The rains have set in today, heralding the first signs of winter. At our latitude, roughly 35 degrees North, we do not have a proper Autumn. The years here in Malta can be remembered as shades of summer and winter. Spring is easly percieved, but Autumn is elusive.

Although many people tend to shy away from looking at property on a rainy day, it is at this particular time of the year that one can properly inspect the effects of water on a property, be it for sale or for rent. And I do mean water as in rain, or as in torrents gushing through our multitude of valley roads soon after our second proper rainfall, and thereafter.

Water leaks, damp patches and drainpipe blockages must go down as some of the worst afflictions on older properties. Unlike electrical faults, rattling windows and creaking doors, a water leak is a nightmare to repair. Locating the exact point in need of resealing is no easy task, especially in the case of a faulty membrane, or water seepage through crevices in the wall.

I therefore do recommend, especially if you are purchasing, that you make the most out of the rainy season and use it to your advantage if you have a soft spot for older properties. A visit on a rainy day, or immediately after, will reveal any hidden defects as damp patches, mouldy smells, or outright puddles in the odd forgotten corner!

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