Buying a house is one of life’s biggest moments, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a little scary. A recent Reddit chat asked first-time homeowners to reveal the one item that ended up being super useful to them in their new abode, and the answers were incredibly helpful.
1. Break out the tool kit. “Cordless drill, step-stool and a free-standing ladder. I had no idea I would use those three items so much.”
2. Caulk. “Caulk covers all manner of evils, such as gaps in frames and baseboards. A single little crack can really throw off the finished look of a door or window.”
3. Find a good way to cool down your house. “My first house had a ‘whole house fan.’ It’s pretty much a giant fan in the center of the house that exhausts into the attic. When you turn it on, it draws air in through every open window in the house. Cooled the house down in minutes.”
4. Get an insurance quote before you buy. “It turns out insurance companies know everything about the house: Crime rates in the area, flood and fire risk, what ground the house is built on, claims in the neighborhood, etc. They told me more about my place than the realtor and inspector,” said one commenter, who made the mistake of making this his last step before closing on his home. “You should do this before you even put in an offer.” Another user added: “Also when picking your home insurance, look for local companies before looking at the big chains.”
5. A wheelbarrow. “I could write a short love story about my wheelbarrow,” said a first-time homeowner.
6. Look to see what was left behind. “Former owners of my house left a bunch of stuff in the shed and the garage. At first we were pretty mad about it, but there were definitely some wins in there. Ultimately, we probably saved more than spent [on cleaning fees] by not having to buy brooms, buckets, shovels, small tools, fasteners, leftover flooring, etc. They aren’t shiny and new, but they still do the job.”
7. Curtains. “It only takes a day for you to realize how important curtains are.”
8. Have a flashlight and batteries at the ready. “Your smoke detector battery will die at 2 a.m. It will.”
9. A new shower head. “Our shower had such low water pressure that I figured it was just the water pressure in the house. We replaced it with a Waterpik. My life was changed.”
10. Always keep a step stool nearby. “These white metal framed Costco onesare the best ones, period. Mine is like 25 years old.”
11. A dolly or hand truck. “We’ve used that thing a million times more than I thought we would,” one commenter said. Another user chimed in to mention that they’re great for moving large flower pots.
12 A bucket. “Pulling weeds in the yard? Bucket. Watering plants? Bucket. Moping the floor? Bucket. Washing the car? Bucket. Need a stool to sit or reach something? Mix a little cement? Put out fireworks? Washing the dog? Carrying a little dirt? Bucket!”
13. A stud finder—and a backup plan. After one commenter praised his stud finder, many users chimed in to say theirs could not find a single stud in the wall. If you have this problem, the commenters suggested using a small magnet instead.
14. Change the locks. “This isn’t an item, but as soon as you buy your house, get the locks changed. You’ve no idea who might have a key. Someone I knew told me a story that they’d bought a new home and the old owners returned and let themselves in while he was upstairs.” Yikes.
15. Make sure you’re able to make phone calls. “Check your mobile reception and download speeds when you’re house-hunting. A place loses a lot of its appeal if you can only make a call from one corner of the living room.”