For new homeowners, the shift away from having a landlord or maintenance professional handle every little problem that goes wrong in an apartment or rented home can be a bit shocking. Rather than making a phone call and having someone magically appear to fix a leaky toilet, malfunctioning furnace, or patch holes in drywall, the new homeowner must learn to be self-sufficient or, alternatively, pay the price to have a professional come in to correct small issues.
For the enterprising sort, or for those who simply do not wish to absorb the costs of paying someone to fix small issues―which is always a shock after living in a maintenance-free rental environment―learning some basics and acquiring the requisite tools to perform the most common household tasks is a good first step. Without further ado, here is a quick list that can be very helpful in overcoming what new homeowners are likely to face.
The Real Basics
Most major home improvement stores and hardware stores will carry tool sets that include the most commonly-used tools, which can then be supplemented with a few extras. These are the things that most people will have acquired along the way prior to owning a home, though for those who are not very handy, perhaps becoming a homeowner will represent the first foray into 'do it yourself' repair. A good set of basic hand tools should include the following:
- Claw Hammer
- Tape Measure
- Submarine Level
- Screwdrivers―Multiple Sizes (Regular and Phillips)
- Adjustable Wrench
- Pliers (Regular and Needle Nose)
- Channel Locks
- Hex Wrenches
- Extension Cord
The very first tool to purchase beyond the basics noted above should be a cordless drill. And if you'll be spending a lot of money on any given tool, this is the one to spend it on. Cordless drills have come a long way since their inception, and 18-Volt models should be good for most homeowners. There are options with more and less battery power, but any less is generally less effective for actually drilling (the drill can also be used as a powerful driver) and any more is generally unnecessary at the homeowner level.
Buying an extra battery is also a good move, and if the drill, battery and charger are properly cared for, they will last a long time. Be sure to pick up a set of bits and drivers as well, in multiple sizes. In the future, for those who wish to get into more and more improvement projects, there are a variety of attachments and bits that can be used for a wide variety of applications.
For the most part, the average homeowner will never need power tools, beyond the cordless drill. However, for the more adventurous, power tools can take projects to the next level. The most basic power tools to consider, and that have the widest array of applications, are the circular saw, the reciprocating saw, the miter saw (for cutting moldings) and the table saw. For some, adding in an electric drill will also be a good idea, but an 18-Volt cordless drill, noted above, will be sufficient for most projects.
Lawn and Garden Equipment
Which tools to purchase for lawn maintenance and gardening is largely a product of the homeowner's environment. Those dwelling in the city may need nothing more than a garden hose to spray down their concrete backyard. For those in the suburbs or rural areas, however, the needs expand greatly. Obviously, a push mower will work for small yards, while a riding mower will be warranted for yards approaching an acre or more.
For those with larger yards, a large-deck (48 inches or more) mower with a small or zero-turn radius might be a good idea. Beyond that, here is a selection of garden tools that should be purchased for the homeowner with a medium- to large-sized yard to maintain.
- Garden Rake
- Leaf Rake
- Hedge Trimmers
- String Trimmer or 'Weed-eater'
- Post-hole Digger
These tools and appliances should suffice for most home improvement or repair projects. If you need anything more than this, then it might be more advisable to call in for professional help.