Property Maintenance Tips

Your home needs maintenance in the normal way, and this general advice from the RICS may be useful when read together with your Home Survey report. It is not specific to this property and does not include comprehensive details. Problems in construction may develop slowly over time. If you are concerned contact us for further advice.

Outside the property

You should check the condition of your property at least once a year, especially after unusual storms.

Routine redecoration of the outside of the property will also give you an opportunity to closely examine the building.

  • Chimney stacks should be checked occasionally for signs of cracks, split or broken pots, or loose and gaping joints in the brickwork or render. Storms may loosen aerials or other fixings, including the materials used to form the joints with the roof coverings.
  • Roof coverings should be checked for slipped, broken and missing tiles or slates, particularly after storms.
  • Flat roofing has a limited life and is at risk of cracking and blistering.  You should not walk on a flat roof. Where possible keep it free from debris. If it is covered with chippings, make sure the coverage is even, and replace chippings where necessary.
  • Clear any debris within rainwater goods and gutters at least once a year, and check for leaks when it is raining. You should also check for any loose downpipe connectors and broken fixings.
  • Check main walls for cracks and any uneven bulging. Maintain the joints in brickwork and repair loose or broken rendering. Re-paint decorated walls regularly. Cut back or remove plants that are harmful to mortar and render. Keep the soil level well below the level of any damp proof course (150mm minimum recommended) and make sure any ventilation bricks are kept clear. Check over cladding for broken, rotted or damaged areas that need repairing.
  • Once a year check all window and door frames for signs of rot in wood frames, for any splits in plastic or metal frames and for rusting to latches and hinges in metal frames. Maintain all decorated frames by repairing or redecorating at the first sign of any deterioration. In autumn check double glazing for condensation between the glazing, as this is a sign of a faulty unit. Have broken or cracked glass replaced by a qualified specialist. Check for broken sash cords on sliding sash windows, and sills and window boards for any damage.
  • Keep all glass surfaces clean within conservatories and porches and clear all rainwater gutters and downpipes. Look for broken glazing and for any leaks when it’s raining. Arrange for repairs by a qualified specialist.
  • If you have any external joinery, regularly redecorate all joinery and check for rot and decay which you should repair at the same time.

Inside the property

You can check the inside of your property regularly when cleaning, decorating and replacing carpets or floor coverings. You should also check the roof area occasionally.

  • Roof structure: When you access the roof area, check for signs of any leaks and the presence of vermin, rot or decay to timbers. Also look for tears to the under-felting of the roof, and check pipes, lagging and insulated areas.
  • If you have a leak in the roof the first sign is often dampness on the ceiling beneath the roof. Be aware if your ceiling begins to look uneven as this may indicate a serious problem, particularly for older ceilings.
  • Look for cracking and impact damage, or damp areas which may be caused by plumbing faults or defects on the outside of the property on walls.
  • Be alert for signs of unevenness on floors when moving furniture, particularly with timber floors.
  • You should arrange for a qualified specialist to regularly sweep all used open chimneys. Also, make sure that bricked-up flues are ventilated. Flues to gas appliances should be checked annually by a qualified gas technician.
  • Check for broken built-in fittings.

Services

  • Ensure all meters and control valves are easy to access and not hidden or covered over.
  • Arrange for an appropriately qualified technician to check and test all gas and oil services, boilers, heating systems and connected devices once a year.
  • Electrical installations should only be replaced or modified by a suitably qualified electrician and tested as specified by the Electrical Safety Council (recommended minimum of a ten year period if no alterations or additions are made, or on change of occupancy).
  • Monitor plumbing regularly during use. Look out for leakage and breakages, and check insulation is adequate particularly as winter approaches.
  • Lift drain covers annually to check for blockages and clean these as necessary. Check any private drainage systems annually, and arrange for a qualified contractor to clear there as necessary. Keep gullies free from debris.

Grounds

  • Follow the maintenance advice given for the main building for garages and outbuildings.
  • Regularly prune trees, shrubs and hedges as necessary. Look out for any overhanging and unsafe branches, loose walls, fences and ornaments, particularly after storms. Clear leaves and other debris, moss and algae growth. Make sure all hard surfaces are stable and level, and not slippery or a trip hazard.

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About the Author: Natasha Williams
I started the Shape Surveyors in 2011 after changing careers. As an ordinary house purchaser, I mistakenly believed that the Valuation was a survey and went ahead and purchased my first property. This old Victorian house was presented in excellent condition, totally refurbished. I fell in love with the place, ready to make it my home. However, three months later, dampness, movement and rot were uncovered. Several builders inspected the property, and the recommendation was to strip the house back and start again. It needed a rewire, damp proof course, treatment for dry rot and timber infestation. The news was devastating. The minimum quote was £27,000. I had just put all of my savings into this purchase and did not have enough money to renovate the property. I started researching. In those days, I did not know anyone who had a survey, let alone a surveyor. The Homebuyer Report would have highlighted all of these defects and allowed me to negotiate the price. So I decided to go back to university to become an RICS Surveyor. I did not want this to happen to me or anyone else again. So, after years of training and experience in housebuilding, project management, and residential surveying, I decided to provide a comprehensive service to homebuyers. I’m on a mission to keep you informed throughout the home buying process, from viewing the property to closing that critical sale, whether you’re a first-time purchaser, upsizer, downsizer or investor. Unfortunately, property defects are often hidden.

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