To many Location, Location, Location is simply the title to a television series about residential property. Such is its popularity that mere mention of its presenter Kirsty and Phil and people know which programme you are talking about. However for many years location, location, location has been one of the guiding principles to estate agents when assessing the value of a particular property so no doubt this was the thinking behind the aforementioned television programme’s name.
As the autumnal leaves fall and we head towards winter it occurs to me that the three L’s in the short term might more appropriately be Ladders, Leaves and Leaks. For any property owner the effective use of the first, removal of the second will hopefully prevent the third arising.
As both a Chartered Surveyor and an Estate Agent I am continually surprised at the diligence of some property owners to maintain their homes and safe guarding the value for what is for many their most substantial capital asset. But for every one owner falling in to this commendable bracket there seem to be many more who struggle to recognise that small amounts of upkeep and maintenance particularly at this time of year can make a huge difference both short and longer term to the condition and therefore the value of their property.
So, I urge you to start and continue with a basic autumn maintenance plan. At its simplest clearing away leaves, emptying gutters, fixing slipped roof slates and even a base layer of paint to give some protection to give some protection from the worst of our mixed winter weather.
As you are probably now thinking none of this is rocket science but yet it’s something that a surprising number of people seem to ignore. Maybe it’s the hassle, maybe the cost, maybe the difficulty in finding contractors but I do recommend you at least think about it now rather than reflecting with hindsight in January that thinking you should have done something about it earlier as a damp patch appears in a bedroom ceiling or you have water pouring down the outside of your building from blocked gutters. Whether regularly or only occasionally we all at times clean our cars. Some are out with the hosepipe, sponge and polish on their driveway every weekend, others whizz in to a car wash of some description or another. Internally some have a quick tidy up, others have a full valet. The reason we either want it to look nice or are fed up with the mess.
I suggest that property ownership is not fundamentally different. Presentation is key to attracting purchasers and can also influence the price. So by carrying out the maintenance works I am advocating above surely you are improving your chances of selling. We might be in rather uncertain times but the property market does not suddenly grind to a halt for three months from November to January. In fact I regularly advocate that buyers looking in the winter months are very focused. They can see the properties at their barest and that is probably when a lack of maintenance becomes the most apparent and it inevitably influence the minds of purchasers, let alone the influence of a surveyor when terms have been agreed and there is an inevitable renegotiation due to apparent defects. We all want to maximise the value of our assets, however modest or large, so perhaps a little forward planning this autumn is something you might like to consider now before it is too late. The only problem might be the weather so please be careful if you venture up a set of ladders this weekend!