Now is the time to start preparing your holiday home for the summer season says JANE SLADE
For those of us not lucky enough to have a management company to look after our holiday properties, expert concierge Nicole Remus advises on what we should do to get homes ready for the summer whether we are renting them out or not.
Nicole, age 46 lives in the Algarve where she manages four luxury properties for The Hideaways Club, an award-winning shared property fund and exclusive members’ club. Her role involves managing property maintenance and acting as a concierge when guests are staying at the villas.
“I estimate that the task of getting a house ready involves a team of 10 people at various times, from gardeners to cleaners, to specialist contractors, for example for swimming pool or fire extinguisher maintenance,” she says.
Here is Nicole’s checklist
Keeping warm and dry
Boiler or drain problems can be a lot of hassle to sort out, so make sure that a specialist maintenance company carries out a thorough boiler service during the spring and that any solar panels are also checked out. Drains should be inspected and cleaned and septic tanks emptied by a specialist company, particularly as the standard of drainage overseas can be inferior to the UK. Tree roots can infiltrate pipework, so take action to clear these, rather than to deal with a costly and unpleasant blockage later.
Making a great outdoor space
Outdoor space is really important for alfresco meals and barbecues, so all terraces, verandas, paths and outdoor furniture should be power washed, to clean any mildew or staining. For holiday homes near the sea, steel railings should be cleaned and treated once a month to prevent rust. Make sure they are also painted with anti-rust paint.
Keeping the garden rosy
It can be tempting to think gardening can be done in one blitz in the spring, but it really has to be done regularly to keep grass and weeds in trim and shrubs and flowers in the best shape for summer. Make sure someone can water plants during dry, hot spells, so guests don’t arrive to brown scorched earth. Watch out for pests infestations too, especially in hot climates; preventative action by specialist companies is best.
Swimming pools should be maintained by specialist contractors on annual contracts. In Portugal where there can be minor earth tremors, avoid draining the pool, as, without the weight of the water, the pool walls can crack when tremors occur.
The perfect impression, inside and out
Scuffed skirting, marked paintwork and chipped crockery will make a holiday home look tired and unloved. Paintwork should be touched up or cleaned every year and complete re-decorating is advisable every four to five years. Duvets, cushions and curtains should be dry cleaned before the start of the season and all crockery and equipment checked and counted.
Make sure all electrical items, such as TVs, satellite, wifi, electric shutters and security alarms are in good working order, as technology has a habit of going wrong (replace batteries in remotes too). Walk through the property turning on every light to check for blown bulbs, checking all smoke alarms, and air conditioning units and open and shut every door to make sure they don’t jam.
A property that has been locked up for several weeks, or even months, can smell musty when it is opened, so arrange to have the property cleaned every couple of weeks if you can whether it is occupied or not, and leave all drawers and cupboards open. Basements can be a particular problem, but regular use of de-humidifiers will absorb any excess humidity.
If you are looking for high quality holiday home without the hassle consider The Hideaways Club. Members invest in a portfolio of beautiful homes in stunning locations giving them the flexibility to holiday in luxury around the world, while The Hideaways Club team take care of all the upkeep.
The Hideaways Club’s Classic Collection currently offers 42 properties around the world, typically sleeping 8-10 guests, ranging from Tuscan farmhouses to ski chalets and tropical villas, with access to a further portfolio of 200 luxury villas through reciprocal agreements with other destination clubs.
The Club’s City Collection offers 20 luxury apartments in iconic cities, sleeping 4-6 guests. This is backed up by a first class concierge service to take care of any problems and to help organise transfers, holiday itineraries, dinner reservations and sightseeing. For more information, visit www.thehideawaysclub.com.