Buying your first home is exciting, but no matter how much you love the place, the thrill eventually fades. This usually happens when things start to break -- your water heater stops working, the kitchen sink keeps clogging up or the windows need to be replaced. Most homeowners will tell you it's likely to happen all at once.
Because it's inevitable something in your house will break, it's important to have some basic tools on hand. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or you've just put off buying a tool box, now is the time to purchase some key items that will help you do easy repairs yourself.
What: Six-foot aluminum ladder
Why: Out of all the tools on this list, a ladder may be the one you use most. From hanging pictures to cleaning light fixtures and painting your ceiling, you'll find you need a ladder for many tasks around your house. Before you tackle anything aesthetic, put your ladder to good use by checking that your smoke alarms are working and replacing batteries or alarms when necessary.
What: Non-contact voltage tester
Why: Even if you're not planning on doing any electrical work -- which you shouldn't, unless you have training -- a voltage tester comes in mighty handy. At some point, you'll need to cut power from the circuit breaker to a power source for one reason or another. Before you use it, hold it up to a live outlet to be sure it's working. Do this every time you use it. To prevent injury, especially to young children, head to the basement with your voltage tester and check for loose wires. Don't just assume the wires are dead because they're hanging in the open; it's better to be safe than sorry.
What: Utility knife
Why: A utility knife is a must-have for every homeowner. Have a cardboard box you can't open? This will do the trick. Need to mark some wood before you cut it? This tool is the ticket. You can find a use for a utility knife in almost every DIY project you can think of. This knife makes cutting drywall a breeze, too -- just score it along the back and snap. Instead of calling in a pro to do your next small drywall job, just gather your utility knife, some plaster and some tape and get to work patching that little hole.
What: Power drill and bits
Why: A power drill will make your life a lot easier, especially when you're hanging curtains or replacing nearly anything in your home that screws in place. A cordless, battery-powered drill is the most convenient, just make sure you have an extra battery on hand. Once it's all charged up, get to work securing to the wall any big, tall pieces of furniture you have in your home. You can purchase brackets at any home improvement store; simply attach them to the piece of furniture and screw into a stud in the wall for support. This will prevent the furniture from tipping over, and is essential if you have young children who love to climb on everything.
Other essential tools include a hammer and nails, a four-in-one screwdriver or screwdriver set, tape measure, paint brushes (for quick touch-ups), pliers and a level. Throw in some putty knives and you'll be able to handle many projects around the house by yourself.