Latest Blog Posts

Four top tips for selling your home in London before Christmas


Paul Cooney, Director of Horton and Garton Chiswick, offers his top tips for selling before the festive break

Looking to sell by Christmas? There is still a window of opportunity for those hoping to sell their home before Christmas, and there’s data that supports the timeline if you’re unsure if it’s possible.

An estate agent search website analysed the data for property sales in the run-up to Christmas and found that over the past six years it has taken homes listed in October an average of 64 days to find a buyer. Meaning those who want to have a sale agreed before Christmas should be listing their house for sale before October 20.

According to the research, since 2015 properties across the UK have been on the market for between 58 and 73 days before a sale has been agreed. Despite the pandemic, Brexit and political ups and downs, the data has shown that the average length of time taken for a property to sell has remained constant over the past six years.

Tips for selling your house

  1. Choose your estate agent wisely

Not all estate agents are equal in the level of service they provide to their clients. Many vendors find themselves choosing the cheapest agent or the one that promises the highest sale price initially only to have to seek assistance a few months later from an estate agent who was fair and reasonable in their market appraisal.

Gaining the right advice from the outset, finding an agent who you can trust and one who can demonstrate local success is key.

Furthermore, when it comes to buyers offering on your property and handling negotiations, it pays dividends to have a competent and professional estate agent acting in your best interest.

 

  1. Prepare your house for sale

What’s needed to prepare your house for sale will differ between properties. If there’s work to be done to get things in order it’s best to do these before putting the property on the market for sale. We’ve written various blogs on preparing your house for sale, from decluttering to carrying out renovations.

 

  1. Find a reputable solicitor

If you’re putting your property on the market, you should find a reputable solicitor and have them ready to act as soon as you’ve agreed on a sale.

There are certain forms a vendor must complete to get the ball rolling on a sale. It might feel a little premature to be listing whether you’re including the washing machine or the curtains in your sale but having these forms completed and with your solicitor can speed up the process.

 

  1. Find the best buyer

‘Best’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘highest’. It’s a misconception amongst property sellers that the best buyer is the one that offers the most amount of money for a property. This is almost never the case; a buyer’s full credentials should be considered before accepting an offer. From their financial position to ideal timeframes, whether they are in a chain or are committed to the purchase – these are all essential factors to consider.

Your estate agent is acting in your, the seller’s, best interests, as your trusted advisor they can guide you on which buyer is the better option to work with your onward plans.  

 

Should you sell before Christmas?

In Chiswick and across much of London, there is a severe shortage of property for sale, yet there remains a huge appetite from buyers – it’s an excellent time to sell a property.

Whether you should sell before Christmas is a personal decision, those who are considering pressing on selling their house in the coming months should consider doing so sooner rather than later. This said the New Year is traditionally an excellent time to sell a property, with homes historically selling quite quickly in the first few months of the year. If you’d prefer to prepare over the next few months and launch in the new year this too is a good option and one, we would be happy to work towards with you.

Whatever your plans for your house in Chiswick, seasoned local estate agent Paul Cooney would be delighted to have a no-obligation discussion with you, to share local market insight and advice to assist with your forward plans and ensure you can achieve your goals in the coming months. Give us a call on 020 8996 5120.

 

 

12 people you need to know if you’re moving to Chiswick


Whether you're relocating to a new area or simply moving to a different home in Chiswick, Paul Cooney has highlighted 12 people you need to know 

From solicitors and surveyors to help you during those early stages of your purchase, to interior designers and professional organisers to make your new house a home, these are the companies you should look to for help, advice and guidance, as recommended by Chiswick Director, Paul Cooney.

1. Sussex Mortgage Services

Mortgage advisors

Getting a mortgage that is the right fit for you and your future plans can feel like a challenge. A good mortgage broker can make an incredible difference, not only to the mortgage you can secure but also to ensure everything is closely managed from a financial side for your transaction to go through in a timely fashion.

The team at Sussex Mortgage Services have proven themselves to be valuable trusted advisors to many sellers and buyers in Chiswick.

2. Adams Kaye

Solicitors

A good solicitor is one of the most important members of the team of professionals you engage to assist with your sale or purchase.

Adams Kaye is a boutique law firm that specialises in property law and private client matters and is focused on excellent communication. Paul Adams and Stuart Kaye, the founding Directors of Adams Kaye, have a real passion for delivering exceptional service.

3. AR Legal

Solicitors

A solicitor is someone you need to be able to trust and feel confident in, it is an incredibly personal choice which is why we’re always keen to give our clients more than one recommendation.

For us, another reliable and safe pair of hands can be found in AR Legal, which is very close to home, being based on Turnham Green Terrace.

 

4. Michael Foreman 

Surveyor

In almost all scenarios it is prudent to have a survey carried out on a property you’re planning to buy. Good independent surveyors can be hard to come by, you should be looking for a reputable RICS or equivalent recognised surveyor and ideally one who’s independent of the bank’s valuation surveyor.

Michael Foreman and his team of associates at M J  Foreman & Co are the first surveyors we recommend when asked.

 

5. Davies and Mac

Removals

We’re often asked which removals company we’d recommend and the answer is Davies and Mac.

Buyers and sellers will often overlook this vital part of moving home but it can make such a difference having a professional company to take away the stress of moving, Davis and Mac provide a seamless service. They also conveniently have a storage facility for those who need it.

 

6. Eve Humphreys

Professional Decorating and Refurbishment

When you’re buying or selling a property there can be a requirement for decorating or refurbishment, finding a trusted professional team who have a good track record can seem impossible.

Eve Humphreys and her team are people we will recommend time and time again. She also happens to be one of the experts on the TV show How to Save a Grand in 24 Hours.

Check out her Instagram to learn more.

 

7. Howark Design

Interior Design

Howark Design is an Interior Design and Architectural Consultancy in West London, creating stunning characterful spaces for their clients.

Their personal and flexible approach to each client is particularly notable throughout the process of creating truly stunning, transformed homes. 

To learn more about their work and see some of their portfolio, check out the Howark Design Instagram account.

 

8. Brooke Copp-Barton

Interior Design

Interior design is a personal preference, finding a designer who reflects your tastes and style is incredibly important.

We love Brooke Copp-Barton’s portfolio of work and many Chiswick residents feel similarly that her use of colour and textures perfectly complements their home and personal tastes.

Take a look at her Instagram to see a snapshot of her portfolio and learn more about her work.

 

 

9. Olivia Prentis

Home styling

Whether you need someone to add the finishing touches on the property you’re planning to sell or the one you’ve just bought, Olivia of Post Prentis Design has a keen eye for styling homes, her magic touch can make a big difference to the look and feel of a property.

Olivia’s services include home staging, interior and seasonal styling, check out her Instagram page for inspiration and to see some of her work.

 

 

10. Esme Fisher

Professional in-home organisation and decluttering

Decluttering before putting your home on the market can feel like a mammoth task but it is a very important step to maximise your property’s potential, similarly, once you’d moved in you might realise you need to organise things properly.

Esme at Tidy Coaching can take away the stresses you might have and enable you to make light work of organising and decluttering your home.

Esme is a certified Kon Mari consultant and teaches Marie Kondo’s method – follow her on Instagram to learn more.

 

 

11. The Calm Home Company

Professional organisers 

Seasoned professional organisers, Heather Dhillon and Sally Gibbs at The Calm Home Company are the ideal professionals to engage if you’re looking for organisation solutions at home.

They are known for putting in place systems that have revolutionised the way people live and enjoy their homes.

Learn more about what they do on their Instagram.  

 

12. Project 1

Design and build

Easily one of London's best design and build companies, we’re fortunate enough to have Project 1 here locally in West London.

Project 1 is an impressive design and build company who have some incredible projects in their portfolio.

With their one rule being: exceed all expectations, you can rest assured you’re in excellent hands. Check out their Instagram.

 

 

Selling your house in Chiswick

If you’re planning on selling your property we would be delighted to discuss your plans and assist with your sale.

Each client and their property require a tailored approach to best suit their needs and requirements and ultimately achieve the best outcome. With over a decade of experience selling houses, Chiswick estate agent Paul Cooney has a wealth of experience to draw from to ensure your sale is smooth and without stress.

Get in touch with Paul on 020 8996 5120 to discuss the sale of your property, without obligation.

 

Our 12 top tips for new landlords renting for the first time


Our 12-step checklist will help any first-time landlord renting a home in Hammersmith, Chiswick or Shepherd's Bush

Landlords who are renting out a property for the first time might feel a little overwhelmed by the requirements, rules and guidelines. Whilst it may seem like a lot to digest, many of the obligations are in place to not only protect tenants but to protect the landlord too.

With simplicity in mind, the Horton and Garton Lettings team has pulled together an overview to help new landlords who are planning on letting their property.

Advice for any new landlord

Hammersmith, Chiswick and Shepherd's Bush are some of the most desirable residential areas in London. Which means tenants will often expect to find homes here that are of a high standard and includes quality fixtures and fittings.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to entirely renovate your property, there might be some low-cost improvements to be made that will boost your property’s rentability and potentially increase the rental value.

What does a landlord need to do before renting?

Before renting a property there are several steps a landlord must take to ensure they meet the government’s standards for letting property in the UK and also make sure their property is a good place to live – after all happy tenants usually stay longer.

Read our landlord checklist below to learn what you need to do before renting a property. It includes the most crucial things you should have in place before renting out a property for the first time.

Our 12-step landlord checklist for letting a property

  1. Prepare your property to let

Before putting your property on the market to let it’s a good idea to complete any works you might have been carrying out and also ensure the property is clean.

Landlords are often unsure as to whether to buy furniture for the property to let it as furnished or leave it as is to let unfurnished.

There is no one-size-fits-all with regard to furnishing, though whether or not it is appropriate to furnish a property is often related to the type of property you are going to be letting and where the property is located.

The season or overall pace of the lettings market can also be factors that affect how you prepare your property to let – we’re always happy to have a timely, no-obligation discussion and share our knowledge with new landlords, so do get in touch.

  1. Make sure your rental property is safe

The top concern for every landlord should be to ensure their rental property is safe and free of any health hazards.

Each local council uses the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to make sure properties are safe for the people who live there.

  1. Provide a valid Energy Performance Certificate

It is a legal requirement for a property advertised to let to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Importantly, as of 1st April 2020, it is not possible to let a property that has a poor EPC rating of F or G.

Landlords are required to provide tenants with a copy of the EPC prior to moving in.

 

 

  1. Provide a valid Gas Safety Certificate

All rented properties should undergo an annual Gas Safety Check, carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure all gas appliances and flues are safe and fit for purpose.

 

  1. Provide a record of electrical inspections

Any electrical equipment or appliances provided by a landlord and included at the property for let must also be regularly checked to ensure they are safe to be used.

Landlords must have their property electrics checked at least once every five years under the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 and provide tenants with a record of these electrical checks.

 

 

  1. Provide the How to Rent guidance

A landlord or their letting agent should ensure a tenant has the most up to date version of the How to Rent checklist which has been put together by the government.

This document provides an official checklist to help tenants at every stage of the letting process.

  1. Reference prospective tenants

A tenant reference check will usually include a credit check and the below point regarding a potential tenants’ right to rent in the UK.

Other elements of referencing are not a legal requirement but are good practice – it’s worthwhile thoroughly vetting potential tenants.

Good letting agents will usually have a stringent referencing process in place and will check a tenant’s affordability, and collect references from previous landlords or an employer.

  1. Carry out a Right to Rent check

For all rental properties in England, a landlord must check that a tenant is legally permitted to rent a property in England – this is often included in the referencing process.

Before the start of a tenancy, a landlord or their agent must check that all tenants aged over 18 have the Right to Rent in England.

  1. Arrange the tenancy agreement

The tenancy agreement, most commonly an assured shorthold tenancy, enters both tenant and landlord into a contractual arrangement. Giving both sides important rights and also responsibilities.

  1. Protect the tenant’s deposit

The tenant’s deposit for the rental property must be placed into a government-approved scheme within 30 days of receipt of the deposit.

As with many steps to letting a property, a letting or managing agent can arrange this on behalf of a landlord. Proof of the deposit being placed into a scheme should be given to the tenant. 

  1. Ensure landlord’s insurance is in place

Having the correct landlord insurance in place is of paramount importance. Whilst it is not a legal requirement to have landlord specific insurance to cover your rental property, it might be a condition of a buy-to-let mortgage. Having the correct insurance in place will ensure you are protected.

There are usually a variety of options that a landlord can choose to cover within their insurance from buildings and contents, to legal expenses and even a rent guarantee should the tenants miss payments in unforeseen circumstances.

  1. Arrange for an inventory

Whilst it’s perfectly legal for a landlord to carry out their own inventory of the property, the items included and the condition throughout, it can be a worthwhile investment to pay an independent inventory clerk to prepare an inventory.

Not only does this save a landlord time but a third-party prepared inventory can be stronger should a dispute arise when the tenants depart.

What documents must a landlord provide by law UK?

By law, in the UK, landlords must absolutely provide the following documents to their tenants:

-valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

-Gas Safety certificate

-copy of the How to Rent guidance

-deposit paperwork (within 30 days of receipt)

-record of any electrical inspections.

Landlord’s financial responsibilities

 It’s important not to omit the financial responsibilities. A landlord will need to determine any amount of income tax they are liable to pay in connection with the rental income.

A landlord who is running their rental property as a business may need to pay Class 2 National Insurance.

It’s wise to speak to an experienced tax advisor to ensure your rental property is set up and run in the best way to suit your personal circumstances.

Property to let in Hammersmith, Chiswick or Shepherd's Bush

If you’re thinking about letting your property and would like to learn more about what’s needed to get started, our Lettings Manager Aggie Tukendorf would be delighted to assist – please do get in touch.

Demand soars for ‘lets with pets’


We can help find a pet-friendly rental in West London

Rightmove, UK’s leading property portal, reports a whopping 120% increase in demand for pet-friendly rental homes in the past year with some 3.2 million households acquiring a dog or cat during the lockdown period.

Homes with balconies, gardens, parking and ‘bills included’ are also increasingly sought after. But while tenants may now want to live with their newly-acquired furry friends, many landlords remain hesitant to accommodate pets.

“The competition for pet-friendly homes has resulted in many of our pet-friendly properties going to best and final bids,” says Aggie Tukendorf, Lettings Manager of Horton and Garton. “With more Londoners working from home than ever before, the dream of pet ownership has become a possibility and these tenants now require properties that facilitate their change in lifestyle.” 

Despite the spike in demand, many landlords remain hesitant. “With the number of pet owners at an all-time high, cat and dog ownership is a lifelong commitment," Aggie adds. "These renters are in it for the long haul - and their need for a pet-friendly home won’t change, so landlords could potentially secure long-term tenants if they are willing and able to accept pets at the property.” 

As an ARLA qualified lettings expert, Aggie has been advising local landlords on how to best accommodate pets, whilst protecting their assets, for many years.

Call 020 8819 0511 to talk through your options or email aggie@hortonandgarton.co.uk 

Five steps to get your home ready for a September sale


For those planning to sell their Chiswick property this autumn, local estate agent Paul Cooney shares some useful tips for getting your home ready for a September sale.

Before putting their house on the market, sellers will often ask an estate agent when the best time of the year is to sell property in Chiswick: "Is September a good time to sell a house?"

The answer is Yes. Historically, September has always been a good time to sell, if not one of the best months of the year in which to sell a house.

The weather is usually fair, autumnal colours can enhance the outside of a property in the garden and on the surrounding roads, which is especially noticeable on tree-lined roads of Chiswick, and buyer focus is back after the summer break. Further to these factors, it’s also possible for a transaction agreed in September to complete before Christmas.

The UK property market is known for being seasonally affected, with certain periods traditionally being busier or quieter than others.

Throughout the pandemic, the property market has strayed from these usual trends, largely due to the stamp duty holiday.

We’re now returning to a more traditional marketplace, July and August have seen people take a step back, pause for a holiday and reset. As we head towards September sellers are getting in touch, to add to those who’ve already planned to bring their property to the market next month, and buyers are reaching out once more.

Five steps to getting your home ready to sell in September

1 - First impressions

The first impression of your property can have a huge impact. It is often the case that an external image is used in online marketing and when buyers are viewing, that first ‘look’ can dictate the positivity of the rest of a viewing.

Cleaning the path, installing a new path or fixing damaged tiles, cleaning or redecorating your front door, trimming the hedge, cleaning window ledges or repainting where needed, all things to think about to boost the ‘kerb appeal’ of your house.

 

2 – Declutter and complete DIY

It can be challenging for buyers to imagine themselves living in a place filled with other people’s belongings. Removing any clutter and items that aren’t used daily can help potential buyers envisage themselves living in a property.

It might be the case that removing items and placing them into storage is a good option – a small investment that could boost your sale price.

Equally, complete any DIY projects or employ a handyman to finish any jobs around the house that need attention.

 

3 – Outside spaces

Whether you have a large garden, a modest one, a terrace or a balcony, outside space has never been more important.

As we head into the autumn some plants are beginning to lose their flowers and look less attractive than others. If you’re thinking about adding some new plants or potted plants to your outside space to spruce it up, look for evergreen plants.

If you’re looking to add some colour, head to your local garden centre and ask for specific advice on where you’re planting and what you’re hoping to achieve.  

For smaller outside areas, making the space welcoming and useable is the key – whether that’s creating a seating area on a terrace or cleaning the glass on a balcony, small touches and attention to detail can make a big difference.

 

4 – Windows

The main purpose of windows is to fill a property with natural light, dirty windows aren’t as effective as clean ones at filling a property with light and what’s more, they don’t look great when they’re dirty either!

We mention above the need to clean any glass that might feature on a balcony or terrace – dirt and streaks stand out on glass, so it’s a good idea to clean glass throughout the property. Similarly, mirrors and shower screens that are clean make a far better impression.

 

5 – Spark imagination

A home is yours to live in and you often make it a very personal space but when it comes to selling, the key is to allow potential buyers the opportunity to imagine themselves living there. Where possible depersonalise your house, keep colours and design features neutral.

A clean and fresh smelling property can also make a difference, pleasant aromas evoke happy emotions. Whilst sellers should aim for their property to be welcoming and spark the imagination of buyers.

 

How much should you pay to get your house ready for sale?

How much you should pay to get your house ready for sale is dependent on the condition of the property, timelines and available funds. Usually, a very minimal financial outlay can boost your sale price, with each property being unique it’s best to explore this with your estate agent.

If you’re selling a well-loved family property there’s little point in renovating the entire home to ultra-modern standards as you won’t know if this is to a potential buyers tastes, and if you’re not going to enjoy the space yourself once it’s developed, there’s even less reason to consider spending thousands of pounds redoing a property, in many situations you’re unlikely to make back the investment.

Some minor improvements or upgrades can cost just a few thousand pounds but have an impact on the agreed sale price that is 10 times that figure, this is because a buyer will often put a price on the inconvenience of having to have works done.

 

Selling your property in Chiswick

If you’re thinking about selling your property this September and would like to learn more about the current market and the best strategy to adopt unique to your property and future plans, please get in touch with Chiswick estate agent, Paul on 020 8996 5120.

Our lettings and management team are also on hand to discuss plans for your rental property in Chiswick, get in touch to learn more.

How to increase the rent on your property in Chiswick


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheap improvements that have a big impact

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

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

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

Can changing your agent increase the rent?

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

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

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

Is it time for a review of the rent?

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

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

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

To sell or to let?

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

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

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

Letting property in 2021

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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.