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Welcome to the world of the virtual estate agent


After an exceptional year with Horton and Garton continuing to be the market-leading seller in West London, the coronavirus lockdown has scrambled both the market and our own independent local business

But coping with this dramatic change and being able to adapt is the difference between a being a successful business and a failure.

Yet failure is not an option at Horton and Garton, so we’re adapting. Viewings have gone virtual, valuations can now be done over WhatsApp and, through FaceTime and phone calls, every client is still receiving the personalised service that we’ve long delivered for our clients.

Digital first

Now that I’ve been working remotely, I’ve been busier than usual supporting both the team and our clients over video conferencing site Zoom.

Fortunately, the team have laptops and smartphones and, with our cloud-based customer relationship management system, we are able to stay ahead of the curve and ahead of the competition.

Even our team meet-ups have gone digital. Last Friday, we attempted our first virtual pub quiz hosted by our sales manager, Martin Clements. After a few teething problems and app hopping, it was communications assistant Autumn Carpenter who finally secured the prize of a lovely bottle of bubbly. The victory was bittersweet for Autumn, however, as the prize bottle is locked in the Hammersmith office. It may be awhile…  

Tough decisions

Over the coming weeks there will inevitably be tough decisions to make – for us and our clients.

But with our unparalleled knowledge of the West London property market we’ll keep finding ways to innovate and embrace our new lives as virtual estate agents.

Perhaps, as my son has suggested, we can move into the world of Minecraft and sell the houses he makes there? If you’re interested in a two-storey ranch house with double rooftop gardens, I’ll send you the details. Price negotiable.

Take time to thank those who are keeping West London running


Join the nationwide 'Clap for Carers' tonight at 8pm

As if life isn't throwing up enough challenges at the moment, I've decided to move house. 

Other than the other public health and safety issues that abound, I'm currently grappling with internet access, removal companies and the "life admin" of notifying utilities and suppliers of my change of address.

My advice to anyone else moving during this time is to write a thorough list with each task prioritised and gradually work through it one by one. Slowly but surely, I’m getting through mine. All while trying to lead the Horton and Garton team as they get settled in their new home offices.

I'm trying to make the most of my daily exercise by walking or running around my new neighbourhood.

It really is crucial to keep active, but I can’t help feeling frustrated with the joggers who are not mindful of the safe distancing along the riverbanks. When getting my groceries, the shops are still too busy, although I do appreciate the polite British behaviour of queueing at the door.

Throughout all this, the wonderful shop assistants, cashiers and security guards continue on with business as usual ensuring we all get fed and doing it all with smiles on their faces, despite the chaos and the inherent risk involved.

The same can be said for all the frontline workers, with the beautiful ‘Clap for the Carers moment last week demonstrating the public gratitude and admiration for the hard working NHS staff during this time.

If you missed it last week, then be sure to set a reminder for 8pm tonight where you’ll get another opportunity to take to your balcony or doorstep and let your health workers how thankful you are.

My older sister is one such worker, now a GP nurse, that has volunteered to go back to assist at her local hospital Intensive care unit along with all her previous ICU colleagues, a story being seen all over the country.

No amount of applause will ever be enough to give thanks to the bus and transport drivers helping the keyworkers get to work; to the teachers homeschooling our kids; or to the frontline staff at Hammersmith & Fulham Council who are keeping the borough running smoothly. These are the people who are answering the calls of a public that are relying on their care to survive, and what is the best way for the public to thank them? By staying at home!

If everybody follows the Government advice, then when this is all over, yes our patch of West London will have changed forever, but we will have come through it as a community, stronger, and together.

We’ve joined Monty’s Army!


How a helping hand - at a safe distance - can make a real difference to a neighbour

Small victories and joys abound in these strange times. It’s been amazing to see the huge outpouring of community spirit towards neighbours – and even strangers – that we’re seeing in Hammersmith, Chiswick and Shepherds Bush.

As the coronavirus pandemic struck, flyers began appearing almost overnight with offers to help the vulnerable. While bigger initiatives were launched by our local councils (H&F’s new Community Aid Network is an example – see below for more details), and telephone befriending services were inundated with offers to lend an ear.

At Horton and Garton, we have Monty. He’s a local pal, an octogenarian and a life-long Hammersmith resident.

I’ve known Monty for more than 20 years during my time working in Hammersmith. He’s always lived with no mobile phone or internet access – so many of these new offers of help will have passed him by.

When the official advice for the elderly and vulnerable was issued, my thoughts turned to Monty and whether he would have anyone to fetch him milk and other essentials.

Now, my daily visits to Monty with a chocolate bar and newspaper are just as important to me as they are to him. Our chats – always from a safe distance – are easily incorporated into my grocery run and are a welcome addition to this new routine we’re all adjusting to.

Monty is just one of many within my community who will need support during this time. But there are still plenty of other ways to help out in your local community.

You can donate to your local foodbank (either through dropping off their urgently needed food items at local collection points, or donating money via the Bankuet website), or you can seek out a community group that's coordinating willing volunteers.

H&F Community Aid Network

One such group, is the H&F Community Aid Network (CAN). More than 1,300 local residents have volunteered already.

Whether it’s boxing up food for vulnerable local residents or delivering medicines, you can volunteer to join the network and safely help your neighbours. The council has already begun shipping out boxes of food via black cabs – with volunteers taking over the previously shuttered Hammersmith Town Hall.

To register your interest and find out more, click here.

Chiswick COVID-19 Mutual Aid

Another group aimed at connecting local volunteers with official organisations that require volunteers during this pandemic is the Chiswick COVID-19 Mutual Aid group.

If you live in Chiswick and would like to help but are unsure how, then join this Facebook group of nearly 1,000 residents and you could be paired with an isolated neighbour or a W4 church in need of volunteers for their night shelter.

If everybody considered their neighbour living with a disability or who is elderly and alone, you might just make a huge difference to them when they need it the most.

If we all work together, there’s a chance that we can come out of this stronger and closer as a community. Monty is counting on us.

 

 

Community spirit is incredible to see – welcome to a new way of living and working


 

How Horton and Garton is helping to protect its clients and staff

We’re always proud of the community in Hammersmith, Chiswick and Shepherds Bush. But the incredible spirit that is being displayed currently is something special.

Even in these very challenging times, neighbours are helping neighbours, charities are expanding their networks, and our frontline council workers are stepping in to valiantly help those in need. These are unusual times - and it’s heartening to see.

We’re also incredibly grateful to the hundreds of people who – just like Horton and Garton founder John Horton – have signed up to volunteer locally via H&F’s new Community Aid Network.

We’re all having to adapt to a new way of life. And we don’t have a choice.

But what we can do is continue to follow the advice and guidelines of the government and our NHS experts. Let's stay home and save lives.

Here at the Horton and Garton, we’re following that NHS advice. We’re all working remotely to ensure the needs of our clients, vendors, landlords, tenants and buyers are serviced from our new virtual offices.  

However, our team is still ready to help. Where possible, we will be using videos and walk-through tours to show off properties on the market.

We're also offering the option of a walk-and-talk virtual valuation of your home via FaceTime.

Let us know if we can help. And many thanks for your continued support.

 

Buying or selling? We’ve introduced virtual tours and valuations of properties


 

How Horton and Garton is helping to protect its clients and staff

Our patch of West London has a very different feel this week... Out go the handshakes to seal a deal and in come the elbow bumps.

How quickly things can change and how closely we're all affected, both in our neighbourhoods and in our city.

Here at Horton and Garton, we're closely following all public health updates and guidance, and we remain open for business.

To help protect you and our staff, we're following Public Health England advice on hand-washing and we're regularly disinfecting our brand-new office. 

Our business continues - but with diligence and mindfulness regarding the best practice for the health and safety of our team, our clients and our customers.

Our office is still staffed and our phone lines are very much open. If you'd prefer to call us or email us instead of dropping in, please do.

Where possible, we will be using videos and walk-through tours to show off properties on the market.

We are also offering the option of a walk-and-talk virtual valuation of your home via FaceTime.

Many thanks for your continued support.

 

An Acton church tackling homelessness and loneliness – one Wednesday at a time


It's a Wednesday morning and I'm off to the busy Westway in Acton. Why? I'm meeting one half of the husband-wife team who preside at St Katherine's Church to find out how they're bringing the community together

Every Wednesday morning, Rev Lesley Tate hosts Alive and Kicking, a two-hour drop-in session that’s open to anyone in the community, of any age, who might just like to have a natter. It all happens in the unassuming church which exists just a short throw from the Westfield shopping centre - an example of the contrasts in West London.

When I arrive I'm surprised to see - despite a table laden with biscuits, coffee and all manner of herbal teas - there’s only a single person here. His name is Bob and every week, without fail, he comes for a tea and a chat with the team at St Katherine's. This week, he's arrived with his record collection in tow. A few more people arrive later, including Dave and his baby Lydia. 

 


Besides this weekly effort to bring the community together, St Katherine's takes part in the 
Glassdoor Winter emergency shelter circuit where, from November to April, the homeless charity partners with churches and community venues across London to offer a roof over the head of anyone sleeping rough. Those in need of shelter during the coldest time of the year can register online to secure a warm bed from a different partnered location for each day of the week. On that particular Wednesday, the church was home to 30 men and five women of all ages and backgrounds, and if the smell coming from the kitchen all morning was anything to go by, they were all in store for a great hot meal.

 

Unfortunately, homelessness is not a diminishing issue in London. Last winter, Glassdoor reported that there was a 42% increase in demand for its services with 1,800 people registering for a shelter online. With far more applicants than available beds, the need for more venues like St Katherine's to ensure a welcoming face exists in the community can’t be underestimated and needs to be supported.

 

So if you know anyone in the Acton area that might benefit from a friendly chat from 10.30am-12.30pm on a Wednesday morning, then please point them in the direction of St Katherine’s. Or, if you would just like to support their amazing work then join the Horton and Garton team at one of the church’s upcoming fundraising quiz nights (May 15) or one of their jazz evenings (September 26).

For more details, visit www.stkatherineswestway.org.uk

To find out how you can help or donate to Glassdoor, visit: www.glassdoor.org.uk

 

Pictured are Rev Lesley Tate, curate of St Katherine's, and her husband Jim Tate, senior minister at St Katherine's. 


Apply now to join the Horton and Garton team


Our award-winning agency is looking for Saturday staff 

Horton and Garton is looking for a new part-time team member to join our busy King Street office in Hammersmith. Could this be you?

But we're not your average estate agent. Find out more here about what makes Horton and Garton different.

We need someone who can work every Saturday showing properties in our patch - Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush and Chiswick.

The suitable candidate needs:

* A UK driving licence with two full years of driving experience

* Excellent written and spoken English skills

* A confident and outgoing personality

* Excellent time keeping skills and presentation.

Working hours would be 10am to 3pm every Saturday. Salary is £15 per hour.

Interested? If so, please email Kath at kath@hortonandgarton.co.uk to express your interest.

Why we're different

We provide a professional, dedicated, knowledgeable property services for jaded West Londoners. What distinguishes us from other estate agencies is our ability to provide a bespoke level of service, our genuine commitment to the local community and our honest, ethical approach to business.

Our wealth of experience, in-depth understanding of the property market and rock solid work ethic makes us a force to be reckoned with when it comes to securing the best results for our clients. We pride ourselves on our consistently outstanding service.

And our integrity, authentic love of property and client focus is infused into everything we do which ensures you receive a level of personal service not found within corporate chains.

Portraits of Hammersmith residents and workers unveiled at Lyric theatre


A new exhibition of portraits believes that better neighbours make better neighbourhoods. And we agree!

Spend any time in Hammersmith and you’ll begin to see familiar faces. Whether it’s the friendly folks in the King Street post office, the dreadlocked barber or one of the many chefs on TV, the area is small enough that you’ll often see the same faces over the years.

I’ve spent more than 20 years working in W6 and I do my best to remember everyone I’ve met. Even if a client’s name has slipped my mind – I can usually remember what house number and street they live in! Bizarre but true.

Now, a unique photo exhibition is presented by local charity United has opened at the Lyric Hammersmith theatre. Called ‘Humans of Hammersmith & Fulham’, the show is full of the area’s incredible characters and familiar faces.

Wendell Park primary school's deputy headteacher, Rosie Peters

 

The charity hopes that it will take away prejudice and exclusion, and inspire belonging, discussion and sharing. And judging by what we saw on opening night, there was plenty of lively chatting.

The collection of photographs and interviews was collected by United staff in collaboration with portrait photographer Nahwand Jaff.

“We invite anyone to come and see this exhibition which will continue to form a living catalogue of individuals,” said Kevin McGrath, chair of United in Hammersmith & Fulham.

“It really shows how wonderful our borough is and the value of all the communities within it. Those who are strangers but neighbours with so much in common, too.”

Football fan Elias Wills-Calvo

 

The exhibition, which free, was launched last week at a reception attended by many of the ‘humans’ themselves – including campaigner for unaccompanied child refugees Lord Alf Dubs.

United in Hammersmith & Fulham is a local organisation that inspires and helps fund activities that promote a strong sense of togetherness in our diverse London borough. This is achieved by connecting those who want to support the community with local causes that will best use their investment.

Humans of Hammersmith & Fulham 2020 will tour the borough in various venues. You can currently view the exhibition for free at The Lyric from 9am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday, until February 24. After that, it moves to the Black Lion Pub by Hammersmith’s riverside from March 1 to May 31.

Stepping out with the Horton and Garton team                                                               PICS: Justin Thomas/H&F Council

 

A Christmas Reflection: Why Horton and Garton gives back to the community…


Since opening in 2008, we’ve always supported local charities and schools, arts groups, residents’ associations and churches, says John Horton. It is extremely important to us as a successful independent, family-owned business, especially at Christmas time.

Why? As a Hammersmith resident and the founder of Horton and Garton, I believe more businesses should help out in the communities they serve. At a time of ever-increasing austerity and cuts to essential services, Horton and Garton is proud to go the extra mile, not only for our clients, but for the community at large.

Here are just a few of the charities, fine causes and organisations that we know and love and currently support. Their positive work actively improves the lives of people in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush.

West London Action for Children (WLAC)

This charity promotes the wellbeing of local children in need, working with them, their families and carers to achieve positive change.                                                                                   

This Christmas, WLAC has put together a cookbook of delicious recipes. These come from celebrity kitchens, including pop stars, actors, authors, restaurant owners and even our MP! The WLAC mission is to help children and that’s why we’ve sponsored this year’s cookbook and purchased more than 100 copies to support the charity. Some lucky elves in Hammersmith may just find a copy in their stocking…

www.wlac.org.uk

 

 

Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank

I have seen first-hand the huge demand for the local Foodbank. We have helped spread the word about the service and included it in our regular appeals. In 2019, it’s completely unacceptable that families in our community should be unable to feed themselves or their children.

The Foodbank provides three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to people who are referred in a crisis. It is part of a network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, that works to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

www.hammersmithfulham.foodbank.org.uk

 

The Upper Room

The Upper Room in Shepherds Bush has been helping the homeless since 1990 and it recently moved back to St Saviour’s Church in Wendell Park after a year-long renovation.

Horton and Garton has helped raise funds which will allow the charity to expand its work. It provides inter-linked services that focus on giving the socially disadvantaged the tools and skills they need to restore their dignity, reduce their risk of homelessness and help them to become economically independent.

In the autumn, my team and I attended The Upper Room’s fundraising curry lunch at Indian Zing in King Street and donated cash and prizes to their auction. On the day, £2,300 was raised!

www.theupperroom.org.uk

Grove Neighbourhood Centre

The Centre provides a social centre for local people, a drop-in support service and premises for a wide variety of groups and practitioners in Brackenbury Village. It was launched in 1973 from a house in Overstone Road – and has been at the heart of Brackenbury ever since. Horton and Garton helps sponsor its seasonal fundraisers as well as special events that draw in the community to this vital hub.

www.groveneighbours.co.uk

 

The Addison Group of Singers

Founded more than 30 years ago, this West London group consists of three different singing classes and four choirs for singers of all ages, abilities and musical interests. David Wordsworth has served as Musical Director since 1995. See and hear them perform The Gravity of Kindness on Saturday 7 December at 7.30pm at St. Peter’s Church, Acton Green W4.

www.addisonsingers.com

 

Petros Singers

The Hammersmith-based Petros Singers is one of London’s leading amateur chamber choirs. They give three or four concerts each year in London and sometimes further afield.

Our sponsorship of the Petros Singers has enabled the choir to create two bursary places to help coach new singers and push the choir’s singing forward. See and hear them at A Festival of Christmas on Saturday 7 December at 7.30pm at St Peter's, Black Lion Lane, W6.

www.petrossingers.com

 

H&F Council’s Christmas Lunch

Residents aged 60 and over who aren’t having lunch with anyone on Christmas Day are invited to enjoy some festive cheer at Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s annual Christmas Day Lunch.

I have volunteered and attended on Christmas Day and helped serve food and drink. It’s a great way to meet new people and hear some great stories. I see a lot of people every day in Hammersmith and it’s always nice to put a name to a face.

Held this year at the Novotel Hotel on Hammersmith Broadway, guests will enjoy a hearty Christmas lunch, music and dancing. Door-to-door transport, qualified carers and a team of volunteers ensures guests are well looked after. 

www.lbhf.gov.uk/xmaslunch

 

If we can lend a hand, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 

Diary of an Estate Agent: New start in my old home


Welcome. We've got a new home and office - 172 King Street in Hammersmith.

I trust you will like our new-look office.

More than 23 years ago, I started my career as an estate agent right here in Hammersmith in this very office. So, I’ve come home! 

As the number one market leader in sales and letting in our patch of Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush we continue to move onwards and upwards. 

On behalf of the entire Horton and Garton team, I would like to wish you both a Happy Christmas holidays and a prosperous New Year. 

If you are buying, selling or letting in 2020 and you’d like to hear our experienced point of view as the local sales and lettings market leader, make sure Horton and Garton is your first call.