2 East Shee Common featured properties Palace gardens terrace - W8 PARK ROYAL A beautifully designed triplex apartment on this sought after and quiet Kensington road. This impressive, well proportioned property is arranged over the basement, ground and first floors of this striking period building. The beautifully refurbished accommodation comprises large entrance hall, elegant reception room, superbly fitted kitchen/dining room opening on to the garden and three double bedrooms with luxurious en suite bathrooms. Further features include a cinema room, cloakroom and extra outside space with decking. WEST ACTON A Palace Gardens Terrace is an elegant cherry tree lined street located just off Kensington Church Street, which offers a wide variety of shops and restaurants, while Kensington High Street, Notting Hill and the green spaces of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park are all located close by. Share of Freehold. SO AC AC GR GUNNERSBU A sumptuously refurbished three bed triplex 6,500,000 Kensington Office T E NORTH SHEEN Richmon Park
3 1,675,000 battersea Office T E An impressive six bedroom family house thurleigh ROAD - SW12 This rarely available house is situated at the western end of Thurleigh Road, one of the finest streets in Battersea, and just a stone s throw from Wandsworth Common. The house measures close to 2,500 sq ft and offers six double bedrooms arranged around a beautiful central staircase. The centrepiece of the house is an extensive 40ft double reception room boasting a fabulous bay window and French doors on to a wide, south facing, lawned garden. The kitchen is spacious and additionally benefits from attractive vaulted ceilings with skylights. Thurleigh Road sits at the southern end of the area known as between the commons and offers easy access to a wealth of local amenities on Northcote Road. Freehold.
4 T marshandparsons.co.uk
5 SSI U e4 London Portrait Editor: Beth Hilson Editorial: Kathryn Macoy Graphic Designer: Jim Frost Advertising: Tom Burkinshaw Featured cover property to let: William Hunt Mansions, SW13 For further details contact our Barnes Office: T T welcome Marsh & Parsons opens on Kensington Church Street a few doors away from its current location Big Ben starts ticking Charing Cross Railway Station opens The last convict ship sails to Australia Battersea Dogs & Cats Home moves to its current location Albert Bridge built Peter Jones opens his flagship store in Chelsea Royal Courts of Justice opened by Queen Victoria Karl Marx dies in London Savoy opens on The Strand Queen Victoria becomes the longest reigning British monarch in history Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth was formed Cesar Ritz opens the Ritz Hotel overlooking Green Park Welcome to our autumn edition of London Portrait magazine which is once again filled with a great selection of flats and houses to suit all prices ranges for sale and to rent across London. We ve been surprisingly busy during the summer months and whilst we have, of course, seen the sales market slow as it always does, we have seen more buyers than usual registering and have achieved some excellent sales prices. The lettings market has been extraordinarily busy and is characterised by rising rental prices across the board, due to unusually high numbers of tenants looking to rent, and less property available to let. The results from our latest customer insight survey were particularly pleasing - showing that of all the people that we spoke to, 99% said that they would have no hesitation in recommending us to their friends, with a further 28% telling us that they already had! It s all very well providing a service that our clients enjoy, but in the end it really does come down to whether we can produce the result they require from their estate agent. This research says to me that we are able to deliver on both our promises. Complacency however is a dangerous thing and we will continue to strive to maintain these results. This issue of London Portrait includes the usual updates from our sales, lettings and new homes teams, as well as articles by Cheryl Markosky. A look at how to prepare your garden for the autumn months, and some design inspirations from a local interior designer will also help you to prepare your property for going on to the market this side of Christmas. I do hope that you enjoy this latest edition of London Portrait and hopefully find your new home. As always, please let me know any feedback at: Peter Rollings, Managing Director, Marsh & Parsons Chelsea Football club founded White City Stadium, Hammersmith built for Summer Olympics. The Electric Cinema on Portobello Road opens London s first airport opens at Hounslow Heath Marsh & Parsons launch their new Maida Vale office London wins bid for 2012 Olympic Games Notting Hill becomes the highest grossing British film ever Dolly the sheep is the first mammal to be cloned The Independent newspaper launched Red Rum wins the Grand National for third time Decimalisation of all currency in the United Kingdom England win the World Cup for the first and only time so far The Beatles form in Liverpool Car manufacturer Jaguar founded Wandsworth Council celebrate the building of its 1,000th house First telephone boxes in London erected Fred Perry becomes the last British male to win Wimbledon Bank of England nationalised Oslo begins donating the annual Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Agatha Christie s Moustrap opens in the West End. It is still running. Post WWII rationing ends 5
6 sales comment
7 CRYSTAL BALL GAZING Making predictions can be a dangerous game, but Peter Rollings takes a look at what might be ahead for the London Property Market... Peter Rollings Managing Director must admit, I do feel nervous when I try to predict what is going I to happen in the London property market. Of course nobody can actually know what is going to happen but I do think that if you work within a market every day, you must by definition have a good idea of what is really going on, and therefore be able to make an informed guess at what the future holds. At this time of year, I m often asked (along with a number of other commentators) for my views on the property market and my thoughts on what is going to happen during the next 12 months. At the start of the year I wrote a piece stating that, in view of what I could see happening on the ground, I could see prices in London growing at between 5 and 7% during I am relieved to say that so far I think I am going to be about right. Obviously, along with this piece of judgment there has to be a large slice of luck as I am no more capable of accurately predicting the future than you are. However my reading of the market is that we have seen this growth already and that I don t expect to see much, if any, growth in the final quarter this year. Due to the size of our business, the geographical spread of our offices and the sheer number of people we come into contact with on a daily basis, I believe we are well placed to gauge the mood of the market and make an informed judgement on which way it is going in both sales and lettings. More importantly, by being at the coal face we can see what is going on daily, weekly and monthly and can advise our clients accordingly. So, bearing all this in mind and with the usual caveats of events outside our control, this is what I think is going to happen (and in some cases is happening now) for the remainder of the year and into We will see increasing numbers of properties come on to the market so that it will, after three years of low volumes, rise to meet its 15 year average. We will see lettings values continue to rise as less property becomes available to rent. This will correct itself over the next two years as the investor, or buy to let market makes a recovery. London residential property will increase in popularity as a stand alone asset class and larger numbers of corporate buyers will enter the market in expectation of healthy returns (rental income plus capital appreciation giving a gross return of circa 9% pa).* As a result, property prices in the capital will grow by around 5% in 2011 buoyed by an increase in return on investment, a relative shortage of supply of both second hand and new build, an increase of availability of mortgage finance and a general, if gradual, recovery in the economy. Both overseas investors and homeowners will continue to be a major force in the market with Asian buyers, especially Chinese viewing London as the place to invest - (the emerging Chinese middle class can be counted in the hundreds of millions). This is driven by a mixture of hard headed investment strategies and the one-upmanship of owning a property in London. Buyers and investors from India will become more prevalent and this will continue to grow over the next few years. There has been much talk of double dip in the past few weeks. However, let us not forget London reacted unusually quickly to the downturn in late 2007 with the market falling rapidly by up to 25%. It should not surprise us therefore that it was also the first area of the property market to enter recovery and enjoys a very different dynamic to the rest of the UK s property market. London bears limited comparison to the general UK market and commentators who talk about the property market going down (or up) do so at their peril! *Source: Investment Property Databank For further updates and information on the property market visit:
8 lettings comment Rental prices rise with property in short supply... Emilie Thysse Lettings Director - Central Patrick Littlemore Lettings Director - South & West The lettings market has turned increasingly in favour of landlords throughout the course of As we enter the seasonal autumnal peak in the lettings calendar, demand for property is firmly outstripping supply across all areas of Central & South-West London. The economic recovery in London has given rise to a steady increase in staff relocations & recruitment into the City, which, coupled with the usual influx of new graduates & students, means prospective tenants at all levels are finding themselves in competition with other renters for the best flats. Luxury rentals, in particular, have seen a significant boom over the summer and this activity at the top end of the market is showing no sign of abating through the autumn months. We have seen the volume of properties being let at rents over 1,000 per week rise by 53% compared to the same period last year. In addition, there has been an increase of 17% in the average budget at this top end of the market ( 1,000 per week and above). The profiles of tenants renting these luxury properties remain diverse; though the majority are still corporate tenancies, with London s traditional strengths of Banking and Legal firms once again expanding operations. Traditionally popular areas such as Notting Hill, Chelsea and Kensington have seen a typically high proportion of the top-end tenancies, though many tenants looking for more space have chosen areas such as Battersea, Clapham and Barnes which are extremely popular with those looking for a villagey feel, without compromising on convenient transport links to the city. Interestingly, the length of time to which tenants at the top end of the market are willing to commit also seems to be increasing, with the average initial term of the tenancy having increased to 20 months compared with 17 months in Over the first half of this year, many existing tenants were forced to move as their landlords chose to terminate the tenancy in favour of putting the property on to the improving sales market or to try to achieve a higher rent in a more buoyant market. As such, the value of securing long-term tenancies has been felt across all levels of the lettings market. Interestingly, luxury short lets are also seeing a market renaissance with some recent tenants paying up to 10,000 per week for the convenience of renting high-spec properties in the most desirable addresses for shorter periods of time. With supply of properties on the market relatively low, it s essential for tenants to move rapidly if they find something they like. In August & September, over 35% of the offers received on properties from prospective tenants were in competition with another interested party. Indeed, there have been multiple instances of properties receiving more than three competing bids within 48 hours of coming on to the market; a recent one bed flat in a prime Kensington location received four offers within 24 hours, with two out of the four prospective tenants bidding on the
9 The Sunken Garden, Kensington Palace Corporate & Relocations Matt Salvidge Head of Corporate & Relocation Services...a recent one bed flat in a prime Kensington location received four offers within 24 hours, with two out of the four prospective tenants bidding on the property being excellent corporate tenants... property being excellent corporate tenants one a bank and one an embassy. The property was, in the end, let for more than 10% over the asking price. Equally, in such a fast-paced market, though landlords find themselves in a strong position, they also need to be mindful of making quick decisions; tenants are being forced to be decisive in this competitive market, which means they like to get quick responses in return, otherwise they are likely to go elsewhere. Our Renewals Department has seen a very busy start to the Autumn season with the majority of tenants agreeing to increases in their rent in order to remain in their existing property; indeed many are keen to renew long-term to avoid finding themselves on the receiving end of a further increase six months later in a strengthening market. Many landlords are asking us to re-value their properties at the point of renewal to ensure that we are able to negotiate the optimum market rent on their behalf. Indeed, our specialist renewals negotiators have been successful in achieving rent increases of up to 18% in some cases. More often than not, we are achieving the new terms we have recommended for our landlords as tenants realise the benefit of staying put in such a competitive market. Investment into buy-to-let property has fallen significantly over the past two years as access to mortgages for investment property has remained difficult to obtain. However, with such increased activity in corporate relocation at the top end of the market, as well as the continued strong demand from would-be first time buyers in the lower and mid-market, it seems likely that confidence amongst the landlord community will continue to grow and if finance availability starts to improve, we could see a welcome resurgence of new buyto-let landlords into the lettings market. Corporate applicants on the increase as confidence in London s economy grows The growing confidence in London s economy has had a significant impact on the London lettings market. Since the start of 2010, we have seen an increase across a number of sectors in companies bringing employees into London via relocations and recruitment, creating a significant disparity between the demand for property and its relative supply. After the collective tightening of belts we saw during 2008 and 2009, the current high number of corporate and private tenants once again searching for properties to rent suggests a shared optimism in London s economy. This trend is particularly strong at the top end of the lettings market (properties at per week). Indeed, we have seen a 53% increase in the number of these properties being let compared to this time last year. The positivity in the economy has also been reflected in the London sales market, leading to a relatively high number of lettings properties being withdrawn to be sold. Furthermore, many tenants chose to secure long-term tenancies in 2009 to safeguard the low rent levels in the market at the time, meaning an increase in tenants remaining in their current property or renewing their contracts. Both these factors have combined to further weaken the supply of lettings property in the current market in comparison with the high demand. With all of this in mind, the advice for tenants is to be prepared! It s essential to have deposits and references ready to hand over to your agent or landlord in order to secure the right property. Where possible it is advisable to try to keep the wish list down to a minimum; if landlords are inundated with competing offers, they are, in most cases, more likely to go for the easiest tenancy at the best price. If you would like to speak to anyone in the Corporate & Relocation team please contact us at: T E
10 feature Diary of an Estate Agent Is there more to estate agency than simply ferrying buyers from one property to the next? A day with Erica Willoughby from Marsh & Parsons shows the real side of estate agency. It s Wednesday morning, and I m just in time for my 8.30am sales meeting at the North Kensington office, having just picked up my morning coffee and chocolate croissant from my favourite local breakfast haunt, Coffee Plant. These daily meetings give the team an opportunity to discuss new instructions, offers, agreed offers and exchanged properties a lot can happen in 24 hours! Yesterday was a pretty good day with five offers on the table, two on one property and three on another. My buyer, is looking to spend under the 250,000 stamp duty threshold and as this is his first time exploring the possibility of a rental investment, he has a list of questions about the market - potential rental prices, mortgage changes and charges and the effect of capital gains tax. I make it my business to know everything about the market, and at Marsh & Parsons, we re lucky Following the meeting, and fully informed about new properties on the market, I start calling my buyers. This is my opportunity to catch up with potential purchasers, some who have been looking with me for several months, to keep them up-to-date and re-establish their wants and needs, as well as booking in new viewings. I get caught up chatting to a relocation agent who I have been working with for a number of years, who rang asking for a bit of friendly advice about the local market. After booking in a couple of viewings for the following afternoon, I head out of the office to meet my first buyer of the day, a young rental investor.
11 to have the support of a research department, who regularly keep us up to date with everything that s happening locally in North Kensington and also in the wider London market. way around and I make a note to call my buyer about the mews when I m back at my desk. After a quick introduction to the vendor, I head back to the office via Mr Christians, my favourite place to pick up a spot of lunch. My next viewing takes me to a lovely house near Kensal Rise that I m showing to a young family who have recently had a baby. The new mother has already seen the property and is very taken with it, so it seems this second viewing is her chance to convince her husband; you can see who wears the trousers in this marriage! Having sold their flat through Marsh & Parsons earlier this year, the couple have been renting nearby on a short let and desperately want to be settled in a house in time for their first Christmas with their new baby. I m confident that mother and baby will successfully persuade father, a City banker, to make an offer. Fifth Avenue, NW10 The first property is an empty, recently refurbished apartment which would be ready to let immediately and this seems to go down well with my buyer. The second viewing involves picking keys up from the seller who runs the restaurant below the flat. Keys can often be the source of estate agency headaches. Just yesterday, I had to reschedule a viewing because a promised set of keys never surfaced, and last week, attempts to open the communal terrace door were fruitless, as there was an extra security lock that we hadn t been made aware of. However, as with most occasions, we let ourselves into the property without any fuss. The flat would benefit from some improvements, which my buyer is not averse to, and looks like it would not only offer a good rental yield but as it is in a popular area a great return on any investment if he were to re-sell in the future. We take a look at the roof terrace, and I remain cautiously at the door I m always mindful of a story from a colleague who, a few years ago, was trapped on a roof garden by a faulty lock and had to wait to be rescued! Back at the office I bump into one of the locals, who regularly pops in for a quick chat about the market and who often helps herself to a couple of our property magazines. Having worked here for five years now, I am familiar with many of the local residents and, with a primary school over the road, I often get a quick wave from many mothers on the school run and it s always nice to have a catch up when they pop in. Doyle Gardens, NW10 As I start collating today s feedback to give to our sellers in the morning, I also have a list of calls to make to solicitors and surveyors to catch up on a few sales, particularly for one that is due to exchange at the end of the week. I hav built excellent industry relationships over the years which has really helped when it comes to chasing up contracts, reports and mortgage information on behalf of my buyers and vendors. This is particularly important for my growing number of international clients, unfamiliar with the British housing market. After dropping my buyer at the nearest tube station, I head to Holland Park Mews where the sales teams from Notting Hill, North Kensington and Holland Park have been invited to preview a beautiful, mews house we ve just brought on to the market priced at 1,895,000. The house is stunning and I immediately have a buyer in mind who I think would love this property and, looking for a freehold house in North Kensington, would be prepared to forgo the extra bedroom for this exclusive address. With our network of 14 offices, we are free to show our buyers properties in any of the areas we operate in, giving us a huge portfolio of stock and alternative choices for those who are flexible with location. The benefit of working in North Kensington, is that around 20% of my buyers are registered with our nearby Holland Park, Kensington and Notting Hill offices, but are tempted further north by the extra space that is offered in this area. It can however, work the other As the day draws to an end and everything is in place for the following morning s meeting, I debate popping into the nearby gym on the way home, but a call from one of the negotiators in Notting Hill scuppers my plans and a group of us plan to meet locally. So after one last viewing at 7pm with a first time buyer, ready to spend his parents money, I make my way to one of our favourite hide -aways, Notting Hill s The Westbourne and after a busy day, it s great to have a catch up over a glass of wine with my colleagues many of whom I now consider to be great friends. To speak to Erica about property in North Kensington please contact our office at: 136 Lancaster Road W11 1QU T E
12 new homes update London starts to build once more Adam Stackhouse Head of Developments, Investments & New Homes Recently, I fell into discussion about the housing market (an occupational hazard for all estate agents) with an associate based in the country. Not coming from London, he was intrigued by seemingly contradictory press over the past year, which has reported the rise of London values to levels in excess of their 2007 peak, while at the same time providing data on UK house prices which paints a more conservative picture. I explained of course that the property market cannot be discussed in the singular, but has to be considered in two distinct contexts: London...and everywhere else. The same is true for New Homes, and the good news for London home-buyers, developers and agents is that the New Homes sector in London is once again thriving. When compared with the rest of the UK, market forces of supply and demand are transposed in London. There is land aplenty to build upon outside London, yet there is a shortage of financially stable home-buyers in many of these locations. In contrast land remains London s most scarce commodity, and there is incessant demand from local and international buyers, both end-users and investors, who have the means and the desire to purchase New Homes in the capital. Having languished through the economic downturn, construction starts are now showing an upward trend, crucially outnumbering completions, which means the supply of New Homes in London will be increasing in the near future. There are now 126 major housing schemes due to start construction in the second half of 2010, while only 11 major schemes remain stalled in the capital. These statistics are the effect of superior sales performance in the sector which has experienced a slight increase in gross sales and a significant 70% reduction in contracts being rescinded, thus boosting net sales volumes across the capital. an upward trend... Marsh & Parsons New Homes team are primed to capture these positive elements in the current market, and achieve impressive sales results on behalf of our clients, while extending our unique blend of quality service and local knowledge to our buyers has seen our team represent five New Homes schemes across central and south west London already, offering a large number of units to the market via our comprehensive sales strategy which combines a strong local presence, with international distribution and investment sales. Nationally, the absorption of excess New Homes inventory will take time, but as long as London remains a global hub for business and financial services, fuelling the migration and immigration of skilled labour into the capital, the long-standing imbalance in supply and demand will continue to underpin the New Homes market. For Further information on the New Homes Department please contact: T E Having languished through the economic downturn construction starts are now showing The Kensal Apartments, currently available through Marsh & Parsons New Homes Department
13 Investments update Adam Stackhouse explains why there is good news for investors... very interesting and completely new A report was released just a few days ago which is to be known as the Investment Property Databank Residential Investment Indicator. This index sets out to provide an unbiased and accurate statement on the return generated through investing in residential property across the UK. By way of background, the report combines two key areas of data namely the rate of capital growth and the rate of income return to deliver a figure that accurately merges the two key reasons for investing in property. This report concludes that for the first half of 2010, the mean average return on residential property investment is 4.7% (2.5% from capital growth and 2.2% on income return). The report s author, Mark Weedon, comments Residential performance during the first six months of 2010 continues to reflect the solid returns and lack of volatility which investors have come to enjoy and expect, and it is this conclusion that we believe finally signals an end to the intense questioning of property as a sound investment for the future. Certainly there has been a correction, but we are now firmly back into a period of growth, albeit steady and controlled, but one that perhaps sets the standard for more respectable and reliable investment strategy that revolves around a tangible commodity. It is widely held amongst property commentators that the current rents achievable on residential property should grow at a consistent and impressive pace, well ahead of projected rates of inflation, as salary levels are forced upwards to cope with the increasing costs of living. Given the ability of this index to monitor both capital growth and income return, perhaps it is time to measure property steadily and accurately, and move away from investment options that involve layers of red tape and murky management methods, ultimately delivering a low net return to ambitious investors. After all, if we assume the same rate of return as indicated above during the second half of the year, then the annualised rate for 2010 would reach 9.6% - a figure which many wealth managers would struggle to match in alternative UK markets. For more information about our current and forthcoming Investment opportunities please contact us at: T E Professional Department Roger Doncom MRICS L e a s e h o l d e x t e n s i o n s, l e a s e h o l d reform...be prepared The Central London property market remains buoyant but the market place has reflected the general economic uncertainties and has become increasingly discerning. An area where the Marsh & Parsons Professional Department has been able to smooth the paths for both buyers and sellers is in the production of valuation reports for the cost of lease extensions or indeed freehold house purchases under the 1993 legislation. It is a common practice for a vendor to undertake to serve a Notice to start the process of extending a lease between the exchange and completion of the sale. This passes on the right to extend and ensures that the purchaser can extend immediately rather than be forced to wait for the expiry of two years of ownership before commencing the process. A vendor contemplating a sale is best served by having a formal valuation which will give an indication as to the level of premium that would have to be paid to extend the lease, prior to marketing as this helps our agency team to fine tune the asking price. Equally, a formal report reassures the purchaser of the realistic extension price and enables them to gauge the level of their offer. We have found this often precludes the likelihood of a purchaser obtaining a report on the extension premium at the last moment the contents of which could compromise the exchange and waste time and money. The formal report removes a degree of uncertainty from what is often a stressful process for both parties. Cost is a consideration of course but we consider obtaining a formal report is money well spent, particularly when a firm commitment is being made to the purchase. We are on occasions approached by prospective purchasers who have yet to make a bid and here we can offer, at a lesser outlay, a desktop valuation which provides the parameters within which the premium is likely to fall to enable the purchaser to make a more considered offer. Roger Doncom has practised in central, west and south west London since His accumulated expertise covers both residential and commercial property and in addition to being a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors he is also a member of the Expert Witness Institute. If you require valuation advice or the support of an expert witness then Roger can be contacted on: T: E: In market conditions which are somewhat more demanding than has been the case over the last 18 months due to the fact that the market provides much more choice, never has the adage been more appropriate failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
14 area profile Want the picture postcard village life, but can t bear to leave the capital, Cheryl Markosky explains just why Barnes is so popular... Rather than one big metropolis, the capital is divided into a number of distinctive villages. And one of the most appealing is Barnes in south west London. It is rare to find green spaces, a village pond, wetlands centre and the Thames flowing past all within a 20 minute cab journey from central London. There s no other place quite like it, says Kate Jolley, head of sales at Marsh & Parsons office in Barnes. It s a real village community with great spirit. Everyone knows everyone else, and the shopkeepers greet you by name. Once someone moves into the area, they like to stay. bigger house when children arrive, and then downsize when they retire, explains Jolley keeps the property market vibrant and guarantees a good mix of people in this riverside spot. The iconic Sun Inn pub is in the heart of Barnes opposite the pond, while young professionals favour the White Hart, because they like sitting in the garden near the water. And one of the best Italian restaurants in London, Riva, is not only visited by locals the likes of Gordon Ramsay, who featured it in his television series come from afar to sample the family-run eatery s fare. and trading up, paying from 600,000 to 1.5 million for three to five bedroom houses, says Jolley. And, for 2 million plus, key homes on prized roads attract a higher-end demographic. The schools lure many newcomers in. Barnes Primary is one of the best state schools in London, and private schools, such as St Paul s Boys and The Harrodian, bring in bankers and their families. Mums from Notting Hill do the school run over Hammersmith Bridge on a daily basis, see the terrific houses and talk their husbands into moving, Jolley adds. High-profile houses currently for sale that would tempt Notting Hillbillies include The This cycle of trading up and down young professionals arrive, buy a A number of families are taking advantage of the current market The Cow Shed, Lonsdale Road - For Sale, Barnes Office
15 The White Hart Pub Cowshed, a huge, statement house on Lonsdale Road with a guide price of 3.75 million. If you would like to discuss the sale or rental of your property in Barnes, please feel free to contact either of our managers: Rents are steady in Barnes, with a number of tenants hunting for homes, reports Kate Marshall, head of lettings. The market is very lifestyle driven, due to the countryside atmosphere. You do feel you re out of London with the farmers market on Saturdays next to the pond and so many open, leafy spaces. Senior Sales Manager: Kate Jolley E marshandparsons.co.uk T Lettings Manager: Kate Marshall E marshandparsons.co.uk T Barnes aficionados know that as well as enjoying ample greenery they re also getting more for their money. A one-bedroom flat costs 1,000 to 1,400 a month, and a larger four-bedroom house is 3,500 to 5,500 a month, according to Marshall. Expect to pay about five per cent more for homes right on the river. Most tenants are happy to spend the extra money to get a lovely view of the Thames, and this is one of the prettiest stretches along the riverbank, Marshall adds. Those who have watched the annual Oxford Cambridge Boat Race from the bridge or towpath, followed by a quenching pint in a riverside pub will agree that this London village is one of the capital s finest.
16 feature Capital Ideas Feeling cramped? Interior designer Tara O Gorman reveals space-saving ideas she s imported from the Big Apple with Cheryl Markosky. If you think some London homes are Lilliputian-sized, try living in New York, suggests leading designer Tara O Gorman from Tara Michelle Interiors, who is currently working in New York and the English capital. Tastes vary between the two metropolises, Tara explains. Ironically, the Americans are Riverside Penthouse: Interior designed by Tara O Gorman into New England-style clapboard houses in the countryside, while Manhattanites live in a different way, which is all about the clever use of space. New York designers have come up with ingenius notions, such as a small chest in the corner that can fold out into a dressing table. They have the pull-out bed down to a fine art. I ve seen amazing studios where the sitting room is a kitchen by day, and at night you pull down a bed. But, before you choose furniture, using space cannily is down to good planning from the outset. When you go into a new apartment, sometimes it s hard to visualise the end result, what scale furniture you should use and how to maximise space, Tara points out. I find the best way to help a client visualise a home is through handdrawn sketches, along with computergenerated images (CGIs). For instance, Tara recently designed a triplex riverside penthouse with floor-to-ceiling windows in south west London, which started out as a building site. Lifelike black-and-white hand drawings and computer images helped the homeowner see how the space could look. Most people need something to bridge the gap from building site to finished space that lends confidence in the process and design. Tara Michelle Interiors
17 boards of the suggested look and feel of the place. gold and cream can look contemporary, but classic. you paint it a deep ballroom-red or card-room green. Grand designs Talk to a designer about likes and dislikes so they can produce mood Collect pictures of colours and designs you favour from magazines. Visit bookshops, showrooms, hotels and show homes to discover new ideas. Think in a practical way about how you live. How will you use the kitchen? Do you have pets? Is an outdoor space important? Use dark shades to add drama, while soft tones, such as A large, open space can appear cold, so use warm colours. Tara recommends Joas White from Farrow and Ball, a soft cream with a warm undertone. A small entrance or study can look theatrical and inviting if Wide-planked solid wood flooring is in vogue. For a Scandinavian look, lime-wash the wood. Coming into winter, one classic antique piece can make a home look classic and cosy. Neighbours can give you advice on how they use their space - learn from their mistakes and triumphs. Go to furniture and art auctions to see what is there and how much you should be paying. It costs nothing to sit at the back and watch.
18 feature A Rake s Progress As you pack the barbeque away it s tempting to forget the garden until next spring, but as Cheryl Markosky finds out there s still plenty to do and plenty to enjoy! Most people associate town gardens with summer s bright annuals, a Pimms on the lawn and maybe fresh veg from your own patch. Yet, autumn can be just as pleasurable as a period for recovery and reflection, according to Tony Woods, a soft landscape designer at Gingko Gardens in Hammersmith. It s a good time to get rid of the leaves, revive the lawn and plant bulbs to provide a colourful array in the spring, he says. Although they might not sound like the most exciting jobs on the gardening calendar, raking up leaves and aerating the lawn are very important. A number of London gardens don t have huge lawns, but they need even more care. Many are shady and prone to drought, so stab a fork in, or hire a mechanical machine for a larger lawn, to improve drainage. Then, brush in grit and a silt top dressing and rake out moss and debris. You can over-seed, too, with good shade tolerant grass seed, Woods advises. The earth will still be warm from the summer months, but are starting to gather moisture from the autumn rains, so it is an ideal time to give the lawn a chance to recover from kids, dogs and trampolines. It s also a good time to start pruning climbing plants and vines, such as wisteria. They can cause damage to cables and a good prune will encourage flowers for next spring. Also, carry out remedial pruning of deciduous shrubs and I d suggest doing it just before the leaves fall, saving extra work. There can be nothing more satisfying than the miracle of planting bulbs an easy, but highly rewarding, task for the most inexperienced and savvy gardens, alike. There s a good range of bulbs at garden centres right now, including Gingko s, and Woods suggests planting bulbs, such as crocuses and snowdrops now, that will bloom in January to cheer the darkest days. You can even plant some in pots for indoors or outdoors scented hyacinths are lovely and are priced from only 75 pence, for instance and time them to bloom for Christmas Day. Most popular, however, are tulips. Depending on the style of your garden, you might want to opt for the popular black tulips and black-and-white checked
19 mixes. In vogue this season are burnished oranges, blood-red colours and bruised blacks, says Woods. Three varieties he recommends are: Orange Favourite, Janrues and Black Hero. If you under-plant with primulas and forget-me-nots, it will look stunning. Camellias, from just 19.99, are another spectacular plant for the London garden. Plant them in the autumn and they flower from November to April. Woods thinks it a good idea to invest in a really good bulb planter, and also, some handy little gadgets to get stubborn weeds out of difficult crevices in the paving. These tools, highly recommended by Gardens Illustrated magazine, last forever, and they don t cost the earth. Woods tips the Burgon and Ball angled weeding knife that helps him get into tricky places. It costs and is available from Gingko s, and other, garden shops. And, if you don t have the time, or need some help, go for the ultimate garden help package. From 145 for a half day, qualified Gingko horticulturists will come to your garden to prune, renovate, train and feed your plants. Trinity Road SW17, with two double bedrooms has an usually large and well maintained 48ft south-west facing garden. For sale with our Battersea Office: T Gingko Gardens Ravenscourt Avenue, W6 OSL T W ginkgogardens.co.uk
20 Top 10 tips for Landlords Patrick Littlemore Lettings Director - South & West 1. Know your competition - start on the web! Find out about the competition in the lettings market. How do similar rental properties compare on presentation and price? Tenants will be doing their research, and so should you. Start by looking on the web. 2. Who s your next tenant going to be? Discuss with your agent your ideal tenant, but don t place too many restrictions on who you will let to. Your agent will know and advise you the type of tenant your property is likely to appeal to. Make sure that your property is as attractive to as many good tenants as possible, you should start by instructing an estate agent with access to the corporate relocations market. 3. First impressions always count Well presented properties are most likely to secure longer term tenancies and a good price. This is where the support of professional management can help you to get the most out of the market. Repair any minor problems, clean the windows and clear up the garden/patio so that it is useable space once more. It s this attention to detail that gives potential tenants the confidence to sign a longer lease. 4. Cast the net as wide as possible Your next tenants will probably be searching for a property in more than one area, instruct an agent that has the widest reach to tenants. You should use an estate agent that shares an open register, just like Marsh & Parsons. Regardless of which office is marketing your property, every lettings negotiator, in every office will be aware of your property giving you access to tenants from many different areas. 5. To furnish or not to furnish... Put simply, you should be as flexible as possible. Avoid alienating a big section of the market by stipulating one or the other. That said, your flexibility should reflect the offer made - providing a house full of furniture at great expense should depend on the rental yield and length of tenancy on offer. Your estate agent will be able to advise you on the best way to present your property in the current market. 6. Expect to hear from your agent with viewing feedback Feedback from viewings and potential tenants are, in most cases, honest, valuable and up to date. Be open minded to these comments and if the same things keep being mentioned then it could be time to make a change. 7. Why would you refuse the first offer you receive? It may be the best! Your best offer may be the first one you receive, and might even be within hours of putting your property on the market. So far this year, we have had a number of tenancies agreed and signed months in advance of the tenancy commencing. Make yourself available to your estate agent at all times as tenants don t hang around for long, and offers can be withdrawn as quickly as they are made. 8. Short term hassle for long term gain Despite specifying an ideal start date of a tenancy, you should stay flexible. If you have to move out sooner than expected, but for a better rent, and a longer tenancy, then is it worth the inconvenience? In many cases the answer may be yes. 9. Prepare your outgoing tenants Both landlords and tenants will want a smooth end to the tenancy, so don t leave it until the last moment to speak to your current tenant or Property Manager about any repairs, redecoration or cleaning. You should aim to have your property ready to live in again with a minimum vacancy period. Be ready to carry out these works as soon as your existing tenant has vacated, or better still, instruct us to manage your property and we ll organise it for you! 10. When do you want to go through this process again? In most cases, the longer the tenancy agreement the better it is for a landlord; minimising void periods. Six month break clauses are not standard practice and landlords are not obliged to offer an option to terminate the contract early. Negotiations of the agreement can be very sensitive, and something that an experienced negotiator, who works on behalf of the landlord, will be able to agree comfortably.