Latest Blog Posts

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.  

 

Renting out a property for the first time


Our 12-step checklist will help any new Chiswick landlord renting for the first time

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, our Chiswick Lettings team has pulled together an overview to help new landlords who are planning on letting their property.

Advice for a new Chiswick landlord

Chiswick is one of the most desirable residential areas in London and as such 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 5 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 Chiswick

If you’re thinking about letting your property in Chiswick 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. 

 

 

How to increase the rent on your property in Chiswick


As prospective renters return to the market, it’s time for landlords to think about how they can improve their returns  

There's some good news for landlords in Chiswick. According to industry experts ARLA Propertymark, prospective tenant numbers are now at an all-time high.

A number of landlords had to accept lesser rental sums over the past year to avoid a period with no rental income at all. While others may have chosen not to review the rent at the time when it was due for review. Or for some it might simply be that a tenant has recently given notice after several years and you’re now wondering how you can maximise your returns.

Looking for new tenants - but what needs to be fixed?

If you’ve had one tenant in your Chiswick rental property for several years it’s highly likely that there has been some wear and tear, and that it’s time to update the property – though this needn’t be drastic or costly.

Renting property, even if you have just the one buy-to-let, should be approached as you would running a business. Namely, if you're spending on your property you should be confident that there will be a return on your investment.

It is also sometimes the case that a property requires updating to maintain a certain rental figure. If you’ve recently been told you won’t achieve a rental figure you previously had, it might be time to pick up the paintbrush and bring your investment up to standard.

Tenants are typically viewing a potential home with just a year or two stay in mind, rarely do tenants in the UK seek a home for a five or 10-year period. Prospective tenants are usually seeking a property that is modern, functional and convenient. That doesn’t mean it needs to look contemporary, just that everything should be in good working order and ready to comfortably live in without issue.

Cheap improvements that have a big impact

With appearance and function in mind, this is a short checklist of the places you should focus your attention on if you’re hoping to increase the rent on your property in Chiswick.

  • The walls. Bumps and scuff marks, personal colours, discolouration – these make a property look tired and unappealing. Filling any cracks or holes left behind, fixing woodwork and a simple lick of paint could transform a rental property.
  • The kitchen. A functional, working kitchen is incredibly important to achieve a premium rent. This doesn’t mean you need to fit an entirely new kitchen. Many parts of a kitchen can be up-cycled, fix anything that’s broken and perhaps make small updates such as changing the taps. It can be inexpensive but effective.
  • The bathroom. Another focus in rental properties should be the bathrooms as they quickly date a property. Refreshing a bathroom doesn’t need to be a full refurbishment, in many cases new tiles or a new power shower and some clever home decor can be enough to bring a bathroom up to date.
  • The garden. If the previous tenant wasn’t green-fingered you might find the outside space has been neglected. Now more than ever tenants are valuing a garden or roof terrace so it is well worth the investment of making the outside space look as good as possible. This doesn’t need to be costly. Painting woodwork or outdoor furniture, adding some seasonal plants or simply taking care of those in situ.

This list is a brief overview of the places that usually need attention, each property is unique and our Chiswick lettings team will only be able to assess what’s needed when looking at your particular property.

Can changing your agent increase the rent?

Aesthetic is very important, especially in the fast-moving lettings market. Chiswick homes that are poorly represented by an agent will not achieve the same figures as those showcased in their very best light – put simply, a potential tenant is unlikely to even arrange to view a property that is not visually shown well online.

In a few cases, a managing agent who has a poor reputation might have a negative impact on the rental value of a property. Where possible, do try to assess if the agent is delivering a good service on your behalf to the tenants.

If your tenant has had a bad experience with the managing agent it might serve as an explanation as to why they’re not willing to pay a rental increase or have given notice.

Is it time for a review of the rent?

There are several rules surrounding rent increases and how landlords must approach these, each tenancy agreement will include details of how and when the rent can be reviewed.

The national lockdowns and restrictions may have prevented a rental review from taking place, leaving landlords unsure of how to move forward. 

For an informal, no-obligation discussion surrounding your rental property in Chiswick and the unique circumstances you’re navigating as restrictions are lifted please do get in touch.

To sell or to let?

It might be that you’re pondering whether it’s time to sell or to let your property.

Landlords that are considering whether now is a good time to sell might value a conversation with seasoned Chiswick estate agent Paul, the Sales Director of the Horton and Garton Chiswick office, to establish a property’s current value.

It’s also worth considering, if you have a mortgage on your buy-to-let property, with interest rates at a historic low, whether a better mortgage rate might be available so we’d definitely encourage landlords to speak with their broker or bank to check if they could be making a saving and improve their net yield position.

Letting property in 2021

Whilst there has been negative press surrounding London’s lettings market and in some cases, landlords may have been forced to accept lesser rental sums, we’re now seeing a shift in demand – tenants are now making plans to move as Covid restrictions disappear.

Just last week we had multiple offers on several of our properties to let in Chiswick - the pace is picking up and it feels very much like normal activity is resuming.

If you’d like to learn more about the Chiswick property market, talk about the current rental climate and understand the outlook for property to let in Chiswick please do get in touch with Lettings Manager Aggie Tukendorf.

 

 

 

 

Live in Chiswick? Here’s our round-up of the 10 best Instagram accounts to follow


Stay up-to-date with everyone and everything in W4 - and smash those likes!

If you live in Chiswick and have an Instagram account its likely you follow some local individuals and businesses, in case there are some you don’t know about, in this latest blog we’ve highlighted 10 Instagram accounts to follow if you live in Chiswick.

From local events to pop up stores and competitions, all sorts of exciting things can be found on social media that you’d otherwise have no idea about.

The age old saying of ‘it’s who you know’ continues to have influence only now, online, its often more ‘who you follow’ to ensure you’re up to speed with local announcements.  

1. Paul Cooney MNAEA
@paul.m.cooney

Firstly, we really hope you’re following Paul.

Paul not only shares top tips for selling and buying property in Chiswick, he also shares details of local events, posts photos and videos of attractive and interesting parts of W4 and often highlights local experts, from gardeners to decluttering experts, who might be helpful to know about when improving your home.

Paul’s known for his involvement in the local community and the recent opening of High Road Studio is set to further enhance local events and help charities in the area raise vital funds along the way.

2. The Chiswick Calendar
@thechiswickcalendar

If you live in Chiswick hopefully you know about The Chiswick Calendar. On their website they share great information about all the local events that are running. The Chiswick Calendar Instagram account is primarily used to share daily images taken around Chiswick.

The images are often very beautiful to look at, or they might cast light on events, or are simply a snapshot of a moment in time in Chiswick.

 

3. Aubrey Mark Charles
@aubreymarkcharles

Aubrey’s account is a feast for the eyes, often getting up and out before the rest of us have risen means he captures the most glorious photos of Chiswick and other spots in West London as the sun rises, when the streets are totally deserted. 

With around 11k followers Aubrey has quite the following and often collaborates with local businesses who are running competitions, opening new stores or launching new events, so his account is well worth following if you’re local and want to know what’s going on or learn about some places to visit nearby.

 

 

4. The Old Cinema
@theoldcinemalondon

One of our absolute favourite places in Chiswick, The Old Cinema is London’s only department store solely devoted to selling antique, retro, vintage, industrial and upcycled items.

Not only is their Instagram worth following for updates on new items or sales that are taking place, but they also share some beautiful home inspiration images.

 

5. Martha Roberts
@the_colour_file

Not only will Martha Robert’s Instagram account most definitely add some colour to your feed, but it might well inspire you to spruce up your shelves, organise your home in more appealing ways and likely encourage you to add a little colour too.  

From her home in Chiswick, Martha shares images of her wonderfully colourful home on her Instagram page, and on her website, you’ll find an excellent blog filled with interesting guests and top tips on adding colour to your world.

If you’re looking to support local businesses Martha has a wonderful Etsy shop online from which she sells a variety of items including different prints and greetings cards.

 

6. Brooke Copp-Barton
@home_at_brookes

Brooke Copp-Barton is a Chiswick based interior designer who’s featured in House & Garden and 25 Beautiful Homes.

Brooke’s Instagram is an excellent place to browse through interiors, spark creativity and perhaps hone design ideas for your home.

If you’re considering working with an interior designer, we’d highly recommend Brooke and her Instagram is an excellent place to check out a snapshot of her portfolio.

 

7. Artists At Home
@artistsathome

It’s no secret that we’re big supporters of Artists at Home – High Road Studio is filled with art created by their members and we’re planning to exhibit different artist’s work regularly.

From their Instagram account they share images of artwork, sometimes a glimpse into some of the processes the artists go through when creating and of course updates on their events.

Artists At Home was primarily an Open Studio Event where members of the public would tour the local area popping into different artist’s studios or homes to view their art or craft and buy those, they wished to take home.

The pandemic has meant this couldn’t go ahead over the past 18 months and virtual events took place instead – this year between 17 and 19 September, the Open Studio event is taking place once more with 78 artists participating, one of which is setting up in our very own workspace here at High Road Studios! We can’t wait.

 

8. Chiswick Book Festival Online
@chiswickbookfestival

There are around 425 writers who’ve written a book and lived in Chiswick or written a book about W4 – with Chiswick potentially being Britain’s most literary location it’s incredibly fitting that there is a dedicated annual book festival.

One of the most popular events in Chiswick, the Chiswick Book Festival is an annual celebration that brings together top authors and their readers for a week of history, poetry, biography, creative writing, fiction, thrillers, gardens, food, wine, politics and children’s books.

This year the event will take place between 9 and 15 September, across a number of venues – follow their Instagram for updates on the event and other related, often interesting, information.

 

 

9. Louiseloveslondon
@lululoveslondon

A lifestyle and travel writer, owner of baby and toddler clothing store Petits Pieds London and ambassador of Maggie & Rose – Louise’s account is a great one to follow, especially if you have young children, as she often shares items she’s found or experiences on day’s out.

Luckily for us Louise is local, meaning many of the adventures she so wonderfully captures with her daughter Clara are in West London or relatively accessible.

 

10. ChiswickW4.com
@ChiswickW4 (Twitter)

For our final feature we’re switching platforms and heading over to Twitter…

If you live in the area, you’re likely registered with the Chiswick W4 website and will receive the weekly newsletter which includes everything from local news updates to upcoming events. It’s a really handy site to register with if you live in the area.  

For more regular updates it’s prudent to also follow Chiswick W4’s twitter account.

 

Living in Chiswick

If you’re not on Instagram or Twitter, you can register for newsletter updates with several of the above.

Please do let us know if there’s anyone you think we should have included in our top ten as we quite enjoyed doing this round up and hope to do another in the future!

As always if you’d like to talk to seasoned local estate agent Paul about selling your property in Chiswick please do get in touch and the Chiswick lettings team would be delighted to assist with your rental property in W4 should you be looking for advice and guidance regarding your portfolio.

 

Your chance to see the rare book collection of an Arts & Crafts pioneer


The former Hammersmith house of Emery Walker - one Britain’s best-preserved homes - boasts a new exhibition space 

It isn’t every day that we have the pleasure of announcing that the opening of a new exhibition space in the area. So we're delighted to let you know about a very special room. 

A matter of yards from the Black Lion pub – where Black Lion Lane meets Hammersmith Terrace and where Chiswick becomes Hammersmith – it’s a little venue that’s been years in the making. 

The first exhibition at 7 Hammersmith Terrace celebrates the most exquisite books ever published by a private press, including the Doves Bible (The Dove pub gave its name to it) and the Kelmscott Chaucer. 

The show – which opens on August 12, runs for nine months but has very limited ticket numbers – looks at the printing methods used by Walker, and his chum William Morris, best known for the textiles and wallpapers he created in late Victorian times. 

It was an age when printing went from primitive wood-carving methods which had hardly changed in 400 years to the exciting new typography which fed the demands of a general public now able to read and write. 

Walker was at the cutting edge of new type, setting up his own company and producing small numbers of beautifully crafted books. 

If you are lucky enough to own an original copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer – the one printed on 8 May 1896 with pale ribs on the spine, pictured below – you can confidently expect to sell it at auction for £150,000. 

Visitors to the first exhibition staged at the new gallery will be able to see proof pages, printing blocks and even examples of the Doves Press type, salvaged from the nearby river. 

It’s a sad story. Thomas Cobden-Sanderson and Walker were business partners, creating a unique typeface and used it to make books which were simply works of art. 

When the partnership broke up, Thomas took the original letters – hundreds of them, weighing over a tonne – and threw them, over the space of eight years, into the Thames… where they still are found, washed up from time to time, by mudlarks grubbing around at low tide.  Some of the retrieved type is on show at the house which is nearly midway between Horton and Garton's Chiswick and Hammersmith offices. 

You can take an hour-long guided tour, and be one of the first to visit the exhibition space, by booking a place via Emerywalker.org.uk 

Should you renovate before selling your property? An estate agent’s advice


You might not think about the condition of your home until you consider moving - but what's best? 

As a successful Chiswick estate agent who’s assisted with well over 500 property sales, Chiswick Director Paul Cooney can provide guidance to those thinking about selling their property in W4 who aren’t sure if they should do some updating before putting it on the market.

Is it worth renovating your house before selling?

In the current market, it depends. There’s no one size fits all answer when it comes to whether it’s worth renovating your house before selling. It is often the case that to give an answer based on your specific property, we need to see it in person – it can vary widely depending on the property.

A recent news article cited four renovation projects that will add value to your home but warned that at present with the high demand for building works many are paying a premium and suffering delay - further putting pressure on the question as to whether it is truly worth renovating your house before selling.

Some properties might be in good or fair condition throughout but have a bathroom that leaves a lot to be desired. In this instance, a new bathroom might cost circa £5,000 to re-do. A potential buyer will not only see the cost involved in having to re-do the bathroom but they’ll also put a value on the hassle of having to do the work, meaning they might think it appropriate to take as much as £10,000 or even £15,000 off of your asking price on the basis that the bathroom needs renovating.

In homes that have been lived in for many years it might be that the entire property needs renovating in full. Unless you’re a developer with experience and a sizeable pot of money to pour into a whole house renovation, it might not be worth renovating your house before selling.

Not only is the question of whether it is worth renovating your house before selling unique to each property in Chiswick, but it is also unique to everyone, their circumstances, and plans.

What renovations are worth doing before selling?

It is often the case that there are small renovations worth doing before selling. We’ve pulled together a list of those places we’d suggest you focus some attention on before selling your property in Chiswick:

  • Fix any leaking taps
  • Redecorate scuff marks or peeling paint
  • Fill, sand and redecorate any small cracks
  • Fix loose tiles or floorboards
  • Dirty grout and mouldy sealant should be fixed

From experience, it’s also a good idea to have a deep clean before bringing your property to the market.

Serious issues that need fixing

If your property is found to have serious issues such as structural defects, it might in fact become impossible for potential buyers to gain lending on your property from a mortgage provider.

A property that is not mortgageable is tricky to sell as only cash buyers can bid, and they’ll likely know that you can only sell to them due to the condition meaning you might not get a premium price for your property.

Structural issues that should be fixed as a priority when selling include:

  • Subsidence
  • Rising damp
  • A leaking roof or missing tiles
  • Structural cracks
  • Bowing walls
  • Insect infestations such as woodworm
  • Rotten joists

Some of the issues might be included in your building’s insurance cover, so it’s worth looking at your paperwork and giving them a call.

Can you sell a house that needs renovation?

Yes, you can absolutely sell a house that needs renovation. Depending on the scale of the works required you might only be able to sell to certain buyers.

The strategy for selling a home that needs renovation is often different to ensure a seller achieves the best possible price for the property.

Do renovations increase property value?

Certain renovations can increase property value. If you’re making alternations with a view to selling be certain that these improvements are made with a buyer in mind – neutral inoffensive colours and design should be applied.

Even if it’s not to your liking, try to be pragmatic. Remember any renovations you’re doing at this stage are intending to increase your sale price.

Not everyone has the same taste and style, but most buyers can envisage themselves living in a neutral space as its easier to imagine what their belongings might look like.

What renovation adds the most value to a house?

When naming what renovation adds the most value to a house in Chiswick, the answer will be different depending on each property.

One property might be in good condition throughout but repairing the external brickwork or repainting the render is the one task that would most dramatically affect the sale price. Another property might benefit from giving the garden some attention or perhaps some new carpet in the hallway.

If you’re planning on selling your property and are wondering if you should renovate before putting it on the market, the best way to explore your options is to invite Paul to visit so that he can give you honest feedback not only based on your property and plans but also the current market conditions.

You might also be considering doing some renovations to your property before letting it, if that’s the case and you’d like to receive some professional input on the best way to renovate your rental property in Chiswick so that it appeals to tenants, increases rental value and decreases the possibility of void periods then do get in touch with the Chiswick lettings team.

In many instances, small changes that have a low cost can make a big difference to how your home shows both on photos and in person. Sometimes simply decluttering and perhaps a little home staging can make all the difference.

To explore whether it is worth carrying out any renovations on your property, please get in touch with Paul and the Horton and Garton Chiswick team.

Party on the Pier: Sunday 25 July from 11am-4pm


Chiswick’s favourite riverside party is back!

A much-loved annual event in Chiswick’s social calendar, Party on the Pier showcases what the charities based at Chiswick Pier have to offer. It’s a fun-filled introduction to river-based activities and a terrific day out for the family. Enjoy a free boat trip down the Thames on the Golden Salamander, courtesy of Fuller’s - a trip will run every 45 minutes. Amanda’s Action Kids will be there to entertain little ones and you’ll find a variety of artisan craft stalls, activities and food and drink. Grab a salt beef bagel, Reuben sandwich, hot dog or smoked salmon bagel from Salt Beef Shack or enjoy mouth-watering Caribbean vegetarian food courtesy of Mama Pets. Super Scoop will serve up handmade ice cream and freshly made crepes.

The charities based at Chiswick Pier will be showcasing their work and the activities they run throughout the year. Chiswick Pier Canoe Club, who operate from the Trust on Sundays, are offering canoe taster sessions which are appropriate for young people aged over 14, as well as adults. The Thames Explorer Trust has a River Dipping session at 11 am, which is a guided exploration of the foreshore. The RNLI will have  information about its work, and souvenir stand. The Sea Cadets will have a stall where little ones can practice catching plastic ducks, and adults and children can enter a tombola. You can find out the sort of activities and training the Sea Cadets offer young people, and meet some of the current recruits. 

Mark your calendars for Sunday 25 July from 11am – 4pm

Party on the Pier Timetable 

From 11am: 

Thames Explorer Trust meet outside the Pier House for River Dipping 

The first free boat trip leaves (and then runs every 45 minutes). 

The first Canoe Taster Sessions start 

Amanda’s Action Kids will run sessions at 12.00, 1.00pm and 2.30pm.