Five Things You’ll Need When Moving from an Apartment to a House
While some Americans are downsizing their lifestyle from expensive homes to cheaper apartments, what about upsizing? As the housing market rebounds, more people are thinking about buying their first home and saving up that 20 percent down payment.
Of course, there are a number of things that you may not be aware of when moving from an apartment to a full-sized home, much of which was likely taken care of by the management at your apartment complex. Whether you are buying or renting your first full-size home, here’s exactly what you should be ready for:
The NeverEnding Story (minus Falcor, plus lots of grass)
See all that grass growing in the font yard? It needs to be cut. Every week, without fail. There’s no landlord to take care of it anymore and you may have a HOA breathing down your neck making sure your home is maintained. While you can certainly hire a gardener to take care of your lawn each week after moving in, you can also pick up some lawn care equipment and grab some outdoor time during the weekend to cut the grass, pulls the weeds and trim the shrubs.
To start, you will probably need gas powered tools such as a push mower and a weedwacker as well as a batch of hand tools that include hedge clippers, a rake, a shovel, a water hose, a sprinkler and a spreader to fertilize your lawn. For cold climates, you should also consider a snow shovel. For hot, desert climates, you may have to invest in multiple sprinklers or a sprinkler system to keep that grass green all year long.
Look for deals during April and November at Home Depot and other retailers like Lowes and Sears that also sell lawn equipment. Home Depot likes to treat April as the Black Friday of the Spring, thus you will see significant discounts on lawn care gear.
You Don’t Want to Become Bane (So Buy Some Lights)
Most apartments have built-in lights at the center of the room, typically attached to ceiling fans. That’s not always going to be the case within a home, especially older homes that were built fifteen years ago or more. Some homes may only have light fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms while ignoring the rooms that people spend the majority of their time in, like the living room, family room or bedrooms.
If you are handy and the wiring already exists, peruse through the lighting fixtures at Home Depot or Lowes to find something that works with your taste. If electrical work scares you, consider outfitting your home with floor lamps after moving in. Many homes have outlets connected to electrical switches, thus you can leave the light on all the time and simply use the switch to turn it off and on.
If you are looking for some inexpensive floor lamps, check out the collections below:
Without Fail, Things are Going to Break
It’s an inevitability of owning or renting a home. Something will happen that require more than that starter tool kit that you got in college. You know, the one in the plastic case that’s missing all the screwdrivers. And the hammer. And the tape measure. The one that’s been buried in the back of your closet for the last 4 months and only makes an appearance when you need a penny nail to hang up a picture (using your shoe as the hammer, of course).
It’s time to invest in a real tool set. There are tons of deals on full hand tool sets, but if you want to buy the tools separately after moving, here are the essentials: a toolbox, a hammer, vice grips, needle-nose plyers, screwdriver set, a metal pry bar, wire cutters, a utility knife, a hand saw, a steel chisel, a drill bit set (assuming you have a power drill), a tape measure, a torpedo level and safety glasses. That’s going to take care of the vast majority of household fixes.
You are also going to want storage and organization when it comes to your tools. Assuming your new home has a garage, invest in some cheap pegboard, metal hooks and a stud finder at a hardware store. Mount that pegboard an inch or two off the wall and you can easily hang up all of your large garden tools. Looks for deals on storage chests for your small hand tools as well.
You Will Be Invaded By an Army of Millions
You know what else that your apartment management company did on a regular basis? They sprayed for all sorts of bugs, basically whatever type of insect is predominant in your area. Now the job of protecting your family from scary bugs falls to you, both on the inside and outside of your new home.
Depending on the size of your property and the nastiness of bugs in the area, you may want to consider paying for monthly spraying around the exterior of your home. The quality of pesticide that an exterminator will use if much more deadly to bugs that the can of Raid that you purchased at Walmart. For those of you with pets, be sure to ask for the pet-friendly version. It may not be as strong, but it’s specifically formulated to be safe for your dog or cat.
On the inside of your home, consider spraying for bugs before you moving in. It’s definitely easier to get to all the nooks and crannies before the furniture is moved in. Your local hardware store will likely have the best selection and provide some helpful assistance on the best spray for your area.
Fear Not! That’s Just the Music of Burning Toast
While many homes will come with smoke detectors, it’s going to be up to you to purchase carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be on all floors of your home and near the sleeping areas. You should be testing the alarms monthly, replacing the batteries annually and removing dust from the grilles of the detectors every few months.
Regarding fire extinguishers, you need one in the kitchen and one for each floor. You also need to check them annually to make sure they are charged. If you have a second or third story on your home, consider purchasing a roll-up ladder to escape the home if needed. Don’t overload your electrical outlets (particularly in older homes) as it could cause a fire. You should also keep rechargeable flashlights near beds in case of a fire.
When it comes to home security, make sure you have a deadbolt on all doors that go outside. Install motion-sensing lights in the backyard and along the sides of the home. Insert a metal bar or wooden dowel to lock access to a sliding glass door. Prune all bushes that hide windows (and would hide a burglar) as well as tree limbs leading to windows.
Of course, if you really want to get high-tech with security, you should invest in home monitoring solutions. There are plenty of cheap solutions that will use motion sensors to monitor the interior and exterior of your home as well as record video of any intruders.