Seasons change subtly in Mallorca. When I first came to live on the island it seemed like there was only winter and suddenly summer. Now I’d say that spring is my favourite time of year here. Especially spring in Deia.
Although we feel the first stirrings of spring with the January days of calm, February is usually not so great. But when the days become warmer and longer in March, when the orchids bloom in the mountains and wild asparagus appears in the meadows, spring has arrived. And summer is just around the corner.
For people who own homes in Mallorca, spring is the time to make good after the winter. Even today, many Mallorquins traditionally whitewash their homes from top to bottom and, I’m sure, perform all kinds of rituals. Today, more often than not, homes are being prepared to be rented. So they need to be looking and feeling their absolute best.
Preparing your home
Because of Deia’s location in the mountains, the winter months can be especially hard on homes in and around the village. I spoke to Steve Costello of Mallorca Management about the challenges homeowners face and how he helps them prepare for the summer. Mallorca Management works closely with Charles Marlow to help make sure the properties we rent on behalf of homeowners are always in excellent condition.
What are the typical problems people encounter in the spring in Deia, Steve?
Most of the houses are old and poorly insulated, especially the roofs. The level of humidity is particularly high in the village. This year we had an exceptionally bad winter. We’ve had a lot of problems with roofs, doors, windows and terraces. The waterproof sheeting underneath tiled terraces and roofs is often cracked and water filters through, causing damage to interiors.
Another problem in this part of the island is, believe it or not, goats. People have to invest quite a lot of money in closing off their land to prevent goats destroying their gardens. Goats notwithstanding, mountain land also requires quite a bit of upkeep. It can be expensive to repair dry stone walls, for instance.
How do you help people maintain their homes?
Looking after homes is our business so, of course, we can put pretty much anything right. For example, we know how best to treat the wooden furniture and beams that are a feature of traditional island houses. Assuming that these have been treated in the past, we use linseed oil mixed carefully with turpentine and one of the better natural waxes to produce a beautiful deep shine and a lovely aroma. For exteriors, we use a good teak oil.
If people are going to treat or paint the wood inside and outside their houses themselves, they should always ask a professional to take a look at it before applying anything.
More than anything else, though, I’d recommend that any homeowner has their property fully checked out before they go away for the winter. They could also invest in a year-round management and maintenance agreement with someone like us. We inspect properties weekly and heat and ventilate them throughout the winter to help make sure they’re dry and aired.
Planning ahead means homeowners avoid nasty surprises when they arrive on the island in the spring.
Do you have any ‘top tips’ for homeowners?
Definitely. Install a water softener. This prevents problems with boilers, washing machines and taps caused by the island’s very hard water. Invest in a dehumidifier to take the humidity out of the air and prevent the build-up of mould and damp. Make sure you’re in contact with local professionals like ourselves who really do know these houses and how best to look after them.
Like everyone else, we’re thoroughly enjoying spring in Deia. If you’re thinking about renting a home in the village or you’re a homeowner considering rental, feel free to contact the team.