At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.
Now, you’re going to need some stuff to put in it. (In addition to love, of course.) More than just a simple checklist of items (although it’s that, too), you’re going to want to go through the mental exercise of preparing yourself for the various aspects of homeownership — especially if your home purchase marks an upsizing from life in an apartment, or a responsibility shift from life as a renter. It’s a great time to take stock of what you already have, then assess what you will need in this exciting new role.
So what do you actually need to buy for your new house? Our expert guide will help get you set up with the essentials you’ll need immediately and down the road, so you can be a fully prepared and happy homeowner.
Before you close
Before you close on your new home, you’ll need to purchase insurance on it. You might also need flood insurance; if your home is in a high-risk zone for flooding, your mortgage might require you to purchase it.
Before you close is also a good time to be thinking about what you truly want to bring over from your current living situation into your new home; it’s a perfect occasion for a fresh start.
“Clothes that have not been worn in a year or less should go to charity. Be honest with yourself,” notes Laura McKenna, a top-selling agent in Massachusetts.
“If you reduce your clothing by 50%, then you have half of the work to perform at your next home. Be decisive and firm with yourself, and ask a friend to help you if you are struggling. Your mantra is, ‘If I haven’t worn this item in 12 months, I most likely don’t need it.’”
So to recap, before you close:
- Get insurance.
- Sort and purge items you no longer need.
- Arrange charity pickup for donations.
When you move in
Before you move in, make sure to buy new locks for the doors: You don’t know who has the keys to the old ones!
You’ll also need to get yourself set up with utilities: water, gas, electric, cable, and internet.
If window treatments weren’t included with your purchase, you’re going to want to prioritize getting those: You might not realize how important they are unless you find yourself without them on that first night — with zero privacy, and the sun blasting out your otherwise peaceful slumber.
And you’ll need a selection of cleaning supplies: Make sure you have essentials like a mop and a full-sized vacuum cleaner ($149) that can go the distance (items you might not have already if you’re upsizing from apartment life, for instance).
You probably have garbage bins provided by the city for curbside removal — but what about trash cans and bags for the various rooms inside your home? Get yourself as many as you need.
And you’ll want some hangers ($25 for 50) — even if you already have some. In fact, now would be a great time to ditch your mismatched old ones and do a little upgrade. “Do not move with your wire and dingy plastic hangers,” McKenna advises. “At your new destination, go to a big box store and purchase clean, new hangers. You’ll love the clean, new look!”
Not everyone irons these days, but if you’re planning on doing that in your new home, of course you’ll need an iron and an ironing board.
Take stock of your new environment and also purchase some odds and ends to have on hand — such as light bulbs and batteries — since you will invariably need them.
After you’re settled in, “Contact the local real estate office once you’ve unpacked to pick up your cardboard moving boxes for a client who may need them,” McKenna suggests. That way, you won’t be stuck with the task of disposing of them on your own, and “the next mover will be pleased to save money on boxes, and everyone is saving Planet Earth!”
So to recap, here’s what to buy when you move in:
- Door locks
- Window treatments
- Shower curtain with liner and hooks
- Cleaning supplies, including a mop and vacuum
- Trash cans
- New hangers (if you choose)
- Iron and ironing board (if you choose)
- Fire extinguisher
- Carbon monoxide detector
- First-aid supplies
- Basic tool set, including screwdrivers and hammer
- Odds and ends, like light bulbs and batteries
And here’s your move-in to-do list:
- Set up your utilities, including water, gas, cable, and internet
As you get settled
You won’t necessarily need these items immediately — in the way you’re going to want new locks and window coverings — but in the early days and weeks in your new home, you’ll want to accrue some additional items that will help support you on your path to successful homeownership and maintenance.
These might include a ladder, a lockbox or safe, and a basic set of paintbrushes. For home security and also convenience, you might consider getting security cameras as well as a smart doorbell ($230). And don’t forget a welcome mat (you can order a custom mat on Etsy for between $25 and $60)!
For your outdoor living space, you’ll probably need a garden hose or two ($17 and up) — and depending on where you live and your outdoor environment, perhaps you’ll need a lawnmower ($169 and up), gardening or weeding tools ($25), and a snow shovel ($10 and up).
You might also want a grill ($479) if you’re into outdoor cooking and entertaining.
And of course, you’ll want furniture! But furnishing an entire home is expensive and can take time — allow yourself time to eat takeout from a card table for a while if you need to. (There can be a lot of romance and joy to that in-between phase.)
So to recap, take your time to buy:
- A ladder
- A lockbox or safe
- Security cameras
- A smart doorbell
- A welcome mat
- A garden house
- Lawn mower
- Gardening tools
- A snow shovel if you need one
And as you’re doing all the work of settling in, “Don’t forget to take yourself out to dinner, a game of golf, or for a mani-pedi after you’ve completed an important task,” McKenna suggests.
Sure, the new home and the pride of homeownership is its own reward — but a little extra something special can help reduce stress and work out any physical kinks involved with the milestone.
Header Image Source: (Luiz Felipe Silva Carmo / Unsplash)