winter is coming (is here!)
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING OR SELLING DURING WINTER
Sellers: Do not postpone the marketing of your house until after winter: Use winter to your advantage, as there are fewer listed properties to compete with during winter and gives your property a stronger chance for buyer-views.
Purchasers: Houses tend to show their true colours in winter......see below -
Does the house face & "live" north? This will ensure a warmer house in winter and a cooler house in summer. North-facing entertainment areas are especially attractive as they offer wind-free entertaining and outdoor living during summer.
In the Western Cape it is much easier to spot roof leaks during winter: Look out for stained ceilings and signs of water running from walls and ceilings. If in doubt, ask for a roof report by a specialist to ensure peace of mind.
Rising damp is more evident in winter: Determine where north is and look out for damp, especially beneath window sills, behind curtains and on northern walls.
Are the gutters intact or leaking and dripping? Seamless gutters are preferable and require less maintenance.
It is easier to spot the dark and gloomy houses during winter, and also those offering sufficient natural light all year round.
No one likes a cold house during winter, so if yours is on the cooler side of the spectrum, consider installing a wood-burning fireplace, gas heater or proper insulation in the roof.
Would it be possible to entertain during winter? Is there an indoor or covered (and sheltered) braai area and fireplace?
Is the garden well-drained or prone to flooding?
Is there direct or easy access from the garages to the house? If not, is it possible to break through from an adjacent area into the garage to solve the problem?
Consider back yards especially. Addressing the problem after registration and after the first heavy rains, can be a costly exercise as it often involves negotiations with neighbouring owners.
Consider money-saving installations like Geyserwise (an automatic implement regulating your geyser and switching it off automatically) or solar heating.
Ask for a copy of the Seller's Utility Bill to ascertain the electricity usage during winter.
Ensure that you receive a copy of the Declaration by the owner regarding the condition of the house (as required by the Consumer Protection Act), preferably at the first viewing, but definitely before signing the Offer to Purchase).
Get Winter - Wise! Happy House Hunting!
Content: Pieter de Swardt
Editor: Alet Smit
Author: Louw & Coetzee Properties