Spring is traditionally the time when many holiday homes are opened up and prepared for the coming summer season. Those considering buying a holiday bolthole abroad, should bear in mind there is actually more to it than meets the eye to ensure a home is ‘holiday ready’, as expert concierge, Nicole Remus, knows from her 15 years in foreign property management.
Nicole, age 46, who is originally from Munich, 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 consists of managing property maintenance and acting as a concierge when guests are staying at the villas. Nicole comments, ‘A lot of work is undertaken during the winter and especially in spring, to ensure the properties are in first class condition before the season starts. 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.’
Here is Nicole’s checklist for holiday house preparation:
- Warm and dry
Boiler or drain problems could spoil a holiday and can be a lot of hassle to sort out, so it’s essential that a specialist maintenance company runs a thorough boiler service 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 it is better to take preventative action to clear these, than to deal with a costly and unpleasant blockage later.
- A great space for outdoor living
Holiday home 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 need cleaning and treating once a month to prevent rust.
- Making sure everything is rosy in the garden
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 to keep shrubs and flowers in the best shape for summer. It is important to water plants during dry spells, especially in areas of low rainfall, so that the guests don’t arrive to brown scorched earth! Watch out for infestations from pests, especially in hot climates; preventative action by specialist companies is best.
Swimming pools are best maintained via specialist contractors on annual contracts. In Portugal where there can be minor earth tremors, it is best not to drain the pool, as, without the weight of the water, the pool walls are vulnerable to cracking 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. It is important to 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. It’s worth walking through the property turning on every light switch to check for blown bulbs, checking all smoke alarms and opening and shutting every door to make sure there are no jams.
- Spring Clean
A property that has been locked up for several weeks, or even months, can smell musty when it is opened, so it’s advisable to clean the property every two weeks, whether it is occupied or not, and to leave all drawers and cupboards open. Basements can be a particular problem, but regular use of de-humidifiers will absorb any excess humidity.
Holiday home owners can find they have little time to enjoy a holiday as they struggle to get everything done during a one or two week stay before the start of the summer, as well as keep the property in tip top shape throughout the season. Investors looking for high quality holiday home ownership without the hassle therefore might like to consider The Hideaways Club. Members invest in a portfolio of exquisite homes in fantastic locations and join its exclusive lifestyle and destination club 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