NEIGHBORHOOD OF THE WEEK: Gift ideas for new homeowners

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Jessica Reilly/Telegraph Herald via AP Sara Wernimont, left, and her sister-in-law Christina Wernimont, both of Dubuque, Iowa, dress in festive clothing as they shop at Theisen’s Home-Farm-Auto in Dubuque on Friday. Gift items — or a gift certificate — from a hardware store is a useful item for any new homeowners on your Christmas list.

Common housewarming gifts for a new homeowner include wine, towels, wine, oven mitts, wine, decorative napkins, wine and cheese and more wine. Look, wine can be a nice, thoughtful gift, but not everyone drinks and for those who do, there is only so much space to store the stuff.

Bottom line: You can do better for that special new homeowner in your life. There are a lot of random needs around a house, and though some of these suggestions sound random, they can be helpful, even lifesaving additions to the home.

Fire extinguisher

I’m always surprised by how few people have fire extinguishers stored somewhere in the kitchen. When our oven went up in flames a couple years ago, I used a small fire extinguisher stashed in the pantry to calm the flame before the fire department arrived to finish the job. It was enough to save thousands of dollars in damage, and who knows what could have happened if it went untouched before the professionals got there.

Small fire extinguishers are cheap. You should probably just buy a $20 one on Amazon right now. But they’re also great housewarming gifts (or house “cooling” gifts, ha ha), and you can always use more than one to stash in different parts of the home.

9 volt batteries

Batteries in general make for sensible gifts, especially for families with kids who own those random toys and RC cars that run out of juice after 25 minutes. But 9V batteries tend to disappear faster (for one, they come in smaller, more expensive packs), and they’re the little suckers that often need to be used in smoke detectors. You know the ones — those that randomly beep in the middle of the night and drive you insane until you dig around in the junk drawer for 45 minutes before realizing you put the last 9V battery inside the kitchen smoke alarm at 3 a.m. last week.

Carbon monoxide detectors

Most people probably have one of these somewhere in the home (if not, they should), but at such a low cost, an extra plug-in detector (with battery backup) or two can be added to bedrooms, basements or really anywhere people spend time in the house. Good ones cost between $20-30 and can tell you about even the slightest rise in carbon monoxide. These can be lifesavers, and giving one as a gift tells your friend or loved one that you enjoy them being alive.


OK, maybe this sounds dumb, but we never have a good pen in the house when we need one. I have a giant calendar in our kitchen where I write down appointments and kid activities, and right next to it is a little mail organizer with numerous slots to store dozens of pens. Guess what? There are never any pens. Where do they go? Why does the toddler have four broken ones stashed in his toy box? A good pen is hard to find and harder to keep. Buy someone a 20-pack so they’ll have some for approximately eight days.

Nest thermostat and Ring doorbell

For the big spenders out there. Smart technology around the home comes in many forms (and Amazon’s Alexa seems to be infiltrating all of it), but a few of these devices really can make life easier.

The Nest and other learning thermostats study your heating/cooling preferences and builds a schedule around activity. Before long it knows when to raise and lower the temperature without your input, which can end up saving you a solid amount of money on your energy bill.

The base price for a single Nest is $249, but you can get energy rebates and there are sales all the time (just this weekend they were $70 off at major retailers).

The Ring Video Doorbell allows you to see and speak to people at your front door from your smartphone, and you can monitor activity from anywhere. Motion sensors trigger the device so you can see when people and packages arrive at your door. Now you can definitely ignore that landscaping salesperson or political/religious door-knocker without the risk of missing out on the Scout cookies or caramel corn tins. Prices on these start around $200, but again, watch for sales.

Hardware store gift card

New homeowners can often be seen roaming the aisles of the hardware store, searching aimlessly for this bolt or that. It’s generally a random, unpredictable item, so that’s why a gift card to an Ace or Lowe’s or Home Depot will come in handy almost immediately, unlike some gift cards to insert random decor store here. Sure, gift cards can seem impersonal, but to a new homeowner working on a dozen little projects all at once, that little extra boost at checkout can mean quite a bit.

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Let us know about more standout neighborhoods and developments that we may feature in an upcoming Neighborhood of the Week. Contact Tyler Wilson at

Real Estate Agents, take advantage of Neighborhood of the Week by sending in your suggestions for featured areas, including sites outside the normal confines of Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Hayden.

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