As I write there is a glorious blue sky over The Stray in Harrogate, the Great Yorkshire show has been and gone, the town is busy with the 2017 Home and Gift Buyers Festival and it's the height of summer. So why have my thoughts turned to the likes of leaking gutters, broken fall pipes, peeling paintwork, unexplained ceiling damp patches and troublesome central heating boilers? In fact, all the things you associate with winter.
You might be charitable and wonder if I am thinking about relatives in New Zealand currently in the depths of their winter and managing such problems whilst recoiling from a drawn Lions rugby tour. You might be concerned that I am not enjoying the best of an English summer in one of Yorkshire is most picturesque towns. The reality is that I am effectively sitting between the two. If you want to enjoy the winter then don't waste the summer is my advice as both a chartered surveyor and estate agent. Let me explain with two words: Property Maintenance.
We all love to see a nicely cut lawn, in fact some of us get quite obsessional about the straight lines. The edges are also neatly cut, the borders are well stocked and weeded. But at the end of a few hours productive gardening, as you relax with a cold beer this weekend, will you think about the external condition of your house rather than your garden? I guess most don’t put checking the aforementioned gutters, fall pipes and roof tiles at the top of their summer jobs to do list. Okay you notice the peeling paint work and wonder if it’s worthwhile sorting out this summer, or can it wait till next Spring?
As the rather dramatic images of a flash storm in Cornwall earlier this illustrated, heavy rain can have a devastating impact when least expected. So, can I suggest when putting your garden into good condition this summer, maybe it's an opportune time to do some basic maintenance to the outside of your home as well. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you should be clambering around at the top of long ladders on a DIY maintenance expedition. It can be much more leisurely, in fact something to do whilst having that well-earned beer? Armed with a set of binoculars have a look at the roof to see if there are any loose tiles, or slates that have slipped. If so get a professional in to fix them and whilst there, they can check the flashing around any chimney stacks and see if any felt roofs are starting to perishing. I am sure a roofing contractor would much prefer to do the work on a sunny afternoon than as an emergency on a damp and slippery Thursday afternoon in November. My thrifty Yorkshire upbringing also suggests the latter may well be much costlier than the former.
When it comes to selling houses, first impressions can be so important. Yes we love to see beautiful interiors, high spec bathrooms and kitchens with all mod cons. But please do remember fundamental building maintenance is so essential, yet it is overlooked by many until the problems arise. And more often than not, the problems become apparent in the winter when time spent during the previous summer could so easily have avoided the problem arising in the first place, and actually cost much less. We all clean our cars, and have them serviced regularly as we don’t want to break down on a motorway with all the associated cost and hassle. Why should your home be any different?