22 things you need if you just bought your first house
All the essentials for your new adventure!
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The housing market boomed in 2020, with interest rates at historic lows and home sales at their highest in more than a decade, according to CNBC. The pandemic only helped to fuel the house-buying frenzy, with many people leaving cities in favor of the suburbs, and the National Association of Realtors reports that first-time home buyers made up 31 percent of all home purchases.
I’m happy to say that I was part of this statistic, purchasing my first home in January 2021 after close to a decade of renting. It’s amazing to be able to play music loudly and let my dog out in the backyard without a leash, but I quickly realized there were quite a few items I was going to need now that I was a homeowner—for instance, only after it started snowing did I realize I didn’t have a full-size snow shovel.
The following are several of the most important products you’ll need after buying your first home.
1. A sturdy tape measure
There’s so much that needs to be measured when you buy a house—doorways to ensure furniture will fit through, windows when you buy curtains, and even just walls when you’re hanging artwork. All these tasks will be infinitely easier to complete if you have a high-quality tape measure in your toolbox, and after testing many of the most popular options available, we feel confident saying the Crescent Lufkin Black Widow is the best tape measure you can buy. The 1-inch hook at the end of the tape makes it easy to latch onto items you’re measuring, and the high-contrast, double-sided print is easy to read, even from a distance.
Get the Crescent Lufkin Black Widow Tape Measure on Amazon for $23.93
2. A full-size snow shovel
Three days after I moved into my new house, we got hit with a snowstorm. It was only then I realized that the only snow shovel I owned was the collapsible one I keep in the trunk of my car, and sadly, that wasn’t going to work for shoveling the driveway. Learn from my mistake, especially if you live in a snowy area, and be sure to get one of the best snow shovels before you move into a house.
The True Temper Combo Blade Snow Shovel is one of our top-rated choices, as it has a comfortable ergonomic handle and durable blade, and it can be used as both a shovel and a plow. Plus, it moves a lot of snow at once, making it ideal for shoveling larger areas.
3. A new mattress for a better night’s sleep
While perhaps not a must-have for your first home, a new mattress is certainly nice to have when you move, as it will help you sleep better and have more energy for all those home improvement projects you’re planning. If you are in the market for a new sleep surface, we recommend the Leesa Hybrid Mattress, which strikes a perfect balance of support and comfort. It’s great for all sleep positions, and you can order it without ever stepping foot in a mattress store!
4. A durable power drill
For many years, I got by with just a hammer and handheld screwdriver, but once I bought a house, it was definitely time to upgrade to a power drill—it makes assembling furniture, mounting shelves, and tackling random DIY projects so much easier that it's worth the expense. Our favorite cordless drill is this Makita Driver-Drill Kit, which is lightweight and balanced, yet surprisingly powerful. It makes quick work of even the toughest tasks, and it even has a built-in LED to light up the area you’re working on.
5. A high-end stand mixer for your kitchen
No house is complete without a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, especially if you like to cook or bake. And let's be real, you deserve a little something for yourself to celebrate your big purchase. These mixers are definitely a splurge, but the appliance will last a lifetime if cared for properly. Plus, they’re extremely versatile, with a huge range of attachments that can help you make pasta, grind meat, spiralize vegetables, and much more.
6. A filing cabinet for all your house-related paperwork
Houses come with a whole lot of paperwork—we’re talking mortgage documents, insurance policies, appliance manuals, and more. Do yourself a favor and invest in a sturdy file cabinet to keep everything organized in one place! This locking file cabinet from Poppin has a sleek modern design that’s undeniably cuter than your average plain filing cabinet, and its two drawers can hold both letter- and legal-size hanging file folders.
Get the Poppin White 2-Drawer Stow Locking Filing Cabinet from The Container Store for $212.49
7. A package of LED light bulbs
If your new home isn’t already outfitted with LED light bulbs, you’ll definitely want to install some after you move in. LEDs use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and these inexpensive 100-watt ones from EcoSmart have an estimated lifetime energy savings of $105 per bulb. It’s a quick and easy change that can save you big bucks on utilities.
Or, if you want to take it a step further, you can opt for smart LED bulbs, such as the ones from Philips Hue. They’re more expensive initially, but you’ll reap the same energy savings in the long run. Plus, smart bulbs can be controlled right from your smartphone, and you can change the color and brightness to set the ambiance in your home.
- Get the EcoSmart 100-Watt Equivalent A19 Non-Dimmable LED Light Bulb, 4-Pack from Home Depot for $13.78
- Get the Philips Hue A19 LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit on Amazon for $199
8. New sheets for your bed—and the guest room
I use pretty much anything as an excuse to buy more Brooklinen sheets, so of course, I had to get new ones when moving into my new home. (My rationale was that my old sheets can be dedicated guest bedroom linens.) The Luxe Core Sheets are the best bed sheets we’ve tested, mostly because they’re so smooth and soft that you’ll never want to sleep on anything else. Plus, they come in several colors, including a few fun limited-edition prints, to match your new bedroom.
Get the Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set for $139
9. A flashlight for investigating the crawl space
Whether your power goes out or you have to go into your home’s crawl space, there will inevitably come a time as a homeowner when you need a flashlight, and the best everyday flashlight we’ve tested is the Olight S2 Baton. Don’t be fooled by its compact form—this flashlight provides ample illumination, even from a long distance, and it has a magnetized bottom that allows you to mount it onto any metal surface.
Get the Olight S2 Baton on Amazon for $38.97
10. A surplus of cleaning supplies
Chances are your new home isn’t going to be spick and span when you move in, so be sure to have plenty of cleaning supplies ready to scrub everything down. If you’re hoping to be a more eco-friendly homeowner, the Blueland Clean Suite Kit is an ideal purchase when you move, as it contains everything you need to keep your new abode tidy.
The kit comes with three cleaning sprays, foaming hand soap, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, and laundry tabs, all of which come in reusable containers. Plus, the products are formulated without any harsh or harmful ingredients, making them great for families.
Get the Blueland Clean Suite for $83
11. A safe to store valuables
While you may not have wanted to move a heavy safe from apartment to apartment while renting, a product like the AmazonBasics Home Keypad Safe is a worthwhile investment now that you have a more permanent dwelling. This safe comes in three sizes, and it’s equipped with a programmable electronic keypad, as well as a backup key. It even has pre-drilled mounting holes and hardware for both floor and wall mounting, making it the ideal spot to store important documents, valuable jewelry, and other prized possessions.
Get the AmazonBasics Home Keypad Safe, 1.8 Cubic Feet on Amazon for $125.70
12. A fun welcome mat for your door
Chances are your friends and family are going to want to see your new house (after the pandemic is over, anyway), so make them feel welcome with one of these cute doormats. The Everyspace Recycled Waterhog Doormat from L.L. Bean has a cool mountain-inspired design and is made from recycled materials. Another option, the Hello Inverse Doormat from Pottery Barn, extends a cheery greeting to anyone who shows up at your door.
- Get the Everyspace Recycled Waterhog Doormat, Mountain Scene from L.L. Bean for $39.95
- Get the Hello Inverse Doormat from Pottery Barn for $39
13. A new lock for your front door
The first thing most people do when they buy a home is to change the locks, and while you could just buy an inexpensive deadbolt, why not get fancy with our top-rated smart lock? The Schlange Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt does so much more than keep your door secure—it can be locked or unlocked right from your phone, and you can grant people temporary or recurring “virtual” keys. The smart lock is easy to install, and it has Wi-Fi built into the unit, saving you from having to buy a separate hub, as well.
Get the Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt on Amazon for $226.56
14. A mid-size ladder to help with maintenance
From changing smoke detector batteries to painting your living room, there are so many household tasks that are easier with a ladder. This 6-foot option is the perfect choice for most new homeowners, as it’s sturdy and tall enough to help you reach the ceiling, but not so cumbersome that you won’t have room for it. Plus, there’s an integrated shelf to hold paint cans or tools, and the ladder can support up to 250 pounds on its lightweight aluminum frame.
Get the Werner 6-foot Aluminum Step Ladder from Home Depot for $49.97
15. A reliable grill for your patio
One of my major laments while living in apartments was that I couldn’t have a grill. There’s nothing better than grilling on a summer afternoon, so you can bet I’m going to be buying one of the best gas grills come spring.
The Weber Spirit II E-310 is a top pick for new homeowners—it’s just the right size to use on a small deck or patio, yet it still offers the convenience of three burners. Plus, it’s affordable as grills go and delivers even heat and delicious sear marks on meat and veggies.
16. A first aid kit—just to be safe
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, which is why you’ll want to invest in a comprehensive first aid kit for your home. You never know when someone is going to cut their finger or sprain an ankle, and the Swiss Safe First Aid Kit has everything you need to treat common injuries. The contents are organized into 20 easy-to-access inner compartments, and the hard case latches shut, allowing it to be tucked away in a closet until you need it.
17. An all-in-one wall painting kit
Painting your walls is an easy (and relatively cheap) way to personalize your first home—as soon as I moved into my new house, I started planning out what color I wanted each room! Assuming you plan to tackle this upgrade yourself, you’re going to need the proper supplies, and the Stanley 8-Piece Paint Kit is a good place to start. It comes with a 9-inch roller frame, two 9-inch microfiber rollers, 3-inch trim frame, 3-inch roller, 2-inch trim brush, metal tray, and plastic tray liner. All you need is some painting tape—and the paint, of course—and you’ll be off to the races.
18. Night lights to guide you to the bathroom in the dark
As you’re learning your way around your new home, there’s a good chance you’ll end up stubbing a toe as you navigate to the bathroom (or to the kitchen for a glass of water) during the night. Because of this very issue, I invested in this four-pack of plug-in night lights for the hallways in my new house, and they’re worth every penny! The LED lights can be dimmed so they’re not overly jarring on your eyes, and they automatically turn off in the morning to save energy.
19. An easy-to-install security system
If you’re moving from an apartment building into a house, it can be a little scary at first—all of a sudden, you can’t simply blame weird noises on your neighbors. You can give yourself peace of mind with the Ring Alarm, though.
This DIY security system comes with a variety of components, including a base station, keypad, contact sensors, a motion sensor, and more, and you can add on different pieces to suit your new home, including the brand’s top-rated video doorbell or an indoor security camera. Plus, Ring even offers optional 24/7 professional monitoring with $10/month, giving you emergency police, fire and medical response when your Ring Alarm is triggered.
20. Somewhere to store your yard tools
If you’re lucky enough to have a garage or shed, you can go ahead and skip this one, but for the rest of us, an outdoor storage shed is a truly helpful purchase. This vertical shed from Suncast has plenty of room to store yard tools like rakes, snow shovels, and even small lawn mowers, and you can simply slip a padlock through its handles to keep your belongings secure. It’s simple, effective, and will keep random yard items from piling up in your basement.
21. A pair of durable work gloves
One of my favorite things about owning my first home (thus far, anyway) is that I can take on any project I want and really get my hands dirty. If you’re a DIYer like me, you’ll definitely need a pair of work gloves, and the best ones we’ve tested are from Carhartt, which just happens to be one of my go-to brands for any type of work clothing. These gloves are comfortable and protective without limiting your motion too much, and their abrasion-resistant design is ideal for tasks like shoveling, working with power tools, and picking up heavy objects.
22. A mesh router for better internet coverage
If you’re moving into a bigger space, you might experience lagging Wi-Fi or even dead zones in rooms that are far away from your router. A mesh Wi-Fi system can help to ensure fast, reliable internet throughout your new home, and I particularly love the eero system, which I’ve been using for years. It comes with three beacons that you can place throughout your home, and it intelligently routes your home’s internet traffic to avoid congestion and buffering. It’s truly a must-have item if you have a big home or a large number of internet-connected devices.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.