Must-Haves First-Time Homeowners Should Buy Before Move-in Day

For first-time homeowners, figuring out exactly how to “home own” can feel like a steep learning curve—especially when it comes to all the random, but necessary, items you’ll need along the way. So, to help newbies out, we polled nine real-life homeowners on the must-have products they wish they’d invested in sooner.

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1. A GENERATOR: JACKERY PORTABLE POWER STATION 240WH BACKUP LITHIUM BATTERY

Power outages might not be top of mind when you’re moving into your first home, but they should be. Mary D. says she finally got a generator after her power was out for days during a particularly nasty storm, but if she could do things over, she’d make sure she had one from the start. This particular model has a plug as well as two USB ports so that it can charge multiple devices and power up a small appliance or lamp all at the same time. According to the brand, it holds enough power to charge a laptop 3.5 times, run a fan for 15 hours straight or keep a light on for 40 hours.

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2. A GOOD DRILL AND AN IMPACT DRIVER: MAKITA CT232 LITHIUM-ION CORDLESS COMBO KIT

According to Kent L., having a good drill and an impact driver is crucial because you’ll likely need to mount stuff on the walls. They’ll also come in handy for repairs. He recommends this Makita set because the tools are well-made and can last you a while.

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3. A STUD FINDER: SHIBEIER STUD FINDER WALL SCANNER

“A stud finder is essential for hanging things up without cursing your way through a gallery wall,” says PureWow’s executive editor Candace Davison. The sensor helps you detect both wood and metal studs inside the wall so that you can secure heavy items (like your new TV) to the center of the stud to ensure it doesn’t fall.

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4. A LIGHT BULB CHANGER: STAUBER BULB CHANGER

If you’re moving into a home with high ceilings, a light bulb changer is an absolute must. PureWow’s senior editor of branded content Cristina Gutierrez says her recessed lights are a bit too high to reach even on a ladder, so this tool is the only way she’s able to change out their bulbs. It suctions to the bulb so that you’re able to twist it off and put a new one in without balancing on a chair or at the top of a ladder. The pole to attach it to is sold separately, just FYI.

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5. A STURDY STEP STOOL: CRAMER KIK ROLLING STEP STOOL

PureWow’s executive editor Dara Katz loves this convenient step stool so much, she wrote an entire review on it. What makes it so great? First of all, the sturdy design is built to last—which explains why it’s been popular for over 50 years. “This thing will not buckle beneath you. Its solid steel construction can support up to 350 pounds,” she explains. It also rolls, making it easy to move from room to room. That said, it’ll never roll out from under you; it’s designed to lock in place when you step on it. No wonder she calls this her go-to housewarming gift.

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6. A VIDEO DOORBELL: RING VIDEO DOORBELL

According to Davison, upgrading to a Ring video doorbell is one of the first things you should do after moving in. “It provides added security, plus you get that endorphin rush seeing a package arrive,” she explains. The device connects to an app on your phone, allowing you to see what’s happening at your front door in real time. You’ll automatically get a notification every time it detects movement, giving you peace of mind even when you’re not home.

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7. STORAGE BINS: THE CONTAINER STORE LARGE HERRINGBONE BOX WITH WOODEN HANDLES

PureWow’s senior editor Alexia Dellner recommends getting some storage bins to keep things (somewhat) organized while you’re getting settled. “It’s useful to have a dumping ground for all the random bits and bobs you collect as you move in. Pro tip: Use one storage box for just manuals and warranties for your new appliances,” she explains. We like these particular ones from the Container Store since they come with lids to conceal what’s inside.

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8. PAINTING SUPPLIES: WADASON HOME PAINTING SUPPLIES

Plan on making some changes to the all-white walls the previous owners left behind? Then you’ll want to have painting supplies handy. PureWow’s managing editor of branded content Rachel Gulmi says it’s really come in handy while redecorating her apartment. “As long as you properly care for your brushes, they’ll last a long time,” she adds. This set includes a paint roller kit, two heavy-duty paint brushes, a taping knife, masking tape, gloves and a drop cloth, aka everything you could possibly need for your painting project.