When spring-cleaning the inside of your home, clean the outside of your home too!
Sounds like obvious advice, but many people do not give a thought to the outside of your home like checking the chimney stack, roof tiles, guttering etc. Until, that is, a problem occurs. Tepilo reckon that by spending £5k on getting these things fixed properly, you could prevent £10k’s worth of damage. Prevention is definitely better (and cheaper!) than cure.
Damaged brickwork, cracked or broken roof tiles, and cracks in the rendering may be problems which will have to be fixed by a professional, but the damp problems that will arise as a result of leaving them may be far costlier than that, and may prove to be a turnoff for potential buyers. At the very least, they may want to negotiate a lower price.
Ensuring your gutters and drainpipes are clear so they can take the rainwater away from your property is something home-owners can – and should – be doing for themselves. Not only will the fascias and soffits look clean and sparkly for viewers, but damp will not be encouraged to enter the structure and cause mould and mildew. If you’ve had a damp problem in the past, but everything is fine now, for goodness sake paint over that stain!
Estate Agents talk about “kerb appeal”, which is a major factor for potential buyers. They may drive past the property a few times before asking to view internally – if they don’t like what they see from the road, they’re not going to bother with the inside. Unless, of course, they’ll want a knock-down price because of it. So re-paint the front door, make sure all the windows are clean and sparkling, borders are trimmed and attractive, leaves are swept away, tarmac and paths cleaned and weeded etc.
Very often, if we’ve lived with a problem area for a while we no longer see it – i.e. it doesn’t register that it needs to be dealt with. Let a friend help you by staging a mock viewing – that gate has been squeaking for some time so oil it now. Take photographs and view them from the reverse side – that way you’ll see the areas that need attention, because it won’t look like your property! The pile of rubbish in the corner by the garage, the untidy trellis, the crack in the pot with the roses in it – all these things will become apparent and you can fix them.
Do you have a shed in your garden? Do you want one? A well-maintained shed – either as a hide-away, hobby workshop, or just to keep all the gardening tools tidied (and secured) away, is something many people will like. However, if it’s in a bad state of repair, that’s obviously not a good selling point. If your garden is small, there may not be room for a shed. Think about what the potential new owners will be like and want.
If your lawn has taken a beating with kids playing football, you hanging out the washing, the rabbit burrowing, maybe consider fake grass – looks nice all the time, and doesn’t require cutting. (The rabbit won’t be happy, although it might deter next door’s cat from leaving a calling card.)
Consider also the layout of your garden – are you making the best of the size and shape of it? Modern houses tend to have small rectangular gardens, which can be quite boring, unless you create some shapes and angles. Try circles and triangles, instead of symmetrical squares for the flower beds and lawns.
Although the summertime is the most popular time for moving house, and December is the least, remember that your garden should be attractive to viewers whenever they come. Disguise the compost heap by growing tall plants between it and the house, or make an attractive wall as a barrier. Choose the right plants for the location, and you can have colour all year round, not just in the summer.
Keep gates, hinges, locks, knobs and knockers clean and working freely – nothing says neglect like a seized up lock. If you have a patio, keep it clean and ensure any furniture is also clean and well-maintained, even in the winter – it shows you care for them, and will therefore have cared for the rest of the property.