First-Time Homeowners Reveal The Most Important Things They Didn't Even Know They Needed
First-Time Homeowners Reveal The Most Important Things They Didn't Even Know They Needed
The first time we strike out on our own, we're 100% guaranteed to be shocked by all the little things we need but didn't ever think to buy. We're looking at you, garbage cans! That shock is only multiplied when we purchase our own home. Congrats! Everything is now completely your problem. Hope you remembered to get everything you needed! Pro Tip: You didn't. Brace yourself. Because we love you, we're going to share the answers one Reddit user (who is a total unnamed hero for any first time home buyers) got when they asked:
The Unsung Hero Of Home Repairs
An item I never see listed but I use a lot. A big container of zip ties.
Honestly about 10 thousand dollars
Because that first few months is going to be very expensive as there isn't "one" thing you need but about 200
If you lived in an apartment you might not have things like ladders, lawn mowers and such
A voltage pen! Old houses can have weird wiring and sometimes you just want to know if that old plug in works. Save yourself the zap. These things are cheap and handy.
Yes, we did have a home inspection! But once the papers are signed and the warranty expires, you are on your own. And Murphy's Law dictates that is the exact time for stuff to get weird.
Projectile Puke Cleaner
You have 8 grand worth of carpet? Buy the $300 carpet cleaner so you dont live on a dirty rag
Everyone really needs a shop vac at some point and will be happy you own when you need it. Shop vacs should come with every baby
First time your baby projectile pukes across the whole house you will understand.
Please Have A Plunger.
A toilet plunger. Until you know your new homes plumbing... look out.
You Don't Think About It Until You Need It
A fire extinguisher.
I was hanging something at my boyfriend's place and asked if he had a stud finder. "Well, of course, but I don't see how my mirror is gonna help right now."
But Do We Need A Tarp?
Got a big pile of leaves in the front that you wanna move to the back? Slide it around on a tarp.
Did your grill cover blow away in the storm last night? Cover it with a tarp.
Have a broken screen panel on your screened in porch from the same storm? Hang that tarp.
Need a drop cloth while you paint your kitchen? You get yourself a tarp.
Need to catch branches on the ground while your prune your trees? Get a bucket.
JUST KIDDING GET A TARP.
One Key To Rule Them All
One key. Have all your door locks set to the same key.
When my wife and I first bought our house, I told her the same thing. The first couple of days after we closed, we planned to paint and replace all the door knobs and deadbolts. The house had 3 different keys: one for the knobs, one for the deadbolts, and one for the detached garage. On the day of closing, I changed them all with matching knobs and deadbolts so they all used one key.
Come a few days after closing and we get a knock on the door. It's the previous homeowner with a box full of a few things that they didn't realize they had packed: the owner's manuals for all the appliances, a little hook tool to open and close the flue, and about a half dozen keys to the doors. As soon as they left, I turned to my wife and said "and this is why we changed the locks."
An Air What?
This took me 7 years to discover: An Air Comb
This thing is simply a stick with some holes drilled in it, and you attach it to an air compressor.
What would you need this for? Well, my old house was built in 1969. It had a 17 year old HVAC system, which did not perform very well. I hired 5-6 different HVAC contractors to come out and diagnose the issues, and each one told me something different. The problem was that the system could not keep up with the weather - hot days were hot inside, cold days were cold inside. We bought a window AC to help in summer, and oil filled electric radiators to help in winter.
The system ran 24x7 most days, and during the summer we were lucky to see temps in the high 70's indoors, it was more like 84 - 88 degrees. In the winter, well, we were freezing. It was like it wasn't even on.
And of course, my electric bills were expensive - $300 to $700 a month. It was killing me. None of my neighbors had bills as high as we did. All their homes were comfy, too.
Finally, by accident, I discovered the issue when I was changing my HVAC filter. There was a big piece of ... crap on the filter. It was black and made of dust and dirt. I stuck my camera into my air handler and took a picture of the A-coil (evaporator coils) and discovered they were coated almost completely with dust.
I bought the air comb, used my compressor and blew the coils clean, and suddenly it was like I had a brand new HVAC system. The house would cool down in an hour. We could set it to any temp we wanted and be comfy. Our usage dropped by well over 60%, and my electric bills dropped well over 50%.
All because of a $20 tool.
Good Guy Seller
When I sold my house I gave the buyer measurements of all the windows and all warranty paperwork (roof, furnace, windows etc). I also provided a list of all house quirks.
Example: our garage opener sensor was askew ever so slightly so when you pulled in on the right side spot you had to aim the opener to the left - this may sound stupid but it will save them a sh*t ton of aggravation.
Another example: we had lovebirds nest in our front hedges - they would come every year and lay eggs. When that happens they get VERY defensive of their space which made our front door pretty much unusable. We didn't mind, but they might, so we left information on who to call to relocate them (a local nature center will come and do it for free!)
We also provided our garden and plant information - we had a pretty decent garden and nice little flower arrangements. We also provided the name of our landscaper, handyman, roofer, the kid's number to call to shovel snow in the winter, plumber, furnace people, oil company we used and other oil companies in the area for bids.
i tried to provide everything I was not provided when we bought the house.
A notebook for house repairs and reno'ing. As the years go by, it can be really hard to track all the things you do, and when you did them. Was there a one year warranty on that window replacement, or two year? When did the furnace get serviced last? We're currently dealing with a huge tunneling under our yard with the City due to drain issues, and also had work done 7 years ago. Trying to remember what and where the City and plumber dug/did back then, is causing some issues now. Take notes new home owners of Reddit, lots of notes!
This Answer Became A Painting Tutorial
Get a decent brush, like a Corona Excalibur and learn how to cut in really well. Learning how to cut in will save your HOURS trying to tape everything perfectly. If you spill paint let it dry a couple hours before cleaning it, especially on carpets. One little dot of paint on a carpet is easy to cut off with a razor blade, a big smear of paint in the carpet is impossible to get out.
Take the time to prep the walls, skim coating with joint compound if necessary, you will see every imperfection through the paint, don't think it will cover it up. Fill holes, and prime water stains.
Paint ceilings first, then trim, then walls.
Edit: if you do decide tape is the way for you, get the green tape, not the blue tape. Paint and peel the tape right away, don't load up a lot of paint in the corner or it will drip once you peel the tape up. The green tape (Frog Tape) has a chemical reaction when paint hits the edge of it and foams up to keep paint from wicking underneath. Also, buy new tape every time you paint, don't use that roll you've had sitting around for a year..
Also, if you have wallpaper on the walls that's bubbling, do not paint over it. You need to remove it or your walls will continue to look like shit. WP Chomp is magic for that. Once the paper is off you need to clean the crap out of the walls to remove any residual glue. Then you will want to skim coat to even the walls out, then prime, then paint. This will take you a few days if not a couple weeks, do not expect to paint in an afternoon. Prep is at least 75% of the job, the painting part is the easy past...
Water-key. It's the little key you use to open the tiny manhole cover that connects your house's water to the city line. When you get that open, you can disconnect your house from water pressure. I've been able to fix a lot of things with that off.
"I Haven't Felt This Good About My Butthole..."
A bidet, I now think using paper is unhygienic and kinda gross. I haven't felt this good about my butthole ever. A bidet is just so fucking good.
Stagehands Will Already Have One... Or Ten.
I bought a leatherman first week after buying my house. It lived at my hip and saved me many dozen trips to the toolbox for a quick adjustment or tightening of bolts or screws or cutting something. I used to think swiss army knives were the shit, but then I realized you could have one with a set of pliers built in.
We Love Lamp
A headlamp. Invaluable for hands free spot lighting during repairs, painting, etc. Couldn't believe how much we used it or how glad we would be to have it
Insulate Like You Mean It
Extra insulation. When we had our home inspected the inspector told us that the insulation we had was adequate, but in a few years new regulation would require more if we wanted to sell the house. I contacted a company that would blow in insulation on top of what we already had. When he asked how much I wanted to put, I said put as much as will fit.
It ended up costing us more than $800 but since we live in the deep south, I thought this was a good investment.
Years later we had to replace our air conditioner. When the employee asked how much we pay for electricity for the hottest part of the year, I said conservatively about $100 a month. He looked at me in shock and said a house this size should run $200 to $300 during those months. He didn't really believe me until he went into the attic. He said he has never seen so much insulation in a house before.
That investment paid for itself in the first couple of years.
"... And Both Of My Stupid F*cking Cats."
Sticky traps for insects. When I first moved in I found an old sticky trap behind the washer. It was a bit dusty so I threw it out. A month or so later I started seeing spiders everywhere in the house. It was so bad that I would update my weekly spider count on a dry erase board. Finally I bought a shit ton of sticky traps and out them all over the floor in the laundry room. To date I've caught numerous spiders, a couple flies, and both of my stupid f*cking cats.
Think Of The Beers!
Best thing I've had while being a homeowner is an extra fridge in the garage. Expanded cold storage is extremely useful. Beer, bottled water, frozen meat, extra ice, etc.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.