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Seasonal Newsletter — Spring/Summer

WELCOME TO HOMEOWNERSHIP!

This Seasonal Newsletter is provided as a tool to remind you of those routine tasks and maintenance on your new home. This newsletter is not intended to cover everything a new homeowner should look for but act as a guide to help get you started. If you would like more information about subjects related to your mortgage loan or downpayment assistance, please refer to the Post Homeownership Guide (PDF) or contact the Washington State Housing Finance Commission at 1-800-767-4663.

MAINTENANCE TIPS FOR YOUR NEW HOME

Spring has finally arrived. It may not feel like it quite yet but warmer weather is finally here and a little less rain. The days are longer and this is a great time to do outdoor home improvements and maintenance. The plants and trees are in blooming and your lawn is growing. Plant flowers in the pots on the decks and patio. Sit outside and enjoy the scenery! Here are a few tips to help make get ready for those warm and sunny days ahead:

Keep your lawn mower tuned-up with oil and fuel on hand.

Continue to trim trees and bushes to keep them from growing out of control.

Pull weeds and cut back blackberry bushes. Try not to use pesticides and weed control as it drains into streams, rivers, and lakes.

Clean up debris and dirt that are built up against the house – especially next to wood siding.

Check your roof and gutters for leaves and moss.

Make sure downspouts are connected and draining away from your home

Check your roof; look for missing or raised shingles or missing flashing near chimneys

Check your sprinkler system and look for leaks and missed areas. Lawns typically only need water 10 minutes a day to stay green.

Look into having carpets, rugs, and furniture cleaned for those that may have allergies

Have visitors remove shoes and boots to keep your carpets, rugs, and floors clean.

Clean window glass, sills and door jams of dust and dirt build up.

Change out your furnace filter, even though it’s getting warmer, it may have built up dust and lint over the winter.

Check for loose siding, cracks in the mortar, separation between windows and doors and the openings

Look for cracks or separation in walkways and driveways and repair those areas with the right material

Check for chipped exterior paint. If so scrape, sand and spot prime and paint

Trim back dead branches from bushes and trees to promote new growth

Use a pressure washer to clean off your walkways, driveways, patio and deck

Turn the soil in your flower and garden beds after you clean out any plant debris from the winter

GREEN TIPS FOR YOUR NEW HOME

In today’s society we are becoming more conscious of our precious resources. We are looking for ways to conserve and save. Many tips for helping to decrease our “footprint” on the earth’s resources can also save us money. These “green” tips not only help conserve resources but may also save you money:

Convert to the compact florescent light bulbs (a bulb at a time…)

Use biodegradable cleaning products

If you are not already recycling paper, glass and plastic, call your disposal company and ask for recycling bins

Recycle your yard waste, contact your disposal company or purchase a bin

Use less water - flush less often, use your dishwasher, wash full loads

Use less energy – unplug small appliances, turn off computers, use timers on outdoor lights

Unfortunately, traditional wood burning fireplaces tend to lose more energy than they produce, pulling heated air out of the house and sending it up the chimney (and burning wood adds to air pollution). If you have natural gas or propane heating, consider gas logs.

Replace shower heads. Choose a low-flow unit and you'll get virtually the same sensation of water flow while saving money and water.

Purchase cloth re-useable grocery bags

Organize closets and donate unused clothing and household items to charity instead of throwing away.

Look into replacing older appliances with more energy efficient units. Recycle the old appliance and look into rebate programs to help offset the cost.

Have you thought about making, or purchasing, a rain barrel to catch rain water?

Here are some handy links to track Utility Rebate Programs and Energy Usage.

SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR NEW HOME

It goes with saying how important safety can be around the home. Even so, we tend to put off those routine tasks that can be critical in case of an emergency. Take a few moments and walk around your home, inside and out, and make sure that you have checked for those obvious hazards. Some safety and hazard-prevention tips that can be important this time of year:

Check and change your smoke detector and carbon monoxide batteries (2x a year). Did you do it when you set your clocks forward?

Clean slippery moss build-up on walkways and decks.

Keep a small fire extinguisher near kitchen (never use water to put out a grease fire).

Unplug coffee pots, toasters and small appliances when not in use.

Make an emergency plan that includes a meeting place and escape route.

Clean your bar-be-que, get the propane tank filled and make sure the area is cleared at least 10 feet around the grill.

Clean the dryer lint screen before EVERY load. Once a month take it out and wash with soap and water, then let air dry.

If you use a wood burning fireplace, have it inspected and cleaned once a year to prevent build up of sticky, smelly, highly flammable creosote. This is a good time since it is not being used (hopefully)…

If you have questions about homeownership, please call us at 800.767.4663 or email askusHO@wshfc.org.

 

 
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