Top 5 Tools for the New Home Owner

As a new homeowner my self there are a few key tools that i am definitely glad i had on hand as soon as we moved in. Everyone knows that a home is nothing but work but the good thing is, for me at least, it’s fun work. I thoroughly enjoy upgrading our home and making things look better each day. If you’re like me and have spent your time in apartments, you will be quickly surprised by all of the projects you will have to do on day 1 of moving in. We chose to build our home rather than buy, so we had even less of the necessities ready once we moved in.

We moved all of our stuff in one day starting around 9 a.m. and ended around 8:30 pm. Home depot closes at 9 and we had no shower curtains or rods. I had to rush to grab these items and the tools needed to install them as a lot of my stuff was packed away and i had no idea which box it was in. I had my power tools, but no bits, no level, and no tape. It was in a box somewhere, so i ended up taping our newly purchased shower curtain to the wall so we could shower.

That being said I highly recommend you be sure to leave your basic tools out and all in one place (i’m still searching through stuff to find my ratchet a week later) so once you move in you are ready to start all of those projects.

If you have no tools and have no clue which ones to have on hand for your around the house task. I reccomend-

With these basic necessities on hand and set aside so you’re not digging through boxes like i was, you will be fully prepared for those basic tasks. The tools above i have linked to are great budget tools that will last you through all of those projects you’re going to face and with them on hand you will be fully prepared for whatever that new home throws your way.


Blacksmithing Tips for Beginners With Rory from

Our first episode of the Make Over Buy podcast is with Rory, a full time blacksmith with Dragon Forge LTD. If you’ve been considering picking up blacksmithing or just learning how it all works give this episode a listen. Rory starts with the basics talking about how he got started, the tools you need, and some beginner projects you can make with little experience.

In the show we discuss a few good resources such as the community over at ABANA which has tons of resources for you to learn even more. Rory has even thrown together a series of free online tutorials over at Dirty Smith TV.

Be sure to follow @Makeoverbuy as well as Rory over at @dirtysmith on social media.

Learning to code. It’s easier than you think!

Learning to code/develop/program certainly enters the minds of this generation quite often. With everything being internet based or moving that direction it’s definitely a skill worth having, even if it’s just the basics.

This is something I’ve recently began teaching myself, and though there are a lot of resources out there, it can still be extremely confusing to get started. One of my favorite free resources for learning code is Bento. This will take you from the complete beginning, as if you know absolutely nothing about coding, and combine a multitude of other online resources to help you gain an understanding. Like most, i started out on which is great for learning languages if you already have an understanding, but not much help if you don’t know basic things like where to type the code.

Once you’ve been through the basics of what bento offers i would move on to actually building things. I was recommended to focus on the C# language as it will let you build anything and is commonly used. To actually build programs head over to Microsoft and download the free community version of Visual Studio. This is an IDE (integrated development environment) and it is where all of the things that make the apps or software, even video games, are put together. Be sure to check out the rest of the services Microsoft offers, such as Microsoft Developer Network, where you will find tons of resources to help you learn even more. A simple google search will turn up tons of tutorials and walkththroughs to have you building something cool pretty quick.

Once you learn some basic code you can dive into making some pretty cool things, or just building small programs to help make life easier. There are some cheap pieces of equipment available that you can use to build some pretty cool things. I have a couple projects planned in the future that will be using the Arduino and the Rasberry Pi computers.

Regardless, it’s a good resource to have and everyone should be somewhat familiar with it. I am just a beginner, but as i progress I will continue to share what I learn with you all! If you have any question, please, head over to the contact page and shoot me an email.

Go make something!

Building a house and recommended upgrades

My wife and I chose to build our house over buying one and it has been quite the process! The entire experience has been extremely exciting but stressful. We started this journey in August of 2015 and our completion date is May 2016. We hit a few speed bumps a long the way, dealing with the county over issues on the lot, but all in all i would choose this option all over again.

There’s so many options you get when building that you just won’t get (right away) when buying your home. From the lot to the floor plan everything is custom.

Things can add up quick when you have the power to pick every single option of your home and there are areas that deserve attention over others. You truly have to determine your wants and needs and create a balance. It wasn’t easy for us to sacrifice some of the things we wanted but the key was to identify what would be the easiest to do at a later date.

We decided to upgrade

  • Floors
  • Garage door height
  • Countertops
  • Lighting
  • Backsplash

Floors are typically the main upgrade people are looking for in their house and it is absolutely one of the ones you should follow through with if you can. We have a 3 year old son and a dog so carpet was not an option we were interested in and hardwood was a little out of our budget so we decided to go with plank style laminate and it is by far our most favorite upgrade. IF you can do floors you absolutely should, the upgrade cost us about 2300 for a 1600 sqft home.

Garage door height is a perfect example of one of those details that would be a huge pain to go back and change once you realize you want it taller. We decided to go 8ft over 7ft so we can get a full size truck in if we need to. Some will say they will never need the door taller, and then one day they do. At around $500 it was no question that we were going to upgrade the height.

We eventually plan to do granite, but not at this time. Counters are relatively easy to go back and change when you can afford exactly what you want, but we did choose a slight upgrade from the standard package. The standard countertops had a pattern that repeated around every 3 inches, we chose an option that repeats every 5 ft and the difference is amazing! The cost increase was barely noticeable so it was a sure thing once we saw the two types side by side. Having these will make the wait for granite (if we choose to upgrade) a lot more manageable.

When it came down to walking through and laying out where we wanted our lighting/outlets etc. we realized that our entire living room was going to only be lit by one ceiling fan light fixture. It would also be off to one side of the vaulted ceilings and i knew this would drive me nuts so i decided to add six can lights over the living room which will provide plenty of lighting. The cost of this upgrade was $36 per light.

I also, being who i am, decided to add a 220v outlet in my garage for that pretty new welder my wife doesn’t know ill be getting. It was either that or unplug the dryer, so the $100 was more than worth it.

Backsplash was another cheap upgrade that was worth doing at the time of building, I don’t even remember what this cost but it wasn’t much.

Overall you can upgrade whatever you can afford but we chose a large lot and a large floor plan so our money was spent mostly on that. You don’t have to try to upgrade everything you want right off the start but this list should give you a good idea of what you may want to put a little higher on your list of necessities.

Tool Review- Ryobi 18 volt ONE+ Tool kit

The best option for around the house work

As a new homeowner myself i can say that hands down my Ryobi set is the best option for those around the house tasks. The top two things making this stand out from the other kits is Price and Convenience.

First off, let’s get straight to convenience. The best thing about this tool kit is the ONE+ battery system that allows you access to over 50 tools. From work lights, to fans, to stereo’s one battery is all you need for this system. Unlike other brands, Ryobi decided to do us all a favor and not switch their batteries all the time and cause us to buy more.

The kit comes with 2 batteries, one charger, and all of your basic necessities. I’m not here to re-write product descriptions but you can find all of that HERE.

The good

  • The main advantage of this kit is the battery system mentioned above. The battery life is great for your drill and impact, but, for the cutting tools i highly suggest adding these to your set if you plan on doing any long term cutting. I’ve gone days on a single charge with my impact.
  • These tools can absolutely take a beating. I can’t count how many times i have dropped these (yea, i’m clumsy). These tools definitely stand their ground when it comes to durability.
  • The Size/weight is great for everyone. Just heavy enough to feel solid but light enough to work with for long periods of time.
  • The attention to detail with things like the magnetic tray on the impact, lights/levels on the drill/impact, and the laser guide on the circular saw are all well thought out and extremely convenient.

The not so good

  • Battery life on cutting tools. The kit should include at least one of these batteries for the cutting tools because the small ones included just don’t cut it (see what i did there?)
  • Power- the tools are a little weak, if you’re going to be doing bigger jobs i would recommend investing in at least a corded circular saw such as this makita. I have always loved mine.


For someone just getting started, this is the perfect set. Unless you are doing extremely heavy duty work, you will find no problem with these power tools. I have heard from plenty of contractors that use these. Head over and check them out. If you’ve been considering a power tool set, this is it.