News from Stephen Hodge

The Brolly & The Ivy!

In this Issue


Uplifting thoughts following a year of miserable weather, slightly brighter news on the housing market, and the chance to win a Christmas treat for our readers who Tweet!

Weathering a Weird Weather Year


Chrismas Tree

A Brolly Tree!!!

Well, what a weird old year it’s been on the weather front. Looking back it’s hard to believe that in mid-April, when an official drought was declared over most of England, the Environment Agency was warning we could be in for water shortages till Christmas!, however November’s downpours have seen large swathes of Oxfordshire under water once again and more unfortunate families facing mopping-up operations after their homes were flooded.

Weather is the one factor we can’t control in relation to the upkeep and maintenance of our property, and this year’s extreme weather, following on from the exceptionally dry winters of the past couple of years, has brought a busy and mixed caseload for the SHA team. Projects have ranged from helping clients suffering from that sinking feeling , property subsidence, caused by clay soil drying out, to fires as previously reported and flood damage.

If the recent deluge has made you more worried about flooding, contact SHA to find out how you can get a copy of Flooding – a Clear Guide to Property Owners, a publication from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Amid new warnings that more properties may become uninsurable, the guide explains what you need to know about flooding and flood risk, and what can be done to deal with the increasing risk.

Our reputation as experts in dealing with flooding and its aftermath was further underpinned this year when we were consulted for a RICS research project on the impact of flooding on small to medium-sized businesses. The report entitled " Impacts of Flooding on SMEs" concluded that business owners get very little independent technical advice when they have been affected by flooding, instead depending on their insurance companies to advise on the best steps to take. Chartered Surveyors have an important role to play in ensuring flood-hit businesses get the best all-round advice on recovery and reinstatement.

Stephen Hodge says this is as true of flood-hit homes as businesses. “Understandably being flooded is a very distressing experience and householders want to get things sorted out as quickly as possible. Leaving it all in the hands of their Insurer may seem the obvious answer but it’s not often the quickest or best solution, especially when you’re not used to dealing with all the contractors and trades required to repair your home. Getting independent professional advice from an expert who has helped lots of other people in the same plight can make the whole process less stressful.”

Our Christmas wish at SHA is for a brighter, sunnier 2013.

Brighter News on Housing Horizon?


The UK housing market is expected to a see a slightly stronger end to the year with transaction levels picking up and price falls slowing down, according to the latest survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Helped by the prospect of greater mortgage availability on the back of recent government initiatives, Chartered Surveyor's expectations for future sales reached their highest level since May 2010.

Read our latest updates on Twitter.

Survey Sense


One trend that has been noted during the financial squeeze has been some prospective buyers not investing in a survey – which for the unfortunate ones can turn out to be a false economy. Yes, professional advice costs money, but a survey which can start at £500 will give you the peace of mind that you are investing wisely. Hidden defects, not immediately obvious but uncovered by a survey, can cost thousands to put right. A survey can also be a powerful negotiating tool, if defects are identified read more.

Vendors can also request a survey of their own property if they want to avoid nasty surprises being uncovered by a prospective buyer’s Surveyor that could scupper their sale. We at SHA say it’s sensible to be safe rather than sorry, avoiding the quest for a dream home turning into a house of horrors.

Time to Turf it Out!


Time to Turf it Out

Fallen leaves at this time of year can block drains and gutters, raising the risk of dampness penetrating homes over the winter. The risk of clogging has increased as the warm, wet weather in recent months has seen garden overgrowth running riot. But SHA was surprised to find the gutters at this property sprouting this luxuriant crop of rooftop turf that would have been better placed making a lawn at ground-level. Turf it out, quick, was our advice to the property owner!

We Wish You a Happy Tweetmas!



December 2012 marks the end of SHA’s first full year on Twitter, keeping followers up to date with our latest activities and advice plus property market news at @oxonpropertyadv so to celebrate here’s a little Christmas competition.

Tell us where this flood photo – featured on our Twitter feed – was taken and email your answer to and there will be a bottle of something festive for the sender of the first correct answer out of Santa’s hat on December 21.

Find more photos, projects, and problems sorted by SHA’s property professionals at @oxonpropertyadv – and we’d love it if you follow us!


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