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Home Maintenance

A dark brown cabin covered in snow

Getting Your Home Ready For Winter: 3 Steps

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If you’ve just bought a new home with your VA Home Loan, you might not know how to properly prepare it for the winter months. Even though it might seem like the Idaho summer is just now coming to a close, that doesn’t mean it isn’t time to start thinking about winter and how to prepare your home for the change of seasons. With the right preparation, you can be assured that there will be no unnecessary damage resulting from the winter conditions.

Check Your Gutters

The leaves changing colors in the fall are a beautiful sight to see, but it could lead to problems later as they start to drop off of the trees and into your gutters. As they build up in the gutters, it can make it harder for rainwater to get through them, which puts extra stress on the gutters themselves. During the transition between fall and winter, it’s a good idea to clean the leaves and debris out of your gutters so that they can handle the winter elements.

Blow Out Your Sprinklers

It’s important to make sure that there’s no water in your sprinkler system by the time freezing temperatures come around. If you don’t, the leftover water will freeze in the pipes and leave you with an expensive bill come springtime. For something like this, it’s best to have a professional come out and do it for you. However, you can do things like putting covers on your outdoor water faucets to protect those pipes from winter conditions. This doesn’t have to happen until the weather starts to cool down, but it’s always a good idea to think ahead and be prepared for when that time comes.

Check Your HVAC System

This is one that is often overlooked, but just as important as the rest. One of the worst things is waking up in the morning wanting to take a warm, relaxing shower to get your day started just to find out that your water heater isn’t working properly and having to endure a cold shower instead. As the cooler weather settles in, you’ll probably also want to have a working heater with proper ventilation throughout your whole house. There are plenty of online guides that can walk you through the process of checking your HVAC system by yourself, but it’s suggested that you hire a professional to fix any issues that come up in your inspection.

If you are facing a bigger, more expensive problem with your home than you thought, VA Home Loans can help! While most loans are used to purchase a new home or to refinance a mortgage, they can also be used to pay for repairs or renovations to a current home. If you have any questions regarding how you can utilize a VA Home Loan, contact us today!

The front of a white and grey, classic-style house with fall leaves on the ground.

Preparing Your Home for Fall

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Now that the sun is starting to set on summertime and the cooler weather is starting to settle in, it’s time to think about how to prepare your home for the quickly approaching fall season. It’s important to check on various parts of your home in the fall so that it’s ready for the following cold winter months, and VA Home Loans is happy to help you secure the loans and finances to make that possible.

Gutters

Now that it’s September, rainy days are on the horizon in the Treasure Valley. Over the summer, your gutters most likely have collected an assortment of leaves, dirt, and debris. When it rains, this blockage could lead to flooding in the interior of your home and water damage to the exterior. It’s best to make a habit of checking your gutters every fall to see if they need to be cleaned or even replaced so that you don’t have to find out the hard way!

HVAC

After not being used for a few months, your heating system might not be at the ability that it was at the end of last winter. This is one of those things that you don’t want to wait until you first use it to find out that it isn’t working properly! Catching problems with your HVAC system early gives you time to allocate the time and money needed to get it professionally fixed.

Seals

As it cools down, more and more you’ll want to be keeping the heat in and the cold out. The easiest way to do this is to check all of the seals in your house on every door and window to make sure that they are airtight and actually sealed. You would be surprised how much a faulty seal can really affect the air in a home! Additionally, it will help you save big on your electricity and heating bills come wintertime, so checking them periodically is very important.

At VA Home Loans Idaho, we want to make sure that you are able to prepare your home for every season. If you are a veteran looking for a home loan or refinancing options, contact us today. You might even be able to use some of the money you save to fix some of the things mentioned above to get your house ready for the colder seasons!

Blue lawn mower mowing grass

Tips for Taking Care of Your Lawn During the Summer

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Summer is finally here! You have your new house, but it’s not quite the best it could be. Taking good care of your lawn during the summer is something that will make your house look amazing. Although there’s a bit of a learning curve to making your lawn look the absolute best it could, we’ve put together a list of four of the best lawn care tips for summer. If you want your lawn to be the envy of the neighborhood, check out our maintenance tips!

1: Timing of Sprinkler Cycles

The time at which you water your lawn is very important. Not only can it help your lawn look greener and healthier, but it also saves your water bill from being more expensive than it needs to be. Watering your lawn in the early mornings helps because it gives the lawn more time to soak up the water. If you water too late and it’s already hot outside, the sun will evaporate a lot of the moisture that the grass needs. This leads to having to water multiple times a day, increasing the price of your water bill. There are plenty of great guides on when to water and how long to make each cycle that will help you decide what’s right for your lawn.

2: Fertilize Your Lawn

Whether you did or didn’t put down fertilizer at the start of last winter, it’s always a good idea to spread some on your lawn at the start of the growing season. The fertilizer helps promote growth, which is essential for your lawn after the long, cold winter. It helps in making your lawn more full and more green. If you need help deciding on which fertilizer to buy, there are experts on the subject that can offer advice on your specific lawn.

3: Weed Killer

Weeds are bound to sprout, no matter the lawn. Whether they travel over from the neighbor’s lawn, or their spores just come from the wind, weeds will pop up eventually. Getting rid of weeds is simple, after choosing the right weed killer. If the weeds are within your lawn, you’ll want to make sure to get a weed killer that won’t hurt the lawn. There are options like weed and feed, that will fertilize your lawn at the same time it’s killing weeds, but any spray that doesn’t hurt the grass will do. However, having a grass killer on hand for when your lawn starts growing in cement cracks can be handy as well.

4: Mowing the Lawn

When mowing your lawn, like watering, it is essential to not overdo it. If you mow a lawn too short, it’s easy for the hot summer sun to dry out your grass and kill it. This is of course dependent on where you live and how intense the summer is. A good rule to follow is to keep it at about two and a half inches during the summer.

Redoing a Lawn

If your lawn needs to be completely redone, VA Home Loans of Idaho has great options for Veteran’s that would like to refinance their homes. This could provide the extra bit of capital you need to get started on making your lawn look as great as the house. Give your local VA Home Loans Officer a call today and discuss your options for refinancing!

Two-story family home.

Summer Home Maintenance To-Do List

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The sound of lawnmowers running on a Saturday morning and the smell of hot dogs on the barbecue can only mean one thing: Summer is finally here in Idaho.
With Summer comes home maintenance to keep it looking as great and comfortable as when you bought it, if not better. If you’ve recently purchased a home with your VA Home Loan and are looking for ways to make your home the envy of the block, here are 4 maintenance items we’ve put together to help you.

1. Take Care of Your Lawn

A great looking lawn can easily make your home look ten times better. Grass can be hard to take care of if you don’t have much experience, though. If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to throw some fertilizer on your lawn. Fertilizer, depending on which kind you buy, can help your lawn grow a lot thicker and faster.
Another good product to use is “weed & feed”. It can be bought with a nozzle that allows you to attach it to the hose, making it easier to spray across the whole lawn. The spray will help get your lawn some valuable nutrients for growth, as well as kill any weeds you have in the lawn. If you aren’t experienced with taking care of lawns, it would help to call or visit an expert. The employees are very knowledgeable and can help your lawn no matter the situation.

2. Touch Up the Exterior

Summer is a great time to touch up the exterior of your home. A great place to start is by touching up the paint outside. Whether you have kids who love to throw balls at the exterior or just small scratches from accidentally pushing the barbecue against it, there’s bound to be some spots that could be painted. If you don’t have the color of your house, there are companies that can paint match to make sure it’s exactly the same. Something else that can be done to the exterior of your home is cleaning the outside of the windows. It’s an easy task that makes your house look better quickly.

3. Air Conditioning Unit Upkeep

One of the most important things is to make sure your AC unit is in tip-top shape. It can be hard in the hot Idaho summer to be without air conditioning, so making sure there are no signs of problems that could develop is crucial. This is likely something you’ll want a professional to do unless you have experience with air conditioning units. Something simple you could do on your own is to change out the filter within the unit. Depending on the material of the filter in the unit, you should change this at least every six months.

4. Gutters and Drains

Gutters and drains can often get clogged up by leaves, sticks, and other debris that might fall on your roof. Cleaning out the drains and gutters will improve their effectiveness. Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow and pour out in random spots as opposed to where the drain is designed to go. This can lead to water damage to your home or damaging the landscaping. Summer is the best time to do this job, as no one wants to be on the roof in the winter. If you aren’t experienced with being on roofs, you may want to call a professional to clean your drains.

Other Maintanance

These maintenance tips are all simple, and generally not very costly. If there are other major maintenance items needed for your home that are more expensive, give VA Home Loans of Idaho a call to talk about refinancing options. They have several options for refinancing, and a staff that is more than willing to help with all of your questions, big and small!

An array of solar panels on the red roof of a house.

6 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

By | Home Loans, Home Maintenance, Home Renovation | No Comments

When it comes time to sell your home, getting top dollar is crucial. By upgrading and renovating while you’re still living in your home, you can guarantee to get the most for it when you sell.

1. Smart Technology

Most people looking to buy a new home want it to be upgraded with technology that enhances safety and functionality. Smart technology does both of those things, and is becoming cheaper and more readily available. Some examples of “smart” devices include:

  • Smart thermostats
  • Smart door locks
  • Smart cameras
  • Smart fire and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Smart home hubs (Amazon Echo, etc.)

By incorporating smart devices into your home, you are able to control everything from blinds to kitchen appliances and more. Because all of these can be connected to your smartphone, you can have total control of your house from anywhere in the world.

2. Expanding

Bigger homes tend to sell for more money. If you are able to knock down a few walls to open up space or add an extra room, it could significantly raise the value of your home.

3. Redoing Your Front Yard

Curb appeal is important. You want potential buyers to fall in love with your house before they even go inside. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there are tons of small improvements you can make that will make a huge difference. Whether it’s redoing the grass or adding a walkway decorated with plants and flowers, making your front yard look nice will give a convincing first impression.

4. Update Your Appliances

New, clean-looking appliances will not only make your house more beautiful but also increase its value. This could mean adding a stainless steel refrigerator and dishwasher or simply upgrading appliances to the newer models. If you are not particularly artistic when it comes to interior design, hiring an expert in the field or looking for ideas online can be a good way to get inspiration. The rule of thumb when it comes to appliances is to make them match. Installing new appliances made out of the same material with a similar look and style will make your kitchen more eye-catching and your house more valuable.

5. Make Your Home Energy Efficient

Lowering your home’s energy costs will save you money while you’re still living there and provide a key selling point. You can install high-efficiency windows that help insulate the house and bring down the electric bill. If you’re looking for a lower-cost option, you can switch out incandescent light bulbs for LEDs or add more insulation around your house. Currently, the popular energy-saving option is solar panels. While they are not exactly cost-efficient at first, they can significantly lower your electric bill and significantly boost property value.

6. Upgrade the Fundamentals

How old is your water heater? Garbage disposal? Electric box? These are things that most people don’t think about but will help you get more money for your home. When the fundamentals are old, buyers often negotiate the price down so they can use the extra money to replace them. If they haven’t been replaced in a long time, now is the time to do it!
While some of these options can be pretty expensive, active military and veterans can refinance with a VA Home Loan and invest that money back into the home. If you have any questions regarding VA Home Loans, don’t hesitate to contact us!

A fall decorated home, bought with a VA Home Loan

Veteran’s Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: 6 Things to Do Before Winter

By | Home Maintenance, Housing, VA Loans | No Comments

Rustling leaves, chilly wind, and colorful trees are all telltale signs that fall has reached your home. While it is tempting to kick back and relax this season, winter is right around the corner to wreak havoc on your home. If you’ve moved into your home recently using a VA home loan, don’t let the sudden snowfall catch you by surprise this year, be prepared by going through this checklist of 6 must-dos before winter.

Checklist Must-Dos

1. Check Your Roof

Your roof is an expensive part of your house that if not properly maintained, can cause water and snow to leak into the small cracks and crevices. Check for warning signs like loose or missing shingles, beams of light peaking into your house, minor leaks, and debris buildup.

2. Heat Your Pipes

Time to crank up the heat. Some people enjoy the cold more than others, but if you are wanting to keep your pipes from freezing, then let the hot air reach them. Even in the fall, your pipes can freeze and burst, so don’t let the holidays bring unwanted expenses.

3. Unclutter Your Gutter

We talked about roof maintenance checks, but your gutter should not be passed up during your roof inspection. Fall brings the leaves, and those leaves go into your gutter. A cluttered gutter can cause ice dams. Don’t let your leafy gutter cause your roof to degrade. The last thing you want is to clean your roof and have your gutter buildup reverse your hard work.

4. Fertilize Your Lawn

Just because your grass is buried in leaves or snow does not mean your grass isn’t active. The roots are still there and need some extra protection using fertilizer. By applying it in advance, your lawn won’t be a sore sight in the spring. You wouldn’t want to have the only yellow lawn in your neighborhood.

5. The Hearth of The Home

Fall mood includes a cozy fire to sit by with some hot chocolate in hand and the smell of cookies in the oven. Your fireplace should be inspected by a professional if you have never done it before. Don’t let the creosote accumulate and ruin the mood by lighting your house on fire. That would be anything but cozy.

6. Unwanted Guests

Your family isn’t the only family wanting to stay warm. Mice, squirrels and other critters can’t wait to make themselves at home in your house. Inspect your home for any openings or holes that are around your house. Plug these up before it really starts to get chilly, or you will be hearing some skittering in the walls.

Idaho Seasons

Idaho is one of the few US states that experiences all 4 seasons without drastic temperature and weather changes. For people moving to the area during the fall, especially veterans or active military members, be sure to talk to a home loan specialist so that you can move into a home that fits you. Idaho has amazing VA home loan information resources so you can make the transition a smooth one. I hope the checklist has got you prepped and excited for the snowy season!