My word we’ve had some rum weather of late. The autumn was so mixed, weatherwise. The summer had been pretty hot in June, lots of very very hot days, then the second week of wimbledon fortnight turned very wet and windy and this remained for another week or so. The summer holiday period was scorching hot one day, torrential rain the next and with these downpours came tremendous winds. Autumn itself was very cold and wet and now we are awaiting for frost and snow to return for a second hit. This makes the knotty problem of home and house maintenance all the more critical. When the window cleaning comes to me, he does an annual check of the gutters, fascias and soffits so if there are any problems looming, I am forewarned. The same checks need to be done for roof tiles and chimney flashings. Suffering water ingress is one of my greatest fears!
I have recently had an invitation to visit a family member who has been slowly but very surely progressing with a very large extension on the side and above the garage of his house. I was shown the plans some five or six years ago and they were still fighting the day with the local planning officers – back and forth things seemed to go until at last the coveted permission arrived. No time wasted, the project was begun and I have been privileged to watch and wonder at the various stages. This week I was shown a very well advanced shell – plumbing for the ensuites, new bathroom and downstairs facilities needed before anything else can continue. This depends on the availability of the plumber who is so good, he’s constantly booked. Nice problem to have. This is one property that has had so mucy care and thought put into the work, the problems iron themselves out.
My niece has not long moved into her second house – the first being a rather swish three floor town house in the middle of a village expressly created by the developer. It was glorious whilst she was single and didn’t mind going up and down the several sets of windy metallic to her bedroom in the crowsnest. The stairs were a pain everytime she & hubby remembered something they need up there! So they moved to an older house slotted in on a brownfield site. Masses of problems not picked up during pre purchase – gutters, leaking garage roof, kitchen sink dramas. Shower cubicle that refuses to shut and showers that didn’t deliver much water . . . . Great disappointment all round. But a property problem company her dad knows came to the rescue and within 3 months has identified and rectified many of the underlying problems. Replacing their boiler was key to many. Ah give a round for the experts!
Now that winter is very fast approaching – although it is strictly only autumn, I do worry about the sheer amount of work that is needed to keep my house looking and feeling comfortable and warm. And safe. We’ve just been slightly battered by the tail end of a hurricane season that has hit the US and caribbean areas pretty bad this time. We of course don’t feel a great deal of it over here but occassionally one reaches its tentacles.
On a modern house, there are not as many issues. They’ve been built to withstand massive amounts of weather – much more than could ever be invesigaged in face. But smaller, older houses have far less protection. It can be worrying to hear thing that have grown wings suddenly flying about the garden. Gutters, fascia boards, soffits etc. A property maintenance and repair company is the best regular investment and can easily be achieved!
Oh for a property problem expert to come to my aid . . . One of the problems I’ve encountered that was not thought about when we bought this house 15 years ago was what would happen if the great big double garage door ever got stuck and couldn’t open . . . . . well I have had to sort this recently and in quite a hurry too. One of my family suddenly found themselves needing garage storage space and I could feel my ears burning as my name was obviously being discussed. Well, having sorted a seriously huge pile of junk for the tip and an equally impressive pile for the charity shops, I suddenly found the garage door jamming when only two inches into the up and over routine. This is when engaging a property problem agency would have solved all my problems. They sort all this kind of stuff – and so much more.
It is drizzling so horribly at the moment, it’s impossible to recall that we are actually in the middle of the English summer season. My phone tells me the outside temperature for the area and it is right down to near autumnal figures. The central heating timer is not a million miles away and it is so very tempting to get up and press the on button! Another things about lousy constantly pouring rain is the worry that something could be leaking on my loft.
When I have these moments of doubt at my peroperty owning capabilities, I am cheered by the thought that a phone call or click away is a raft of experts in the field of property maintenance, renovation, remodelling etc. Mostly the repair and maintenance side is my more urgent quest. Looking at sites not enough. Just checking out the reviews as far back as possible!
The need to have more space has cropped up for one of my offspring – she and her partner have a very neat but tiny starter home. True, it does have 3 bedrooms and it does have a garden, but the actual house size is less than half of my home. It does most of the things you need though, a substantial downstairs cloakroom, a small but well designed kitchen, spacious fitted wardrobe in the master etc. But after 4 years and the acquisition of first one puppy and then another, they have outgrown this little paradise.
What to do next – well, getting a much more spacious home with a bigger garden is first. They wanted to do this gradually and keep the existing home to start their property portfolio. Getting the right advice and using experts along the way should enable them to see their dream come to fruition.
Taking time out to ensure property problems are addressed early in the summer months may seem a very obvious course to take and in fact if you asked 1000 house owners, 999 of them would probably say that’s what they do. But do they ? When summer comes, we are all so busy out there enjoying the rays, taking coffee on a little bistro patio or sitting by the river at lunchtime etc. Very few of us are voluntarily hiking up ladders to inspect the guttering after the baby blackbirds and bluetits have fledged.
Getting the services of a really top notch property maintenance company is a real boon when there are so many jobs that have to be seen to in a year. This is especially important if you own more than just your own house – perhaps a portfolio of tenanted apartments. Their expertise will really help to ensure you have the best job done and safety factors will be a priority.
When we see those lifestyle programmes on tv, where we follow the story of folk buying their home in an auction, there are always amusing little anecdotes and tales of woe to be enjoyed by those of us not actually parting with any hard earned cash. The ones who inspire me most however are the professional property dealers. They know their market and when they are getting something ready for the rental side, they know exactly how much needs replacing and how to stem any indulgent spending.
Nine times out of ten you hear them say to the host of the show, oh we have our own gang of tradespeople. They know from exerience that to get a property really up to scratch in the shortes time and at the least cost, getting a professional company will save money in the long run. Amateurs rarely save the money they plan.
During a particularly cold patch in the winter just gone, when we were froen to the bone all the time and the force 8 gales were evident even before the weather presenters mentioned storm doris and the like . . . . this fence surrounding this house suffered a direct hit. One part of the garden is very exposed and it’s in a fairly open spot. This in itself is not usually a problem, but when it’s very windy, the fence takes a pasting because of the winds that whip up around the end of my house, down to the one over the back and my fence is in the middle.
I have always hired a property and garden maintenance geru to help my in the maintenance side of running my home. There is too much for one person to keep up with especially with the garden – they are experts and really know their stuff.