While most New Year’s resolutions focus on getting fitter or giving something up, why not consider a resolution that can help both you and your property at the same time?
If you’ve got a holiday home overseas or an investment property in need of some attention, it might be worth considering a few upgrades to improve both the property and your own peace of mind.
Save space and clear up clutter
Making your house more functional and tidy is always a good idea, and you should consider maximising storage efficiency with innovative designs.
This is especially true for overseas properties, whether for rental or occasional use.
After a long journey, the last thing you or your guests want to be confronted with is a messy house with an unsightly, cluttered interior. Instead, make use of hidden or under-utilised space to hide away things you don’t want visible all the time.
One often overlooked area for home storage is the underside of a staircase, whether it’s the space underneath or inside the steps themselves.
In the former case, a space that might usually contain an awkwardly-shaped cupboard could be turned into a downstairs office or seating area.
In the case of the latter, the gap under the stairs or hollow steps can be turned into a collection of sliding drawers, providing a novel area to store shoes, cleaning equipment or seasonal items without taking up valuable space elsewhere.
Other solutions could include purchasing made-to-order cabinets for nooks or wall spaces; seats and sofas that actively incorporate storage; and the utilisation of unusual spaces, such as the areas above doorframes or below windows.
Boost energy efficiency
Increasing the energy efficiency of your property is a good plan for 2018 and one that will save you money and might not be as hard as you think.
As well as insulating loft space, pipework windows, you can make life easier by taking advantage of the latest technology.
For example, automated temperature control systems could be used, such as the ones that let you remotely control and monitor heating systems using your smartphone.
Such a solution would be particularly important if the property isn’t occupied during all or some of the winter months.
Turning the boiler off completely isn’t always ideal as it can risk pipes freezing. On the other hand, having the boiler on full blast while nobody’s in is highly wasteful and will result in a large heating bill.
With that in mind, a smart thermostat can adapt to your usual heat requirements or be set to ‘tick over’ when the house isn’t occupied.
Stay safe and secure
Another upgrade that will provide immediate results is the installation of a robust security system to keep your house safe both when you’re there and when you aren’t.
Smart technologies are also useful in this area, with many top quality digital cameras and motion-detectors now available for a reasonable price. Another useful innovation in this area is the ‘smart’ door lock. These give you the freedom to secure your home without the need for a key, allowing temporary access for guests staying at the property.
What’s more, better security can reduce the costs of home insurance and act as a deterrent to minimise the likelihood of attempted break-ins.
Be good to the garden
If your holiday home has a garden in need of a bit of TLC, 2018 could be the year to spruce it up.
An overgrown and unkempt garden isn’t particularly easy on the eye, and it will be similarly unattractive for guests staying at the property.
Getting to grips with a garden can require a fair amount of work, but there are many ways you can reduce the amount of time this takes.
For example, a well-kept lawn adds a great deal to a garden, but to reduce wear and tear on it you might consider adding conveniently-placed ‘stepping stone’ slabs leading to a bench or seating areas.
Other clever ideas to lower the workload related to your outdoor space include adding decking or patches of gravel, along with choosing low maintenance plants.
Bordering the lawn with fragrant perennial flowering shrubs can improve the appeal of a garden area, while encouraging climbing plants to grow up trellised fences will make use of vertical space and make the garden more attractive.
There are plenty of ways to spruce up your holiday home in the year ahead=, but if you are planning to take the plunge and buy an overseas property this year, keep an eye on the Everything Overseas blog for property price news, insider knowledge and great tips.