Latest Blog Posts

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.

Where the HandG am I? – A special quiz


Can you spot these Hammersmith landmarks?

Today (Monday December 2) we sponsored the fantastic junior school carol service for 350 children parents, family and teachers of the West London Free School. It was held at St Peter’s Church in Black Lion Lane, Hammersmith.

During the service we were quizzing the parents on their W6 knowledge - so here are a few added clues and links. See below and good luck!

Q1. What garden square in Hammersmith is this?

Clue – Where you are now!  

 

Q2. What's the name of this Hammersmith church? 

Clue - I spy from the Flyover

 

Q3. Which park in Hammersmith is this?

Clue 21 acre opened 1888

 

Q4. Which riverside pub in Hammersmith is this? 

Clue It's got the shortest bar in the UK!

 

Q5. Name this historic Hammersmith dance and music venue. It's now closed.

Clue 1919 – 2017      

 

Q6. Ziggy’s ‘73, last gig venue - ever! Where was it?

Clue Comedy venue - Its live at...

 

Q7. Which Hammersmith street is this?      

Clue 1 way2 Pekoe Mellow? 

 

Q8. Sipsmith distillery was first opened in what Hammersmith street?

Clue It all began here in 2009!

 

Q9. What's the nearest petrol station to this iconic mural?                              

Clue 2 tiles – scores 7 in scrabble!

 

Diary of an Estate Agent: We helped crown the best local businesses


The Hammersmith & Fulham Brilliant Business Awards night is always a blast.

I should know – Horton and Garton has won plenty of prizes over the years. Just come check out the display in our King Street office!

But over the past few years, we decided to let some new faces enter the competition. So instead, I’ve been helping behind the scenes by judging for the fourth year running. And this year, we were also one of the main sponsors – and providing the bubbles is a tough job indeed!

The annual awards – run by Hammersmith & Fulham Council – is a great way to recognise the very best local businesses in the borough. With the town hall currently being transformed into a new civic campus, the event was held at the Olympia conference centre last Thursday night (November 21).

As an award-winner and a judge, I can tell you that the competition is getting stronger and stronger. The calibre of entries and the sheer willpower of the new businesses choosing to open their doors in Hammersmith & Fulham is truly impressive.

This year’s awards produced some fantastic winners – click here to read the full list and see the pictures from the night.

Alongside the bubbles and the joy was a superb speech by Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of H&F Council, who talked passionately about his goal to be the best in championing businesses in London.

Meanwhile, Cllr Ben Coleman (H&F Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care) laid down the gauntlet by asking for £10,000 towards the Christmas day dinner the council puts on for lonely older residents.

The word went around Olympia that Westfield had donated £1,000 to the cause – and did Horton and Garton want to match it? I said yes of course!  

Help us spread the Christmas joy

So, while I’m on a roll, please help us throw a great Christmas lunch party. Residents aged 60 and over who aren’t having lunch with anyone on Christmas Day are invited to enjoy some festive cheer at the 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 in 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.

Please RSVP by December 5.

Diary of an Estate Agent: We’re Number 1 at selling and renting houses. Not pub quizzes!


The Horton and Garton team were tripped up in a Hard Day’s Night at the Brackenbury Residents’ Association pub quiz

It was a packed house at The Thatched House on Thursday night when the brains of Hammersmith met up for the bi-annual Brackenbury Residents’ Association pub quiz. 

The seven-strong team from Horton and Garton ate dinner and dessert and were impressed with the hearty meals. We recommend the pies and fish. Our compliments to the chef!

The competitive, yet neighbourly, vibe was crackling as teams whispered answers, stretched their brains and delved deep into their memory banks to be first to answer the questions.

Local resident and quiz master Heather rolled out the questions and – well, what can I say – some were more challenging for us than for others. It was a very close result. The ‘Village People’ team, captained by Sharon Isaac Upton, took home the bubbles and the bragging rights. 

While Team HG was looking at a top three finish – until the music and literature round struck! We scored a measly 5 out of 21 in the musical mastermind round. My young team said they were just not the generation to remember The Beatles’ top singles, which kept us off the podium. 

However, if we’re going to be Number 1 for anything then I’d prefer it be for our sterling service to Hammersmith. We are already well-known for being the local market-leading selling and renting agent in W6 0 postcode, which includes Brackenbury Village.

Next week, I’ve challenged our team to compete in the Crucial Cafe quiz and curry night at the Hogarth Health Club in Chiswick. Let’s hope for more luck with the musical history. Watch this space!

Diary of an Estate Agent: Family trip to the Rugby World Cup ended with a typhoon finish


John Horton flew thousands of miles to Japan to watch rugby with his two sons and have a few pints of Asahi. Was that too much to ask? The weather said yes…

A holiday is (or should be) a good time to recharge the batteries, rest, relax and recuperate. But throw the Rugby World Cup in Japan into the mix and the well-earned time away from the day job was shaping up to be a real family adventure for this Dad. 

Our family trip to Japan proved to be an epic holiday with my two boys as we watched three games of rugby - England vs Argentina, New Zealand vs Namibia and Scotland vs Russia, soaked up the remarkable culture and the history of Japan. And what you read was true – the Japanese rugby team “The Blossoms” had the country bubbling over with world cup fever. They did their country proud.

My two boys were almost blown over meeting their hero and England captain Owen Farrell. My boys also made up making the big screen pre match entertainment at rugby stadium and being interviewed by the local Japanese TV crews. There was never a quiet match day moment.

My fear of getting lost in Shinjuku station or in the Shibuya Crossing crowds – or even the boys not eating the sushi I ordered – did enter my mind. But thanks to smartphone maps, a translator and the pedigree of being a seasoned London commuter we had nothing to fear in the busiest city in the world. 

The beauty of travelling somewhere, home or away, is about the new experiences.  The differences in the language, the people, cuisine and scenery... finding yourself outside the usual comfort zone is all part of the fun. 

And for us, two weeks and thousands of air miles flashed by in a blink of an eye.

After all, it’s not every day you find yourself in the eye of deadly typhoon Hagibis. Not only did the storm cause a significant amount of damage and the tragic loss of life, it also had the knock-on effect of creating a logistical nightmare for the family. Thankfully, we emerged unscathed and only missed one rugby match and a few days of tourism. I’m so happy to be back in west London, but I admit that my love of Japanese food has also blossomed!

With Horton and Garton's imminent office move in Hammermsith to distract me, as well as back-to-back half marathon weekends, the holiday is already feeling like a distant memory. So, let’s hope we see England in the final on Sunday November 2! 

BUT first there is a big match this Saturday morning (October 26) at 9am. So if you are at The Cross Keys or The Black Lion in Hammersmith, or the George IV in Chiswick High Road, I may see you there… Swing low sweet chariot!

Onwards and upwards.

Diary of an Estate Agent: How a new love of running changed my life


As John Horton gears up for the half marathon season, he explains how he learned to love running and shed a few pounds as well.

About six years ago I decided I was out of shape and I was carrying too much ‘timber’.

I needed a wake-up call. And it came in the form of my new love of running. It all started with the Gunnersbury 5k parkrun. Week after week, I noticed an improvement on my running times and my overall stamina. My health also noticeably improved and within the year I was taking on the 10K challenge.

Today, the half marathon is now my preferred distance. And it’s that time of the year when the half marathon season is upon us. For the last five years, my medal collection of 10k and half marathons are clinking away nicely on the back of my wardrobe door.

I can’t wait to be back in action for the Chiswick half marathon on Sunday, October 20.

The race starts from Chiswick House and is a lovely excuse to run along the Thames. I’m very much hoping to beat my personal best of 1:49:22. Wish me luck!

It’s a quick turnaround for the Walton on Thames half marathon the following week. It’s known to be a flat, fast, scenic and largely traffic free race through Surrey.

If you want to learn more about joining your local running club, click here

Diary of an Estate Agent: It is survival of the fittest


Independent local agents are stealing the march on their corporate competitors. And long may it continue, says John Horton.

New figures show that 284 offices of estate agents shut down last year – which represents 3.4% of the total number of estate agency offices in Britain.

This was far more than other industries, such as newsagents, women’s fashion stores, delis, hairdressers, Indian restaurants and florists. Over the past few months, I’ve read more and more reports about offices closing down.

It’s survival of the fittest for today’s high street businesses. And more specifically, restructuring of the estate agency industry is needed to weed out the uncompetitive and unprofessional practices within the property world.

It’s no surprise for me that the most highly successful west London estate agency offices today are the established independent agents. While the larger corporate companies are struggling with the challenges of the changing marketplace.  

Many questions still remain: is it just poorly performing businesses that have failed to plan? Is it the greedy commercial landlords charging sky-high rents? Is it onerous business rates? Is it the tenant fee ban? Is it the lack of quality staff and service? Or is it just everyone’s favourite top of Brexit to blame?

In my opinion, it’s a mix of all these factors.

But here at Horton and Garton, we’re proud to say that we continue to expand our market share and grow our business while other agents fail.

There are a growing number of empty and vacant shops in our high streets, and no existing trading business likes an empty unit/shop as their neighbour.

The high street is dying because of our changing habits as consumers. If you cannot demonstrate the quality of what you’re adding as a professional service, then consumers will often choose the service and buy on lowest price. But when it comes to selling or letting your property, you get what you pay for. Call your local, experienced agents and choose carefully.

While it can be a considerable investment to appoint the best local estate agent, it can be far more expensive to appoint the wrong one and watch as they fail to deliver the best result. In today’s market, the client will only know how expensive a struggling agent is until the property fails to sell.

The very good news for Horton and Garton and our clients is that we are experiencing a very promising start to 2019 and we continue to achieving excellent results for our vendors and landlords. Our sales and lettings teams are still busy and we’re continuing to grow our market share by working with the very best clients and their properties in Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush and Chiswick.

Our success has been down to accurate and realistic valuing accompanied by a clear marketing strategy tailored to each property. If you would like Horton and Garton to look after you and your property, please pop into the office or give us a call.

Diary of an Estate Agent: Sensational service – our clients say it all


When it’s time to choose your estate agent, you’ll meet a handful of local sales managers...

And every one of them will tell you how brilliant their respective agency is and why you should instruct them to sell your home. But at Horton and Garton, we think potential clients would much rather hear from our recent clients before they decide to place the keys to their homes in our hands. We can tell you to expect nothing short of exceptional from our team - and we think our clients tell our story far better than we ever could. Here are just a few:

 

CASE STUDY: Fazina

Fazina sold her picture perfect cottage in St Peter’s Square in Hammersmith with us. “I recently sold my house through Horton and Garton. I had a positive experience with them," Fazina said.

"Everyone in the sales team displayed patience, tenacity and professionalism throughout. Phil Coombes [Senior Sales] always went the extra mile on viewings, while Martin Clements [Sales Manager] ensured the sale went through as smoothly as possible. In addition, John Horton [Director and Founder] frequently checked in to ensure we were happy with the approach and progress. If I were to sell in the local area again then I would only use Horton and Garton.”

“The importance of understanding your buyers’ requirements cannot be understated," Phil replied. "Unfortunately, most negotiators only hear ‘two bedrooms, large garden’ and miss the nuances inbetween. I like to spend time with clients to ensure I can visualise their next home. And then there's the dogged determination and the extra hours that go into the sales process, of course!

 

CASE STUDY: Kate

Kate, who sold her modern riverside apartment with us after a disappointing three months with one of our competitors, said: “We received excellent service from Martin; we would highly recommend him. He delivered results after another agency had failed.” 

Martin, our Sales Manager for over a decade, noted: “I enjoy nothing more than demonstrating to local homeowners that all agents are not created equal. Kate and her beautiful apartment, which we sold for asking price, were wonderful to work with.”

The buyer was Mark, who said this about his purchase: “Martin was helpful, trustworthy, easy to contact when necessary, skillful in building good relationships with different actors in the transaction and energetic in using those contacts to keep the transaction on course. He was pleasure to deal with.”

 

CASE STUDY: Tamara

“I have known Martin and Phil for many years and have found them to be fabulous to deal with," Tamara said. "I know that every time I liaise with them I will be greeted with enthusiasm, sound knowledge and a willingness to go the extra mile. It is a tricky market at the moment and sellers need agents who are prepared to do more than just list their property.

"I would not hesitate to recommend the Horton and Garton team to provide a proactive, professional and friendly service.” 

Martin responded by saying: “The sale of Tamara’s flat in Wendell Park, Shepherds Bush, was another triumph for our team. Her lovely home was joint listed with another estate agency and our marketing attracted three offers where our competitors achieved none.” 

 

CASE STUDY: Clementine

Clementine purchased her double fronted Victorian house in Brackenbury Village, Hammersmith, with us - and contracts were exchanged in just six weeks. Her transaction was managed by Phil. She said: “Working with Phil was a real pleasure from the viewings to completion."

"He is extremely knowledgeable about the area and listens carefully to what his clients are looking for in their new homes. Not once did he show me a place with too few bedrooms or that was wildly over budget. After meeting about 10 agents during my search, Horton and Garton was alone in this.

"Phil also gives clients space and time during viewings so they can make their own minds up about the look and feel of a property. To me, this was really valuable. After our offer was accepted, he worked hard and efficiently towards a smooth completion. We are very happy to recommend him, and Horton and Garton, to anyone looking to buy in Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush or Chiswick.”

 

CASE STUDY: Manny

Manny bought his double fronted Victorian house in Dalling Road, Hammersmith, through Martin.

“The entire buying process with Martin was flawless, efficient and highly professional," Manny said. "Having been in the property game for several decades one rarely comes across people like Martin – highly knowledgeable, honest and straightforward - and a pleasure to deal with.”

Martin responded by saying: “Naturally, our sellers expect an exceptional experience but this level of service is always extended to each and every buyer. Our Senior Sales Negotiator Phil assists our buyers with the care and attention they deserve.”

 

CASE STUDY: Scott

We helped Scott sell his Brackenbury Village maisonette in order to purchase his next house in Chiswick.

“Phil did a fantastic job for us," Scott said. "He worked with us to understand the complex objectives we were trying to achieve in scaling up to a larger property. He genuinely earned his fee through tenacity, hard work, positioning our property in different ways and securing a high quality buyer who could complete the deal effectively. He worked to high ethical standards and I would not hesitate to recommend him.”

 

Want the purple carpet treatment?

Horton and Garton sell more properties in Hammersmith than any other agency. Nevertheless, we pride ourselves on treating every client like they’re our only client. If you’re considering buying or selling, we’re at your service.

If you would like to see our other reviews and testimonials, please click here.

Diary of an Estate Agent: Currying favour at Leiths School of Food and Wine


Curries from around the world land in Shepherds Bush.

Horton and Garton's lettings supremo Ashley Clements dropped by Shepherds Bush cookery school Leiths over the weekend to learn how to cook a proper curry. His wife is reportedly delighted.

If you love curries and want to learn to make them from scratch, this is the class for you. Ashley took a culinary journey around some of the world’s finest curry hot-spots as he learned to make dishes using authentic but easily available ingredients. He also learned how to select and use spices and make curry pastes, marinades and accompaniments.

"Leiths has a very friendly atmosphere," Ashley said, in-between his courses of Goan chicken vindaloo and red duck curry. "The instructor, Chef Cee, was able to design the day to suit experienced or purely beginner cooks. The ingredients were excellent and plentiful with three dishes created, eaten and enjoyed with a glass of wine.

"Plus, the various tips and techniques I used can be used in other cuisines. I think learning to peel ginger with the edge of a teaspoon was the tip of the day!"

A Leiths voucher would be a great gift for any of your foodie friends. Just like Horton and Garton, Leiths is a long-established local business that offers excellent customer service. 

Click here for more details about Leiths' spicy How to Cook Curries classes.