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Selling a house in the summer? Read our top 5 tips


Here's what can you do to maximise your property's appeal both online and in person to sell your house this summer

Paul Cooney, Director of Horton and Garton Chiswick highlights the ways in which you can maximise your property's appeal both online and for in person viewings relevant to those selling a house in the summer. As a long time Chiswick estate agent, Paul has assisted many vendors with a sale during this period of the year and shares his top tips for success.

The UK property market usually enjoys a brief slowdown in activity during the hottest months of the year whilst everyone heads off on holiday, this year it's very possible that you might be considering selling a house in the summer.

With buyers still out in record numbers looking for their next home in Chiswick and some reduction in tax still available, what is usually a traditionally quiet period over the summer may be busier than usual as many decide now is the time to action their plans to move.

Tip 1. De-clutter

A top tip that is applicable year-round is to declutter your home before putting it on the market for sale. It’s particularly hard for a buyer to imagine themselves living in a property if the house is entirely full of belongings, visualising how their furniture would fit or how they would live there could become challenging and result in putting a buyer off when in fact the property might be perfect underneath the clutter!

Rooms that are tidy and organised not only view better in person but look beautiful in online photos and virtual tours which is incredibly important.

The same applies to any very personal artwork or ornaments you might have in your home that might be distracting. Whilst it is currently your home and you live there, you might be able to secure a buyer quicker or achieve a higher sale price by enabling buyers to view the property as their own.

For more tips on decluttering and organising your home our previous blog and interview with decluttering expert Esme might be an interesting read.

 

Tip 2. Focus on the garden

Gardens are usually at some of their most beautiful stages in the summer, it’s an excellent time to show-off a well-maintained outdoor space. If you have a garden and you’re selling a house in the summer, you should absolutely be focusing your attentions on the garden. Be sure to regularly mow the lawn, remove weeds and cut any hedges or overgrown trees that might be restricting the natural light.

Set the stage for buyers so they can imagine themselves spending time in your garden. Get out the garden furniture, if it’s looking a bit drab then a lick of paint can go a long way to create a more welcoming space. 

If you’re looking to inject some colour into your garden, plant pots can be a wonderful addition to brighten the space.

 

Tip 3. Clean the windows

When the sun is shining dirty windows can be particularly evident and, in some case, can take away from the light that fills a room.

If you don’t have the time or the tools to clean the windows yourself hiring a window cleaner might be a good idea as it can really make a difference.

Many houses now have large doors or multiple, bi-folding doors which lead out onto the garden which get dirty quite easily if you have young children or pets so be sure to include a quick once over of these spots prior to viewings to really show off your home.

Tip 4. Tidy up the exterior

We’ve mentioned the garden as an exterior area to focus on when selling a house in the summer but what about the other areas of your property. Buyers first impressions quite literally begin from the second they lay eyes on the house meaning an unkept front hedge or peeling window frames are likely to set the tone of ‘needs work’.

Chiswick properties often have a bay window and might have original sash windows, investing in redecoration of any painted masonry and windowpanes can make a huge difference to the first look of a property.

Equally any front garden or pathway and the front door should be tidied up as much as possible. Trimming the hedge and giving the path a clean can really help.

 

Tip 5. Light and airy - but not too hot

Open the curtains and blinds and allow air to flow through the property. The sun shines for the longest through the summer months meaning you should absolutely take advantage of all the natural light that’s available through the day.

Certain rooms in most homes are prone to getting hotter than the rest of the house simply because they sit in the sun for the longest. Whilst light is a good thing an overheated room does not view well, similarly an orangery or conservatory can become very warm, especially at the height of summer so try to keep air flow through the property to avoid a room becoming uncomfortable.

 

Letting a property in the summer

Many of the above points are also applicable to your strategy as a landlord to appeal to new tenants and minimise the risk of a void period. If your property has a garden and you’re aware that the current tenants are not particularly green-fingered it might be a worthwhile investment to employ a gardener to tidy up the garden.

If you’re due to be letting your property in Chiswick this summer our W4 lettings team would be delighted to discuss your plans and share their knowledge in order to secure future tenants.

Selling a house in the summer – a good thing?

There might have previously been the connotation that selling a house in the summer was not a good idea as people typically disappear off on holiday or have the children home for school so might not have the time to focus on finding a home, historically many would put their search on pause – this is no longer the case for the majority.

The usual peaks and troughs in activity seen across the UK property market are increasingly smoothing out as buyers can now access so much from anywhere, and at any time, online.

Not only does this mean that vendors need to be very mindful of the digital marketing campaign undertaken by the selling agent representing their property, but that timing of a sale is less likely to be triggered by a change in season and more to do with personal plans.

Chiswick in particular has seen a distinct rise in interest over the past 12 months, in particular from those buyers seeking family homes with gardens, W4 continues to be one of London’s prime suburbs

If you’d like to talk about selling your property this summer, please do get in touch for a no obligation discussion.

Will the new rules for landlords affect me?


Landlords and tenants are being asked how best to crackdown on rogue landlords and improve living standards for renters

Here at Horton and Garton, we offer advice and help for our landlords. “We help our landlords with all legal requirements,” said Ashley Clements, Branch Manager at Horton and Garton. “We know how to make the process quick, easy and accurate.”

Approximately one third of homes in Hammersmith & Fulham are rented from private landlords – or a total of 27,500 addresses.

Will the new rules for landlords affect me?

If you live, work, or rent a property in one of these streets, the new rules may affect you:

-Askew Road, W12
-Goldhawk Road, W12
-Shepherds Bush Road, W6
-Barons Court Road, W6
-Greyhound Road, W6
-Sinclair Road, W14
-Bloemfontein Road, W12
-King Street, W6
-Talgarth Road, W6
-Blythe Road, W14
-Lime Grove, W12
-Uxbridge Road, W12
-Coningham Road, W12
-Dalling Road, W6
-Wood Lane, W12
-Richmond Way, W12
-Woodstock Grove, W12
-Scrubs Lane, W12

If approved, the scheme will run for five years – so it’s important that landlords comply with the new rules.

These include:

  • additional licences for shared flats and houses, to ensure they are properly managed, safe and not overcrowded 
  • selective licences in 23 roads to improve standards in areas of anti-social behaviour or poor conditions 
  • a private landlords’ charter to qualify for discounts on licence fees if good standards are maintained 
  • minimum standards for shared flats and houses to keep tenants safe.

Headaches

We know that some landlords will find the licensing to be yet another task on an ever-expanding list of things to do.

However, genuine landlords already ensure their properties match the standard required by H&F. “We look forward to a more level playing field with all landlords having to meet the same standard – this would force rogue landlords out of the market,” Ashley said.

The council first launched a version of this scheme in 2017 to license landlords who rent out houses and flats in other areas of H&F. It has been successful in helping to raise standards.

“We always stay on top of the changing rules in our local area,” Ashley added. “Our management team has first-hand local experience, which goes way beyond just achieving the best price and introducing a decent tenant. Your letting agent should now also be able to give you peace of mind that they can advise you on key legislation and help you hit any new deadlines.”

Get in touch

Share your thoughts and you could win a £50 Marks & Spencer voucher. The consultation ends on August 10. Have your say here: www.lbhf.gov.uk/propertylicensing

If you have any questions about letting in H&F, please call Ashley on 020 8819 0511 or email: lettings@hortonandgarton.co.uk

First impressions count – How to sell a property with pictures


What can I do to make my property look its best to improve my chances in a competitive market? It’s a frequent question for John Horton, Director of Horton and Garton. Here, he shares his top tips for using images to sell a home

Estate agents talk about kerb appeal and how to make the all-important first impression. 

So start by standing out at the front. If you see weeds growing through the wreckage of a caravan in the front garden, it’s not the best start. The aim is for potential buyers to walk through the front door and go “Wow, I like this”, rather than stumbling over a skateboard. 

Getting a property ready for viewings is similar to getting it ready for the photographer to take snaps for the website and brochures. Decluttering is vital. Clear space so that the floor area is open, and shelving doesn’t look at risk of collapse through the sheer weight of books and objects. 

Think about depersonalising your home, so there aren’t dozens of photographs of the children around and there’s a neutral appeal. One or two are perfect… just not the entire family tree. 

Make it easier for potential buyers to see themselves in the property. You don’t want to have the impression you’ve stepped into someone else’s house. 

Simple things

There are other, simple things you can do before the photographer arrives to start snapping, or the viewings begin. Kitchen worktops should be clean and as empty as possible. A bowl of fruit is fine – leaf through some glossy magazines to see how professionals organise kitchen shoots. 

In the bathroom, a line of seven different shampoos and hair lice products is hardly likely to wow would-be buyers. Tuck away shower curtains, place a couple of upmarket bottles of moisturiser on display, hide loo brushes and bleach bottles, and remove any evidence that you wash your dog in the bathtub! 

Ensure all the bulbs are working, and that door handles don’t come off in your hand. Honestly, it’s happened! 

Cupboards should be neat, not bulging. Viewers don’t want to be engulfed in a cascade of things that have been crammed inside when they open doors to assess storage space. 

A home’s tidiness and cleanliness go to the heart of feeling that a house has been cared for. 

As first and last impressions are vital, polish metal door knockers and brass letterboxes, tidy the front garden, take down net curtains and ensure that the house doesn’t look ragged round the edges. 

Not only should pets be out of the house for a first viewing, but owners should be too. It’s different for a second viewing. Then there’s a strong argument for owners to be available, to discuss things like the local shops and neighbours.” 

Why should you sell with Horton and Garton?  

Looking for a new home in Hammersmith or Shepherds Bush?

Declutter

Of course there are also the standard ploys to give viewers a good impression. Thanks to Mary Berry, everyone has the potential to produce that enticing waft of home baking. And there’s always the freshly brewed coffee aroma, and a vase of flowers in the hallway. 

Clean the windows, carpets and oven, and hang clean, fluffy, white towels in the bathroom. Make the beds. 

Take the car off the driveway – it will make any home look bigger. 

Using Photoshop, it’s often possible for photographers to tweak pictures to improve the look. 

But nothing beats decluttering. Try imagining how you would feel about being unable to open the front door of your dream home because of a mountain of wellies behind it! 

Got a question?

Or if you’ve got any questions, just send me an email at john@hortonandgarton.co.uk or call me on 020 8819 0510.

Is now a good time to sell or buy?


Sellers are increasingly asking themselves to move or not to move and if it is now a good time to sell or buy.                     

With the Chiswick property market currently moving at a very swift pace many sellers are left wondering if now is a good time to sell their house in Chiswick, and might be cautious of doing so for fear of not being able to find a property to buy that meets their requirements.

Buyers and sellers are sometimes unaware of the full spectrum of an estate agent’s role and how they are able to manage not only a transaction but also expectations to ensure sales and onward purchases flow seamlessly.

Paul Cooney, Director of Horton and Garton Chiswick estate agent considers the factors sellers, and buyers, are currently considering when weighing up their options.

 

The Chiswick property market in 2021

We’ve shared updates over the past few months which have taken a closer look at the factors that are having the greatest impact on the Chiswick property market in 2021, whilst it has been busy the demand for properties has outweighed the number of houses available to buy.

This said, Chiswick property has not entirely followed the same trends as the national property market and in fact W4 saw lower completed property transactions in the first few months of 2021 than during the same period in 2020. The slower end to 2020 caused by the November lockdown and the Christmas period traditionally being quieter for the property market likely both had a part to play in these lower numbers.

The first half of 2021 has certainly seen some level of frenzy, initially fuelled by the stamp duty holiday deadline but after this was extended the activity has continued. It’s true to say that some sellers have been put off by the frantic activity widely reported in the media.

Chiswick’s property market is not expected to be heavily impacted by the stamp duty holiday drawing to an end as house moves in W4 have largely been due to a reassessment of people’s homes and lifestyles throughout the lockdowns and whilst restrictions have remained in place, though it has been a welcome saving. Meaning we’re not expecting market activity to suddenly grind to a halt when the saving ends.

The good news for buyers is that as the vaccine is being rolled out many homeowners are finding confidence and are bringing their homes onto the market. For vendors pondering their next steps it remains to be a good time to sell, whilst the market is buoyant and there are not enough homes for sale to meet the demand from buyers.

 

Worried about not being able to find a property to buy?

For those buyers planning to stay local and perhaps upsize within Chiswick there is a fear that they will not be able to find a property they’d like to live in. It is true that there are less houses for sale than the demand from buyers for such properties but this simply means you need to ensure you are in a strong position as a buyer and are able to act quickly.

Having a property that needs selling that is not yet even on the market will not make you the most attractive buyer to a seller who might be considering offers from multiple parties.

We’ve seen sellers choose to leave it to fate and see what happens and if they do not find a home in time before their sale completes, deciding to move into rented accommodation in the interim whilst they continue to search for their ‘forever’ home.

On that note, if you are considering moving into a rental property in Chiswick as an interim solution, to break the sales chain, speak to our W4 lettings team who, as leaders in the West London rental market, will be able to assist with your plans. 

There are other sellers who have decided it’s time to leave London altogether and recognise that now is a good time to sell but are then met with a very busy country market where the best houses in the most sought after locations are selling within days of becoming available to buy, and that’s if they make it to the open market at all.

To be in with a chance of gaining the opportunity to even view in some rural areas we’ve learned agents are insisting that a buyer is either chain free with nothing to sell or is under offer.

We’re increasingly seeing sellers emphasise the importance of a buyer’s flexibility with time frames and this playing a large role in the acceptance of any offer as vendors are cautious not to be left homeless.

It can feel like an impossible conundrum but is one we can help with in order to facilitate your move.

An estate agent does not just find a seller the highest price for their property, they also match a buyer who is agreeable to the conditions and time frame set by a seller.

 

Consider a long stop completion

It is possible to agree a sale and even move to exchange and put in place a long-stop completion. Many sellers are setting the expectations early and ensuring potential buyers are aware they will have to be agreeable to an extended period between exchange and completion which will allow the vendor to, hopefully, find a home.

This method still gives the buyer the guarantee of a purchase and ensures that there is a legally binding date, whilst it might be a few months down the line, upon which the transaction will complete and the property will be theirs to move into.

Furthermore, a long stop completion might be set for a date 6 months away from exchange but if things move quicker and both parties are agreeable then this can be brought forward.

Managing the transaction

Having managed now well over 500  transactions through to a successful conclusions throughout my years as a selling agent it’s safe to say I’ve dealt with all manner of situations and have served as a problem solver, a communications beacon and sometimes an emotional outlet.

Managing the transaction of property ownership is a large part of what an estate agent does. Whilst a solicitor will conduct their due diligence and complete the conveyancing and a mortgage broker, if involved, will ensure the financing is in place, an estate agent plays an important role of keeping everything on track, keeping communications open and finding solutions to any issues that might arise. 

Over the past 12 months, as a Chiswick estate agent, we’ve seen house sales take place at varying speeds and with differing motivations as people’s priorities have shifted, an experienced estate agent can provide guidance and assurance to sellers navigating the current property market.

If you’re considering whether now is a good time to sell, buy or even let your property in Chiswick and would like to discuss your personal circumstances in greater detail the team would be delighted to talk through your plans, please do get in touch.

 

Meet Anthony – new Lettings Manager for Chiswick


Chiswick W4 is a place unlike any other in London and we’re delighted to offer even greater support for local landlords and tenants

Please join us in wishing our new member of the Chiswick team – Anthony Wozniak – a warm welcome. He’s just joined our W4 office as the new Lettings Manager.

To introduce Anthony properly to Chiswick, we asked him a few questions. And if you’re a landlord or you’re just looking to rent in Chiswick, he’s your man.

 

 

What got you interested in working in the property market?

Estate agency, and particularly lettings, allowed me to be active at work as no two days are ever the same. We are basically paid to talk to people, so I struggle to consider it a job and am always waiting for the catch!

What is your experience in the field?

I have worked in the industry for 11 years for a large independent firm. I started in Ealing, moved to Acton for my own progression before being made the manager of the Maida Vale office (and subsequently Director). After six years there I took a short sabbatical when my son was born before spending the last year in St Margarets.

Why did you choose Horton and Garton in Chiswick?

Did I choose Chiswick or did Chiswick choose me? It’s an exciting place to be and I’ve spent a lot of time here.

What do you think makes Chiswick a special place?

I have always spoken about Chiswick being a cosy bubble. Chiswick House and the Hogarth Health Club are hidden gems and that still surprise me.

How will you help local renters avoid property market pitfalls?

I have always prided myself on being open and transparent with clients. It is very easy to make mistakes in the property market. I just hope we can help people learn from them and they find the property that suits their needs and their budgets. And for landlords, we always do our best to connect them with the best tenants.

Is this a good time to be a landlord in Chiswick?

In a prime area of London like Chiswick, it’s always a good time to be a landlord. If you can gain the capital growth and have a secure tenant for 10 to 15 years who are paying your mortgage there is little downside. With borrowing also being so cheap and interest rates on savings being negligible, for a lot of people, it continues to make sense.

Why should people choose an independent estate agency like Horton and Garton?

The same reason I did: it is estate agency done the way it should be. Landlords and tenants are put at the forefront of the business – often ahead of profits and income. Coming from a background of “figures, figures, figures” it is refreshing when you are viewing it from a better perspective and I genuinely feel that’s how business should be done. It might take a little longer, but you’ll get the same result and will probably be more successful in the long run. In big chains you often see a ‘local area director’ that doesn’t know the area, isn’t local and will probably move again in a year.

In an industry with a bad reputation, why can’t Horton and Garton be the one who breaks the mould? How refreshing for a client would it be to speak to the same person within a local company!

Looking for a Property in West London?

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If you're interested in selling your West London property or would like to know its value, request your FREE valuation today.

Whatever your question, ask us - we'll be delighted to help.

Fashionably unmodernised sells – when you get the price right


'Fashionably unmodernised’ is the expression for those unique homes untouched for decades that are rarely seen in the open the market.

John Horton, Director of Horton and Garton, describes why it pays to get the price right as a seller or a buyer for these unloved gems.

 

Last month we completed the sales of three homes that were “fashionably unmodernised throughout”. The houses are in Perrers Road (see pictures below!), Hammersmith W6; Sedgeford Road, Shepherd's Bush W12; and Carthew Villas, Hammersmith W6.

Each of these houses which recorded significantly more interest, viewings and multiple biddings than the average property. And all three of the properties were listed and sold for at least the asking price. The result? Three very satisfied vendors and buyers.

When your estate agent gets the market strategy and correct pricing right, then the key to achieving best price is managing the buyer interest. Every house and home can only be sold to one buyer and the job of the agent is to ensure best market price is achieved, and a willing and able buyer is secured.

Why should you sell with Horton and Garton?  

Looking for a new home in Hammersmith or Shepherds Bush?

 

 

Local experience is key

Having worked in Hammersmith for 25 years, I am critical of the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ estate agents, who lazily tell clients what they want to hear to win the business. This practice is as old as the day is long and inflated valuations rarely result in the equivalent sales.

The best price is not easy on these types of properties, because they attract buyers willing to do the work and can stomach the prospect of hidden surprises and renovation costs.

As a result, the best price is always achieved by selling to prospective owners and occupiers – not developers. And it is the rise of the buyer who is prepared to take on the project from start to finish that reap these rewards.

 

Key strategies

Today, the first thing that many buyers do after completion is to hand the keys to their architect, designer or builder.

Over the last two years, 30% of buyers didn’t require mortgage help from banks. This year, we’re seeing even more cash-fluid buyers in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush.

At Horton and Garton, we work with a local architect able to provide indicative plans on the existing floor plan and can advise on the potential of the property. All of this is done within planning regulations – and most importantly – they can offer expert advice on potential build costs.

So, if you’ve got your eye on a fashionably unmodernised property or have one to sell, let Horton and Garton get the price right to unlock your dreams.

 

Got a question?

Or if you’ve got any questions, just send me an email at john@hortonandgarton.co.uk or call me on 020 8819 0510.

 

 

10 questions to ask your estate agent when selling


Are you unsure what questions to ask estate agents when selling a property? Here are the top 10 you should ask

If you’re considering selling your property and have invited local estate agents to conduct a market appraisal you’ve likely got a few questions that you’re thinking of asking the agent regarding their service and the steps they’ll take to achieve the best possible outcome.

As a selling agent who’s worked in the industry for over 13 years, Paul Cooney has fielded many questions from sellers. There are a few questions that potential sellers will ask that Paul thinks are really important, especially those that have come from sellers who are moving and wish they’d asked as they only found out useful information when they were tied in and it was too late.

Here Paul shares the 10 questions to ask estate agents when selling:

 

 

1. How will you make my property stand out? 

In a world where potential buyers are online sieving through details around the clock it’s never been more important that your property stands out online. That first impression as house hunters are scrolling through listings can make all the difference. Once a buyer has opened the full details, they are hoping to be able to gain as much information as possible about the property. Our tailored approach to marketing is incredibly successful, on Rightmove our listings receive almost double the number of page views than those of our competitors. The most recent statistics from the property portal positioned us first out of all the agents in W4 with 199 views per day, our nearest competitors were behind at 124 and 109 views per day.

 

2. How experienced are you and your team? 

Leading the Chiswick team Paul has the greatest amount of experience working in property, having sold more than 500 properties personally in his 13 years in the industry. Giorgia, Paul’s right-hand woman, has over 5 years’ experience selling property. In the office, the rest of the team also has deep knowledge of the W4 area with Emily having lived in Chiswick for many years, Parinda a born and bred West Londoner and Amy, a Chiswick resident of 6 years and each are experts in their professions. Learning more about an agent, their experience and that of the team who’ll be selling your home is hugely important so be sure to ask.

 

3. What extra marketing do you offer? 

From the images to the description our team of marketing experts ensure your property is listed in the best possible light and reaches the most amount of buyers. Social media is also an important place for your property to feature as potential buyers increasingly look at various channels to find their next home, Horton and Garton Chiswick have a dedicated Social Media Manager who ensures your property is being seen online.

 

4. Percentage of asking price achieved from the last five sales? 

To ascertain if a selling agent is really achieving the numbers that they’re providing you with I’d suggest asking for the percentage of asking price they’ve been achieving recently. An agent might tell you to market for a certain figure, often a high figure, but if they’re not actually agreeing the sale at that level, you could find yourself on the market unsold for many months and inevitably likely end up having to suffer a price reduction.

 

5. Who will be showing my property? 

The person you meet at the very beginning, the one who provides a market appraisal and likely the person you form a trusting relationship with might not reliably be the person who’s going to show your property to potential buyers. A small, close knit team can ensure your property receives the due care and attention and importantly that each person who shows a potential buyer around is armed with all the relevant information. 

 

6. Who manages my sale from offer accepted to completion? 

One of the most unique features of our service to sellers is that I personally manage each and every transaction. With Director level care and attention to your transaction you can rest assured it’s in the best and most experienced hands in the office. Across the industry around a third of property transactions typically fall through, since opening Horton and Garton Chiswick just 11% of our sales have fallen through. It’s important to know who’ll be handling your sale as its arguably one of the most complicated parts of the process. 

 

7. Do you have weekend staff?

 Saturday is the busiest day of the week in every Chiswick agent’s diary, with so many viewings being booked for the weekend you should try to confirm that an experienced agent will be showing your property. With some agencies, on certain days of the week a viewing might be conducted by someone who’s never even been into your property prior to viewing with a potential buyer meaning they’re unlikely to make the best impression.

 

8. Land Registry data for my valuation? 

Another very valid question is to ask for evidence to support the asking price an agent is quoting. We’re not talking about other properties that the agent currently has on the market for sale. Anything that’s ‘for sale’ is not a good comparison as it’s not yet sold meaning that price might not be achieved. Land Registry is where all sold property prices are recorded - any comparable properties recently sold near to your home can offer a realistic idea of the possible selling price.

 

9. Contract length and is there a notice period? 

Horton and Garton Chiswick has far shorter contracts than other local agents believing that within 4 weeks you can establish if the property is going to be sold by that agent or if they’re going to achieve the desired price. The contract with Horton and Garton Chiswick is four weeks with no notice period. Be wary of longer contracts and watch out for notice periods – it might be that the contract is 12 weeks with a four-week notice period meaning you are tied in for a minimum of 16 weeks. Always read the small print. 

 

10. Your percentage of reduced properties and what were they reduced by?

This can feel like an unwelcome question to ask but frankly if you don’t ask it, you could be setting yourself up for failure – you need to ascertain if an agent is achieving the prices that they’re proposing. The highest price that your property has been given by local agents might not be the right price but being lured into selling with an agent who overpromises can result in them underdelivering leaving you on the market for an extended period and having to accept a reduction in price after your property has already been online for some time and will have dropped down the listings. So far in 2021 we’ve had just one price reduction, and after consideration we reduced the price by 3.7% to attract the right buyer and achieve a sale.

 

Chiswick Estate Agents

As a long time Chiswick estate agent Paul has a wealth of experience selling homes in W4.

Through working with several other agency brands prior to opening Horton and Garton Chiswick Paul has not only honed his skills as a selling agent, but he has also finessed a service, with the help of his stellar team, that focuses on the client and achieving the greatest success.

To talk to Paul about selling your property in Chiswick please do get in touch.

 

How to improve your home’s EPC rating


Here are our top tips to make your home more energy efficient

Horton and Garton are increasingly asked by sellers what steps they should take when considering how to improve EPC ratings.

In this blog, Paul Cooney, Director of the Horton and Garton Chiswick office, shares useful information on EPCs and top tips for making your home more energy efficient.

What is an EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is used to measure a property’s energy efficiency.

The EPC will include information regarding the property’s energy usage and costs likely to be incurred together with recommendations for improvements that could reduce bills and make the property more efficient.

Sellers have to provide this certificate to potential buyers, so an EPC must be completed prior to the property being marketed.

How long is an EPC valid for?

An EPC is valid for 10 years.  

Who does an EPC?

An EPC is carried out by an accredited energy assessor. They will access all of the rooms in a property and the loft, they inspect heating systems and take measurements and photographs of key information included in the survey.

Unlike a building survey, an EPC is not invasive, it is purely a visual inspection of a property to establish its energy efficiency. 

 

What is a good EPC rating?

The efficiency is measured using a scale of A-G, each letter applicable depending on a score out of 100.

A is the best possible score, these homes will be incredibly efficient, have less impact on the environment and will enjoy low fuel bills.

A property with an A rating will have a score between 92 – 100, a property with a G rating, the lowest possible score, will have a rating between 1 – 20 points.

How do I increase my EPC rating?

Here are some top tips for how to improve EPC rating and make a home more energy efficient.

  1. Replace the windows

Single glazed poorly insulated windows have been said to account for up to 40% of heat loss from a home meaning upgrading windows can significantly improve an EPC rating.

  1. Install better insulation

If you have one, improving loft insulation is perhaps one of the cheapest and easiest ways to boost your EPC rating.

Cavity walls should also be appropriately insulated so be sure to check. If a property has solid walls the EPC rating is typically lower, it is possible to improve this by insulating solid walls internally or externally though this is one of the more expensive actions to take in a bid to improve your EPC rating – it can significantly change the score given to the property so in certain cases is worth considering.

Should the property have a hot water cylinder it’s important to make sure there is adequate insulation around the tank.

  1. Switch to LED Bulbs

Not only do LED bulbs last much longer but they’re more efficient – this easy switch is well worth doing. 

  1. Replace the old boiler

Heating is reportedly accountable for over half of a home’s energy costs meaning an inefficient boiler could be having a hugely negative impact. Replacing an old boiler with a modern A-rated one will reduce bills and boost an EPC rating.

  1. Consider renewable energy sources

If it’s a possibility, renewable energy sources such as solar panels, ground-source heat pumps and biomass boilers can significantly improve an EPC rating. Homes that achieve an A rating will usually have a renewable energy source.

  1. Seal open chimneys

Open fires are beautiful features that many properties in Chiswick do have but if they’re not in use it’s a good idea to block them or install a closed heater in the space instead.

  1. Obtain documentation

Often overlooked by sellers, it might be the case that when they bought the property the previous owner had installed additional energy efficient factors that would boost an EPC rating.

Whether installed by yourself, the current owner, or a previous owner, if these features are not easily accessible, the EPC assessor cannot include them in the score meaning obtaining documentation to prove work has been carried out is necessary. Have such documents available for the EPC assessor when they visit the property.

What about listed homes or those in conservation areas?

In Chiswick there are many older homes and these typically require more attention to boost the EPC rating.

There is also the additional consideration that many Chiswick houses are located within conservation areas, such as Bedford Park, meaning changes made must be sympathetic and in line with the guidance for the area.

Listed buildings do not need an EPC but can be evaluated to ascertain what is possible to improve energy efficiency. The government recommends owners of listed properties take advice from their local authority conservation officer regarding any planned works.

Does EPC affect house price?

Undoubtedly a poor EPC rating will affect the house price, buyers will often view a home with a low rating less favourably.  

Many homeowners actively take steps to improve their property’s energy efficiency throughout their time living in a home when a new technology is released or more cost-effective way to enhance the property becomes available.

There are some elements that are not always considered that can improve a rating – something so simple as switching the lightbulbs!

It’s always advisable for sellers to take the steps that they are able to, to improve an EPC rating, prior to putting a property on the market as potential buyers will need to consider the costs involved to improve the property’s energy efficiency themselves.

At Horton and Garton we work with a group of professionals who carry out EPC assessments in the instance that a property does not have a valid certificate in place.

It’s often the case that a property might have been altered and improved by the current owner meaning when it’s time to sell it can be worth having a new EPC carried out to ensure the rating is accurate.

To talk to Paul about the steps taken when preparing your home for sale please do get in touch, we’d be happy to discuss the process of selling property in Chiswick and answer any questions you might have regarding the current guidelines that must be adhered to.

Help us support the local charity for single parents


Being a divorced and separated parent from my own children the aim of the Dads House charity struck a chord with me, says Horton and Garton founder and director John Horton.

Based in Fulham, it supports single dads, their children and families and it’s seen a huge surge in demand for its services as a result of the pandemic. 

I offered my support to the charity after barrister and fellow St Peter’s Church parishioner Simon Bruce personally reached out to me.

 

So, what’s the charity all about?

Dads House was set up by Billy McGranaghan (pictured below) who described it as “a single dads’ charity” running football, breakfast clubs, a foodbank, alcohol testing and free law advice. “From a couple of days before the first lockdown in March last year we started to see more new families coming forward,” Billy says.

From typically seeing 30 to 50 families a week at the foodbank in Lillie Road, Fulham, overnight the charity began seeing 100 families… then 200. Peak demand at the food bank saw long queues and a staggering 670 families seeking help – in one single chaotic day! 

Those using the foodbank included sacked cleaners, cooks and nannies who suddenly found themselves thrown out of work and unable to support their families. 

Adapt to demand

Though not geared up to assist such numbers, Dads House had to rapidly adapt. “It was horrendous, financially,” says Billy, who set the charity up in 2008 to help single fathers with the practicalities of raising children alone. 

“We didn’t have anyone supplying food, so we had to spend our own funds sourcing food. It was a huge task to keep going.” 

Key to coping was in those early days of lockdown last spring, a lot of people in Hammersmith & Fulham were furloughed, and therefore had the time to volunteer. 

“We were really lucky that way; we were managing,” he says. “We got a system going that worked, but if it wasn’t for our volunteers it wouldn’t have happened.” 

Dads House expanded its charity work to meet changing needs, launching a family law clinic in May 2020 one day a week, with local resident and senior barrister Simon Bruce from the legal firm Farrer’s giving free advice. 

It was so successful it was shortlisted in the national 2020 LawWorks Pro Bono Awards; a real feather in the cap for the charity as it was one of just a handful of law clinics still doing face-to-face meetings rather than Zoom calls. 

Strength to strength

“It’s gone from strength to strength and we now have Wednesday and Friday pro bono law advice every week, for mums and dads,” says Billy. “We have barristers and two QCs on board.” The law clinics are also observed by student lawyers as part of their training and experience. 

“Lockdown may have brought families together, but financially it’s led to a lot of problems as well. A lot of family breakdowns have happened during Covid lockdown, because of the stress.” 

The foodbank in Lillie Road is also for mums and dads, while Dads House also runs coaching for those suffering depression, and a buddy service to give one-to-one support for fathers. “No child should be left out after divorce, separation or bereavement,” says Billy. 

Dads House is now trying to raise £40,000 through a JustGiving page to support its foodbank work, and has so far received pledges of nearly £30,000. 

‘Lifesaver’

Typical of the comments from those who have found the charity a lifesaver is this one. “If it wasn’t for Dads House I don’t know what we’d have eaten last week. I have three children, one with special needs, so I can’t leave the house. Without Dads House we would go hungry.” 

The foodbank has already helped 18,000 families during the pandemic, providing food for 212,000 meals as well as hygiene and sanitary supplies. 

There are more than 20,000 dads in London raising their children alone, with that figure predicted to rise further in the next year. 

Billy set up Dads House after raising his own son, Sam, after Sam’s mother left and went abroad when the boy was one. He quickly realised that there was very little support for fathers or understanding of their particular needs. 

Billy had to juggle temporary and part-time work to be able to spend time with Sam and take him to school. Although Sam was diagnosed with learning difficulties at the age of 11, he is now 18 and has now gone on to college to study sports development. 

To learn more about Dads House charity visit: https://www.dadshouse.org.uk/ 

Find out more about the joys of mudlarking in online event


Chiswick resident and mudlark Jason Sandy will inspire with a virtual talk titled ‘Thames Mudlarking: London’s Lost Treasures’ on Saturday

What could be finer, now that the weather is perking up, than grubbing about in the shoreline silt of the Thames and finding little treasures? 

Buttons, pipes, Roman hairpins, coins, cutlery, jewellery, shoe buckles, glass bottles, cufflinks, keys, fragments of plates… 2,000 years of the capital’s lost debris. 

Chiswick resident and mudlark Jason Sandy will be inspiring everyone with a virtual talk titled ‘Thames Mudlarking: London’s Lost Treasures’ on Saturday (April 24). It will support The Emery Walker Trust, the home of Arts and Crafts in Hammersmith. 

Jason (pictured above) knows his stuff. As well as lecturing on the subject, he has co-written a book, Thames Mudlarking, published this year by Shire Publications. 

While some of his trove has been so historically significant it has wound up in museums, he also has dozens of personal finds in his own cabinet of curiosities, giving insights into London life down the ages. Jason will share some of the stories with his virtual audience. 

“Countless objects have been unintentionally discarded or accidentally dropped into the Thames, and the river has been an extraordinary repository of these, protected and preserved in the dense mud,” he said. 

Hammersmith was where the lead printing type from Doves was dumped by bookbinder Thomas Cobden-Sanderson. Doves Press, a part of the Arts and Crafts Movement, was founded by Cobden-Sanderson with Emery Walker in 1900, and named after The Dove pub

Every letter they created (based on 15th Century Italian Renaissance designs) was made by hand, in one size only… 16pt. 

In 1906, the pair of creative talents fell out, and in 1916 Cobden-Sanderson ‘bequeathed’ all the type to the Thames from Hammersmith Bridge… a ton of lead, in total. Only a fraction has been recovered. 

It’s apt that the talk is being given in aid of Emery Walker’s Trust, Hammersmith… as Hammersmith is the point where the river stays at low tide for longest, opening up some of the most fruitful mudlarking opportunities. 

The live and interactive talk - part of a programme of monthly events by The Emery Walker Trust - is on Saturday (April 24) at 3pm.

Entry is by donation. Book a place here: Virtual Talk: Thames Mudlarking; London's Lost Treasures Tickets, Sat 24 Apr 2021 at 15:00 | Eventbrite