Latest Blog Posts

Piazza Progress

Calling green fingered locals…

Having spearheaded the successful Chiswick Timeline under the arches near Turnham Green tube station, Abundance London has come up with another innovative idea to revitalise the area. After consulting local residents on their proposal to create a piazza style area at Chiswick Common corner, Abundance received an overwhelmingly positive response and preparation is now underway, with flower beds, bike racks and benches being installed in the coming months. The project is a collaboration between Friends of Chiswick Back Common and Abundance; funding has been secured to get things off the ground. The Chiswick Piazza project is now underway with the disused, unsightly double decker bike racks removed and attractive new Sheffield installed. The broken benches will be replaced with curved timber benches which will encourage locals to sit and take in views of both the Terrace and the common. Broken bins will be replaced and the pink granite fountain, originally installed in 1902, will be restored and returned to working order under the indomitable Councillor John Todd’s watchful eye. We can look forward to a glorious Abundance London flower bed full of perennials, annuals and bulbs which will be beautiful year round. The area will most likely be entirely unrecognisable! Karen Leibreich of Abundance says, 'We hope to try and reintroduce some beauty to the area; to reclaim it as a place for lingering, meeting, traversing, enjoying.'

Volunteers are needed to help care for the flower bed, under the guidance of the Abundance team, as the council cannot help with the bed’s maintenance. The planting will be low maintenance but weeding, trimming and general care is required. If you have green fingers or would simply like to keep the piazza looking its best, get in touch with Karen or click here to fill in a contact form. 

Julian Dobson, a research associate for improving well-being through urban nature at the University of Sheffield, wrote recently that urban green spaces — including parks, woodlands, riverbanks, and gardens — are ‘an essential part of a web of physical and mental well-being’. Dobson explains that they provide ‘spaces to socialise and opportunities to connect with the natural world, and are restorative enclaves in stressful cities’.

We look forward to enjoying spending time in the new piazza area!

An update on Manjit’s recovery

An update on Manjit's recovery from her son Inder:

Manjit, who fell down the basement stairs in her shop - The Tipsy Toad - has broken her neck. She can wiggle her toes so thankfully she is not paralysed. Manjit has had three major operations to date. The first was to set a bone in her neck, the second was a tracheotomy to assist her with breathing and the third was for a pace maker to regulate her heartbeat. She is not yet able to speak and needs to rest her lungs and throat muscles before attempting a conversation, but she can mouth words. Manjit is likely to remain in hospital until the autumn for a period of about three months.

Inder says she is conscious and recognises family and nursing staff, is in good spirits and is aware of and grateful for the overwhelming response from the people of Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush who have been sending their well wishes, keeping her in their prayers and donating generously. Inder asks that we all pray for her to have positive energy and hope for a speedy recovery.

Cards and greetings should be sent or delivered to Tipsy Toad at 91 Hammersmith Grove, London W6 0NQ. The shop has now reopened with its usual hours. If you haven't yet donated, please do consider helping Hammersmith's beloved Manjit and her family in their time of need.

Chiswick Timeline Project supports local schools and libraries

Read on for an update from Chiswick Timeline Project Coordinator Karen Liebreich regarding the success of the educational book and art trail that accompanied the Timeline's launch...


"The book that accompanied the launch of the new mural at Turnham Green, The Chiswick Timeline: A History in Art and History, has proved very successful.

Several free copies were sent to all the schools in Chiswick, along with map sheets for project work, and a copy of the art trail showing relevant locations of the art works around the area, the latter kindly sponsored by local estate agent, Horton and Garton. Every library in Hounslow also received a free copy of the book, as did local history archive resources in Hammersmith and Richmond. This was made possible by the generosity of people for the mural project, and we have to say again that we were overwhelmed by the community support. Every person who helped with the mural – whether financially or by clearing flyposting or helping to make ceramic houses etc should by now have received their free thank you copy.

The art trails are available at the library and at St Michaels & All Angels, or you can contact us should you want a pack for your community group or school.

The books are on sale at Foster Books in the High Road, at the Local Studies department of Chiswick Library, from the local history group or via our website at They are very nearly sold out, so we recommend you hurry if you want a copy."

- Karen Liebreich MBE

ESTAS Shortlist Success!

Horton and Garton Shortlisted For Best Estate Agent London West

Horton and Garton's two offices have both been shortlisted for prestigious ESTAS awards, in association with property search portal Zoopla. Our West London Estate Agents are shortlisted within the London West region for Sales, Landlords and Tenant feedback. We've also been shortlisted within the Estate Agency Group category on a national level! The ESTAS Customer Service Awards, in their 15th year, are unique because shortlisted and winning firms are selected purely on ratings from their clients. Thanks to our wonderful clients we've been shortlisted for this year's awards!

The ESTAS Awards

 The ESTAS awards determine the best agents in the UK through research carried out amongst clients who are asked a series of questions about the service they've received during the sales and lettings process. This year saw record entries making the competition the toughest yet and one of the biggest surveys in the UK property industry with 36,000 clients competing ESTAS surveys. Agencies have been shortlisted in 30 regions across the UK. Regional and national winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair on the 20th of April. The awards, presented by TV property expert Phil Spencer, will see 1,000 property professionals from across the country gather under one roof. Spencer adds, "Any firm that enters The ESTAS has already sent a clear message that they are passionate about customer service so to make it onto the shortlist is a huge achievement." 

Proud To Serve West London

Founder John Horton says, "To be shortlisted across each category we entered is the highest honour and speaks volumes about our team's genuine and wholehearted commitment to client care. What a fabulous way to celebrate our tenth year of service to West London!" Chiswick Sales Director Paul Cooney adds, "My clients are the reason for my passion for property. I wake up in the morning with the singleminded conviction to do the best by them. I'm truly honoured to be shortlisted within my first year of trading here in Chiswick."

 THANK YOU to everyone who voted for Horton and Garton! For more information on the awards, visit

Looking to buy, let or sell a property in West London? You're in safe hands, call us today on 020 8819 0510 or contact our friendly team.

Best Estate Agent London - ESTAS Awards

Diary of an Estate Agent: Managing March Madness

Diary of an Estate Agent

Ashley Clements, West London Lettings Manager

Our weekly planning session morphs into a lettings quiz - low scorer washes up the coffee cups. This starts the day with with a fun energy but also imparts some key legislation updates to the team. Fortunately I'm not washing up…. The benefit of writing the questions of course! My first incoming telephone call is from a landlord who has just completed a large-scale, high spec refurbishment on a Brackenbury Village house... and I have been invited to visit them later today. Having peeked inside many times walking past during the last year it promises to be a very unique property and after a debrief with the team we already have a particular family in mind for the next tenancy...

Team Lettings had a blinder yesterday with evening viewings resulting in two offers on the same property. As a local and independent agency we have been able to create a competitive but open and honest environment for our team. We work for one person - our client - so instead of choosing the quick or easy option, discussions are held at length about each offer, the suitability of the individual tenants and their positions. We then put the two different tenants to our client because, even though I offer my informed opinion, the choice is theirs. On a side note, I am feeling flash today with a new pair of cufflinks courtesy of my future mother-in-law. I'm convinced they help me type emails quicker... the same feeling you got lining up in new shoes as a child, facing the start line of the dash across the concrete from water fountain to bike shed, safe in the knowledge your new trainers would help you set a record time.

The lettings industry is far from dull; thanks to ever-changing legislation no day is ever the same. What you learned last month has been rewritten with new legal documents to pore over and fresh challenges to overcome. Today I attended a seminar on legislation updates. With a mountain of information to absorb, breaking it down within the seminar certainly helps! It is however reassuring to realise that Horton and Garton is already doing everything as we should, whilst we now have several new ideas to implement within our current systems and procedures. So much sitting today means I need to move so it's time to hit the Hogarth Health Club in Chiswick for a wind down with a swim and a steam.

A full diary means I am helping to cover viewings for our lettings negotiators. I grab the brochures and keys before hitting the road. I spend the majority of my time with new and existing landlords and landladies, which I really enjoy, but I'd forgotten how much fun it is to help tenants find their new home! One offer received and a second viewing booked on one of our riverside flats, not a bad day at all… I may be a little greyer and older since I was last a full time lettings negotiator but it's been no trouble hopping back on the bike!

As usual there is plenty to do on a Friday with recapping on any outstanding points from the week before arranging the jam packed Saturday diary. A fantastic treat arrived today…flapjacks home made by one of our favourite landladies! We get many thoughtful gifts, often food, including home made brownies, sweets and cookies. Thank you to everyone and do keep the sweet treats coming! A team drink in the pub after work to round off the working week and it is noticeable just how much Horton and Garton has grown in recent years with everyone together including our Chiswick office.

It's a typical Saturday of back to back appointments. Full diaries are par for the course with appointments often carrying on outside official office hours. A new team member joining us next week lives locally so stops by the office to say hi. Just what I like to see, another keen and enthusiastic person joining our crew. As an independent business in our tenth year we still see every team member and client as a part of our Horton and Garton family. We live and breathe property, working tirelessly to make the lettings process an enjoyable and seamless experience.

Controversial or celebratory: our candid update on Council Tax changes

Horton and Garton cover three boroughs so depending on your postcode you might be celebrating or sighing in reaction to the changes to your council tax. Here's the update from King Street and Turnham Green Terrace...

A row of toy houses with a Hammersmith and Fulham council tax bill underneath

H&F Council Tax Remains The Third Lowest In The Country

Director John Horton notes, "Hammersmith and Fulham residents can breathe a sigh of relief. Despite mounting pressure from the government, H&F Council is the only one in London to cut and freeze council tax over the last four years."

Instead of passing the buck to local residents, Leader of H&F Council Stephen Cowan says, "We're reforming every aspect of the way our council operates, to modernise and improve services and put money back in our residents' pockets. That's how we've been able to freeze council tax bills while also funding more local police officers than ever before, abolishing charges for adult social care in 2014 and reducing the majority of council charges in real terms.

Government funding cuts put unprecedented pressure on local services, particularly on care for elderly and disabled residents, but it is exactly those people who are hit hardest by council tax rises." John says, "H&F bills will remain the third lowest in the country - a significant accomplishment for our local leaders that means real savings to local residents."

This is great news for local residents and those interested in buying a property or letting a property in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Council Tax Rises For Ealing and Hounslow

Ealing Council and Hounslow Councils have both raised council tax - Ealing by 5.99% (2.99% increase plus £5 social tax levy) and Hounslow by over 4% (2% increase plus 2% social tax levy). Chiswick Director Paul Cooney comments, "When you do the maths the disparity is vast. The real difference in the cost of council tax between the boroughs is as much as 43%."

For Hounslow, it's the second increase in council tax in the past twelve years. A report regarding the increase notes, "The implications of the government's public expenditure plans and the local authority finance settlement are severe for Hounslow's budget and the provision of services." The new waste collection service, Lampton Recycle 360, has not been able to deliver within budget and the service is expected to overspent by approximately £2.7m. Hounslow's budget includes expenditure for key Chiswick projects: £1.5m for the construction of a new Wildlife Education Centre at Gunnersbury Triangle and £2.5m for the construction of a new pedestrian footbridge beneath Barnes Bridge.

Funding Cuts Mean An Inevitable Rise In Council Tax For Some Boroughs

Ealing Council is under significant pressure to find £56m in savings by 2021 in order to balance its budget with £17m in reductions already agreed. Proposals include staff redundancies and stopping a public health advice service for those quitting smoking but the remaining deficit is significant and more cuts will be required. Council leader Julian Bell says, “We promised to keep council tax as low as possible for as long as possible and we have done this. The unrelenting cuts from central government and increasing demand on our services means that we, like an estimated 95% of councils in the country, have no option (but to increase council tax)." The rising costs of child protection services and adult social care put the Councillors under pressure to find further funds to meet these needs.

Bell adds, “I am proud that we are continuing to meet our duty towards our most vulnerable residents and I am not prepared to stand back and watch over decline. This is why we are pushing forward with an ambitious transformation programme called Future Ealing. Its aim is to improve outcomes for local people at a time of drastically reduced budgets by rethinking how we operate and focusing on the areas that matter the most to residents. It is also about growing our income in as many ways as we can to try and offset the rise in demand for our services and the unrelenting austerity cuts that have been imposed on us since 2010.” Local Conservatives argue that departmental overspends, failure to make savings, "millions wasted on vanity projects" while "increasing their own allowances" are the underlying issues.

We've created a real comparison of the cost of council tax for 2018/2019 across our three boroughs below:

A graph showing Hammersmith and Fulham Council Tax frozen at £1022.04 per year

Council Tax for Band D inclusive of GLA
H&F: £1022.04
Hounslow: £1461.99
Ealing: £1440.12

43% difference between H&F & Hounslow
£ difference between H&F & Hounslow: £439.95

40.9% difference between H&F & Ealing
£ difference between H&F & Ealing: £418.08

1.51% difference between Ealing & Hounslow
£ difference between Hounslow & Ealing: £21.87

Are you looking to buy, sell or let a property in Hammersmith, Chiswick or Shepherds Bush? No one knows our patch like we do! Contact our friendly team of experts today. 

8 Things I Love About Agents
By John Horton MNAEA MARLA

How To Be A Good Estate Agent and How To Spot One

If you’ve had a wonderful experience with an estate agent or you know someone who has then you might pinch yourself and ask, "Is this really possible?" The answer is an emphatic YES. Great career estate agents are out there in your community, working smart, working hard, endeavouring to make a make a difference hoping to challenge and switch the public's perception of our profession. The good guys are needles in the haystack - they're out there - you just have to find them. A disastrous experience often puts you on the back foot before you can differentiate between “The Good, The Bad… and The Indifferent”.

8 Things I Love About "The Good" Agents

1. We're human beings. I choose to believe people are fundamentally good. Our profession is reviled in a way that only parking wardens and politicians might understand yet the great and good among us persist, attempting to change the public's opinion.

2. Superb communicators. The very best estate agents are, bar none, some of the best communicators I've ever met, whether it's over the phone, email, WhatsApp, social media, carrier pigeon or - in the (my!) olden days - the fax machine. We can underpin and hold together complex deals, balanced on a knife-edge, with a deft grace that's rarely seen.

3. Our work ethic is in fifth gear. The best agents I know simply don't stop. They find the time to get the job done, taking meetings at unsociable hours, bending over backwards for their clients, buyers and tenants in order to minimise inconvenience and remove the hassle factor. The extra mile isn't crowded and they know it; they love going the distance for their clients.

4. The Power of Positive Thinking. Every successful career estate agent is a glass half full type and it's this winning attitude that helps achieve the best results for clients. An agent with a sour disposition is one to avoid!

5. Proud, passionate professionals. The top performers are full to the brim with pride and passion for property and they possess a tempered, but boundless energy and enthusiasm that’s infectious.

7. Longevity. Any agent worth their salt is a seasoned professional with a genuine knowledge of their patch. These people have breathed the air in their areas for long enough to know what it is YOU need to know about selling, letting and buying.

8. Superlative service. The best agents know when to listen and when to speak. My mother’s mantra is always, "Treat others how you would like to be treated yourself." Service is a skill you can hone. However, the ability to put a client's needs before your own is innate - many people don't possess it so seek out those who do. Speak to current and past clients. The cream always rises to the top.

My advice to sellers and landlords is this: seek out the needles in the haystack. It might take some legwork and several meetings with "The Bad and The Indifferent" but you'll find them. Here at Horton and Garton, as we celebrate our tenth year of business, our guidance and advice are always available to West London locals. Call us anytime for a chat on how the market is moving in your patch of Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush or Chiswick.


Record breaking prices in Brackenbury Village by John Horton MNAEA MARLA

Brackenbury Village Property Sale Exceeds Expectations

I'll set the scene: the bleak English midwinter is upon us; it's January in West London. Most agents will tell you this is their quietest time of the year... phones are dead, inboxes are empty. (To be honest, I can't remember the last quiet day in Horton and Garton HQ!) We listed a fashionably unmodernised Victorian cottage in perennially popular Cardross Street, set in desirable Brackenbury Village. We marketed the property for ten days. Seventy one viewings and thirteen offers above the asking price later, it was sold - for a record smashing pound per square foot price! No other property on Cardross Street has ever commanded such a premium. Our delighted client had thirteen offers to choose from and eleven days after agreeing the sale contracts were exchanged.

Trustworthy Market Valuations is the Key

But why? Is the market on fire? Flooded with buyers? Is there a historically high volume of transactions in Hammersmith? No on all counts - in fact, quite the opposite. Our unique brand of intelligent agency sets us, and our properties, apart. Research has demonstrated time and time again that properties listed for their real market value from day one achieve a higher price than those initially priced unrealistically. Honest, accurate, sensible pricing - straight from the start - has never been more important. Today's ever-changing market challenges even the most experienced estate agents. Sellers and landlords rely upon our ethics and professionalism to guide and advise them on asking prices. These asking prices then set the scene for the sale or let. Hard work, clever negotiation and experience then come into play when the property is launched. Will it be bleak midwinter with not a buyer to be seen or sun-soaked summer with buyers aplenty?

We Have A Different Approach To Selling Property in West London

If your property has languished on the market for eight weeks or more it's time for a Plan B (or Plan H&G!). Is your agent's marketing strategy as stale a the box of crackers in the back of your kitchen cupboard? Do you get the feeling they intentionally misled you on the real value of your property in order to win the listing? Unfortunately, this is the oldest trick in the book.

In my opinion, these are the agents that give our industry a bad name... they couldn't value a £5 note! If you've been sucked in by one of them you have two options: you can steel yourself for the long haul, make a cup of tea and listen to the crickets (spoiler alert: they won't call you, you'll call them) or you can choose an honest, hard-working, intelligent agent who puts the client first.

There is no doubt the current property market is challenging - it could frustrate any seller or landlord - so if you need an experienced view on how it's moving in your street, pop into our office or call 020 8819 0510 and ask for John Horton. I'd be very pleased to meet you.

House in Brackenbury Village

Diary of an Estate Agent – A Flying Start

Diary of an Estate Agent

John Horton, Horton and Garton

I love Mondays… especially after a previously busy weekend in the office. I knew today would be a good one as I could smell the hops from Fuller's Brewery on the walk to work. I'm not superstitious but when on a Monday morning you feel the sun on your face and already smell the beer brewing, you know it's going to be a great day! This morning I'm approving copy for the Spring edition of Our Patch community magazine which will hit doorsteps in early March. Our two offices agreed half a dozen sales last week - with one Brackenbury Village property receiving twelve sealed bids - so we have a lot of disappointed buyers to look after today. We pride ourselves on being able to match our buyers to their perfect property... a job that never stops in this popular part of West London. I've been the phone for hours and my voice has nearly given out... I need a hot ginger, lemon and honey tea.

This morning I attended a valuation with my Sales Manager Martin Clements and my Lettings Manager Ashley Clements (no, they're not related!). I've worked with both for over ten years and know our combined experience and knowledge of West London's property market is unmatched. From the fashionably unmodernised house to the riverside penthouse flat we're invited to appraise the very best homes in West London. The three of us helped the owner decide whether renting or selling his home would be the best course of action. Our clients are all different but have one thing in common - they're seeking experienced guidance and honest advice without the added pressure. I happily spend hours of my working week deep in conversation about the property market with local residents over cups of tea and coffee.

In the good old days the telephone, fax, paper and pen ruled the office however today it’s the smartphone and internet. My IT skills may not be the sharpest, being the most senior member of the team, but today I was made up as I managed to teach a “shortcut” to the 30+ year olds! My lettings colleagues have been ringing the bell all day to signify lets agreed. To the non-agent it might seem like 'job done' but this is just the beginning for our team. The referencing process, agreement of contracts, and finer points like furnishings and move in dates are all still to be agreed - this is when the years of expertise and skill are put into practice.

The weekend is nigh, but unlike the liquid lunches of the 90's my lunch meetings now consist of espresso or sushi! We're proud to support many local charities and good causes within our neighbourhoods and this morning I've been in an extended meeting at The Hogarth Health Club along with my communications colleague to discuss a charity event we're supporting in March. Helping to raise awareness of charities and giving generously is part of our mission statement. After lunch, I'm feeling brilliant. I have to say The Crucial Café makes some of the tastiest and healthiest food I've ever eaten.

Fridays are usually exchange and completion days; the day of the week when keys are handed over to buyers and fizzy bottles are popped. Completion tends to happen from 11am – 3pm and as the selling agent we cannot release keys until we have confirmation from the seller's solicitors that all monies have been received. This Friday is no exception and I've been able to deliver the highly anticipated news to a delighted seller and ecstatic buyer. Achieving an all-round positive result is, for me, what this profession is about. The office closing on Friday evening means it's Beer O’Clock at The Hampshire Hog!

My Saturday is consumed by back to back viewings and valuations. We knew January would be busy but truly didn't expect such a manic month! With so many sales and lets agreed we've been actively listing new properties that we know will be snapped up by buyers and tenants who've missed out. The evening will be spent on the town at a 1920's "Gatsby" themed Valentine's Ball, at a secret location which is to be announced. The spats are pressed and the brogues are polished - what a way to end the week!

Why estate agents don’t like estate agents by John Horton MNAEA MARLA

A pair of cuff links with Trust Me I'm an Estate Agent Engraved

Choosing The Best Estate Agent Guide - And 5 Traits of a Second Rate Estate Agency

If you haven't had a hideous experience with an estate agent, you know someone who has. The new year ushered in the inevitable tidal wave of letters, emails and - can you believe it - cold callers (!) from our rival competitors. Cold callers knocking at the door! The very mention of them evokes the same uneasy feeling in local residents as it does in me.

With over twenty years of experience in selling and letting property in West London I've seen every shady, and frankly desperate, tactic in the book but door knocking really gets my back up. Why the sudden commentary? Can you believe our clients right here in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush are regularly harassed by random agents on their own doorsteps? Despite being one of 'the good guys', I won't defend the underhanded tactics of the competition - even estate agents hate estate agents. So here you have it:

Five Things I Hate About Estate Agency

  1. Letters through the door. No, I am not thinking of selling. No, I do not care that you sold a property four streets away last summer. No, I do not need a reminder that you are 'valuing on my street.' When we have agreed a sale on a particular road, we might write to the whole street - but only if we genuinely have disappointed buyers looking to purchase in that road. For example, we had a 'best and final sealed bids' scenario on a house in a popular Brackenbury Village road last month (yes, in the bleak January midwinter!) which resulted in 12 sealed bids and several distraught buyers who missed out so yes, in that circumstance, we might write to the neighbours. Do we do this every week, month or quarter? Absolutely not - just say no to junk mail!
  2. Cold callers. This is the most unashamed and desperate trick in the book. Homeowners, here is my honest opinion: if an agency has time to send their employees out to harass you on your own doorstep, they've got a lot of time on their hands! We would never have the ability to engage in such a practice because our schedules are full - each day is busy enough with talking to our clients, often managing complex chains, negotiating for our clients, understanding our buyers, reading up on the latest legislation and London market movements. We agree more sales in Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush and Chiswick than any other agency - we categorically do NOT have the time or the desire to knock on doors!
  3. Fake news. Social media sites with fake/bought followers, fake reviews on feedback websites, flagrantly false claims about their success, fake offers put forward from fake buyers on fake viewings, fake asking prices they know are unachievable! Over promising and under delivering... time and time again.
  4. Unprofessionalism. Incompetence, overpromising and under delivering, lateness, losing keys, forgetting to lock doors or close gates (oops, there goes the dog!), not calling back, forgetting to chase the solicitor, recommending a shockingly poor mortgage broker, tracking mud through your home, 'ghosting' their own clients, screwing up your completion date because they forgot to write it down!
  5. Indifference. Shiny suits, cheap shoes, limp handshakes, lack of eye contact, chewing gum, halitosis, body odour, eating at their desk (and wearing yesterday's lunch on their tie!).

I wish I could champion and defend my industry. There are many A1 local and community focused estate agents out there today but remember the caveat "buyer beware!" The property industry has a reputation for being a sea full of sharks. It's hard to imagine dipping a toe into the water but selling and letting can be a refreshingly pain-free process if you choose the right agent. Our clients tell our story far better than I ever could. Opt for local expertise, genuine knowledge, an honest, professional approach, a company with integrity that keeps you at the heart of the process - the diamond in the rough. Whether you're looking to buy or sell property in West London, we're at your service in 2018. Contact our team of property experts today.