It’s been quite a year for new homeowners. With interest rates hitting record lows and lockdowns forcing people to stay inside, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you knew several people that purchased their first home recently. While a lot of work goes into the process of actually buying that first home — getting approved for a mortgage, touring properties, writing letters to the sellers, negotiating updates and getting an inspection — the research tends to halt once the home is purchased.
But new homeowners will quickly discover they have a lot of questions, from how to fix a leaky faucet to how to decorate their living space properly, and once again, they’ll need to do some research. Luckily, there are plenty of books out there to help you tackle every aspect of homeownership. Get your home in tip-top shape (and keep it that way) with the following books that’ll help you become a more handy homeowner.
The best books for new homeowners
Whether you bought a brand new home or a fixer-upper, homes are expensive. So it’s no surprise that homeowners want to make sure their home looks good on the inside and out. That’s why lots of new homeowners dive into additional hobbies such as gardening, woodworking or decorating. The following books are for the new homeowners looking to pick up some fresh skills (or for those who want to fill up their home library). If you’re looking to make your home feel more like “you” or you just want to know what to do when you spot a crack in your foundation, consider the following for total home confidence.
Home improvement books
As a homeowner, there’s no landlord to call when the dishwasher breaks or when the front door jams. With the exception of hiring a professional, you’re on your own when it comes to fixing or updating your home. And to save money, many new homeowners are interested in learning how to make these improvements themselves. Turn that dream into a reality with any of the following books, perfect for novice to intermediate DIY-ers alike.
- “100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know: How to Save Money, Solve Problems and Improve Your Home” by The Family Handyman Editorial Team
- The editors of the popular home improvement site, The Family Handyman, put together the ultimate guide to homeownership. Learn everything you need to know about keeping your home in tip-top shape straight from the experts.
- “Black & Decker: The Book of Home How-To” by Cool Springs Press
- Many consider this a bible for every home improvement project ever wondered about. Organized in alphabetical order for easy reference, Black & Decker walks you through how to tackle any home project or repair need you may have throughout the life of your home.
- “Beginner's Guide to DIY & Home Repair: Essential DIY Techniques for the First Timer” by Jo Behari and Alison Winfield-Chislett
- This guide is written by two DIY experts for those who aren’t quite sure how to use a hammer. Learn the ins and outs of how to take on any home improvement project like putting up your own wallpaper or changing the lock to your front door.
Gardening and lawn care books
Tending to your lawn can be a rite of passage for new homeowners. However, some may be scratching their heads when it comes to how to get started. Fill that head with an array of gardening, lawn care and indoor plant knowledge with the following books catered to those looking to get their hands dirty.
- “Rodale's Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner's Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden” by Deborah L. Martin and Margaret Magrikie Berg
- Going organic is great for the planet and our bodies. But unfortunately, organic produce does cost a bit more than conventional produce. For homeowners looking to save money and go organic, a garden is a perfect solution. This book walks beginning gardeners through the entire process, answering questions and providing a seasonal breakdown to ensure a new garden is fruitful.
- “How to Make a Plant Love You: Cultivate Green Space in Your Home and Heart” by Summer Rayne Oakes
- Are you even a millennial if you don’t have at least one houseplant? Even the lightest green thumbs may twitch at the idea of a home full of air-purifying and gorgeous greenery. But keeping them alive is easier said than done. Thankfully, Summer has cracked the secret of caring for every type of plant under the sun (and keeping them alive) and is ready to share her knowledge with the world.
- “The Lawn Bible” by David Mellor
- Dads and lawn care go together like peanut butter and jelly. Get the new homeowner in your life “The Lawn Bible” to help them learn what they need to know about tending to that patch of green outside their home. Not only will they feel accomplished for a job well done, but they’ll also boost their home’s curb appeal. Talk about a win-win.
Decorating a brand new home is an exciting process. However, it can easily turn frustrating if the process doesn’t come naturally, runs over budget or isn’t properly prepared for. Luckily, many decor experts have lent their time and created books to walk homeowners through the process. If you (or someone you know) is admittedly overwhelmed at the thought of decorating — or just wants to learn more about interior design — these books are sure to please.
- “Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home” by Maxwell Ryan, Janel Laban and Melanie Acevedo
- Everyone wants a “complete and happy home,” and Apartment Therapy has created a guide to help you do just that. Whether you’re having trouble decorating your stairwell or workspace, their glossy pages are sure to provide inspiration and help you create a home that’s uniquely you.
- “But Where Do I Put the Couch?: And Answers to 100 Other Home Decorating Questions” by Melissa Michaels and KariAnne Wood
- Instagram influencers make creating a beautiful home look so easy. But as most homeowners know, it’s more challenging than it seems. Now you can learn from some of the most popular decorators in the business with this decor book that answers questions you didn’t even know you had (even something as simple as “where the heck do I put this couch?”).
- “Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves” by Emily Henderson and Angelin Borsics
- Emily Henderson is here to set the record straight on the difference between decorated and styled. While decor is pricey and can take a while to collect, styling is about updating what you already own to create a more appealing space. Learn what to toss or keep and how to present your home with Henderson’s expert advice.
Cleaning and organization books
Homes are bound to get messy. With work, family, dinners and lazy afternoons, even the cleanest turn-key homes will end up a little disheveled from time to time. But with a few simple organizational hacks, cleaning up and staying organized is easier than ever. Once you’ve settled in (and hopefully completed a home inventory), dive into one of these books and get ready to undergo a total home transformation.
- “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo
- Learn more about the art behind the cult-classic Netflix series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” with Kondo’s world-renowned book. Tackle your messes head-on and change your life by keeping only what “sparks joy” and getting rid of anything that doesn’t. Sounds like a great way to start your life in your new home, right?
- “The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals” by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin
- Another fan favorite book-turned-Netflix-series is “The Home Edit.” Learn how to finally organize that junk drawer for good, and turn your new home into a shrine of organization and labeling. These aren’t your mother’s plastic-bin organization tips — these ladies will teach you how to keep things clean and aesthetically pleasing for the longrun.
- “Remodelista: The Organized Home” by Julie Carlson
- Chock-full of tips from the Remodelista experts and novice home decor lovers alike, there are plenty of inspirational ideas in this decor book that make it perfect for new homeowners. Use it to help guide your decor decisions for each room in your home, then display it with glory on your coffee table as a reminder to keep things tidy for years to come.
What first-time homeowners really need
There are a lot of hidden costs of homeownership. And those don’t stop once the mortgage is signed. From lawn care and repair needs to decorating and remodels, there is always something expensive just around the corner. That’s why it’s helpful to know ahead of time what things you actually need so that you can adequately budget for upcoming expenses.
Consider whether you’ll need the following items and rank them by importance to help you determine how much you’ll need to save during the first few years of homeownership.
- Fire extinguishers
- Foam insulation for outdoor pipes
- Leaf blower
- Smart home devices
- Automatic locks
- Security cameras
- Smart thermostat
- Video doorbell
- Water leak detectors
- Tool kit
- Washer and dryer
As a new homeowner, the best gift you can give yourself is the knowledge of how to care for your house properly. Besides being the place you call home, a house is a great investment opportunity and can help you build generational wealth that simply can’t be matched. Once you’ve learned the ins and outs of home improvement, gardening, plant care and organization, turn to the home insurance experts to learn more about things like home contents and P&C protection to make sure your insurance policy has your back.