Once you've found your dream property, you'll want to make sure it's as well protected as possible. With winter around the corner, it's worth preparing your home in advance for a bout of bad weather and ensuring that your whole household knows what to do in an emergency. Not only can this prevent excessive damage to your property, but it will also reduces the likelihood of any potentially harmful accidents.
Secure the outside of your property
At the start of the season, take advantage of the milder weather to assess your home safety, making notes of everything that you think needs repairs or could be strengthened and improved. Anything that can be blown away or torn loose must be secured or replaced. This includes loose fence posts, roof tiles, doors, guttering, and shutters. If necessary, hire a tree surgeon to remove large overhanging branches which could fall off and strike your property or block the road.
Prepare the inside of your home
Install surge protectors to prevent damage occurring during electrical storms. Otherwise if lightning strikes your property, it can destroy any items left plugged into your sockets. Put together an emergency kit including torches, spare batteries, candles, matches, fresh water and tinned food. Photograph your property and valued possessions and upload the images to a secure cloud server, such as Google Docs. In the worst case scenario, these images will help you to make claims on your home insurance. Familiarise yourself with the stop valve for the water mains, and know how to turn it off in case of a problem.
Last minute checklist
When you hear a weather warning on the radio, you should take a few moments to make some final preparations:
- Have your emergency kit close to hand. If your property has a safe-room, bring your kit with you while you take shelter. Light some candles in case of a sudden power outage.
- Store lightweight garden furniture in the garage. Heavyweight furniture should be secured, and potted plants should be brought to a sheltered area of the garden to prevent them being blown around by high winds.
- Quickly clear leaves from your gutters so that heavy rain will be able to drain away quickly.
- Bring all pets into the property. Make sure windows and cat-flaps are securely locked so that your animals don’t go wandering into the storm. Horses and other livestock should be secured in their barn.
- Unplug expensive electricals such as laptops, televisions, and hi-fi systems. Even if you have a surge protector installed, it's better to be safe than sorry.
After a storm
Once the storm has subsided, you should cautiously evaluate whether the situation outdoors is safe. Walk around the grounds of your property looking out for downed power lines, trees or branches that may be ready to fall, and burst gas pipes. Check for damage to your windows, fences, and garden furniture and report any problems as soon as possible.
Oops…was that a bit too stormy for you? If you're looking to purchase property in a sunnier climate, Engel & Völkers has real estate offices on five continents. Whether you’re looking for a chic apartment in Santiago, a sprawling villa on the outskirts of Cape Town, or a laid back beach property in Queensland, our local property experts can assist you in finding the ideal second home.