At this time of year we start to encourage our sellers, landlords and property owners to prepare and tackle those outdoor jobs before winter creeps in – save yourself some money and maintain the value of your property at the same time.
Equally, if you are looking to buy or rent a house in the coming months then it is also a good idea to keep an eye out for these jobs when viewing a property – have they been done or is it something you will need to consider when you move in?
By keeping your property well maintained you will ensure maximum selling appeal and if you are not looking to sell then at least doing these jobs will prevent further costs in the future – better to invest now before it’s too late.
For the landlords out there, by completing these jobs you will be keeping your tenants happy and lessen the likelihood of a costly emergency call out.
Make sure your property is protected against the winter weather to prevent expensive damage.
By the way, if this list seems daunting to you, then let us know – we work with several amazing, local contractors who would be more than happy to come and help.
So, without further ado, here are 10 jobs to tackle before winter sets in…
1. Clear your gutters, drain traps, and overflow pipes.
This prevents blockages during the inevitable heavy rain we get here in the UK. Make sure you clear out any leaves and debris. Blockages can lead to damp issues which can cause damage both inside and outside your property.
Check for cracks and damage too whilst you’re there and don’t forget about your drain traps!
2. Inspect your chimney, roof, and flashings
As well as damaged brickwork and tiles, it is really important to check your roof for any small issues like holes, cracks, or other damages. Your roof is the most exposed part of your house so it must be secure, especially during winter. Checking your flashing is a big one as that stops a lot of water.
Don’t forget to get your chimney swept and checked too before you light it!
3. Scrub any ‘green’ or mossy paving and brickwork
Paving, decking, and driveways are all about to get slippy. By giving everywhere a quick hose down with a jetwash will prevent this as much as possible. Removing leaves and other debris in the process will also prevent further accidents.
4. Insulate any external water pipes and locate your mains stopcock
It may also be worth considering checking the ball valves in your toilets and header tank – and check to make sure the overflow pipes are unblocked. If you don’t and you get a leaking overflow pipe it will cause so much damage -and if it happens to freeze this winter you’ll run the risk of flooding.
5. Gardening – yes even at this time of the year.
Replace and secure any damaged fencing because it could get windy. Get rid of any dead plants and leaves etc. Loose sticks and branches are also worth taking down so they don’t blow off and cause damage to your house.
As we mentioned above, make sure you get rid of any moss or debris on the ground that could be a slip or trip hazard. Another good suggestion is de-icing salt – have you got a bag just in case? You might need it when the ice sets in.
6. Use this time to make a repair list for inside ready for the rainy days
It’s going to happen… those rainy Sundays where you just don’t feel like going out. So have a jobs list ready to keep you busy! This could include:
- Replacing cracked tiles
- Filling cracks in the walls and ceilings
- Fixing leaky taps
- Painting your walls (ideally neutral colours if you are thinking of selling or letting soon)
- Replacing badly stained carpets and lino
- Add protective mats to the inside of your front and back door to collect the dirt and mud.
7. Check your draught-proofing
Are all your windows and doors sealed? Especially in older properties. You don’t want to stick the heating on full whack to then lose the heat through any broken seals. Make sure you repair any cracks or holes too. That job alone could save you a lot of money in heating bills.
8. Take care of your heating system
Speaking of heating bills. When was the last time you had your heating checked or serviced? As a landlord, it is a legal requirement to have a Gas Safety Certificate done regularly but as a homeowner sometimes you forget about checking your boiler, especially if it is hidden away.
You really don’t want it to pack in when you really need it or we will be round with the electric heaters like we have done for many years (it always seems to happen at Christmas too).
Check that all radiators and thermostats are working efficiently and that batteries are replaced for wireless thermostats or other controls when needed.
If your boiler has an external condensate pipe, then make sure it is well insulated. A common cause for boiler failure in winter is a frozen condensate pipe.
9. Is there anything you can do to your conservatory?
As the colder months creep in, we tend to not want to use our conservatories but with our home life changing over the last few years, could you utilise that space more in the winter by making a few changes? It could be a playroom, dining room, office, or a man cave even. There are several changes you can make to a conservatory to make it more usable as it gets colder, including adding heating, more efficient windows, better flooring etc.
10. Maintain your properties exterior
This is an easy one to forget but your property has an external envelope that is protecting you from the external elements and unfortunately, it does take a battering. So before the weather makes a turn for the worst, check the exterior of your house for any cracks, in the brickwork, windows, guttering, roofs, flashing, facias, and soffits – even the smallest gap can create damp problems.
As the weather turns cold the problem of condensation also starts to rear its head. Have you read our article on combating condensation? Click Here to take a look.
For those of you looking for a buyer or tenant, the street scene at this time of year is vital – if you get it right, your property will definitely stand out amongst the rest and will certainly become more desirable.
Take a step back on the other side of the street and take a critical view of how your property looks. There may be a couple of small jobs that would make such a huge difference – just a simple trim back of the shrubs, removal of weeds, leaves and dead flowers will make your property look so much bigger, more attractive, and therefore better value. Your ‘street scene’ is so important.
A few hours of work will see you well-prepared for a sale or let.
If you have no intentions of moving then at least save yourself some time and money by being proactive rather than reactive.
Our landlords will automatically have a winter property check carried out – it’s part of our service agreement.