With all the excitement of buying your first house – making the offer, having it accepted, visiting the banks and lawyers, and finally moving in – thinking about what you need to make the home “work” is easily overlooked.
It can also be a little overwhelming.
What kind of lawnmower will you need – manual reel mower? Electric? Gas? What tools do you need for basic home maintenance? Even to hang your pictures secure and straight?
Investing in all of these at once would add significantly to your home-buying budget, and many new homeowners are fortunate to “inherit” from friends and families. Second-hand stores are also good options for those looking to outfit their toolkit for their first home and garden.
Coming into the holiday season, there’s also the opportunity to ask for a few essentials wrapped up under the tree.
Weighing in on her “must have” garden recommendations for new homeowners, Oak Bay News garden columnist Christin Geall puts a hori hori at the top of her lest. Meaning “dig dig” in Japanese, “it’s a weeding knife, a cross between a knife and a thin, flat trowel, a tool for poking, digging, sawing and slicing. One side of the steel blade has a serrated edge, the other a cutting edge,” Geall says.
Lightweight, high-quality snips or secateurs are also a good investment – “my favourite is the ARS SE series needlenose fruit pruners,” Geall says – plus a carrier, such as a wheelbarrow, a garden tote, or in Geall’s case, a leather tool belt.
The belt has the added benefit of doubling around the house for a variety of projects.
Continuing in the practical vein, Oak Bay’s Elizabeth Cull, owner of Dig This on Oak Bay Avenue, suggests a Haws watering can, both beautiful and functional, and of course gloves – everyday ones that fit like a second skin, waterproof ones for wet jobs, and tough ones for tough jobs.
Apart from tools, but also important, “I’d also suggest some garden art – perhaps a statue or gazing ball, a garden bench or birdbath,” Cull says. “Or if they have a patio, some trendy string lights.”
Oak Bay’s Jordy Harris, a realtor with Newport Realty, is inspired by our recent cold weather to advise his new first-time buyers to invest in good winter weather basics. It’s also best to buy them before you need them – by then, they’ll likely be sold out.
“Perhaps it’s timely given our recent spell of cold weather and snow, but first-time homeowners may not be aware of their responsibilities regarding snow removal from their walkways and sidewalks,” Harris says. “Any new homeowner this winter should add a good snow shovel and bag of rock salt to their items to pick up for the home.
“Besides, helping shovel the neighbours drive way goes a long way in helping out your new community.”