To the legal owner

EVER notice how estate agents get a bit liberal with the English language? If you’ve ever dealt with one – especially from one of the big chains – you’ve no doubt heard words like ‘cosy’ and ‘great transport links’, both of which can be instantly deciphered as ‘can’t swing a cat in it’ and ‘incredibly noisy as it’s next to tube station or motorway’. 

It’s a genuine fault in our industry and it’s something we try and avoid here at Horton and Garton. But a recent story in The Guardian struck a nerve here as they chronicled some of the best terms of ‘estate agent speak’. Needless to say I come across these regularly, and indeed saw one just this morning after I got yet another letter from a big estate agent chain through my door. 

It was addressed to the ‘legal owner’ asking if I wanted to urgently sell or rent my house. Phew, I thought – I’m glad they weren’t asking to speak to the ‘illegal owner’!

Despite the early junk mail, this morning was certainly better than the previous morning when I discovered that I’d locked myself out of the house! I was in a rush to get the kids to school and in my haste left the keys on the kitchen counter. 

Thankfully my builder neighbour saved the day with his ladder and fearless head for heights; scaling the roof and dropping into the flat via the skylight. Good Samaritan thanked and panic over.

It shows that sometimes you need a bit of help when it comes to owning a property, whether it’s a referral of a good handyman or where to buy the best carpet.

It’s why I’ve been keeping a keen eye on the rise of personal property finders springing up in the local market. Picture this: You’re a busy professional and you want to buy the perfect property in Hammersmith, but you don’t want to bother with the hassle of having agents drag you all over the place to a bunch of ‘cosy’ flats with great ‘transport links’ that don’t fit the bill. So, you hire a property finder to draw up a killer shortlist and then pop along when viewings have all been arranged.

It sounds like a luxury to those of us that can’t afford it, but with local demand never higher and supply never lower it’s becoming a full-time job to secure the best property.

This wider trend is especially true in our patch of W6 and W12, and I have to say it has brought along some rather unwanted side effects. 

I have seen my fair share of over-valuations, gazumping, and questionable tactics employed by other agents, but I am proud to say that here at Horton and Garton we have stuck to our guns and have remained resolutely honest, professional, and transparent as always. 

This has held us in good stead and brought rewards in the shape of new business won through recommendations by happy clients. It just goes to show that the ethos I started the business with five years ago still applies today and it is satisfying to know that people still value a genuine and honest local agent.