all the right places.

Even if you don’t need to install extras, consider replacing a few of the existing alarms with smart smoke detectors. These connect to Wi-Fi and can let you know there’s a problem even when you’re not home to hear the beeps.  

Don’t stop with smoke alarms, though. Grab carbon monoxide detectors and radon detectors while you’re at it. And if your home uses natural gas, it doesn’t hurt to have a gas leak detector on hand too.

3. Video doorbell

Now that you’re in charge of your castle, you can benefit from knowing who’s at the door—even when you’re not home. A Wi-Fi enabled smart doorbell lets you see when that important package is delivered, when the kids get home from school, and who dares knock during the dinner hour.

4. Home generator

This one’s a bit of a splurge, especially if your bank account feels a little flimsy after the downpayment. But you’ll be happy you thought ahead and got a home generator if your new town is prone to bad weather events like ice storms.

Powering a space heater and the fridge can be just enough to keep you and your family comfortable while you wait for the electrical crews to finish up.

 5. Lockbox or safe

It’s smart to purchase a home safe or lockbox to hold important documents—like the title to your new home—and other valuables. Make sure you choose one that is both waterproof and fireproof.

Depending on what you need to keep safe, you can find a box or safe starting at around $30 to safeguard crucial documents like birth certificates, banking records, and other sensitive information.

6. New door lock

Chances are you’re not the first person to call your house home. The safest way to ensure random keys to your front door aren’t floating around in the world is to swap out your current door lock for a new one.

You can make a straight trade for a standard lock, add a new deadbolt, or upgrade to an electronic keyless lock. Smart locks get rid of lost keys altogether so you’ll never be locked out of your home.

7. Water leak sensor

From one new homeowner to another, let me just say . . . don’t skip this one.

I had no idea water was such a pain in the you-know-what until I was responsible for my very own house. It’s very hard to detect a water leak until it is right in front of your face—and at that point, you might be dealing with rot, mold, and general yuck. 

For example, when my sewer line backed up, there was a waterfall in my crawlspace. I didn’t notice right away because I’m not in the habit of going under there. And it was a surprisingly quiet waterfall. 

Water leak sensors tell you there’s a problem before it gets out of hand. Put them in areas where you hardly ever look: under the tub, sink, garbage disposal, washing machine, and dishwasher; in the crawl space under major plumbing and sewer lines; near the drains in your basement; and literally anywhere else you could possibly imagine water dripping or collecting.

8. Extra cabinet locks and baby gates

If you’ve got a toddler, take stock of your babyproofing gear and buy extras if needed. For example, you might need a baby gate for the top of the stairs in your new home or an extra pack of cabinet locks to secure all the doors in your new kitchen. 

9. Security cameras

Keeping an eye on your home—and your loved ones or pets—feels even more important once you’re a homeowner. Security cameras can provide extra comfort, especially when you’re getting used to a new neighborhood and routine.

10. Tool kit

In order to fix things around the house, you need the necessary tools at your fingertips. It’s just not practical to borrow a tool from your neighbor every time something needs fixing. (Plus, you don’t want to become the Homer Simpson of the neighborhood.)

11. Flashlights and work lights

Now that you’re a homeowner, you’re also a handyman, plumber, and the person who has to investigate weird noises in the attic or crawl space—like when a cat gets locked in your crawl space and mysterious meows follow you all day and night. (True story.)

It’s smart to get a couple of heavy-duty flashlights and keep them somewhere handy so you can find them when you need them. In addition, I highly recommend a headlamp and a standing work light. We’ve used both countless times in our home repairs.

12. Lawnmower

Your new neighbors (and perhaps your new Home Owner’s Association) might not be pleased if you let the grass grow wild because you forgot to budget for a lawn mower.

And while it seems like a weird thing to buy online, you can definitely get one shipped to your door. Even riding lawnmowers can be delivered.

Or, sign up for a lawn mowing service while you get settled. It’ll take some of the pressure off you while you figure out what to do. Another option is to approach your new neighbors and offer to pay them to borrow their mower.

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