There can't be many occasions that are as exciting as moving into your first home. If you've rented previously, you're probably looking forward to being free of a landlord, giving you full control over what colour you paint the walls, what you do with the garden and even what pets you have. However, with extra freedom comes extra responsibility. Here's what you need to stay on top on now you've officially joined the property ladder.
Obvious perhaps, yet rarely a concern for renters. Blocked gutters can cause water damage, unpleasant smells and generally cause your property to look messy. Ensure that your gutters are cleared of leaves, dirt and debris about four times a year as a general rule, but more if you’ve had storms or a particularly wet season.
Clean your chimneys
If you’re lucky enough to have bought a property with open fires, these will definitely need a service before you consider using them. For this we thoroughly recommend hiring a chimney sweep, who should be able to clean and check all of your property's fireplaces and chimney stacks before the cold season. If your fireplace will be used for decorative purposes only, it's ok to leave it unswept, just remember to have it cleaned if you change your mind and want to use it again.
Winterproof your pipes
Burst pipes and flooding cause more than just a headache, they can induce some serious costs too. Before your first winter, perform a thorough check of your piping. You primarily need to ensure that piping is sufficiently insulated wherever it extends into the open or passes through an unheated area. Pipes can be easily insulated with tape or foam, but don't be afraid to enlist the help of a professional if you're unsure of how to do so.
Check your communal spaces
If you've moved to a property with communal spaces it's worth doing your part to tend for these too. Admittedly, it's not always clear who's responsible for the space between driveways or maintaining hedges and trees, so try to find this out soon after moving in. Paths and walkways can be ambiguous too, so it's worth enquiring with your neighbours as to who normally cares for them.
Look after your trees
If you've just acquired a property with some land, however large or small, it's worth taking stock of what you have and how much work it will be to maintain. We're not all greenfingered individuals, but it's important to regularly check up on the trees you own, especially before and after storm season. Trees need attention and, when poorly managed, can cause costly damage to your property as well as any outdoor buildings.
At Engel & Völkers, our friendly property experts know everything there is to know about purchasing your first home. If you're interested in becoming a homeowner, visit your local E&V branch and we can help you through every step of the buying process.