A new house brings so much possibility — and so much responsibility.
There’s no landlord complaining about picture-hanging holes in the wall. But there’s also no super to call when the toilet breaks. That’s all on you now.
You likely got by in a rental just fine with a hammer and a screwdriver. Maybe you added a level or stashed away some pliers.
But if you’re buying a house, you’re going to face eventual repairs. Be ready for them by beefing up your old toolbox.
Here are a few items to consider adding:
Good drill — It doesn’t need to be expensive. Contractors swear by a $100 drill, but they’re using it every day. A $40 model that you plug in to a wall (so you don’t go through batteries) is sufficient.
Selection of tape — Duct tape, electrical tape, packing tape — you never know when you might need to fix a wire you accidentally vacuumed over or rig a broken window until it can be replaced.
Picture hangers — Get ones that are appropriate for your walls. Your needs will likely change from what worked in your rental, depending on whether you have drywall or plaster, use historic picture rails or want to decorate a brick accent wall.
Variety of hardware — Nuts, bolts and nails in a range of sizes will always come in handy.
Screwdriver with interchangeable heads — Or better yet, a power screwdriver. It’s not fancy, but it makes everything from assembling furniture to tightening door hinges so much easier.
Pliers — A basic set can run about $20. You’ll find them handy for everything from pulling out old nails to installing a light fixture.
Utility knife — Save your kitchen knives (and your fingers) from potential damage.
Voltage tester — This handy gizmo will tell you whether a wire is live. Save yourself from a burn (or worse) for less than $20, especially if you want to do things like install dimmer switches or change out light fixtures or a doorbell.
Depending on the home, its age and how much work you plan to do, you might want to add a caulking gun, a pry bar and a putty knife to your list.
Collectively, these items might set you back $100 to $200. That’s far cheaper than constantly calling a handyman, and a lot easier than realizing you’ve got nothing around the house to deal with a middle-of-the-night emergency.