Latest Blog Posts

The Upper Room unveils its Spring lecture series


Broadcast and stage stars Clare Balding, Jeremy Paxman and Michael Frayn set to speak at Shepherd's Bush charity

Rottweiler interrogator Jeremy Paxman and hit West End playwright Michael Frayn are among the speakers as The Upper Room’s popular lectures move online this spring. 

The seasonal lecture series is a critical fundraiser for W12 charity The Upper Room and its important work supporting socially excluded and economically disadvantaged people.

Horton and Garton is a proud financial supporter of the charity.

Clare Balding

Launching this year’s talks is national treasure and Chiswick residents Clare Balding who will be talking – among other things – about her new book, Heroic Animals

“The book features 100 amazing animals and the stories behind their achievements,” she explained, adding that she will also be chatting about women’s sport, children’s literacy and her own broadcasting career.

“I’m looking forward to taking questions from the audience,” she added. 

TV’s most versatile presenter Clare will be in conversation with former BBC media correspondent and Chiswick Book Festival director Torin Douglas on Tuesday, March 16 from 8pm-9.15pm.

Tickets for the online event are £10. After you book, you’ll be sent the link with the chance to submit questions, too. The event will be livestreamed on the Chiswickbuzz website. Book your tickets: https://live.chiswickbuzz.net/box-office/

Playwright Michael Frayn, best known for Noises Off, Copenhagen and Democracy, will speak on April 21, with University Challenge quizmaster and ex-Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman giving you a starter for 10 on May 19.

If you miss any livestream, you can still watch afterwards.

Michael Frayn

Jeremy Paxman

Seasonal treat

The lecture series at the charity based at St Saviour’s Church in Cobbold Road has become a fixture in the local calendar, supporting the work of a charity which provides 25,000 meals a year to homeless people and works to make the socially disadvantaged economically independent. 

Past speakers from West London have included former BBC presenter Matthew Price, Misha Glenny, Lord Dubs and Lord Willetts. 

For more details about the lecture series, visit: https://theupperroom.org.uk

 

 

 

A focus on London garden design with Alexandra Noble


The spring is almost upon us, traditionally this is a time when we focus on outdoor spaces so it’s timely to consider London garden design with a little help from award winning garden and landscape designer, Alexandra Noble.

Many properties in Chiswick are fortunate to have good sized gardens, if you’re thinking about selling your home in the coming months and want to get your garden in order before going to the market, this article might offer some useful pointers. With a clear passion for gardens and an art for creating serene spaces Alexandra is the perfect person to share some of her favourite plants for a London garden and discuss the places from which she takes inspiration.

 

London garden design with Alexandra Noble

Reinvent your London garden with our step-by-step guide

Whether you’re thinking of selling and want to spruce up your outside space or have just bought a home and the garden needs some work, there are a number of ways to improve your garden.

Step 1 - See what’s salvageable

It’s not always the case that everything needs to be ripped up and started over again in order to reinvent your London garden – see what’s salvageable.

Established plants that have been left to become overgrown can usually be tamed and if desired, moved to a new location, or left as they are and added to.

In a time where we’re all trying to be a little more environmentally friendly, upcycling existing items and taking care to move or work with existing plants and their eco-systems is definitely a positive idea.

Step 2 - Add new flowerbeds

Many don’t realise that lawns actually require quite a bit of upkeep so it can in fact be a relief to increase the size of a flowerbed or add new ones.

It’s important to think practically when preparing a new bed or border, flowers that require sunlight won’t thrive in the shade so think objectively before you start digging up the ground.

Patience is the key with many gardens, whilst buying mature plants can give you instant impact it can take at least a month for a garden to settle and usually 6 months or longer to see the full effect of your efforts.

If you’re making improvements to the design of your London garden prior to selling it’s wise to plan in advance.

 

Choose plants to add interest and texture

Step 3 - Choose plants to add interest and texture

Garden centres can be overwhelming with the number of plants available in all shapes and sizes and the instructions for planting and keeping them can seem like they’re written in a foreign language.

We asked Alexandra what was her favourite plant or particular materials she enjoys working with the most?

“I work with a lot of umbellifers as I adore the otherworldly, dreamlike quality they can bring to an outdoor space.”

If you’re not particularly green fingered but want to have greenery in your garden finding low maintenance and hardy plants is a good idea.

 What plants would you recommend adding interest to a garden but remains fairly low maintenance and hardy?

“Look for grasses such as Stipa tenuissima (Mexican feather grass) or Anemanthele lessoniana (New Zealand wind grass). These look wonderful planted en masse and just need to be combed through once a year in spring to remove old leaves (ensure you have gloves on to avoid cuts!)”

 

Work with a garden designer

Step 4 - Work with a garden designer

We’re a little bit biased but we love Alexandra’s work.

If you’re serious about making a lasting impact to your garden and one that will not only look impressive but will be fit for purpose, it’s a good idea to work with a garden designer.

A garden and landscape designer can ensure the garden fulfils your needs. Some see a garden as an extension of their home meaning they’re looking for seating areas that flow from the property, others might want a robust and low maintenance space that the whole family can enjoy.

We had the privilege of selling a home where she had beautifully designed the garden to create a space that made you feel as though you’d left London and been transported to a peaceful green nirvana.

What was the inspiration for the Chiswick Worcester Drive project?

“The countryside! The client wished to feel more of a connection to nature despite the urban context.”

We can confirm, having been at the property in person, that the garden Alexandra created made you feel like you were no longer in Chiswick and were instead stood in the countryside.

 

About Alexandra Noble

About Alexandra Noble

Alexandra has a talent for creating gardens that are especially green and almost seem a little wild yet are well thought out and beautifully arranged as well as being practical and meeting the needs of the owner.

You trained as an architect before you moved into garden design – why gardens?

“I love the creativity that designing gardens affords – creating planting palettes which not only look beautiful but also provide for pollinators is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job.”

London has many parks and gardens that are open to the public – where do you like to visit?

“Where do I start! I adore the grade 1 listed conservatory at Chiswick House and Gardens when their heritage camellias are flowering in early spring as well as picnics in Queen Mary’s Rose Garden at Regent’s Park during midsummer evenings. Another fantastic visit is the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park when the rhododendrons and azaleas are ablaze in April/May.”

 

The value of a garden

Gardens can significantly impact the price of a property but that doesn’t mean that simply having a garden adds to the value regardless of its condition.

An unkept and poorly presented garden can in fact put buyers off as they realise, they’ll have to invest further finances to make the garden useable. Research has shown many times that a well-kept garden can boost a property’s value

The pandemic has made homeowners appreciate outside space that much more.

We strongly advise potential sellers to spruce up their garden in advance of coming to the market as buyers now see outside space as an additional room. Where it might have now been a ‘nice to have’ it’s now a highly valued part of the property and for many a necessity.

If you’re thinking about selling and would like to talk to Paul about your property in Chiswick, please do get in touch.

Staying a cut above the competition


Horton and Garton reveal their local salon favourites as end of lockdown approaches...

After the long winter lockdown, the offices of Horton and Garton are in urgent need of a proper haircut.

So, it was some relief that the Government announced this week that hairdressers will be allowed to open their doors again to clients – hopefully on April 12 – as long as Covid-secure measures are in place.  

First impressions count. And as estate agents, it’s a prerequisite to at least look professional in attire and presentation.

Being the local market leader, our track record proves that we are a cut above the competition (or two or three…) when it comes to selling and letting properties across Hammersmith, Chiswick and Shepherds Bush.

These struggling salons and independent businesses will need your support when they re-open. And it’s likely that your local stylist will pre-booking appointments from April 12 onwards. Move quickly as these appointments will be in high demand!

Here are a few of our favourites in Hammersmith and Chiswick:

Adam & Potsie
280 King Street, Hammersmith W6
020 8748 5806

Bohemia
196 King Street, Hammersmith W6
020 8563 0405

Pure Barberism
229 King Street, Hammersmith W6
020 3674 3892

Big Jim Trims
6 Devonshire Road, Chiswick W4
020 3645 8295

The Hogarth Club
Airedale Avenue, Chiswick W4
020 3504 3670

Chiswick House & Gardens – Join our campaign to raise funds


Everything you need to know about the Lego brick model campaign to raise vital funds

One of W4’s finest treasures, Chiswick House & Gardens is a popular place to venture if you live in the area.

We’re spoilt to have ready access, totally free of charge, to such a beautifully maintained site.

You might be unaware though that the Coronavirus pandemic has caused funding towards the upkeep of the house and its grounds to dwindle considerably.

Now, Chiswick House & Gardens is in need of our support more than ever to ensure we can continue to enjoy the space freely for generations to come.

To help, Horton and Garton has made a donation of £1,000 – we’re really fond of the house and its grounds, we often take a walk around in our free time, or even between appointments if time allows.

 

Chiswick House

Lego® brick model of Chiswick House

As part of their efforts to raise vital funds, Chiswick House Friends are building Lego® brick models of the stunning Palladian villa at various points during its history, where donations are made per brick added to the model.

Progress of the build is being displayed on the Chiswick House Friends website where daily photos are uploaded.

The model will be on show in the Gardens Café and when restrictions are lifted local school children will help with the build.

Donations can be made via the Just Giving page where further information about the model and history of the house can be found. A donation of just £2 will add one brick; £10 will add five bricks. Donations of £15 or more will add one brick for every £1.50 donated.

Click here to donate

 

Who are Chiswick House Friends?

Who are Chiswick House Friends?

Chiswick House Friends are a local charity with appoximately 600 members who together play an important role, contributing to restoration projects and funding new commissions to improve and enhance Chiswick House and its wonderful grounds and gardens.

Chiswick House and Gardens are managed by a trust who maintain and protect the villa and its grounds, and the Friends work closely with the Trust supporting activities and projects.

We asked Dr John Armstrong, Chairman of Chiswick House Friends, a few questions:

The Lego® Brick Fundraiser has so far raised over £30,000, nearly half of the target set by Chiswick House Friends – what will the funds raised go towards?

All the funds raised by the Lego Brick Fundraiser go to the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, which runs the park, to replace some of the £0.5m hole in their finances arising from the cancellation of events due to Covid.

The site has annual costs of about £1m – paying for gardeners, rangers and security, maintenance and so on.

As a local resident what is it that you most enjoy about Chiswick House and the surrounding area?

As a local resident, I walk my dog in the park at least once every day and love the Gardens especially the wilderness areas. I am also fascinated by the architecture of the House and love the way it has been through three quite separate arrangements (all of which will be illustrated in the Lego model!)

Which annual event (or events) are you most looking forward to attending once they’re permitted to go ahead?

I used to really enjoy the Opera, which Chiswick House Friends ran every year until about five years ago – maybe we will be able to organise this again once the present difficulties are past.

I also love the energy and excitement of the Dog Show, put on every autumn – at least until last year for obvious reasons. It is a real community event, for everyone, and is I am told the largest dog show in London.

 

Where to live near Chiswick House

Where to live near Chiswick House

As a local estate agent, we know just how much of a draw it is for buyers to live near Chiswick House.

If you’re looking for a property in the area there are a few roads we can highlight that you might wish to consider.

Grove Park

Grove Park surrounds most of Chiswick House and Grounds.

The property in Grove Park is a mix of Edwardian homes and houses built in the Twenties and Thirties. For the most part the properties in Grove Park are substantial houses, some boasting 100ft gardens and those near the River Thames often enjoy private river frontage.

This area of W4 is located to the south of the A4 main road, though several underpasses connect Grove Park to Chiswick High Road if you’re on foot or cycling.

Chiswick Riverside

Though Chiswick has considerable river frontage due to the shape of the postcode area, the Chiswick Riverside area that includes the Corney Reach development, near to Duke’s Meadows, is particularly sought after.

The modern development is a mix of apartments and townhouses that enjoy river views and in most cases off street parking, all within just a few minutes’ walk of Chiswick House.

Estate agent in Chiswick

As a longstanding estate agent in Chiswick, Paul Cooney has an intrinsic knowledge of each of the residential areas within W4.

Many areas of W4 are within walking distance of Chiswick House - it’s a beautiful slice of serenity that Chiswick residents are incredibly fortunate to have free access to.

We’re delighted to have been able to support Chiswick House and Gardens in some way during these challenging times and hope others are encouraged to also contribute in any way they can.

Virtual Property Valuation – Selling your home during the pandemic


Paul Cooney, Director of Horton and Garton in Chiswick, discusses how a virtual property valuation works and shares his top tips for selling during the pandemic

If you’re hoping to take the next step towards selling your home but would initially prefer not to meet in person, a virtual property valuation is the solution.

Here’s how we value your property virtually and our top tips for selling your house during the pandemic.

virtual property valuation

How does a virtual valuation work?

In the current climate a virtual property valuation might be preferable.

We’ve conducted many market appraisals in this manner over the past 12 months, and even before the pandemic if it’s more convenient for a seller.

There are several ways for us to value your property virtually:

  • Live walk-through – We open a video call, and you show us around your property.
  • Pre-recorded walk-through – You send a video tour of you walking through the property for us to evaluate
  • Desktop appraisal – You can send over the property address, number of rooms, describe the decorative condition and approximate size. We’ll be able to provide an estimated price range.
  • Telephone appraisal – If you’d prefer to have a discussion and simply receive a general idea of the value of your property and learn more about the market a telephone appraisal could be a good initial step.

For those who wish, we are now able to visit a property and conduct a valuation, adhering to government guidelines.

Can you sell your property virtually?

Yes, absolutely. As an example, during the first lockdown the Horton and Garton Chiswick office valued a property virtually, photographs and a virtual tour were captured in full PPE and adhering to guidelines by a professional company, the property was showcased online and following an online viewing a buyer put an offer forward. The transaction successfully concluded with both parties very happy.

In the current climate it’s entirely possible to see a property without a physical viewing, this said its wise for vendors to prepare for some in person viewings. Buying a home is a personal decision and many buyers will want the assurance of having stepped inside themselves prior to completing a purchase.  

With the proper precautions in place an in person viewing from a fully vetted and qualified buyer who’s extremely serious about proceeding to purchase, can be conducted in a safe manner at a very low risk.

 

virtual property valuation

Property price advice

A property’s value is determined by a number of factors, these points contribute to the property price advice we share:

  • Condition of property – a property that will require considerable work to be liveable will have a vastly different price than one that has recently been renovated to a high standard.
  • Tenure – houses are largely freehold but if a property is leasehold the number of years remaining on a lease will have an impact on the price.
  • Any planning permissions or scope for improvement – it is sometimes the case that a current owner will have investigated extending or remodelling and have commissioned architects’ drawings and obtained planning permission but not yet carried out any work.
  • Comparable sales – we have access to several databases which provide us with historic property prices allowing us to give an accurate idea of current values based on similar properties that have recently sold.
  • Current market climate – Being on the ground and talking to buyers, and sellers, allows an agent to understand the appetite better. The mainstream media reports only figure for broader areas and does not address micro-markets such as Chiswick.
  • Experience – This cannot be measured but it is incredibly important. An agent who has local experience and a track record of success will be able to offer a much clearer advice on the price and the best strategy for selling.

Pricing strategy

Online property portals show very clearly the date when a property was first listed and when a property has been reduced in price.

Properties that have been online and available for sale for some time often make prospective buyers think there is something wrong with a property for it to have not sold yet.

A price reduction also gives the wrong message with buyers put off by vendors who might have high expectations.

The initial price that your property is advertised for can dictate the level of interest and the eventual selling price.

Horton and Garton is well known for our precision pricing and we will give potential sellers a fair and reasonable value based on the current market climate and the property itself.

 

virtual property valuation

How to sell a property during a pandemic

The strategy for sale will be dictated by several factors including the speed at which a seller wants to move. At this time sellers are generally only putting their homes on the market if they absolutely wish to sell, though time scales vary. 

As well as depending on the type of property and the demand in the local market. Sellers are seeing the greatest success when they prepare their property for virtual viewings – we recently published a blog with more details.

We also recently spoke with a professional home organiser in London who shared tips on how to declutter your property which can significantly improve how a property looks online (and in-person).

People around the world are self-isolating, and the UK is currently in a national lockdown meaning prospective buyers are spending more time than ever on the internet and on social media platforms.

Beautiful photographs, a professionally-written description and virtual tours done correctly can significantly boost the saleability of your property.

 

Steps we take when valuing in person

 We are able to value a property in person and take precautions to ensure the most up to date guidelines are followed.

Should you wish for us to attend your property we will maintain a two-metre distance, we will cover or remove our shoes and wear a facemask.

During the appointment we will avoid touching anything in the property unless it is absolutely necessary to do so.

 

Chiswick estate agent

As a long standing and experienced Chiswick estate agent, I can offer competent and clear advice on selling your home.

With the media releasing information that is often conflicting and misleading, a seasoned local agent can offer clarity, especially during a pandemic.

To talk about the sale of your property in Chiswick please do get in touch.

Making Sense of Scents in W12


We are in the midst of deepest and darkest winter. It is bleak outside and if the ground isn’t hard, it’s pretty muddy. Although nature seems dormant, there is much to observe and tantalise the senses outside. There are fragrant winter shrubs and much loved bulbs pushing through the cold earth which attract and sustain us, as much as solitary bees and insects throughout the winter.

Your guide to 10 winter flowers and shrubs now gracing Wendell Park

Take a journey with me through Wendell Park and I will tell you a story about these plants and people. About two years ago, we gathered, the core group of gardeners who call ourselves the Wendell Park Gardening Friends with a mission to improve and develop the borders in the park by introducing more biodiversity, support our local park keeper and come together to garden as a group.

The north border which boundaries St Saviour's Church vicarage wasn’t looking much with a fallen tree and a lot of ivy covering the ground and the fences. Spearheaded by Frances, and a determined twinkle in her eye, we worked really hard to clear the leaves and debris from the area and demarcated a border, adding much compost. Frances was keen on a winter to spring border to keep us going through the hard winter months. We decided on shrubs that would bring pleasure when winter seems harsh and spring still a long way off. You will find these shrubs all around the park.

  1. The first is Viburnam bodnantense ‘Dawn’ – we have several in the park and the most established one grows against a wall near the Cobbold Road entrance and some younger ones in the north border. It has a fantastic sweet spicy smell born on clusters of small pink flowers. It comes from Bodnant, a beautiful garden in Wales, to which I have distant ancestral connections. Some of the fun of gardening is finding these connections.
  2. The next can be found in the north border and the children’s area and outside my front door. It is Daphne odora Aureomarginata. This lovely small shrub is evergreen and has pretty pink fragrant flowers from now til spring. Daphne was a water sprite in Greek mythology who was pursued by the Greek god Apollo. To escape his unwanted attention, Daphne begged the rivergod to turn her in a laurel tree (Laurus nobilis). Daphne means laurel in Greek and the Daphne plant was known as ‘small laurel’, although it is not related to a laurel at all, all quite confusing! Nevertheless, its smell can bring cheer.
  3. Sarcoccocca confusa or Sweet Box is another small evergreen shrub with deep green leaves and attractive white, deliciously smelling flowers in winter through to spring. Then it has pretty purple, red or black berries over summer until it next flowers the following winter. Sarcococca means flesh berry. It is a hardy little plant, shade tolerant and according to the RHS “tolerant of atmospheric pollution, dry shade and neglect.” S. confusa ‘Little Gem’ is a useful variety.
  4. Next in our north border and flowering now is witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’). I love this plant for its spidery golden flowers – there are also many other varieties with colours from orange, pink to red – and its therapeutic and healing properties. It is deciduous and this cultivar has strong citrusy fragrant winter flowers along its stems until spring when leaves appear and these turn a spectacular buttery yellow in autumn. Hamamelis means ‘together with fruit’ referring to flowers and fruit from the previous year occurring together. The witch in its common name has its origins in Old English ‘wice’ meaning ‘pliant’ or ‘bendable’ and the twigs were used as divining rods. Extracts of the plant made the witch-hazel ointment and remedies in years gone by.

    Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida

  5. Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum - pictured above) is another favourite to brighten up a winter’s day. Its lemon, yellow flowers appear on the stems of this vigorous climber from November until March. The deciduous shrub needs pruning back after flowering and is happy to scramble over fences and walls. The plant originates from China where it is called Yingchun – flower that welcomes spring.
  6. Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is another bush with a lovely smell. It is also known as ‘sweet breath of spring’.  Rather than its rambling summer counterpart, this is a deciduous shrub which can grow to 2 m. It can be deciduous or evergreen in a mild winter and doesn’t mind partial shade. It was introduced to the UK by a Scottish plant hunter in 1845 called Robert Fortune, also known for his cunning acts of biopiracy, with the shaved head and ponytail he wore to blend into China. 
  7. Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) is the next plant which imparts a strong sweet smell from creamy yellow flowers.  They turn into nuts over the summer.  Like winter honeysuckle and winter jasmine, this plant also originates from China where it is revered and its dried flowers used to scent linen, similar to lavender. Its starry flowers give a strong pungent smell to a winter’s day and Dan Pearson calls it his ‘February fix’ in his Dig Delve blog.
  8. The compact Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ works well in our north border and its compact nature can also be a good plant for ‘winter interest’ window boxes.  It prefers shade and a slightly more acidic soil so plant with ericaceous compost for best results. It smell is divine and its leaves are also aromatic with a citrusy aroma when crushed.

    Skimmia x confusa Kew Green

  9. The two final plants in this list are probably my favourite.  Hellebores (one variety pictured above) with their simple, cup shaped flowers are perennials that appear now and last well into spring. They come in many varieties and colours.  I love the Helleborus odorus and Helleborus niger. They have evergreen strappy leaves which I cut back in the autumn or early winter as the new flowers begin to appear. They can self seed and pop up all over the show once established and don’t mind shade. There are grim and bizarre myths associated with this plant, mainly because it is poisonous. Its name derives from the Greek ‘to harm’ and ‘food’. However, there is a charming legend about a young girl who visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. She felt ashamed that she had no gift for him, and as her tears fell to the ground the helleborus sprouted. She picked the flower and gave it to Jesus. Hence its common name Christmas rose.

    Galanthus nivalis

  10. And last, but not least, the dear little snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis - pictured above). It gets its botanical name from Gala (milk in Greek and anthus flower). It is a bulb and we have planted in the woodland areas around Wendell Park.  Snowdrops are best planted ‘in the green’ in acidic soil created naturally by leaf mould in woods and en masse to get the lovely carpet effect that can be glimpsed in woods and Wendell Park. This humble little flower symbolises hope and purity.

The sense of smell is closely linked with memory. A mossy woodland smell reminds me of my arrival in warm, damp England after a childhood spent in hot, dry Africa, a sense of arrival and a sense of a new life. Winter is a time to slow down, enjoy a walk in the gentle winter sun to replenish Vitamin D levels, observe nature and enjoy the scents of winter.

Decluttering Your Home – Home Organisation


How to Declutter your home is a hot topic - Time to meet home decluttering expert Esme

Hit Netflix shows such as Get Organized with The Home Edit and Tidying Up with Marie Kondo have encouraged thousands to declutter their homes, organise and live in a picture perfect home.

We’re fortunate in Chiswick to have our very own professional home organiser - Esme is a KonMari Consultant and founder of Tidy Coaching.

Esme trained with Marie Kondo in Los Angeles and offers specialist home organisation sessions and a decluttering service in Chiswick and across London.

Decluttering your home can considerably improve the way your home looks in online photos and virtual tours meaning you’re likely to attract more prospective buyers.

In person, a home that is organised and has good storage often proves more appealing to those viewing and, in many cases, a higher sale price can be achieved.

Going through the process of decluttering before you move can also make the process of moving to a new house far easier.

We asked Esme some questions about what she does and how she does it.

Esme - Decluttering Your Home

What is The KonMari Method?

Marie Kondo's KonMari Method™ uses a different approach to home organising: 

Step 1 - Make a plan - what do you ideally want your home to look and feel like? 

Step 2 - Declutter and tidy by category not by location (clothes, books, papers, komono (e.g. kitchen and bathroom), sentimental items) 

Step 3 - Make a positive choice about what to keep and let go of items with gratitude - they have served their purpose for you and someone else will cherish them.

Working with a KonMari Consultant is like working with a personal trainer. We're there to guide you through the process, keep you motivated, encourage and listen and help you achieve amazing and long-lasting results.

The KonMari Method

What Are Your 3 Top Tips for Decluttering and Staying Committed to Tidying?

  1. Finish decluttering everything first before even thinking about beautiful storage systems. Decluttering is like taking an audit of your belongings - you need to know what you've got before finding an organised place for it in your home.
  2. Set manageable goals or it will become overwhelming! When I work with my clients, this is one of the first things I do for them (and everyone is different). Doing too much at once can become demotivating and exhausting. 
  3. A place for everything and everything in its place. Once you have finished decluttering and decided what to keep, make sure everything has a home! This will enable you to keep organised and tidy and will keep clutter at bay.

Tidying your workspace

You offer Virtual Organising Sessions How Do these Work?  

I offer world-wide virtual tidying sessions via Zoom which gives people the ability to work with a professional organiser even if there isn’t one in your area and can be valuable in our current time of Covid-19.

I guide you as you organise your belongings in real time, using Marie Kondo's revolutionary method, while we are on a Zoom call together.

You may want to use virtual organising sessions to carry out your entire tidying journey with your KonMari Consultant or you may feel that you can tackle most of your home organising on your own, but need a little extra accountability - someone to check in with to give you some support and guidance.  

Each virtual organising session lasts a minimum of one hour. It is entirely up to you as to whether you prefer me to stay on-line with you whilst you do all your tidying, or if you would prefer to do most of your tiding ‘off-line’ and just have regular catch ups / check-ins with me. 

I always do an introductory presentation at the beginning of each new category (Clothes, Books, Papers, Komono, Sentimental Items) so that I can talk you through the Konmari Method™ for each category.

Decluttering your kitchen

Decluttering Your Home for Sale

It’s incredibly important to declutter your home before selling to achieve the greatest premium for your property.

Horton and Garton will always recommend a seller have a good sort out and removes unnecessary items from view.

Prospective buyers struggle to imagine a home as their own when it’s cluttered with the current owners’ belongings.

If it seems that a property has inadequate storage space a buyer might be put off or believe they will have to spend significant amounts to create the appropriate storage.

Engaging a service such as the one Esme offers to her clients could make the entire process far smoother.

Homes that are organised and demonstrate excellent storage options will often sell quicker and even for a higher price.

Property in Chiswick

The property market in W4 has gotten off to a flying start in 2021.

Buyers have a real appetite for well-priced property - we’ve recently agreed the sale of a house located off of Strand-on-the-Green which came to the market for just a few days before we received several bids above the asking price.

If you’d like to talk about your plans to sell in the coming months, or simply want an idea of the current climate and the outlook for Chiswick property in 2021, please do contact Paul Cooney.

Selling Glamoursmith and SheBu


A year in review and sales manager Martin Clements MNAEA’s predictions for 2021…

Before you read on, I must pause to acknowledge the knock-on effects the pandemic has had on our fellow independent businesses here in Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush. These unique, independent traders make our communities special places to live and I know that our wonderful neighbours will continue to shop local as soon as your doors are open again.

When lockdown was announced, property professionals – and every homeowner up and down the country - held their breath. In 13 years at the helm of our sales team, I’d never seen anything like it: a frozen market. Photography, floorplans and video tours created by a specialist team in ‘clean’ boiler suits. Was this the new normal?! We knew it wouldn’t be and could forecast this temporary stall as the calm before the storm… we were momentarily at peace in the eye of the hurricane.

An understanding of the basic macroeconomic principle of limited supply and an inevitable surge in demand meant my sales team braced for the madness to come: before the market restarted, the floodgates were already bulging with buyers and sellers chomping at the bit to get moving. Conversation after conversation was had with Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith locals desperate to move… buy, sell, upsize, downsize, remortgage, free up equity, home office, outside space, rattling around in a house that’s too big, wanting to move nearer to family… you name it, I had several conversations about it - all with the same question: “When can we start?”

The seven day working week swiftly followed with our already-busy sales team working around the clock to ensure our sellers and buyers were beautifully looked after and never in want of an update. This sterling standard of service meant our market share grew for the 13th year in a row in 2020, with Horton and Garton selling more houses in Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush than any other estate agency. How to best describe 2020? Our statistics tell the story of our team’s dedication:

hammersmith shepherd's bush sold houses

  • Our properties achieved an average of 98.7% of their initial asking price
  • 56% of our W6 portfolio and over a third of our W12 portfolio achieved 100% of the initial asking price or above
  • 85% of our W6 portfolio achieved 95% of the initial asking price or above
  • 17% of our sales in 2020 were agreed fully off-market
  • Our Askew Village sales were agreed in an average of 24 days – less than half the national average for time on the market in 2020 (50 days!)
  • If you sold in Ravenscourt Park, this average time on the market figure – from listing to under offer – drops to just 11 days!

time on the market house sold askew village ravenscourt park

What’s afoot for West London property in 2021? I believe more properties will come to market and forsee local Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush average house prices holding firm with the very best homes near desirable schools and amenities continuing to attract top notch buyers and extraordinary prices. In the first month of the new year, we’ve seen sealed bid scenarios and watched Lockdown 3.0 focussing buyers’ minds and intentions.

The motivation to move is there with the stamp duty deadline adding yet another layer of incentive. Time will tell how the market reacts as the year goes on – check back at the end of Quarter 2 for my overview and projections – but to reiterate, I forecast the family house market holding firm. Growing families will always want and need to upsize into these perennially popular forever homes; they act as a constant lure to our leafy patch of Prime West London.

Whilst I can’t invite you to pop by our King Street office for a cup of tea, I can certainly encourage you to call me and my team or email us any time. We’re even on WhatsApp – click here to connect with us. If you’re a Hammersmith or Shepherd’s Bush local and only the best will do, my dedicated team and I are at your service. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

Martin Clements MNAEA

Sales Manager

“As a seller I couldn’t recommend Horton and Garton more strongly. They have a great knowledge of the local market, road by road. I felt their advice was completely sound and definitely aimed at getting the best outcome and the whole process was totally stress free.”

                       -Jane, Brackenbury Village seller

“We chose this agency because it’s local and because we liked the selling strategy – you feel it straight away when you deal with professionals. Even with a four link chain, we managed to move into our new home within four months with no problems whatsoever. They’re professional, reliable, responsible and smart: definitely recommend.”

                       -Dina, Askew Village seller

“I cannot recommend the team at Horton and Garton highly enough. In the past we have had some bad experiences with estate agents however Martin, Phil and Charlie have restored our faith in the profession! We have found their honest, friendly but knowledgeable approach very refreshing.”

                       -Jenny, Ravenscourt Park seller  

Have an old tablet or laptop? Donate your device today and help a family in need


Horton and Garton is appealing for money and laptops to connect children to their schoolwork

Tech laptop donate pupils

 

With schools closed to most children because of lockdown, the digital divide between the haves and have nots is widening. 

Across the country, Ofcom believes up to 1.8 million children have no access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. 

In Hammersmith & Fulham, more than 1,700 laptops have already been given out by schools and the council.

While in Chiswick, school pupils will benefit from the 750 laptops recently purchased by Hounslow Council.

But sadly it’s still not enough to connect every school pupil in Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush and Chiswick.

That's why we’re appealing to local residents to donate to West London charity Ready Tech Go. It was set up last year by a group of volunteers who work in IT to bridge the technology gap between those with computers and those without. The mantra of Ready Tech Go is ‘access to technology should be a right, not a privilege’, and its volunteers recondition laptops and tablets, wiping any data that remains on them before giving them free to families in need. 

If you want more details, or can help with a donation of money or any unwanted laptops/tablets, visit the Ready Tech Go website.  

Meanwhile, we applaud Hammersmith charity UNITED in H&F which has already given Ready Tech Go a grant to support its work. 

Need more data?

Mobile network operators are also working to help schools support pupils in need in Years 3 to 11 who rely on a mobile internet connection during lockdown.

Families in need may be able to benefit from free increases to their mobile data if they’re a customer of:

  • EE
  • Three
  • Sky Mobile
  • SMARTY
  • Tesco Mobile
  • Virgin Mobile

(The amount of data available to families will vary by provider.)

Data will be increased until the end of July 2021. Schools can request these free mobile data increases for families during the spring and summer 2021 terms.

 

Making the most out of virtual viewings


Prospective buyers are now taking their time to consider property details online, here we share our top tips to help make the most out of a virtual viewing.

What are virtual viewings?

A virtual viewing of a property is 3D imagery that is viewed in a virtual reality system – it seems as though you’re really there in the property.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced estate agents to stop conducting so many viewings and update the way they showcased properties online. Some agents chose to do virtual tours via video walkthroughs, others chose to do professional video tours.

virtual viewing estate agent chiswick

We believe that together with professional photographs and floorplans, a 3D virtual tour is the very best way to enable potential buyers to get the full measure of a property prior to arranging property viewings. In some instances, a pre-recorded video tour is also appropriate.

How to use a virtual viewing

The Horton and Garton Chiswick office use high quality technology to capture a property virtually. The Matterport cameras provide 3D imagery that feels like you’re in the property, it allows a buyer to see every aspect – good and bad.

 

matterport virtual viewing

Virtual tours

Buyers should take their time doing a virtual walk through as though they were in the property, there are several points to look out for which can be seen on a virtual tour:

· The age and condition of the kitchen, whether quality brand appliances are built in

· Is there adequate storage space?

· Is the central heating system gas or electric?

· The condition of bathrooms and quality of the fittings.

· Any visible cracks in the ceiling or walls beyond what is expected if it is a period property

· What does the property look out onto – from a 3D tour you can see the view from the windows

· Are the windows in good condition, are they double glazed?

From the virtual tour you might have questions to raise with the selling agent prior to viewing in person.

Measure up

The software we use enables buyers to mark out measurements of their furniture online within the 3D tour to make sure their belongings would fit.

If you want to clarify any measurements, such as the width of a door frame to get furniture in, sellers are usually happy to measure for you – just ask the agent.

If you’ve viewed the property thoroughly online and believe it to be a real contender there are certain questions that you might need the estate agent to answer and provide more information:

· Has there been any structural work completed on the property in the last 10 years?

· When were the kitchen, bathroom and boiler installed?

· Older properties can be susceptible to damp so perhaps ask if there has been any damp proofing and if there is a guarantee for the works.

· If the property is within a building confirm the charges applicable and whether there are any building works planned as this could incur cost and cause noise disturbance.

· You might even want to know who lives next door!

· If you’re new to the area you might like to know more about local schools and amenities

Whatever your query the estate agent will be able to help, or they’ll be able to ask the seller and come back to you.

Floor plans

Floor plans have been being used for estate agents for a very long time and remain to be incredibly important. If the property is one that you know you’ll want to improve or reconfigure the floorplan can be hugely useful.

floor plan horton and garton

The floorplan will also confirm where there are storage cupboards that might not have been obvious on the 3D tour such as those in the eaves.

For the purposes of valuing the property the total square footage is used to equate a price based on the price per square foot for comparable properties that have sold recently nearby.

Things to consider before viewing a property in person

Aside from looking around the property virtually make sure you’ve considered these factors before arranging a physical viewing. 

Location

The location of a property and the local transport connections are often easier to check online.

Look at a map to consider the exact location and take a look around at street level by using street view technology as this will give you a better idea of what’s right outside your front door and the outlook. Apps like Citymapper can prove useful to establish how well connected a property is and what modes of transport are nearby, offering an accurate commute time.

Price

The internet allows buyers to easily access sold prices in the area, officially all property sales are registered with the Land Registry. Property portals such as Rightmove will offer an idea of what’s available to buy and some also show recent sold prices of nearby properties.

It’s worth keeping in mind that a property’s value isn’t solely based on what the property next door sold for – there are a number of factors.

If you can’t understand why there’s a difference in the value of the property you’re considering, be it lower or higher than nearby homes, talk to the estate agent as they will have arrived at that guide price for good reason.

Physical viewings

Once you’re sure the property is what you’re looking for it’s appropriate to arrange to view in person. A physical viewing is now more about getting the fuzzy homely feeling when you’re there as you’ve already checked the other factors. Horton and Garton strictly adhere to the government’s Covid 19 guidelines including social distancing and wearing PPE.

paul cooney viewing covid-19

How sellers can make the most out of virtual viewings

We’ve highlighted how a buyer can make the most out of a virtual viewing but how can a seller ensure their property is showcased in its very best light when it is captured by the 3D cameras?

Matterport cameras take a full 360° scan of each individual room so think about the following:

· Declutter – tidying away unnecessary items can help buyers see the property more clearly

· Spring clean – give the house a good clean, wipe away any marks and scuffs and, touch up the paint

· Remove valuables – put them out of view

· Ideally pets should be out – having an animal running through a room when capturing the virtual tour can ruin the imagery

· Open all the doors and turn on all the lights – make sure the property is as light and bright as possible

· Freshen up the garden – give the lawn a mow and trim back any trees and bushes

For professional advice on the sale of your property please do get in touch or watch our recent video to find out how Horton and Garton can present your property online.

Buyers looking for property in Chiswick can find our latest listings here or contact us to discuss your property requirements.