Top Tips for Protecting your Home in the Winter

Top Tips for Protecting your Home in Winter

  • Check the roof Have any broken or missing tiles or slates replaced and other damage repaired.  Keeping the rain out is one of the most important things you can do.
  • Clear out the gutters. Clear out leaves, moss and debris from rainwater gutters, downpipes and gullies.  Reset any displaced joints.
  • Check the roof insulation. Birds, squirrels, rats and mice can displace the insulation in the roof, and so can we when rummaging about. Check the insulation and consider increasing it, as this could help keep down your heating bill. It needs to be at least 10-11 inches (270mm) thick of insulation.
  • Boiler Serviced. Have the boiler and heating serviced and check that all thermostats and programmers are working and set at a sensible temperature. And when the house is unoccupied, turn the temperature down. Again this will save on heating bills.
  • Don’t get too cold. If you have a large old brick or stone house with thick walls, don’t let the structure get too cold as it will take a lot of energy to rebuild a comfortable temperature. Doing so may cause condensation on the walls, which sometimes results in mould and spores. These can prove a hazard particularly for those with breathing difficulties and should be avoided.
  • Draught proofing.  As to keeping the heat in your home, ensure outside doors and the windows fit well and consider fitting draught proofing strips where there are gaps between the frames.  Keep doors inside the house closed to reduce heat loss from unnecessary air circulation.
  • Don’t forget the curtains. Draw them after dark and use thicker ones if windows are single-glazed.
  • South facing windows. Keep south-facing curtains open during the day to take advantage of the sunshine, which will help heat the house.
  • Check the woodwork. Check the woodwork on windows and repair now if necessary. Otherwise, there will be a risk of penetrating damp affecting the interior of the house.
  • Check the paintwork. Check the paintwork on the window frames and redecorate before the weather deteriorates.  Thorough preparation of the surfaces and use of good quality paint is key to providing a durable finish.
  • Bleed your radiators. A great way to warm up your home is to bleed your radiators. This releases any trapped air, allowing hot water to fill every part of your radiator and warm your home more efficiently.
  • Find your stopcock. Make sure you know where your water stopcock is located. If you suffer a burst pipe you’ll be happy you found it in advance!
  • Create a power-cut kit. Be prepared for the possible winter power cuts by putting together a power-cut kit i.e. torches / blankets etc.
  • Sweep your chimneys. If your chimneys are in use, make sure that they get swept every year. This will remove the build up of dirt and grime from your chimney walls.
  • Smoke Alarm Check. Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are in full working order.
  • Emergency Numbers. Keep a list of useful numbers handy in case of emergency. Include your plumber, gas installer, electrician and doctor

 

AND IF YOU ARE AWAY FROM YOUR HOME….

  • Leave your heating on for at least an hour a day while you are away from home
  • In severe weather, or if severe weather is forecast, you should leave your heating on day and night at your usual temperature setting
  • Check that loft insulation is laid over, and under pipes in the loft
  • Consider asking a friend or relative to visit your home every day while you are away. This will mean that, if you do suffer a burst pipe, it will be detected as soon as possible. Make sure that they know where the stop tap is located.
  • If high winds are forecast, make sure objects such as garden furniture or ladders are fully secured

 

Guild Blog: Moving? How to Feel at Home Fast

The sale is complete, you have the keys in your hand and the moving van has delivered your household contents to your new property. All that is left is for you to unpack and turn your new house into a home. 

 

Here are a few tips to help you settle and make the labour-intensive process a smooth and easy as possible:

 

Many hands make light work

Dividing the work among friends and family who are willing to lend a hand and get involved will make things move along much faster. Delegate the work out by providing a list of tasks to each person. It is best to focus on the larger jobs first, such as moving and placing furniture and then working down to the items that you would be able tackle on your own if need be. If possible, get at least one room set up as quickly as possible so that helpers have a place to put their feet up and take a well-deserved break during the process.

 

Put safety first

It takes a few days to feel settled in a new property and often even everyday sounds can be strange or unnerving. Making sure you and your family feel safe in the new environment will help everyone feel settled sooner. Ensure all the doors and windows close and lock properly. Also, make sure that each family member has a set of keys to the property. If you think it’s best to change any of the locks, schedule a locksmith and change the codes to any coded entry points, such as automated garage doors and security systems.

 

Get to grips with the electrics

Ensure you know where the fuse box or circuit breaker is and how it works. Have a look at the boiler and heating and familiarise yourself how it turns on and off and how to set it.

Also, remember that often electric cables are hidden behind walls, so before making any holes in the wall to hang something, make sure you know what is behind it. It is possible to buy cable detectors from DIY shops.

 

Update all your details

Don’t wait until the last minute to get your paperwork done and update your details. Redirect your mail online with Royal Mail, notify utility providers and the council. Also, fill out a change of address with your bank and employee and ensure that all the relevant service providers, clubs and creditors have your new address on record. Changing addresses also means re-applying for the electoral role. Remember also to make the time to change the address on your driver’s license.

Don’t pressure yourself to do all of this in one go, but the sooner you get them done, the more settled you will feel.

 

Make the place yours 

Changing the colour of the walls and putting up your personal items and photos will make the house feel like a home and can make the rest of the unpacking a much more pleasant experience.

 

Take time to breathe

There’s no deadline or rush, it doesn’t have to all be done at once. Take some time out to have a family dinner, watch a movie or go on a social outing. Or just relax, step outside to meet the neighbours and take time to enjoy your new surroundings.

 

If you are looking to move to a new home, contact your local Guild agent.

Guild Blog: How to Turn your Homes Weaknesses into Strengths

To make your home appeal to the widest range of buyers, identify its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the most common property weaknesses and how you can turn them into strengths …

 

Weakness: The windows are outdated.

  • Hanging new curtains is an easy way to update your property. Install a simple metal rod and hang a neutral curtain with metal rings.

 

Weakness: Your kitchen needs an update. 

  • Purchase new white goods for your kitchen to avoid the cost of a complete renovation. When you’re updating, think stainless steel as these appliances are popular and modern.

 

Weakness: There are small, ‘awkward’ spaces in your home.

  • Hang a large mirror. Mirrors can make any space seem larger, so they’re especially important in an entryway or narrow hallway.

 

Weakness: Your house looks old.

  • A fresh coat of paint and a top-to-bottom clean can work wonders to turn a rustic property into a character-filled dream. Highlight the period features of your property so the house becomes historic, not just ‘old’.

 

Weakness: There’s no furniture in your property. 

  • Have furniture in every room to demonstrate what it could be used for.

 

Are you selling your home? Contact your local Guild Member today.

Guild Blog: How to Avoid Over Home-Staging your Property

Are you thinking of selling your home?  Are you wondering whether to decorate or de-clutter your space?

 

Interior of a living room with shelves and sofa with pillows.

 

Have you ever seen a property that just seemed to be trying a bit too hard? Over home-staging, or trying too hard when decorating a property in order to sell it, is a surprisingly easy thing to do. Our agents share their stories of homes they’ve see that have been over home-staged, and what you can do to prevent this problem.

 

1. Be genuine 

According to Steve Barron of Drivers & Norris, trying too hard can be a major turn-off for potential buyers. Steve says, “we don’t come across many over-staged homes in our area, and we don’t advise our clients to do so either. Around here, home-baked bread, the smell of fresh coffee or bowls of fruit could appear a little corny.”

 

2. Don’t do too much

According to Matthew Higgins of Sawyer & Co., “an over-staged property is always easy to spot. There’s too much artwork on the walls, too many cushions and throws on the sofa, and the most major mistake: a dining table set for a banquet. Less is always more when it comes to staging a home.”

 

3. Don’t underestimate the power of flowers 

While overdoing it on the floral front can spell disaster home-staging-wise, a bunch of flowers helps to keep things homely. According to Dominique Scott of Sawyer & Co., “a subtle yet attractive vase of flowers in a few of the rooms is always a nice touch.”

 

4. Remember that you’re selling a lifestyle

Part of what you’re offering to a potential buyer is a lifestyle. One of the major problems with over home-staging a property is that “it makes it incredibly difficult for a potential buyer to see past the sellers’ belongings. Buyers aren’t just buying a home, they’re buying a lifestyle. Seeing a room set up like a banquet hall could be very off-putting for a potential buyer that doesn’t use a formal dining room. It can make it very hard to see the space in any other way,” adds Dominique.

 

5. Over home-staging can make buyers suspicious

Why are over home-staged properties so off-putting, and why can’t potential buyers look past them? Steve Barron of Drivers & Norris explains, “When anyone tries too hard to ‘sell’ something, it can be off-putting. Most of us don’t like feeling that we’re being pushed in a certain direction, and may start questioning the motive of the seller. Are they trying to draw the potential purchasers’ attention away from an unflattering view or a building defect? That said, if they like the property, they will more than likely still be interested in it.”

 

6. Avoid clutter

Box up anything you don’t need before the move. Nicole Cox of Wye County says, “I always tell the vendors that if they don’t need it, pack it up ready for the move, because less clutter means more space and more space equals more money! It’s a simple equation.”

 

7. Make sure rooms are well-lit

Customers won’t want to buy a house if they can’t see what it looks like. Steve adds that sellers can “emphasize a property’s best asserts by fully pulling back curtains and making sure rooms are generally well-lit, either with natural light or artificial light. If the house is lit by artificial light, make sure that the lights are already on before a prospective buyer arrives.”

 

8. A few extras go a long way 

Hang window treatments to showcase high ceilings and hide low ones, and use fresh towels in the bathrooms and nice white linens on the beds. All of these things can be taken with the seller after they’ve sold their home, and they offer a blank canvas for a potential buyer. Don’t hesitate to hire an interior designer if you’re really stumped. They can help steer you in the right direction, decorating-wise.

9. Think understated 

Highlight the lightness and cleanliness of your home before you do anything else. Nicole says that “houses that are clean, tidy and welcoming, with tasteful and understated décor and furnishings will always sell for a premium. There’s no need to make it any more complicated.”

 

10. Depersonalise

Interior design is a matter of taste, and your particular taste may not appeal to everyone. Take your personal taste out of any home that you’re staging, and think of choosing neutral tones that will open up spaces.

 

Are you considering selling your home? Contact your local Guild agent today to see how they can help you sell your property.