7 Things at Home Depot Every New Homeowner Needs

published Jul 2, 2021
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Credit: Cathy Pyle

It can be a bit of a shock to go from calling your landlord to fix something to realizing you’re responsible for doing it yourself. Luckily, a lot of the supplies any new homeowner needs for home maintenance are readily available at stores like Home Depot.

I asked Meredith Kiep, a senior sales associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Warren Residential, and Kate Ziegler, a Realtor with Arborview Realty in Boston and with Coldwell Banker Lifestyles in New London, New Hampshire, to tell me the items they advise new homeowners to buy as they move into their new digs. Here are their suggestions.

A Fire Extinguisher

“You should have one! As part of the sale, sellers will have ensured smoke and carbon monoxide detectors meet current code in your municipality, but those are not the only safety measures you should have in place to protect your new investment and yourself,” Ziegler says. “Select something that is rated both for grease and electrical fire applications. Usually you can find one that fits under the kitchen sink.”

A Ladder

“I highly recommend purchasing a lightweight ladder or stepping stool,” Kiep says. “Having a ladder makes simple things like changing out lightbulbs, paint touch ups, etc, so much easier and safer. It tends to be an item you’re going to need at some point, so it’s a good idea to buy one right away to have on hand for when you do need it.”

Locking Pliers

“I grew up working alongside my dad, a carpenter, and the tool I’ve had in my belt from day one is a ‘vise grip’ or ‘locking’ pliers,” Ziegler says. “They’re size adjustable and useful in a wide variety of ways, especially as an early tool if you’re just starting to build your home maintenance arsenal.”

New Locks and Keys

“I highly recommend that new homeowners change out all of the home’s locks once moved in. Over time, keys are copied and not all the copies will be passed along to the new owner. If a homeowner is having some work done at the home prior to moving in, I recommend having the work completed and then having the locks changed,” Kiep says. “Homeowners should check the current locks in place, but I recommend the locks here, as they are easy to install and you can re-key the lock yourself.”

A Brush Comb

“Your landlord isn’t repainting for you any longer, and the task will be easier (and have better results) if you buy high-quality brushes and take care of them. A brush comb helps make cleaning paint brushes less of a chore, so you won’t be as tempted to buy the cheap ones and treat them as single use; they realign bristles and prevent paint buildup at the core, and it’s small money to help your tools last,” Ziegler says. “As a bonus, store brushes in the cardboard packaging they were sold in to help them keep their shape as they dry. There’s a reason those packages have velcro, not tape.”

A Hair Puller

“You don’t need to fully snake a drain for a minor clog,” Ziegler says. “Pour a pot of boiling water down a slow tub drain first to loosen soap scum, and then use this (incredibly inexpensive) hair pulling tool to snag stray hair that has likely built up. This thing seems like it would be useless, but it works, and it will save you slow drains and plumber calls in the long run.”

An Assortment of Hanging Hardware

“I like a kit with a variety of hooks and hanging implements, not just nails and drywall anchors,” Ziegler says. “Hook hanging wires are perfect for hanging art on old plaster walls with minimal damage, but any purpose-made hanging hardware will help you choose the right hook for the wall type and will minimize damage and dropped mirrors in the long run.”