NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor contributes to the community conversation on housing issues through a weekly column in the Daily World titled "Nailing it Down."


 Since 1999, the "Nailing it Down"articles have been published in the Daily World and other countywide weekly newspapers. NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County has collaborated with local newspapers, elected officials and local experts to publish articles covering hundreds of topics.



Nailing It Down

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September 14, 2020

It’s one of the ickier household chores: Getting the dirt and dead flies out of your window tracks.

However, there is an easy way to thoroughly clean the tracks that is quicker and not as distasteful. We think it’s a great end-of-summer chore.

Giving windows a true clean-up 

Before you thoroughly wash your windows for the season, we suggest cleaning up the window tracks so that your entire window will look like new!

It’s not all about aesthetics: a scrubbed up, bug-free window track is also a sign that your window will work efficiently, allowing rainwater to drain properly through the irrigation channels hidden under the track to the outside.

I’m sure you know what we’re talking about. The grime, dirt, specks of mold and families of flies that quickly accumulate in the tracks of your windows are simply gross.

Even if you are someone who is diligent about cleaning them, it’s typically hard to get them truly clean. Plus you may not have realized how much it can help to have the irrigation chan...

September 6, 2020

We likely will have plenty of summer-like weather in the next few weeks, but we want to give you an idea of the fixes and finishes for your house that are important to tackle this time of year.

Priorities for summer’s end

The end of summer with its semi-long days and warm temperatures can be a great time to paint. 

Yes we are talking about painting once again! Having your house painted and caulked truly is one of the best “insurance policies” you can have to keep rot, mold and deterioration at bay.

However if you’ve painted in the last few years and the house is looking good, don’t jump ahead to the next section yet! A good annual wash with 30-Second cleaner and a hose will still make a difference.

Ever notice how quickly grime can accumulate on vinyl siding? Guess what? That same dirt, grime and mold is also likely covering your wooden exterior. And that dirt begins to harbor vegetation and mold that if left alone can feed on your paint and wooden siding, compromising the integrity of your...

August 30, 2020

For those struggling to pay rent because their employment has been affected by COVID-19, the good news is that Washington State’s eviction moratorium has been extended until Oct. 15.

The not-so-good news for the renter – but great news for the landlord – is that all that rent is still owed to your landlord.

“The moratorium is only for not paying your rent if you have been impacted by a job loss, reduced income or have been ill because of COVID-19,” explained Julie Galligan, housing counselor at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor.

“I have had a few calls about the moratorium and now realize that many people are not fully understanding that this is not a summer break from paying their rent!” she said.

Again, the moratorium is just that – a break of time when landlords cannot start the eviction process for not paying rent if COVID-19 is the reason for the non-payment. All the rent is still owed to the landlord. This legislation just gives renters more time to come up with the money to pay the rent...

August 15, 2020

The word, “budget” for many invokes feelings of tension, restriction and even emotional claustrophobia.

However, ironically, a good working household budget can actually give you much freedom from worry, as well as the ability to plan and even to save for special things.

It doesn’t have to be the taskmaster! Instead, when used well a budget can be your servant, a great tool to help you determine and execute your financial goals – even if that is simply to keep a roof over your head and everyone in the household fed.

With Covid-19’s effect on the economy and high unemployment, the household budget has become more critical than ever!

In our last column we discussed several ways to cut down on expenses. Today, however, we want to concentrate on the other side of the ledger – finding ways to make money.

Once again we’re relying on the expertise of Julie Galligan, the in-house expert on budgeting, here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor. Julie is able to help individuals and families create budget...

August 9, 2020

 For many, times are tough.

People across the country who were receiving $600 extra a week in unemployment benefits because of job loss related to Covid-19 are no longer receiving them. That’s $2,400 less a month to pay bills.

Some other folks were between jobs, have their own businesses or were not eligible for unemployment benefits to begin with and have been feeling the economic effects of the coronavirus for a while now.

Either way, finances are tight for many, and uncertain for many more.

Here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor, one of the free services we offer is help with budgeting. (We are also housing experts and may be able to help you sort through your housing options. We know of various programs that are available depending on an individual’s or family’s circumstances.)  

Today we will offer some basics on successful budgeting and how to make your dollar stretch. In addition, we’d like you to know that Julie Galligan, our housing counselor, is also an expert in helping indiv...

August 3, 2020

Are you in the midst of house hunting, or do you plan to start looking for a house to buy soon?

If you have the money, it’s a good time to buy a new house while interest rates are still low.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about home buying, in case it might help you decide to make your move.

Q. What are the “hidden” costs in buying a home?

A. These costs are not hidden, but sometimes overlooked. People believe that once they’ve saved a down payment, they’re on their way to homeownership. Not totally true!

While different programs have different down payment requirements (the percentage of the loan the lender requires from borrower to finance a loan, usually 0 to 20 percent). Closing costs are in addition to this.

Closing costs are fees and pre-paid costs both the lender and title company require to complete a loan transaction.

The bank usually charges an origination fee, document preparation fee, appraisal and credit report fees.

The title company charges a portion of the sett...

Here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor, people often ask us what types of things they need to do to keep their homes well maintained.

And, then there are those people whose houses suggest – in even a casual drive by – that they might not be too aware of how to take care of what is likely their biggest investment – their house.

If you need a good wake up call, remember that most homeowner insurance policies do not cover deferred maintenance.

In other words, if you discover this summer that the caulking on one of your windows wasn’t secure and over time water has seeped in onto your hardwood floor that now needs to be replaced; most likely you are not covered for that. 

Or, maybe all those steamy showers have taken their toll and you realize that you have mold taking over your bathroom. (Although, do check; a few homeowners’ policies cover some severe mold remediation. Oh, but remember that deductible gets paid first!)

When it comes to deferred maintenance – that is, maintenance that has...

This is a great time of year to paint your house – or at least give it a good scrub!

We’d like to help you with a few tips on ways to make it easier. In addition, you may recall that we have tools you can borrow if you need them.

Remember, in our climate most houses need to be painted about every five to nine years. Also, remember that simply washing your house can make a huge difference not only in how it looks now, but also in extending the life of your current paint job.

What to do after you’ve prepped

After you’ve carefully scraped, washed, primed and caulked, it’s time to open up that can of paint!

Just like it’s not ideal to paint in a downpour, it’s also not recommended to paint any surface in the direct sun. Doing so can cause the new paint to “skin-over,” resulting in poor attachment to the siding, even blistering.

Painting in the direct rain or when moisture in the form of fog is expected can also cause problems. You can put a nice coat of paint on during a drizzling day, but it ma...

When you have a home project you want to hire an expert to do, it’s critical to hire the right people. The most important key to having a successful project is to hire a contractor who is bonded, licensed and insured.

We spent a whole column recently outlining why that is so important.

In addition to hiring someone who is bonded, licensed and insured, to set you up for success it’s key to have a written contract including a clear description of the work to be done.

So today we’re going to talk more specifically about the written contract. Once again we’ll mention that we are not attorneys and don’t offer legal advice. That being said, think of us as an experienced neighbor who has worked with many contractors and contracts over the years.


Put it all in writing

Besides your name and address, a contract should name the construction company, all of its owners, all pertinent addresses, phone numbers and the contractor’s license number, bonding agent, bond amount, as well as their insuran...

The sweet sounds of songbirds are typically a welcome sign of summer. However, when they move in for the season that means they make a nest.

If you’re a homeowner, you need to stay alert so that birds making their tidy homes don’t disrupt your tidy home.

Some of the same people, who would be horrified to learn of a family of rats living in their basement, don’t think twice about birds nesting in their eaves. But they should!

Some birds, such as starlings, English sparrows and pigeons are exceptional opportunists and should be discouraged from living anywhere in your house or garage.

At best, they might only roost on all the roofs in sight of somebody’s regular handout, all the while depositing prolific amounts of acidic droppings on each roof nearby the food. This poopy environment creates ideal conditions for supporting a healthy crop of roof moss. And worse than that, they can spread harmful diseases and create expensive structural damage to your home.

Starlings introduced from Europe

In t...

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710 E. Market Street 
Aberdeen, WA 98520

1-866-533-7828 toll-free
360-533-7828 phone 
360-533-7851 fax

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