20 Things You’ll Need for Your First Home

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Congratulations on buying your first home! I'm right there with you—I made the leap into homeownership at the tail end of 2020.   

You probably accumulated plenty of "stuff" before buying your very first home, so I'm not going to tell you to buy plates and a frying pan. Instead, I’ve listed things you need for protecting your first home, plus some practical items you'll need sooner than later. 

Don't forget to check out our Housewarming Gift Guide too.

1. Home security system

Your home should always feel like a safe haven, and a home security system helps keep it that way. Think beyond burglaries: the best home security systems can also protect your home from fire and water damage. Some also offer up a ton of convenient home automations. 

Now that you're a homeowner, you've unlocked a whole new level of home security. The biggest names in the biz—namely Vivint and ADT—install hardwired equipment and therefore require homeownership. But you can still go the DIY security route.

Our top picks: Vivint & SimpliSafe

Professional home security
4.5 out of 5 stars
Pro monitoring starts at

* With system purchase. Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

DIY home security
SimpliSafe security system in boxes.
4.3 out of 5 stars
Pro monitoring starts at

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

2. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Your new home should already have smoke detectors installed, but it's up to you to make sure they work and are installed in all the right places.

Even if you don't need to install extras, consider replacing a few of the existing alarms with smart smoke detectors. These connect to Wi-Fi and can let you know there's a problem even when you're not home to hear the beeps.  

Don't stop with smoke alarms, though. Grab carbon monoxide detectors and radon detectors while you're at it. And if your home uses natural gas, it doesn't hurt to have a gas leak detector on hand too.

Our top picks: Google Nest Protect & First Alert Onelink

Smoke and CO alarm
Nest Protect

*Info current as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Smoke and CO alarm

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

3. Video doorbell

Now that you’re in charge of your castle, you can benefit from knowing who’s at the door—even when you’re not home. A Wi-Fi enabled smart doorbell lets you see when that important package is delivered, when the kids get home from school, and who dares knock during the dinner hour.

Our recommended video doorbells

Best overall
Nest Doorbell Battery

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Best value
Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen)

​*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

4. Fire extinguisher

Smoke alarms aren’t the beginning and end of fire safety—you also need to be sure your new home is equipped with a fire extinguisher and that you know how to use it.

My stove caught fire within my first year as a homeowner. Luckily, I was right there when the flames erupted and I had an extinguisher within easy reach. Dinner was ruined, but it could've been so much worse if I hadn't been prepared. 

Our recommended fire extinguishers

Best for reliability
Amerex B402 fire extinguisher
Amerex B402

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Heavy-duty kitchen fire extinguisher
Amerex B260

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

5. Home generator

This one's a bit of a splurge, especially if your bank account feels a little flimsy after the downpayment. But you'll be happy you thought ahead and got a home generator if your new town is prone to bad weather events like ice storms.

Powering a space heater and the fridge can be just enough to keep you and your family comfortable while you wait for the electrical crews to finish up.

Our recommended generators: EcoFlow and Honda

Overall best for homes (solar)
EcoFlow Delta Pro

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Best portable gas generator
Honda EU2200iTAG generator
Honda EU2200iTAG

*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

6. Lockbox or safe

It’s smart to purchase a home safe or lockbox to hold important documents—like the title to your new home—and other valuables. Make sure you choose one that is both waterproof and fireproof.

Depending on what you need to keep safe, you can find a box or safe starting at around $30 to safeguard crucial documents like birth certificates, banking records, and other sensitive information.

Best overall
SentrySafe product image

*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Best budget safe
AmazonBasics safe

*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

7. New door lock

Chances are you’re not the first person to call your house home. The safest way to ensure random keys to your front door aren’t floating around in the world is to swap out your current door lock for a new one.

You can make a straight trade for a standard lock, add a new deadbolt, or upgrade to an electronic keyless lock. Smart locks get rid of lost keys all together so you'll never be locked out of your home.

Our recommended door locks

Best smart lock
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Best for security
Medeco Maxum

Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

8. Water leak sensor

From one new homeowner to another, let me just say . . . don't skip this one.

I had no idea water was such a pain in the you-know-what until I was responsible for my very own house. It's very hard to detect a water leak until it is right in front of your face—and at that point you might be dealing with rot, mold, and general yuck. 

For example, when my sewer line backed up, there was a waterfall in my crawlspace. I didn't notice right away because I'm not in the habit of going under there. And it was a surprisingly quiet waterfall. 

Water leak sensors tell you there's a problem before it gets out of hand. Put them in areas where you hardly ever look: under the tub, sink, garbage disposal, washing machine, and dishwasher; in the crawl space under major plumbing and sewer lines; near the drains in your basement; and literally anywhere else you could possibly imagine water dripping or collecting.

Our recommendations: Resideo and Flo by Moen

Best overall

Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Best sensors
Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector

Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Conduct a home safety and security assessment

Print out our handy checklist to bring with you from room to room:

The Complete Home Safety and Security Checklist

9. Extra cabinet locks and baby gates

If you've got a toddler, take stock of your babyproofing gear and buy extras if needed. For example, you might need a baby gate for the top of the stairs in your new home or an extra pack of cabinet locks to secure all the doors in your new kitchen. 

Our recommended cabinet locks and baby gates

Best cabinet locks
Baby Safety Cabinet Locks

Amazon.com list price as of post date. (See full disclaimer.)

Best gate for stairs

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

10. Security cameras

Keeping an eye on your home—and your loved ones or pets—feels even more important once you’re a homeowner. Security cameras can provide extra comfort, especially when you’re getting used to a new neighborhood and routine.

Our recommended home security cameras

Best overall
Best budget cam
Wyze Cam v3 on a table
Wyze Cam v3
4.3 out of 5 stars

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

11. Drapes or blinds

To make sure your first impression on the neighbors isn’t an awkward sighting of you in your skivvies, invest in window coverings for your new home. Plus, curtains are a quick way to add coziness, cut down on drafts, and prevent potential burglars from checking out your stuff.

If you have pets or kids (or plan to), we recommend cordless shades and blinds. Traditional pull cords represent a strangulation hazard.

Some options to consider

Affordable blackout curtains

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Chic cordless shades

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

12. Tool kit

In order to fix things around the house, you need the necessary tools at your fingertips. It’s just not practical to borrow a tool from your neighbor every time something needs fixing. (Plus, you don’t want to become the Homer Simpson of the neighborhood.)

Some options to consider

Tool kit

​*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Cordless drill

​*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

13. Flashlights and work lights

Now that you’re a homeowner, you’re also a handyman, plumber, and the person who has to investigate weird noises in the attic or crawl space—like when a cat gets locked in your crawl space and mysterious meows follow you all day and night. (True story.)

It’s smart to get a couple heavy-duty flashlights and keep them somewhere handy so you can find them when you need them. In addition, I highly recommend a headlamp and a standing work light. We've used both countless times in our home repairs.

Some options to consider

Rechargeable headlamp
LED Headlight

​*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Rechargeable work light

​*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

14. Lawn mower

Your new neighbors (and perhaps your new Home Owner's Association) might not be pleased if you let the grass grow wild because you forgot to budget for a lawn mower.

And while it seems like a weird thing to buy online, you can definitely get one shipped to your door. Even riding lawnmowers can be delivered.

Or, sign up for a lawn mowing service while you get settled. It'll take some of the pressure off you while you figure out what to do. Another option is to approach your new neighbors and offer to pay them to borrow their mower.

Some options to consider

Electric mower + weed wacker
Electric mower

​*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Other items you'll want on moving day

You might already have these things on hand from your days as a renter. But if you borrowed them from your roommates or parents, it's time to get your own.

family with mom, dad, baby in window

15. Cleaning supplies

My home was pretty clean when I finally turned the key and walked in as A Homeowner. But I was grateful to have cleaning supplies at the ready when I saw that the kitchen drawers had some greasy goo inside. 

If you don't have a stockpile of sprays and scrubby brushes yet, check out our recommended all-natural cleaning products to avoid sending volatile organic compounds into the air of your lovely new home. 

16. Shower curtain

We’re back to getting caught in a state of undress—don’t do it. In order to take a shower with privacy, and without flooding the bathroom, you need to remember to pick up a shower curtain, liner, and hooks.

And the bonus is that this can be a fun purchase; there are so many decorative shower curtains to choose from. My fave is the snorkeling beagle shower curtain.

17. Plunger

While you’re thinking about the bathroom, you may as well add a toilet plunger to your shopping list. You don’t want to discover you’re missing one when the need arises. Save yourself future stress and make sure you have one handy in a restroom emergency.

Speaking of bathroom must-haves, don't forget to put toilet paper and soap in the bathroom right away. 

18. Batteries

It might seem obvious, but batteries are a must-have for every home. Get the big ones for your flashlights and stock up on AA and AAA batteries for all the remotes and other gadgets that make modern life so convenient. Everything from remote controls to LED lights rely on fresh batteries, and no one wants to be caught unprepared when the batteries run out.

19. Light bulbs

Even if there are already bulbs in your home’s fixtures, you need backups for when those lights start burning out—and they always seem to do it at the same time. Stock up on energy-efficient bulbs.

Or take it one step further with smart lightbulbs that you can set to turn on and off at designated times and control remotely through your computer or smartphone. Smart lighting increases convenience and security, uses less energy, and saves money on monthly power bills and replacement bulbs.

20. First-aid kit

Make sure you don't bury your first-aid kit when packing up and moving. Keep it handy just in case someone pulls a muscle or gets a cut. 

This is also a great time to beef up your first-aid kit if you've historically relied on your roommate's supply of bandaids or your mom's collection of remedies. 

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Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over eight years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She is a certified Safe Sleep Ambassador and has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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