Moving into a new house unprepared will only exacerbate the already stressful and sometimes frustrating process of buying a house.
Have you ever bought a house? It’s not an easy task, is it? Whether it’s your starter home or you’re a veteran of the whole mortgage thing, you’re aware that shopping for a home can be stressful and very, very costly. How do we know? We recently bought our first home, and even though began planning nearly a year ahead of time, had sizable savings, and worked with a friendly realtor and loan officer, the process was less than enjoyable at times.
Little did we know that it was once we had the keys to our home that the process of becoming homeowners truly began, as we had to make several important decisions that weren’t only scary but also costly. As a result, we came up with this list of the top 10 items that made the biggest impact during the first leg of our home-buying journey.
From wi-fi cameras to energy-efficient light bulbs, there were big and small things that we needed to make our house our own. But more importantly, they were things that we needed to budget for and research to make sure we made the best purchase possible.
Of course, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all list, as you might have a different type of home (yard versus no yard), different brand preferences, and a larger or smaller budget. Ultimately, this is nothing but a guide that you can then tweak to make your own!
After doing plenty of research, we came to the conclusion that if Honda lawnmowers featured the same quality as their cars, then they were an excellent purchase. After all, our seven-year-old Civic is in excellent shape with minimal maintenance. Our choice was the HRR216VLA, as it features an electric start (no more pulling on a string), it’s self-propelled, and it’s pretty darn quiet. Starts at $579; powerequipment.honda.com
Whether you own pricey jewelry, keep large amounts of cash at home, or want to keep firearms out of the reach of children or unwanted guests, this concealed mirror by the guys at Tactical Walls is one of the coolest items we purchased for our home. It allows us to keep certain items out of sight while in plain sight. Beware that cutting a hole in your drywall is necessary. $499; tacticalwalls.com
Motion-Sensing Solar-Powered Outdoor Lights
We needed a simple solution that helped us enjoy our large backyard at night, especially as we walked around to water the lawn, etc. We found these simple motion-sensing solar-powered lights on Amazon and we never looked back. We started with four lights to make sure they worked as promised, and soon we ended up buying a dozen and placing them all over the place. Six months later they still work great. $15; amazon.com
We are constantly on the road for work or pleasure, so being able to keep an eye on this is super important to us. After doing a ton of research we went with the Nest indoor and outdoor cameras, as they offered the most features in an easy-to-use package. We have a total of four them and paid about $150 for a year’s worth of cloud storage space. Start at $199; nest.com
Bikes are kind of a pain in the butt to store due to their awkward shape (mainly handlebars) and relatively large size. If you store them on the ground they take a lot of space and if you hang them up they’re not easily accessible by the kids. Our solution? The YardStash. We discovered these while at an Airbnb stay in Kentucky and were pretty impressed. Now our bikes are protected from the elements, not taking valuable space in our shed, and are always ready to be used. $130; yardstash.com
Bissell CrossWave Floor and Carpet Cleaner with Wet-Dry Vacuum
Get your hard floors cleaner than you could have ever imagined! The Bissell CrossWave is a revolutionary, all-in-one, multi-surface cleaning system that vacuums and washes floors at the same time. With a dual-action brush roll rotating at 3,500 RPM and an innovative multi-surface cleaning solution, the CrossWave cleans better than a sponge mop and bucket, in less time. Plus, with the touch of a button, you can seamlessly switch from cleaning hard floors to vacuuming and washing your area rugs. All with one machine. $249 Amazon.com
Homeowner’s DIY Tool Kit
This 65-piece homeowner’s set includes all the tools needed to complete basic DIY projects around the home. The tools are packaged in a blow molded case for easy tool storage and portability. All Stanley ratchets, sockets and wrenches are manufactured globally to Stanley specifications, meeting and often exceeding ANSI specification. Stanley drive tools are forged from high-quality steel to maximize project performance. The Stanley ratchet handles are ergonomically designed and have a thumb-operated reverse-switch mechanism. In addition, the Stanley sockets feature the Max-Drive design, providing improved torque and reduced fastener wear. $42.99 Amazon.com
3-Step Aluminum Step Stool Ladder
The Gorilla Ladders 3-Step Aluminum Ladder with utility tray is incredibly lightweight, weighing less than 8 lbs., yet durable with a 225 lb. weight capacity. The updated design allows the ladder to be easily transported, set up and stored. The huge top platform step offers a stable and secure standing area while the self-locking safety latch is easy to use and provides locked-in protection. The built-in utility tray is perfect for tools, paint and hardware and comes in handy when cleaning, changing light bulbs and painting trim, hanging pictures or completing any other household project. $44.99 Amazon.com
With Schlage Touch, no key means there’s nothing to lose, nothing to fiddle with, and-for intruders-nothing to pick. All in a slim profile that’s every bit as sleek as it is strong. When you take out the key, it’s amazing what all you can add. This is great for kids who need to let themselves in after getting off the bus. We have one on both the front and back door. $105 Amazon.com
Dual USB Wall Outlet Receptacle
The USB power outlet is equipped with SMART IntelliChip Technology, which reads the charging need of connected devices and automatically optimizes charging efficiency up to 2.4A per port. Charge two mobile devices simultaneously without sacrificing speed nor space without overcharging or overheating concerns! Install in your kitchen island, countertop, bedroom night stands, living room, or even patio wall! This wall outlet with USB replaces any standard wall outlet using the same wiring so you can charge your smartphones, iPads, tablets faster and smarter! $19.29 Amazon.com