Tips for buying or renting in winter


Summer may be the best time to see a property in its best light but in winter you get to see how a home really works – especially in the harshest weather.

That’s why buying a house in the winter months actually makes a lot of sense.

Rain, wind, snow and ice will all test the ability of a property to protect itself from the elements . . . and keep its owners or renters warm and cosy inside.

Conversely, potential problems are more likely to appear and be more easily recognised.

So let s1homes help you pinpoint what to look for when buying or renting in winter.


Doors and windows

We all love a warm home; unfortunately, the warmth can have other ideas. In fact, it will take every opportunity to escape through doors and windows.

So check whether the doors – both exterior and interior – close properly and are draught-proof.

Unless there is a conservation restriction, the windows should be double glazed and the frames solid and free of any draughts.

If there are any issues when buying, factor in the cost of replacing doors and windows into your offer. If renting, ask the letting agent if the owner would consider upgrading.


Check for dampness

In the winter months damp stains, discolouration and peeling wallpaper can come to the fore so have eagle eyes for the telltale signs. Use your nose, too. Are there musty smells in corners or do the carpets have a winter perfume similar to a wet sheepdog?

If you have any doubts, it’s not the end of the world. Even the best property can suffer from damp simply due to poor ventilation, faulty plumbing or a single blocked gutter.

However, to avoid expensive surprises down the line, your estate agent will be able to recommend an expert to inspect the property and advise on the best home survey.

Similarly, your letting agent can ask the landlord to inspect and carry out repairs.


The heating system

Unless you’re hankering after life in a yurt next to a wood burner, the main fuels for your central heating system are likely to be electricity and perhaps gas. In some rural areas oil or liquid petroleum gas will take the place of mains gas. More modern, more attractive and more eco-friendly systems use technology such as heat exchangers or biomass boilers.

As well as ensuring the heating system is in full working order, ask your estate agent if it’s possible to have copies of utility bills. This means you can plan your budget.


The boiler

Traditionally responsible for about 60% of your energy bills, today’s boilers are much more efficient than those installed just 10 years ago.

Replacing a boiler can be costly. So to ensure the heart of your heating system is future-proofed, find out its make and model, age and service history (it should have been checked every year, especially to monitor CO2 emissions).


The radiators

Your estate agent can ask the vendor to switch the heating on in advance of your viewing. This means you’ll not only be able to check how warm the house feels on a winter’s day but all the radiators are working properly.

If the radiators look older than Little Mix check for signs of leakage or rust: they may need replacing.

If they have thermostatic valves, you’re on to a winner as these mean you can adjust the temperature in each room – a much more efficient way to heat your home and keep costs down.


Discover a winter wonderland of new properties to buy or rent with s1homes.

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