Filter by Category

Past Entries

Get Our Updates

Get tips for homeowners, and those looking to buy. Stay up to date on NeighborWorks happenings, and opportunities to learn.
A collage of tools recommended for new homeowners.

There’s a lot to do when buying a home: learn about the process, make a budget, get pre-qualified for a mortgage, hire a Realtor, find that perfect home. After you’ve finalized your purchase, another one of those new homeowner must-dos is building a tool kit.

Whether you’re interested in doing some decorating, making some modifications, or saving some money by doing your own repairs, having the right tool for the job can make it better.

We surveyed our staff to find out their go-to tools for repairs around the house.  Here are our recommendations for 10 tools to start with when stocking your toolbox.

Tape Measure

Even before you move in, this can come in handy for planning your furniture layout, shopping for a sofa, and buying rugs and curtains. We recommend getting a sturdy tape – they are easier to use, especially if you’re working alone.

tape measure


A basic claw hammer is useful for building and demolition. Visit the hardware section and try a few to find one that feels good in your hand and is a weight you can easily control.

claw hammer with wooden handle

Combination Ratcheting Screwdriver

There are a lot of jobs that can be done with just a screwdriver. Get one with interchangeable bits and you’ve got multiple tools in one.  Besides Phillips and flat heads, look for square, star, and hex bits.  A ratcheting handle saves energy and wear and tear on your wrists.

Cordless Drill and Bits

When you need a little more power than a screwdriver, a drill comes in handy. If you plan to add to your tool collection later, look for interchangeable battery systems that can power other tools like circular saws. Invest in a high quality set of drill bits – they will last longer.

cordless drill

Utility Knife

It’s a handy tool for a variety of cuts. Pick up some spare blades and change them frequently.

utility knife

Small Stepladder

A small ladder like the Skinny Mini is useful for a variety of jobs, like painting, cleaning, and changing light bulbs, and is safer than balancing on a chair. These are also lightweight and easy to store.

folding stepladder


Crescent wrench

Eventually, you may want a full set of wrenches, but an adjustable crescent wrench is helpful for a wide variety of jobs.


A set of pliers lets you grab and grip in a variety of situations.  Many include a wire cutter for extra usefulness.

set of pliers


Sometimes things just need to be straight.  A small bullet level will fit in any tool box.  A longer level, up to 4 feet, gives better precision and works well for larger jobs.  Laser levels combine the best of both – compact in size, but can cover larger areas.

bullet level


Paint pole

Do you need a paint pole?  No, you can get by without one for most jobs.  But does it make your life better? Absolutely! Less stretching and reaching, you can load paint onto your roller without stooping, and paint more efficiently by squeezing more paint out of the roller each time.  One staff member gives these as housewarming gifts.

paint pole with rollers

If you’re not sure how to use these tools, local hardware staff are often more than happy to explain. You can also look for home repair classes in your community or at NeighborWorks Home Partners.

Want to learn more about owning a home? Our certified Homeownership Advisors meet with potential buyers to explain the buying process and help buyers prepare their finances to qualify for a mortgage.  For people who already own a home and need repairs, we offer affordable home improvement financing.

Get Started




Get homeowner tips & NeighborWorks news. Subscribe

NeighborWorks Home Partners

NeighborWorks Home Partners’ mission is empowering individuals and communities by helping people buy, fix and keep their homes. Learn more.

651-292-8710 | Staff Directory
Main Office:
533 Dale Street N.
Saint Paul, MN 55103

Minneapolis Office:
1930 Glenwood Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55405

EIN 41-1386089

An Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer

Skip to content