Essential Tools for the Homeowner

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Real Estate

Essential Tools for the Homeowner

You are probably like me and enjoy the Home and Garden channels, especially the shows which showcase renovation projects. These shows make the process of buying and renovating look easy as the home is magically transformed from just ordinary to extraordinary.  Buying a house is a bigger investment than most people realize, and not because of hidden costs or fees. It’s because of all the things you need to buy that you never realized you needed until you bought a house. This includes simple things, like garbage cans. Step ladders. Brooms. A tool kit.  Especially a tool kit. 

You absolutely need tools if you’re going to live in a house. You may not ever embark on a do-it-yourself project, but when you live in a house, there is always something to do, like tighten doorknobs or cabinet hinges, hang pictures on the wall, plant in the garden and more.  If you’ve never purchased tools before, how do you know what to buy? What follows is a list of tools you probably should have in your tool kit for all the things that come up that you never knew you needed tools for.

A word to the wise: avoid cheap tools. Spend the extra money for well-made tools and they will probably last as long or longer than you own your home. Also stay away from the infomercial 150-in-one multi-purpose tools. If one component gets damaged, the entire unit is useless.

l Allen wrench – used to turn screws with hexagonal sockets

l Ball-end Allen wrenches – particularly useful because the wrench doesn’t have to be perfectly

perpendicular to the screw so can be used in tight and odd spaces

l Box wrench – surrounds the nut or bolt for better leverage, used for plumbing and car repairs

l Brads, nails, bolts, screws and spikes, various sizes

l Channel-lock pliers (water pump pliers) – plumbing, appliance repair

l Cordless drill/screwdriver – good for hanging shelves, furniture kit assembly, driving

screws, sheetrock

l Curved claw hammer – driving and removing nails, picture hanging, building projects

l Digging spade – gardening

l Duct tape – temporary repairs

l Extendable-handle rake – leaf raking and gardening

l Glue gun – small fabric tear repair, furniture repair, picture matting, hobby projects

l Lag screws – for mounting large pictures or other large objects like wall vanities

or heavy shelves

l Level (2-inch with aluminum housing) – mounting shelves and pictures

l Locking long-nose pliers – vise-grips for gripping screws with head broken off

l Lopper – trimming tree branches and bushes

l Magnetic tack hammer – laying carpet or furniture upholstery work

l Needle-nose pliers – for small-object gripping

l Open-end wrench – appliance repair, plumbing, general nut and bolt turning

l Pipe wrenches – plumbing

l Portable tool box – emphasis on the word “portable”

l Pruning shears – gardening

l Pry bar – opening crates, disassembling walls for remodeling projects

l Pump water vacuum (wet/dry vac) – floods or spills

l Saw – for cutting wood, a 16"-24" utility hand saw is all you need

l Screwdrivers, Phillips and flathead – available in sets of four or six different

drive configurations

l Socket wrench with a ratchet handle – plumbing and car repairs

l Torx screwdrivers – in the shape of a star and fit into specialized screw holes

l Sheet metal screws – small furniture repairs, shelving

l Sledge hammer – breaking rock for landscaping

l Spray lubricant – freeing up nuts and bolts, lubricating door hinges and metal window slides

l Staple gun – upholstery, putting up insulation, hobby projects

l Strap wrench – turning round, smooth objects with no leverage points

l Tape measure – purchase a 25'x1" in a durable case

l Trowel – concrete work, forming edges and smoothing

l Utility knife with a retractable blade – general cutting

l Wire cutters – electrical work, trimming utility wire

l Work flashlight