Local schoolchildren help support the drive for clean energy at Hammersmith’s new Civic Campus

Drilling for a new ground source heat pump kicks off local Climate Carnival week of events

Pupils from Flora Gardens Primary School and Hammersmith Academy joined Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of H&F Council, as a drill was driven 136 metres into the ground to draw water to power a heat pump to cool and heat the new Civic Campus facilities in King Street.

The drilling in Hammersmith event kicked off Climate Carnival week locally in the run up to COP26 – the United Nations’ climate conference which is held in Glasgow this November. From workshops to webinars, nature tours to talks, there is plenty to get involved with. Visit www.lbhf.gov.uk/climate-carnival for more details.

Exciting news for King Street

The creation of the new Civic Campus is exciting news for King Street – and we’re watching the progress keenly from our new office across the street! It will mean the return of a proper cinema, as well as new flats and shops, as well as a modern and accessible town hall building.

The first phase of the new Civic Campus is due to open in 2022 and includes a new cinema, retail outlets, new performance and events space and genuinely affordable new homes for local people. The scheme will also offer homework space for young people, a rooftop public bar and cafe, public art gallery space and a new public square. 

The heat pump system at the Civic Campus uses two 136-metre deep water wells, each 400cms in diameter, to draw water out of the underlying Thames aquifer. The wells are drilled through London clay, mudstone and overlying chalk which contains groundwater.

Once drilled into the chalk, the well is sleeved with a steel case and then tested. The system will produce 600 Kilo Watts (kW) of energy - equivalent to 60 times the heating required for a standard house.

The project is being delivered through a joint venture partnership between Hammersmith & Fulham Council and housing association A2Dominion. Its construction is being undertaken by Ardmore with the heat pump work contracted to GCore Limited.


Four top tips for selling your home in London before Christmas

Paul Cooney, Director of Horton and Garton Chiswick, offers his top tips for selling before the festive break

Looking to sell by Christmas? There is still a window of opportunity for those hoping to sell their home before Christmas, and there’s data that supports the timeline if you’re unsure if it’s possible.

An estate agent search website analysed the data for property sales in the run-up to Christmas and found that over the past six years it has taken homes listed in October an average of 64 days to find a buyer. Meaning those who want to have a sale agreed before Christmas should be listing their house for sale before October 20.

According to the research, since 2015 properties across the UK have been on the market for between 58 and 73 days before a sale has been agreed. Despite the pandemic, Brexit and political ups and downs, the data has shown that the average length of time taken for a property to sell has remained constant over the past six years.

Tips for selling your house

  1. Choose your estate agent wisely

Not all estate agents are equal in the level of service they provide to their clients. Many vendors find themselves choosing the cheapest agent or the one that promises the highest sale price initially only to have to seek assistance a few months later from an estate agent who was fair and reasonable in their market appraisal.

Gaining the right advice from the outset, finding an agent who you can trust and one who can demonstrate local success is key.

Furthermore, when it comes to buyers offering on your property and handling negotiations, it pays dividends to have a competent and professional estate agent acting in your best interest.

 

  1. Prepare your house for sale

What’s needed to prepare your house for sale will differ between properties. If there’s work to be done to get things in order it’s best to do these before putting the property on the market for sale. We’ve written various blogs on preparing your house for sale, from decluttering to carrying out renovations.

 

  1. Find a reputable solicitor

If you’re putting your property on the market, you should find a reputable solicitor and have them ready to act as soon as you’ve agreed on a sale.

There are certain forms a vendor must complete to get the ball rolling on a sale. It might feel a little premature to be listing whether you’re including the washing machine or the curtains in your sale but having these forms completed and with your solicitor can speed up the process.

 

  1. Find the best buyer

‘Best’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘highest’. It’s a misconception amongst property sellers that the best buyer is the one that offers the most amount of money for a property. This is almost never the case; a buyer’s full credentials should be considered before accepting an offer. From their financial position to ideal timeframes, whether they are in a chain or are committed to the purchase – these are all essential factors to consider.

Your estate agent is acting in your, the seller’s, best interests, as your trusted advisor they can guide you on which buyer is the better option to work with your onward plans.  

 

Should you sell before Christmas?

In Chiswick and across much of London, there is a severe shortage of property for sale, yet there remains a huge appetite from buyers – it’s an excellent time to sell a property.

Whether you should sell before Christmas is a personal decision, those who are considering pressing on selling their house in the coming months should consider doing so sooner rather than later. This said the New Year is traditionally an excellent time to sell a property, with homes historically selling quite quickly in the first few months of the year. If you’d prefer to prepare over the next few months and launch in the new year this too is a good option and one, we would be happy to work towards with you.

Whatever your plans for your house in Chiswick, seasoned local estate agent Paul Cooney would be delighted to have a no-obligation discussion with you, to share local market insight and advice to assist with your forward plans and ensure you can achieve your goals in the coming months. Give us a call on 020 8996 5120.

 

 


Talking Heads: An interview with Dave Collins from Brackenbury Primary School

Horton and Garton asks the tough questions of a local headteacher

Brackenbury Primary head Dave Collins (pictured above), who has been in post since 2016, was recently appointed to lead a new partnership embracing Kenmont, Wendell Park and his school, to pool expertise and resources. 

It’s a major step for all three schools, with staff reacting positively to their first joint training session. Kenmont and Wendell Park already had experience of working together under retired executive head Julie Howarth. 

“I’m excited to have been appointed to lead the partnership,” said Dave. “There are huge opportunities for the children and communities of each school to work together and learn from each other. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.” 

The three schools will keep separate governing bodies, but benefit from collaboration in many areas, including professional development of teachers – something that appeals to a head inspired to enter the profession by observing Mrs Bassett’s teaching skills when he was a Year 3 pupil at Lacey Gardens junior school in Lincolnshire! “And that was me! I said that I was going to be a primary school teacher!” 

Under the partnership arrangement, each set of pupils will still go to their own school, but there are more opportunities for inter-school sports tournaments and possibly meetings of the school councils. 

While he was working on his own A levels, Dave gained teaching work experience every Wednesday at local schools. 

Now he hopes that teachers and senior leaders will be able to share projects at Brackenbury, Wendell Park and Kenmont, spreading costs across three budgets.  

 

Diversity is working together

Dave taught for 15 years in Hampshire before being appointed as headteacher of Brackenbury Primary five years ago. He has also served as interim executive headteacher across Bayonne Nursery and Melcombe Primary in Fulham, and James Lee Nursery in Barons Court. 

The big difference between teaching in Hampshire and teaching in the Hammersmith & Fulham and Chiswick areas is, says Dave, the diversity in London. 

“The reason I went for the job at Brackenbury was mainly the community aspects to the school, and the diversity,” he said. “It’s a school of children from all different backgrounds, working together. It’s got a really good community feel.” 

He feels that another reason why the three-school partnership is working so well is that all three schools have wide diversity; far more than he experienced when working in Hampshire. 

Turning to Covid, Dave said that restrictions for schools had eased considerably during the summer. If there is a case of Covid there’s no longer the need to send an entire year home. 

“It means we have far more children attending school and having face-to-face learning, and parents back on site, so they can come into the school to pick up and drop off children.” 

The measures that remain in place include enhanced ventilation, regular extra school cleaning, social distancing where possible, and outdoor learning at every opportunity. 

Dave is convinced that the hand-washing and sanitising routines that the children rigorously follow will remain lifelong learnt skills. “It’s life now. When you come into school in the morning, you wash your hands. When you leave or enter the classroom, there’s sanitiser… and I think that will stay with children forever.” 

Dave believes that improved hygiene will also reduce spread of the common cold and other infections, adding that school life had returned to something more like pre-Covid times. “So far, cases are not where they were. It’s manageable. Staff are double-vaccinated now, and we’re not affected by the ‘pingdemic’ which caused problems before.” 

Mental health and wellbeing

Turning to issues face youngsters growing up in west London, Dave highlighted mental health and wellbeing, including the effects of Covid. 

“For us, it’s about working with parents to increase opportunities for children. From the school’s perspective, we still have quite a few transient families who move into the area, then move on. So it’s about how we can support families if they’ve just moved into the country and are then moving elsewhere.” 

In terms of the school budget it’s about doing more with a little bit less, but Dave is confident that partnership working between three schools will bring financial savings, for example with catering contracts and photocopying costs. 

 

 

Quick facts about Brackenbury: 

-Brackenbury had 280 applications last year for 60 places. 

-There are 418 pupils at the school 

-And 50 staff  

-There is an active PTA which, over the last couple of years, has provided 18 new screens in classrooms to replace old interactive boards, and supplied new audiovisual equipment in the halls. 

-The percentage of pupil premium placements is 38% 

 

Find out more 

For more details about Brackenbury Primary School visit: www.brackenbury.lbhf.sch.uk

Or follow the school on Twitter @brackprimary


It’s Oscars night for the best – and worst – buildings in Hammersmith

Every year the Hammersmith Society gives out its gongs for the new-build projects which deserve praise… and wooden spoons for the ones that don’t. 

Everyone gathered at the Riverside Studios on Wednesday night for the announcement, with the Hammersmith & Fulham Council Mayor, Cllr PJ Murphy, doing the honours and presenting the awards. 

The Hammersmith Society awards scheme is a good way to reward the extra thought and effort that goes into the best of the new developments springing up around us. 

Three very different buildings won this year’s top prizes, with ancient and modern represented. 

The Environment Award went to the circular Quaker Meeting House in Bradmore Park Road (architect: Stewart Dodd - pictured below), which – in the words of the judges – ‘creates a graceful pause in the line of Victorian terraces’ in Brackenbury. 

It’s a beautiful little building, with simple brick walls, an inviting entrance and pleasing curved lines. I love it. 

 

 

Next, the Tom Ryland Conservation Award, which this year goes to the Iffley Road Mission Hall, built in 1883 as the Sunday school for the church of St John the Evangelist. 

Restoring any Grade ll-listed building is a challenge, but this conversion and refurb (pictured below) has created really usable meeting, community and office spaces while preserving an important structure for generations to come. 

Congratulations to Lamington Group, Neil Davies Architects and HUT Architecture for their sympathetic reimagining. 

 

 

Finally, the Nancye Goulden award for smaller schemes has gone to the landscaping around the new office block at 245 Hammersmith Road, where a peaceful, tranquil mini park (pictured below) has been created for the many people who work in the area. 

The judges praised this example of how people can be prioritised in a sea of traffic and commercial activity… and I echo that too. So, take a bow Sheppard Robson Architecture and Exterior Architecture. 

 

And then the wooden spoons.

Unsurprisingly, the Hammersmith Society takes issue with Thames Water’s new water fountain in Lyric Square. 

Although it fulfils a noble function, letting people top up their water bottles rather than buying any more single-use plastic, it looks absurd. 

The judges said it looked as if it had been left behind from a funfair, with lots of white plastic, crowned with a bulbous blue egg, adding that it appeared ‘daft and out of place’. 

Also condemned, the 5G masts, which are of poor design, with drab equipment at the base and a complete lack of style or elegance. 

Once again, the Hammersmith Society has its finger on the pulse. We can only hope that the developers are paying attention. 

 


12 people you need to know if you’re moving to Chiswick

Whether you're relocating to a new area or simply moving to a different home in Chiswick, Paul Cooney has highlighted 12 people you need to know 

From solicitors and surveyors to help you during those early stages of your purchase, to interior designers and professional organisers to make your new house a home, these are the companies you should look to for help, advice and guidance, as recommended by Chiswick Director, Paul Cooney.

1. Sussex Mortgage Services

Mortgage advisors

Getting a mortgage that is the right fit for you and your future plans can feel like a challenge. A good mortgage broker can make an incredible difference, not only to the mortgage you can secure but also to ensure everything is closely managed from a financial side for your transaction to go through in a timely fashion.

The team at Sussex Mortgage Services have proven themselves to be valuable trusted advisors to many sellers and buyers in Chiswick.

2. Adams Kaye

Solicitors

A good solicitor is one of the most important members of the team of professionals you engage to assist with your sale or purchase.

Adams Kaye is a boutique law firm that specialises in property law and private client matters and is focused on excellent communication. Paul Adams and Stuart Kaye, the founding Directors of Adams Kaye, have a real passion for delivering exceptional service.

3. AR Legal

Solicitors

A solicitor is someone you need to be able to trust and feel confident in, it is an incredibly personal choice which is why we’re always keen to give our clients more than one recommendation.

For us, another reliable and safe pair of hands can be found in AR Legal, which is very close to home, being based on Turnham Green Terrace.

 

4. Michael Foreman 

Surveyor

In almost all scenarios it is prudent to have a survey carried out on a property you’re planning to buy. Good independent surveyors can be hard to come by, you should be looking for a reputable RICS or equivalent recognised surveyor and ideally one who’s independent of the bank’s valuation surveyor.

Michael Foreman and his team of associates at M J  Foreman & Co are the first surveyors we recommend when asked.

 

5. Davies and Mac

Removals

We’re often asked which removals company we’d recommend and the answer is Davies and Mac.

Buyers and sellers will often overlook this vital part of moving home but it can make such a difference having a professional company to take away the stress of moving, Davis and Mac provide a seamless service. They also conveniently have a storage facility for those who need it.

 

6. Eve Humphreys

Professional Decorating and Refurbishment

When you’re buying or selling a property there can be a requirement for decorating or refurbishment, finding a trusted professional team who have a good track record can seem impossible.

Eve Humphreys and her team are people we will recommend time and time again. She also happens to be one of the experts on the TV show How to Save a Grand in 24 Hours.

Check out her Instagram to learn more.

 

7. Howark Design

Interior Design

Howark Design is an Interior Design and Architectural Consultancy in West London, creating stunning characterful spaces for their clients.

Their personal and flexible approach to each client is particularly notable throughout the process of creating truly stunning, transformed homes. 

To learn more about their work and see some of their portfolio, check out the Howark Design Instagram account.

 

8. Brooke Copp-Barton

Interior Design

Interior design is a personal preference, finding a designer who reflects your tastes and style is incredibly important.

We love Brooke Copp-Barton’s portfolio of work and many Chiswick residents feel similarly that her use of colour and textures perfectly complements their home and personal tastes.

Take a look at her Instagram to see a snapshot of her portfolio and learn more about her work.

 

 

9. Olivia Prentis

Home styling

Whether you need someone to add the finishing touches on the property you’re planning to sell or the one you’ve just bought, Olivia of Post Prentis Design has a keen eye for styling homes, her magic touch can make a big difference to the look and feel of a property.

Olivia’s services include home staging, interior and seasonal styling, check out her Instagram page for inspiration and to see some of her work.

 

 

10. Esme Fisher

Professional in-home organisation and decluttering

Decluttering before putting your home on the market can feel like a mammoth task but it is a very important step to maximise your property’s potential, similarly, once you’d moved in you might realise you need to organise things properly.

Esme at Tidy Coaching can take away the stresses you might have and enable you to make light work of organising and decluttering your home.

Esme is a certified Kon Mari consultant and teaches Marie Kondo’s method – follow her on Instagram to learn more.

 

 

11. The Calm Home Company

Professional organisers 

Seasoned professional organisers, Heather Dhillon and Sally Gibbs at The Calm Home Company are the ideal professionals to engage if you’re looking for organisation solutions at home.

They are known for putting in place systems that have revolutionised the way people live and enjoy their homes.

Learn more about what they do on their Instagram.  

 

12. Project 1

Design and build

Easily one of London's best design and build companies, we’re fortunate enough to have Project 1 here locally in West London.

Project 1 is an impressive design and build company who have some incredible projects in their portfolio.

With their one rule being: exceed all expectations, you can rest assured you’re in excellent hands. Check out their Instagram.

 

 

Selling your house in Chiswick

If you’re planning on selling your property we would be delighted to discuss your plans and assist with your sale.

Each client and their property require a tailored approach to best suit their needs and requirements and ultimately achieve the best outcome. With over a decade of experience selling houses, Chiswick estate agent Paul Cooney has a wealth of experience to draw from to ensure your sale is smooth and without stress.

Get in touch with Paul on 020 8996 5120 to discuss the sale of your property, without obligation.

 


Helga’s W12 mural is a weekend high point for Artists at Home 

Artists At Home – which Horton and Garton are once again proud to sponsor – runs from September 17-19, with painters, ceramicists, sculptors, photographers, textile artists, jewellers and glass-makers showcasing their art in the setting of their workplaces.

For nearly half a century, artists across Chiswick, Shepherd's Bush and Hammersmith have opened their studios, homes and flats for viewing, and for the chance to chat to the local creative talent. 

Last year’s event was online-only, because of the pandemic. But this year we can get out and about to explore and celebrate local creativity.  

Among those taking part this year is Shepherd’s Bush artist Helga Stentzel (pictured above - she’s also No47 on the interactive map on the event website), who is a local legend after turning the blank wall of her home into a huge, colourful mural.  

Helga, who bought her home at 77 Westville Road through Horton and Garton, checked with the neighbours before creating the giant work of art. 

Instagram sensation

The Russian-born artist has lived in W6 and W12 for the past decade, raising her children in west London and growing her business – now a sensation on Instagram – for taking quirky optical illusion photos of household objects. 

Her ground-floor studio is among those open for viewing over the weekend, with her limited-edition photographs, and you can meet Helga and maybe discuss commissioning a mural of your own. 

“I was inspired by those exposed chimney breasts,” she said. “When we bought the house I thought it would be interesting to paint them.”  

She didn’t need planning permission. As long as your design isn’t advertising something, or doesn’t offend the neighbours, it’s allowed. Helga’s total outlay was £5,000, which included paying street artists from the Blank Walls firm to do the work.  

“I’m glad I hired specialists to do it, once I saw them working on it for three days,” she said.  

The artist now hopes that other blank walls across west London will be brightened up by mural painting, eventually creating a trail that people can follow.  

Hungry house - Before and after

Entitled 'The Hungry House' the mural on the side of the 140-year-old Victorian home was decorated in what Helga calls “life-affirming colours”.  

A hydraulic platform had to be hired to reach the top bits. Neighbours are positive. One calls it “the funniest house façade I’ve ever seen”, and reckons it won’t be long before tourist buses turn up to see it.  

“It’s a slightly funnier version of a mural than other artists might have designed,” said Helga, adding that the witty design is meant to symbolise how demolished houses have made way for newbuilds.  

I’m a fan too. The mural brightens up the street, and lets everyone smile at a time when we really need it the most.  

If you want to see more of Helga’s art, you can follow her on Instagram here or via her website  

The artist calls her style household surrealism, with her pictures including clothes pegged to washing lines to create images that trick you into seeing animals. Other pictures include eggs growing from a tomato stalk, loose computer keys in a popcorn box, and jelly babies sprouting like grapes.  

Artists at Home

Fifty-eight artists’ studios are spread across three square miles of west London for this month’s event, and I’m delighted that at Horton and Garton we’re doing our bit to promote this much-needed and uplifting boost to local artists’ work.  

Artists At Home is open on Fri 17 Sept, 6-9pm; Sat 18 Sept 11am-6pm; Sun 19 Sept 11am-6pm. Full details here  Helga Stentzel’s studio is at 77 Westville Road, W12 9BB.  

 


Our 12 top tips for new landlords renting for the first time

Our 12-step checklist will help any first-time landlord renting a home in Hammersmith, Chiswick or Shepherd's Bush

Landlords who are renting out a property for the first time might feel a little overwhelmed by the requirements, rules and guidelines. Whilst it may seem like a lot to digest, many of the obligations are in place to not only protect tenants but to protect the landlord too.

With simplicity in mind, the Horton and Garton Lettings team has pulled together an overview to help new landlords who are planning on letting their property.

Advice for any new landlord

Hammersmith, Chiswick and Shepherd's Bush are some of the most desirable residential areas in London. Which means tenants will often expect to find homes here that are of a high standard and includes quality fixtures and fittings.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to entirely renovate your property, there might be some low-cost improvements to be made that will boost your property’s rentability and potentially increase the rental value.

What does a landlord need to do before renting?

Before renting a property there are several steps a landlord must take to ensure they meet the government’s standards for letting property in the UK and also make sure their property is a good place to live – after all happy tenants usually stay longer.

Read our landlord checklist below to learn what you need to do before renting a property. It includes the most crucial things you should have in place before renting out a property for the first time.

Our 12-step landlord checklist for letting a property

  1. Prepare your property to let

Before putting your property on the market to let it’s a good idea to complete any works you might have been carrying out and also ensure the property is clean.

Landlords are often unsure as to whether to buy furniture for the property to let it as furnished or leave it as is to let unfurnished.

There is no one-size-fits-all with regard to furnishing, though whether or not it is appropriate to furnish a property is often related to the type of property you are going to be letting and where the property is located.

The season or overall pace of the lettings market can also be factors that affect how you prepare your property to let – we’re always happy to have a timely, no-obligation discussion and share our knowledge with new landlords, so do get in touch.

  1. Make sure your rental property is safe

The top concern for every landlord should be to ensure their rental property is safe and free of any health hazards.

Each local council uses the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to make sure properties are safe for the people who live there.

  1. Provide a valid Energy Performance Certificate

It is a legal requirement for a property advertised to let to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Importantly, as of 1st April 2020, it is not possible to let a property that has a poor EPC rating of F or G.

Landlords are required to provide tenants with a copy of the EPC prior to moving in.

 

 

  1. Provide a valid Gas Safety Certificate

All rented properties should undergo an annual Gas Safety Check, carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure all gas appliances and flues are safe and fit for purpose.

 

  1. Provide a record of electrical inspections

Any electrical equipment or appliances provided by a landlord and included at the property for let must also be regularly checked to ensure they are safe to be used.

Landlords must have their property electrics checked at least once every five years under the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 and provide tenants with a record of these electrical checks.

 

 

  1. Provide the How to Rent guidance

A landlord or their letting agent should ensure a tenant has the most up to date version of the How to Rent checklist which has been put together by the government.

This document provides an official checklist to help tenants at every stage of the letting process.

  1. Reference prospective tenants

A tenant reference check will usually include a credit check and the below point regarding a potential tenants’ right to rent in the UK.

Other elements of referencing are not a legal requirement but are good practice – it’s worthwhile thoroughly vetting potential tenants.

Good letting agents will usually have a stringent referencing process in place and will check a tenant’s affordability, and collect references from previous landlords or an employer.

  1. Carry out a Right to Rent check

For all rental properties in England, a landlord must check that a tenant is legally permitted to rent a property in England – this is often included in the referencing process.

Before the start of a tenancy, a landlord or their agent must check that all tenants aged over 18 have the Right to Rent in England.

  1. Arrange the tenancy agreement

The tenancy agreement, most commonly an assured shorthold tenancy, enters both tenant and landlord into a contractual arrangement. Giving both sides important rights and also responsibilities.

  1. Protect the tenant’s deposit

The tenant’s deposit for the rental property must be placed into a government-approved scheme within 30 days of receipt of the deposit.

As with many steps to letting a property, a letting or managing agent can arrange this on behalf of a landlord. Proof of the deposit being placed into a scheme should be given to the tenant. 

  1. Ensure landlord’s insurance is in place

Having the correct landlord insurance in place is of paramount importance. Whilst it is not a legal requirement to have landlord specific insurance to cover your rental property, it might be a condition of a buy-to-let mortgage. Having the correct insurance in place will ensure you are protected.

There are usually a variety of options that a landlord can choose to cover within their insurance from buildings and contents, to legal expenses and even a rent guarantee should the tenants miss payments in unforeseen circumstances.

  1. Arrange for an inventory

Whilst it’s perfectly legal for a landlord to carry out their own inventory of the property, the items included and the condition throughout, it can be a worthwhile investment to pay an independent inventory clerk to prepare an inventory.

Not only does this save a landlord time but a third-party prepared inventory can be stronger should a dispute arise when the tenants depart.

What documents must a landlord provide by law UK?

By law, in the UK, landlords must absolutely provide the following documents to their tenants:

-valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

-Gas Safety certificate

-copy of the How to Rent guidance

-deposit paperwork (within 30 days of receipt)

-record of any electrical inspections.

Landlord’s financial responsibilities

 It’s important not to omit the financial responsibilities. A landlord will need to determine any amount of income tax they are liable to pay in connection with the rental income.

A landlord who is running their rental property as a business may need to pay Class 2 National Insurance.

It’s wise to speak to an experienced tax advisor to ensure your rental property is set up and run in the best way to suit your personal circumstances.

Property to let in Hammersmith, Chiswick or Shepherd's Bush

If you’re thinking about letting your property and would like to learn more about what’s needed to get started, our Lettings Manager Aggie Tukendorf would be delighted to assist – please do get in touch.


Demand soars for ‘lets with pets’

We can help find a pet-friendly rental in West London

Rightmove, UK’s leading property portal, reports a whopping 120% increase in demand for pet-friendly rental homes in the past year with some 3.2 million households acquiring a dog or cat during the lockdown period.

Homes with balconies, gardens, parking and ‘bills included’ are also increasingly sought after. But while tenants may now want to live with their newly-acquired furry friends, many landlords remain hesitant to accommodate pets.

“The competition for pet-friendly homes has resulted in many of our pet-friendly properties going to best and final bids,” says Aggie Tukendorf, Lettings Manager of Horton and Garton. “With more Londoners working from home than ever before, the dream of pet ownership has become a possibility and these tenants now require properties that facilitate their change in lifestyle.” 

Despite the spike in demand, many landlords remain hesitant. “With the number of pet owners at an all-time high, cat and dog ownership is a lifelong commitment," Aggie adds. "These renters are in it for the long haul - and their need for a pet-friendly home won’t change, so landlords could potentially secure long-term tenants if they are willing and able to accept pets at the property.” 

As an ARLA qualified lettings expert, Aggie has been advising local landlords on how to best accommodate pets, whilst protecting their assets, for many years.

Call 020 8819 0511 to talk through your options or email aggie@hortonandgarton.co.uk 


Five steps to get your home ready for a September sale

For those planning to sell their Chiswick property this autumn, local estate agent Paul Cooney shares some useful tips for getting your home ready for a September sale.

Before putting their house on the market, sellers will often ask an estate agent when the best time of the year is to sell property in Chiswick: "Is September a good time to sell a house?"

The answer is Yes. Historically, September has always been a good time to sell, if not one of the best months of the year in which to sell a house.

The weather is usually fair, autumnal colours can enhance the outside of a property in the garden and on the surrounding roads, which is especially noticeable on tree-lined roads of Chiswick, and buyer focus is back after the summer break. Further to these factors, it’s also possible for a transaction agreed in September to complete before Christmas.

The UK property market is known for being seasonally affected, with certain periods traditionally being busier or quieter than others.

Throughout the pandemic, the property market has strayed from these usual trends, largely due to the stamp duty holiday.

We’re now returning to a more traditional marketplace, July and August have seen people take a step back, pause for a holiday and reset. As we head towards September sellers are getting in touch, to add to those who’ve already planned to bring their property to the market next month, and buyers are reaching out once more.

Five steps to getting your home ready to sell in September

1 - First impressions

The first impression of your property can have a huge impact. It is often the case that an external image is used in online marketing and when buyers are viewing, that first ‘look’ can dictate the positivity of the rest of a viewing.

Cleaning the path, installing a new path or fixing damaged tiles, cleaning or redecorating your front door, trimming the hedge, cleaning window ledges or repainting where needed, all things to think about to boost the ‘kerb appeal’ of your house.

 

2 – Declutter and complete DIY

It can be challenging for buyers to imagine themselves living in a place filled with other people’s belongings. Removing any clutter and items that aren’t used daily can help potential buyers envisage themselves living in a property.

It might be the case that removing items and placing them into storage is a good option – a small investment that could boost your sale price.

Equally, complete any DIY projects or employ a handyman to finish any jobs around the house that need attention.

 

3 – Outside spaces

Whether you have a large garden, a modest one, a terrace or a balcony, outside space has never been more important.

As we head into the autumn some plants are beginning to lose their flowers and look less attractive than others. If you’re thinking about adding some new plants or potted plants to your outside space to spruce it up, look for evergreen plants.

If you’re looking to add some colour, head to your local garden centre and ask for specific advice on where you’re planting and what you’re hoping to achieve.  

For smaller outside areas, making the space welcoming and useable is the key – whether that’s creating a seating area on a terrace or cleaning the glass on a balcony, small touches and attention to detail can make a big difference.

 

4 – Windows

The main purpose of windows is to fill a property with natural light, dirty windows aren’t as effective as clean ones at filling a property with light and what’s more, they don’t look great when they’re dirty either!

We mention above the need to clean any glass that might feature on a balcony or terrace – dirt and streaks stand out on glass, so it’s a good idea to clean glass throughout the property. Similarly, mirrors and shower screens that are clean make a far better impression.

 

5 – Spark imagination

A home is yours to live in and you often make it a very personal space but when it comes to selling, the key is to allow potential buyers the opportunity to imagine themselves living there. Where possible depersonalise your house, keep colours and design features neutral.

A clean and fresh smelling property can also make a difference, pleasant aromas evoke happy emotions. Whilst sellers should aim for their property to be welcoming and spark the imagination of buyers.

 

How much should you pay to get your house ready for sale?

How much you should pay to get your house ready for sale is dependent on the condition of the property, timelines and available funds. Usually, a very minimal financial outlay can boost your sale price, with each property being unique it’s best to explore this with your estate agent.

If you’re selling a well-loved family property there’s little point in renovating the entire home to ultra-modern standards as you won’t know if this is to a potential buyers tastes, and if you’re not going to enjoy the space yourself once it’s developed, there’s even less reason to consider spending thousands of pounds redoing a property, in many situations you’re unlikely to make back the investment.

Some minor improvements or upgrades can cost just a few thousand pounds but have an impact on the agreed sale price that is 10 times that figure, this is because a buyer will often put a price on the inconvenience of having to have works done.

 

Selling your property in Chiswick

If you’re thinking about selling your property this September and would like to learn more about the current market and the best strategy to adopt unique to your property and future plans, please get in touch with Chiswick estate agent, Paul on 020 8996 5120.

Our lettings and management team are also on hand to discuss plans for your rental property in Chiswick, get in touch to learn more.


Pop into the Pub in the Park at Chiswick House & Gardens

Tickets are now on sale for the event featuring live music and cooking demos from September 3-5

Feel a bit cheated this summer with holidays disrupted and life still not quite back to normal? Here’s a way to put all those negative vibes behind you, and salvage some good times, right here in Chiswick. 

Pub in the Park is being staged once again in the grounds of Chiswick House – a fiesta of food and music, with four distinct slots letting you choose between a mellow afternoon or a noisier evening session. 

It runs from September 3 to 5, with some great music names to choose from, and the fun of watching Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing (below), plus other top chefs, share their tips and tricks of the trade. 

Let’s start with the music. On the Friday evening (6-10.30pm) there’s a DJ set from Basement Jaxx, plus Brand New Heavies and the soaring voices of The Kingdom Choir. Tickets for Friday start at £30 for children, £45 for adults. The higher-priced VIP lounge tickets have already sold out. 

On Saturday afternoon, The Feeling take to the stage, plus Nerina Pallot. There are still some VIP access tickets at £80, plus regular tickets from £20. 

Saturday night’s line-up is headlined by the Kaiser Chiefs, backed by The Cuban Brothers (above) and Apollo Junction… and not surprisingly it’s completely sold out. 

But you can still get lucky with tickets when the mood changes on Sunday afternoon and you have the chance to wallow in nostalgia with Marc Almond, plus Reef and then Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel. Young children get in free, with the Lazy Sunday tickets costing from £22.50. 

The chefs taking part in the cookery demonstrations include Chantelle Nicholson (above), Andrew Pern, Nitisha Patel and Michel Roux Jr - but the line-up is led by chef patron Marcus Wareing, taking a break from MasterChef to answer questions and pass on some culinary wisdom. 

There will be other guests as well, joining in the cooking and signing books. 

Naturally there will be some top-class food on offer, with options including Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, Jason Atherton’s Little Social and Chantelle Nicholson’s All’s Well, and all set against the magnificent backdrop of Chiswick House and its gardens. 

And as a way of thanking keyworkers who have battled through the past 18 months to keep us all safe, 1,000 are being given free tickets to this and other Pub in the Park dates at locations, including St Albans and Marlow. 

The pledge is that limiting numbers and creating zones will ensure Covid safety. Some of the regular areas of Chiswick House will be closed off to the general public from the end of August as the event is set up. 

For times, tickets and more details, visit: www.pubintheparkuk.com/chiswick/ticket-info

Personally, I can’t wait. This is just the boost that we all need after the restrictions we’ve endured.