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New to Homeownership? There's a Tool for That!


As you head toward your closing date, one of the most helpful things you can do to prepare for homeownership is to make sure you are properly equipped. With the right tools, you can literally nail this home owning thing on the first try!

Tape Measure and Level

A tape measure and level will come in handy for centering and leveling shelves, hanging pictures, and installing curtain rods. There are also apps you can download to your phone, so that these tools are virtually always with you. For example, EasyMeasure and iHandy Level are two apps that let you measure distances and pinpoint a horizontal plane using your phone’s camera.

Power Drill

A power drill makes drilling neat, precise holes in drywall, wood trim, or masonry fast and easy. Having a good selection of drill bits in various sizes and styles, including ones that let you use your drill like a powered screwdriver, is even better. Cordless models let you handle projects anywhere on your property, are easy to use in tight spots, and can make you feel invincible.


Whether manual or battery powered, your screwdriver collection should include slotted, Phillips, and square-drive heads in an assortment of blade lengths. Also, consider picking up a set of hex keys (Allen wrenches). These are especially useful if ready-to-assemble furniture is in your future.


Your choice of hammer depends on the job you're doing. While any hammer can drive a nail into an object, only a claw hammer has what you need to remove nails.

Stud Finder

These convenient, handheld devices help locate the framing studs inside your walls when you are hanging things. Simply run the stud finder across the wall surface to determine where to drive a nail or sink a screw so that it will be securely anchored in solid wood (not just drywall).


Having a variety of this tool—slip-joint, needle-nose, and locking pliers—will enable you to handle a range of jobs that require gripping small parts or securing a firm hold in tight spaces.

Utility Knife and Blades

A handheld utility knife (with a sharp, new blade) is great for trimming work materials, removing old caulk, cutting vinyl tile, and very useful on move-in day when you are breaking down your unpacked boxes.

Extension Cords and Work Lights

Keep your workspace safe and more efficient with easy-to-access electrical power and adequate lighting. A portable, hanging utility light with a built-in electrical outlet gives you both. For convenience, a heavy-duty flashlight with a beam that can be aimed directly at your work surface is hard to beat. Also, a head-strap-mounted "miner's light" will let you keep both hands on your project.

Ladder or Step Stool

It's always a good idea to avoid overreaching—and often necessary as you unpack and store items in your new home.

Seasonal Tools

When moving in during warm weather, having a garden hose and lawnmower on hand can help maintain your curb appeal. If moving in during wintry conditions, a bag of salt and a shovel are must-haves.

Duct Tape

Yes, it's true: you can fix anything with duct tape!

Having the right tool on hand will get the job done faster and make moving in that much easier, and cut down on the trips to the hardware store.

How low will your payment be?