How we manage our property is an individual matter of organisation and expenditure. When there is a stock of properties to manage, say a whole raft of ‘buy to let’ in a portfolio, the only sensible way to maanage the constant demands of property upkeep, repairs, decorating and legal safety affairs is to use a property management agency. They have the expertise, resources and manpower to carry out the work in fixed phases so that each property has the basics seen to on a very regular basis and the extras, such as decoratorating and refurbishment, on a more programmed approach.
The trouble with leasing out property is the variable nature of tenants. Soe are fantastic, caring for your property as if it was their own, others tend to be far less kind and almost because they are paying rent, sometimes in a bad situation, they won’t think twice about trashing your proudly owned flat or house.
There are so many different facets to property management. Firstly we have just the outside to deal with. i.e. all the pointing work, ensuring no gaps exist between the outer bricks. Then there are the gutters, fascias and soffits around the roof line. These can come down with sometimes tragic results when the gusty weather gets up. One of our houses had a major problem with cast iron gutters – it was a victorian mid terrace . . . not easy to fix when you have a couple of houses either side that share the massively heavy and complex gutter and downpipe system. We also had trouble with the chimney flashings – those little flaps of roof materials that is waterproof and sits below the roof tile to and is pulled up around the edged to stop any water ingress. This is where a property maintenance company is worth it’s weight in gold. An annual contract is so worth while.
Our modern houses are so much simpler to plan and construct than the huge family homes of the 1700s. I take that period as an example here because I’ve recently revisited a well established heritage house where I’ve volunteered as room steward for several seasons. for that task there is obviously a certain amount of history to be learned by heart – in the hope that we may engage the interest of visitors. The Hall I’m referring to replaced a tudor family estate house – shame they were so rich, the owners just replaced it and pulled the old one down! The palladian hall is perfectly proportioned with exactly the right number of windows either side of the front door. The entrance hall is painted in Lancaster Pink, sounds strange, suggesting at first theshade of ladies’ corsets, but it is deliciously warm and very inviting to the visitor. The amount of work needed to keep the Hall from deteriorating is a full time job in planning, funding and orchestrating for the Trust’s team – calling on experts at every step of the way.
I have an elderly friend who has been used to living in some rather nice houses over the years. Her husand was a jobbing builder when they married and he then formed small building company with his brother and cousin. It helped that another older cousin was already a successful local architect. There’s a world of difference in being a builder if you have to pay a huge amount to engage an architect. Having one in the family can bring much greater success in that there’s a natural family understanding and a combining of thoughts. Very often siblings work very well together too – in design and decor, there is a general appreciation of the project finer points and it’s as if they work with one mind. Again with projects one can concentrate on the design side and the other on the build requirements or one can design a thme and the other will be good at procuring the actual product to bring it to fruition.
The maintenance of a building can sometimes present major headaches which are not considered adequately during buying. My partner and I lived in a selection of flats for many years – until we too could aford to buy a complete house, of our own. The flats belonged to our italian landlord and his wife who had inexplicably managed to buy up huge swathes of the old town, in a relatively short time. Their portfolio were all old and not having funds to spare, they did all the ‘doing up’ work themselves for many years. The wife was very good at shinning up a tall ladder, no fear of heights for her. Once her husband was up on the roof of whichever property they were working on, she would be up and down the ladder prviding him with supplies of roof tiles, buckets of fresh roof mortar, flashing materials, whatever. They were a truly excellent eam of building owners, maintainers.
Here are a few tips for best results if you’re contemplating decorating your office space.
Pick out features. If you have a period office, perhaps in an old building, you’ll want to pick out some nice features in the room to make a cool statement! Fireplaces (even if not used anymore) are super cool to have as a central focus, and draws the eye of visitors to create a great talking piece. You might have beams or even really high ceilings, in which case, use them to your advantage!
Choose high quality tools – you will thank us once it’s done! If you decide to use cheap paint or cheap tools, not only will the end result not look as good, it certainly won’t last as long. High quality paints are formulated to last and usually have a stronger pigment, meaning you don’t need to slap on layers and layers of paint to get an even finish. Best plan: Get a professional in. If in doubt about your decorating ablities – always get a pro in to do the hard work!
I’ve been trying desperately to get some inspiration for having my house redecorated. It’s jolly hard as the job won’t be started until at leastMarch, a good 5 months away. The decorator lives abroad but he comes back to UK every winter to volunteer his decorating and restoration skills at various heritage properties and he’s allocating an additional 2 weeks of his valuable time to be available to help me. One job that desperately needs seeing to is the bannister and stair rails – they are now a mixture of coffee and cream colour because the top coat has started wearing off and I don’t have the strength in my hands to rub down the gloss work – a professional does that sort of thing in a trice. When he decorated the rest of my house a few years ago, I was amazed at how quickly the preparations were carried out – all the doors off and rubbed down in the time it would take me to find the sand paper!
In the years immediately following the last war, the severe shortage of housing – through years of bombing raids by the enemy, made it a tremendous challenge to try and rehouse all the displaced families. The main thrust of the housing campaign was by way of corporation or local council housing – great swathes of land were compulsorily purchased from landowners and councils to allow for a new housing to go up in village and small town locations. These ‘council’ houses were necessarily built in a great hurry and as economically as was allowed. Consequently they were ugly afffairs. When it became obvious that houses could not be built quickly enough or when land acquisition became bogged down, temporary land was taken and fantastic little prefabricated homes were put up by the thousand. These were supposed to be temporary, slightly more than a static caravan and sited with full plumbing and electricity, they were fantastic little places for the smaller family.
One of the most alarming things for property owners is to find bits of it falling off or completely missing. These many facets of ownership are brought to our attention by the conveyancing lawyer we see when we discuss and sign the contracts. But how many of us really listen and take in the seriousness of maintaining everything within our boundary in a safe & legal state. One house I had was adorned with pretty gables at the front, but after a lot of bad winter weather and rain, during bird nesting season the cement/mortar gradually fell out from under the pantiles down the front of each gable. The problem was actually pointed out by the chap up there reinserting the downpipe back up in the gutter . . . . professionally he looks at everyone’s roof when he’s up at that level on any task. He then hopped along the garage roof to inspect the rest of the roof and discovered that birds and weather had eroded the pantile fixings all the way round. It needed fixing a s a p to stop rain, birds and vermin entering and also to prevent the pantiles flying off. The job required scaffolding to be erected, It’s not a lightweight job and had I been more vigilant over the previous years, I would have known what to look out for. I do now so it won’t happen again.
Needing a decorating expert is probably the bane of many a housewife these days. Not so many chaps take on these very worthwhile jobs, or only do so when they’ve had a hobby of some sort and then they realise their skills at decorating could earn a fair sized chunk of someone else’s capital But there are people who are naturally very good decorators – speedy, accurate, very tidy and trustworthy. When such a person is engaged for a job, and they do it as well as they usually do, their reputation is enhanced every time and by word of mouth they get recommended and engaged for more and more work. Sometimes they find there is so much work on offer they can’t actually accept every job available, or have to accept but advise a longer time scale. Someone who comes that well recommended can generally call the tune and every customer wanting him or her has to accept his popularity is by virtue of him being able to do a fantastically good, economical and timely job!