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


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

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

Is it worth renovating your house before selling?

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

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

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

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

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

What renovations are worth doing before selling?

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

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

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

Serious issues that need fixing

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

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

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

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

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

Can you sell a house that needs renovation?

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

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

Do renovations increase property value?

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

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

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

What renovation adds the most value to a house?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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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.

London’s finest gin owes its start to the Hammersmith shed we discovered


Garages are rarities, garages help sell houses… but garages in west London often boast the kind of backstory that inspires folk songs

Take the modest-looking one-storey brick-built shed in Nasmyth Street, Hammersmith, with its blue doors, rusty padlock and peeling paintwork. 

It doesn’t look like much, but 12 years ago, in that leased lock-up, three pals built the first new copper still in the capital in 200 years, and created Sipsmith gin. 

It has been such a success that the boys sold the business to a drinks giant for £50million. 

Now, while I don’t want to claim the credit for the gin (although sample bottles are always welcome at our offices at 172 King Street and 18 Turnham Green Terrace...), it was Horton and Garton that found the Brackenbury Village lock-up for the entrepreneurs. No wonder founder Sam Galsworthy called their journey ‘a rocket ship ride’ with Sipsmith now the favoured tipple of many of us on a spring or summer evening. 

And it’s not the only garage drinks success. Brewdog, which began in a shed in Scotland, is now valued at £2billion. 

Every tycoon seems to have made use of a garage at an early point in their business – from Walt Disney to Steve Jobs, Bill Gates to Jeff Bezos. 

And while relatively few homes in Chiswick or Hammersmith boast of a garage, the magic of those sacred little creative hubs is being replicated during lockdown in back-garden home offices and spare bedrooms. 

 

What sheds say about us

Sipsmith may have moved to larger premises in Cranbrook Road, Chiswick, but the Hammersmith Society has recently been celebrating the key role that other tiny free-standing sheds and light industrial units play in our lives. 

The Society has highlighted the fact that many big names in music began rehearsing in west London garages, surrounded by oilcans, tins of screws and offcuts of wood, including The Who, The Clash and The Sex Pistols, while Island Records and Island Studios began life in a small unit in St Peter’s Square. 

But it’s the internet giants that really catch the imagination. A humble garage with an up-and-over door was where Steve Jobs started Apple, now the most valuable company on the planet, worth $2trillion (that’s 12 zeros!). 

With Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and Walt Disney all starting out in garages as well, there’s clearly something inspiring about focusing your energies in a little brick building separate from the cares and woes of day-to-day life. 

If it proves one thing, it’s that thinking space matters, and that sheds, lock-ups and garages are valued way beyond the cost of the bricks and mortar. 

Garage battle in Wellesley Avenue

An interesting battle is taking place over the former Aston Martin garage in Wellesley Avenue, where the Brackenbury Residents’ Association and Hammersmith Society are opposing its replacement by a three-storey office block in a small residential street. 

A petition is rapidly gaining signatures, with the underlying message being that homes are urgently needed, not more office space in an era where more of us are discovering we can work part of the time at home. 

Years after his success, Sipsmith’s Sam Galsworthy says he still tips his hat to Horton and Garton when he passes our office. 

I just hope we can inspire the next generation of creative talent to achieve as well, as we slowly emerge from a year of lockdowns and restrictions, and start to dream again.