“A 12-14 year aged Chardonnay? Bring it on!
A 15-20 year aged home? No thanks!”
Imagine being offered to buy an old vacant house or a bottle of old wine? What will win your trust first? Old house? No? I didn’t think so.
Houses that remain vacant for a long time, come with trust issues.
What all could go wrong with a property that hasn’t been looked after or maintained as a lived-in house or home as we lovingly call it? If you are a prospective buyer or a tenant, chances are that your imagination will run wild with all the short comings with it; and the checklist will grow longer. If you are the owner, you might start calculating the expenses of repairs to be performed.
A house may survive for decades. But the individual components that make up the house may — or may not — be as resilient. The actual life span of an individual house and its components depend greatly on the quality of installation, level of maintenance, weather and climate conditions and intensity of use. The life span of a building’s “vital” organs is varied. For example, the NAHB* study found that a wood deck can last about 20 to 25 years in a dry climate. Similarly a good-quality exterior or interior paint might have a lifespan of about 5-7 years. Kitchens, bathroom appliances and floor coverings normally last between 10 and 15 years, pipes and windows 20 years and so on .
However, after 10-15 years, some level of home repairs become absolutely necessary. Consider it a mid-life crisis 🙂 of a house of sorts. A makeover can do wonders towards ensuring that it gets the best value in the present market, be it sale or rental.
Regardless of the reason that a home is vacant, one thing is clear:
Any time a property and its running systems are left unattended for a long period of time i.e. water and air circulation, pest control, plumbing and electrical points , etc, problems start cropping up.
Then, there is the ‘M’ word. Moisture. If one sees signs of moisture, or mould, property value plummets, not to mention the possible health risk. Evidence of staining or moisture on plaster walls, makes one question the drainage / plumbing quality of the house. Untimely repair costs could skyrocket.
If it is a rental property then refurbishing it is a great idea. Not only does it lengthen the life span of the house but also gets a good rent offer.
“An important component of longevity is a building’s adaptability”, says Peter Richner, Deputy Director of EMPA*, Switzerland. The construction projects today are designed so they can adapt to meet future requirements. For example, kitchen layouts are made keeping in mind modular furniture, etc. Fortunately, this makes it easier to change the room layout as well as renovate the kitchens and bathrooms as per latest preferences. A well kept home has positive energies making it very appealing to perspective tenants.
I’m sure it’s evident by now how important it is to develop a regular check process for your property. A weekly/bi-weekly visit is essential. Checking the property post rain and storms is imperative, to make sure that there are no noticeable issues or damage.
If one lives out of town or even in the same town, it can get difficult and overwhelming to keep a consistent check. The regular check list could run something like this:
- Check all doors/locks, windows, and alarms.
- Check the water, flush the toilet (note: if toilets or sinks aren’t run often, the P Traps in the plumbing become dry…and this will allow methane gas from the sewer to seep through the pipes. This both smells and is dangerous.).
- Make sure the house is cleaned regularly.
- Check the lights, alarms and smoke detectors.
- Check outside hoses and water taps for leaks
- Removal of any flyers, mail or any other evidence that no one is living there
- Visual inspection of the exterior of house and lawn.
- Keep the house neat and ready to move in.
- Hence, it is advisable to pay someone, preferably a professional to do this work for you.
*NAHP-National Association of Home Builders
*EMPA- Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
Native Sutra specializes in providing beginning-to-end property management services in Gurgaon to its clients. We are driven with the sole purpose of keeping our client’s property running as smoothly as possible with the goal of keeping the return on investment high.
DISCLAIMER: Native Sutra does not provide any legal advisory services or legal opinion. This document should not be construed to be legal advice. The document is authors opinion only and Native Sutra does not guarantee the suitability of the document for any transaction. Please obtain independent legal counsel to ensure compliance in use of the document.