Use winter to get your home in shape

The dropping temperatures experienced in most parts of the country lately are a sign that winter – the prime season for home maintenance and improvement – is on the way.

“At this time of year,” says Hano Jacobs, CEO of the Realty 1 International Property Group, “there is usually less work to do in the garden and less inclination to go out and about, so homeowners have more time to tackle the tasks necessary to keep their properties in top condition.

“And this becomes all the more important if they are planning to sell their homes next spring or summer.”

With winter being the dry season in most regions, it is the best time to repair and repaint roofs and gutters, for example, or to paint exterior walls and varnish woodwork. It is also a good time to lay new driveways, paths and patios, and to make alterations or build on additional rooms, he says.

“However before you get to work, you should first inspect your home thoroughly, as if you were seeing it for the first time, and make a complete list of all the faults that need to be rectified, from flaking paintwork and paving cracks that need to be repaired, to dried-out window putty, loose roof tiles or missing roof screws.

“You should also check visible water pipes for cracks, leaks or rusting, make sure taps are not dripping, and take a close look at your electrical distribution box to make sure there are no exposed wires and that the earth leakage protection is still functioning.”

You need this list, Jacobs says, so you can prioritise the work to be done in accordance with your budget. “If you need to fix a faulty electrical system, for example, the faded paintwork may have to wait a month or two.

“On the other hand, you will also be able to sort out the inexpensive jobs you can get on with yourself, like lagging exposed pipes or cleaning out the garage.”

Meanwhile, he says, if you don’t already have a maintenance programme for your home, now’s the time to draw one up. “Keeping your home in good shape really makes sense. It means you won’t have a mountain of work to do when you decide to sell the property and need to get it ready for showing. But more importantly, it will save you money on an ongoing basis. The sooner you replace the washer in a leaky garden tap, for example, the sooner you’ll reduce your water bill.”

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