Make your house sparkle with the spirit of Christmas

Make your house sparkle with the spirit of Christmas

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Top tips from interior designer Stacey Sibley, Creative Director at  Alexander James Interiors

With the party season upon us once more, make your house sparkle with the spirit of Christmas. Your home is the perfect canvas to let your personality shine through and show your guests exactly what Christmas means to you.

Adding a touch of yuletide to your home is easier than you may believe, and Alexander James Interiors has a few tips to help you on your way.

Starting with perhaps the most important and festive part of any family’s Christmas, the tree has long been an iconic and popular decoration, whether real or artificial. Take your inspiration from your existing interior. In contemporary and neutral spaces, pair an accent colour with silver to add a splash of glamour and sophistication –make the tree a focal point of the room. If your home has more of a country feel, embrace and enhance the rustic charm by choosing a traditional Nordic style tree with natural wooden ornaments using red as the dominant colour. Natural pillar candles informally arranged on the hearth work equally well in both traditional and contemporary homes.

If you find yourself with too little space for a tree, fear not. Bring that natural element into your home instead by arranging a selection of dried branches or twigs in a basket or vase. Entwine the branches with soft LED lights and embellish them with small decorations to give it a gentle and atmospheric glow. This can work well with foliage arranged on a mantelpiece or wrapped around bannisters.

When winding down in the evenings, there’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a glass of mulled wine and a classic Christmas movie. Give your living room a cosy, wintertime feel by introducing different festive features to stimulate the senses.

Introduce cushions, throws and blankets in luxurious fabrics and soft textures. Faux fur and soft cashmeres are a big hit with everyone, particularly the family pets! Christmas fragrances bring back memories of childhood – cinnamon, spice and fresh pine are all traditional smells that we associate with this time of year. Diffusers and candles are a popular and decorative choice; room sprays can also be used on garlands and the Christmas tree. While scents work well in the living room, here’s a tip: it’s not wise to use them around food, as the smell can overpower the much anticipated banquet.

With such an enormous build up to Christmas day itself and the lunch that we have such great expectations for, don’t forget to work your personal magic on the table decorations. Like your Christmas tree, use the colour of your home to inspire the style of your garlands. If your interior has a country feel, try a simple yet effective arrangement of foliage, fruit and holly placed on a deep coloured central table runner. While this is effortless, it gives a really organic and high-impact effect.

If your home has a more contemporary feel about it, neutral and glass decorations can provide an elegant and sophisticated look that is great for both family and child-free Christmas dinners. Glass candelabras positioned in the centre of the table are very effective when entwined with bright white LED fairy lights as the lights reflecting on the glass provide a sparkly and enchanting feel to your dinner.

When it comes to decorating your home for the holidays, there is no right or wrong. Don’t be afraid to try something different, and be confident in your tastes. Enjoy the festivities and a merry Christmas from Alexander James Interiors.

If you want some interiors assistance please call Alexander James Interiors on 020 7887 7604or visit their website

Autumn Statement reaction from Jean Liggett, Managing Director of visionary property investment consultancy, Properties of the World

Autumn Statement reaction from Jean Liggett, Managing Director of visionary property investment consultancy, Properties of the World

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“Over recent months there has been a decline in the number of landlords buying investment properties – a direct result of April’s stamp duty increases alongside the announcement of cuts to mortgage relief for rented properties.

“With this in mind, most of our landlords were very hopeful there would a reversal of at least one of the aforementioned in Chancellor Hammond’s Autumn Statement.  Sadly this was not to be.

“Nonetheless, I am confident that first time buyers will benefit from lack of change as it reduces the competition they previously faced in the home buying market.

“Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a record £3.15 billion (the highest ever secured for housing by City Hall) to be spent on building 90,000 affordable homes by mid-2021.

“Some of these homes will be available for shared-ownership, which will surely assist more Londoners who currently cannot afford to buy, to gain a foothold on the property ladder.

“The £1.4 billion fund for 40,000 new affordable homes has been announced as the current sum has slumped to its lowest level in 24 years. Although this is a good initiative that will relieve those opting for shared ownership, affordable rent and rent-to-buy schemes, it is simply not a high enough number to match the escalating  demand for rental homes in and around the capital.

“Hammond also stated that new transport schemes would be announced, including the backing of a proposed high speed line between Leeds and Manchester. He has confirmed a £400m Northern Powerhouse investment fund – a majority of which will be invested into SME’s.

I don’t doubt that this will boost the northern economy and will attract more people and business to the towns and cities running along these transport routes. This bodes well for investors who have already bought property in the north.”

Properties of the World: +44 20 7624 5555 or 

Almeria crowned as Spain’s post-Brexit vote hotspot, as British families seek value in the sunshine

Almeria crowned as Spain’s post-Brexit vote hotspot, as British families seek value in the sunshine

  • Property sales in Almeria up 93% (Spanish registrars)
  • Value for money is buyers’ key focus, following Brexit vote (
  • Younger buyers increasingly attracted by Almeria’s charms (Spanish Property Choice)

New data from the Spanish registrars has shown that Almeria is Spain’s new hotspot, racing ahead of other regions when it comes to property sales.

Richard Speigal, Head of Research and data guru at leading Spanish property portal, explains,

“We’ve been studying the latest sales data from the registrars, looking for patterns across the Spanish provinces in the wake of the Brexit vote. Our own data has already revealed that British buyers are increasingly focused on value for money since the referendum. Now we’re seeing Almeria emerge as the clear choice for those looking for good value Spanish property.”

On a quarterly basis, property sales in Almeria are up by 93% when compared with Q3 2015, according to the registrars’ figures. With the rest of Spain growing modestly, Almeria stands out as enjoying a significant boom.

Almeria is in Andalusia, on Spain’s southern, Mediterranean coastline. While other Costas were busy erecting high rise developments in the late 1960s, to cram in as many tourists as possible, Costa Almeria remained largely untouched. Today, the coastal towns of Almeria effuse a sun-kissed charm that their more developed neighbours have lost for good.

Sharon Garner, Sales Director for Almeria-based Spanish Property Choice, comments,

“Costa Almeria offers exceptional value for money. Property here costs a fraction of what it does in the neighbouring Costas. Our coastal towns remain full of charm and character and just a 15-minute drive away, you can find yourself in wonderful countryside. This lifestyle is sought by a new influx of foreign buyers including French, Dutch and Germans.

“Of course, there is still as steady flow of Brits still searching for their little slice of the Spanish lifestyle. We’ve been shocked at the response to the Brexit vote by British buyers. We’ve seen a sharp rise in sales and long term lets, both of which have superseded our expectations for the year.”

Spanish Property Choice has had to expand its staff team twice already during 2016 to cope with increased buyer demand. The company’s data also reveals a shifting clientele in the past couple of years. When the company opened in 2007, overseas buyers in Almeria were largely between 55 and 65 years old. Now, it is 45 to 60 year olds who are looking for a second home in the sunshine, with early retirees joined by those looking to bring up their family in a safe, healthy environment.’s Richard Speigal echoes the findings,

“There used to be a fairly well established pattern of British buyers working until their retirement date and they spending their savings on a home in the sunshine. Modern ways of working and shifting values among the younger generation are having a significant impact on that approach. Many people struggle to buy UK property well into their 30s, if not their 40s these days. With remote working an option and property prices in Spain so reasonable – and particularly so in Almeria, where the average property costs just €129,000 – the appeal of moving overseas to raise a family has never been stronger.”

By way of comparison, the average property in Alicante costs €210,000, while the average home in Malaga costs €295,000.

For further details, visit

What Brexit means for British buyers in Spain

What Brexit means for British buyers in Spain

Spain United Kingdom

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union raises some important questions. Here’s how it will affect British buyers in Spain.

Martin Dell, Director of, comments,

“We are optimistic here at Kyero.

“The Brits buy in Spain for the wonderful climate and bohemian lifestyle. That hasn’t changed and houses in Spain will always have a pull for the British purchaser.

“There was a very healthy market for Spanish property before Spain joined the Eurozone and there’ll still be a thriving market once Britain leaves. Property prices in Spain remain relatively low, and this is still an excellent time to make a shrewd investment in the Spanish property market.”

Common questions that are being asked now are answered by the experts at

Can I still buy a property in Spain?

Yes. Britain is still a member of the EU and British citizens enjoy the same rights today that they did last week.

It is likely to take at least two years to leave the EU, and many more years to settle the resulting changes in trade agreements. British buyers are unlikely to feel the impact for some years.

What does a fall in Sterling mean?

A weakened Pound is the most immediate effect of Britain’s referendum. In effect, Spanish property has just become more expensive for UK buyers.

The exchange rate is expected to be volatile over the coming months, but buyers can take steps to insulate themselves from currency risk. We strongly recommend Smart Currency Exchange, who have experts on hand to ensure you get the best deal.

It is also worth setting this in a wider context: While Spanish house prices have been steadily recovering over the past 2 years, they remain 32% cheaper than their peak in 2007.

Spanish property remains excellent value.

What will happen to my property when the UK leaves?

Spain has a long history of welcoming buyers from overseas, who now account for 1 in 5 house sales. Non-EU buyers are extremely active in the market and enjoy very similar rights to EU nationals.

Leaving the EU/EEA is highly unlikely to impact the rights of British citizens to buy property in Spain. Overseas investment is too important to the economy.

Will I still get a mortgage?

Yes. Spanish banks typically ask foreign buyers for a deposit of up to 40%. While there is scope for this to rise, it is already at a level that provides banks considerable protection and is unlikely to see much adjustment.

Meanwhile, the economic climate in Europe is wedded to low interest rates. Borrowing costs remain good value.

Will the Spanish property market crash?

British buyers are important to the Spanish market and they are the largest single nationality among overseas investors. However to put this in context, Brits form 4% of the market.

There are two reasons Brexit is highly unlikely to trigger a crash. Firstly, foreign buyers are a diverse group: German, French, Belgian, Italian and Swedish (among many others) are all an extremely active, growing part of the market.

There may be some localised pain, but even a complete collapse in UK demand (again, totally unlikely) would only put a small dent in the market.

Secondly, the market has nowhere to go. Spanish property has been recovering steadily since 2014, but remains a very long way off its peak. The worst we expect from Brexit is restrained growth.

Is my EHIC card still valid?

Yes. The European Health Insurance Card provides reciprocal health cover for travellers in the EEA. It will remain in place for at least two years while Brexit negotiations are in motion.

European countries are keen to ensure that their citizens enjoy healthcare while travelling, so it’s entirely possible an EHIC agreement (or something similar) will remain in place even after Brexit.

Will I get full healthcare if I move to Spain?

For now, yes. As long as Britain remains in the European Union, reciprocal healthcare arrangements continue as before. Expats who live in Spain and contribute to the social security system already receive full healthcare, and will continue to do so regardless of Brexit.

The situation for British pensioners is less clear. The current cost of their healthcare is met by a per capita payment from the UK to Spain for every pensioner who has completed the S1 form and is in receipt of a UK pension.

Nobody knows if this arrangement will continue, though many commentators predict British pensioners will require some form of health insurance post-Brexit.

What about my pension?

Under single market rules, UK citizens living in Spain (and indeed the whole EEA) have their pensions and social security payments automatically uprated each year in line with local inflation. This system is a mutual EU arrangement and is likely to become a negotiating point in Brexit talks.

In the worst case, British pensioners in Spain could get similar treatment to those in Canada and lose their automatic right to pension increases.

How will inheritance work?

British citizens (and indeed all EEA residents) currently get very good tax treatment in Spain, paying the same inheritance tax as locals.

Crucially, the double-taxation treaties that enable these are NOT made in the EU. Therefore Brexit has no effect on the existing tax agreements between the UK and Spain.

What happens next?

In short, nothing for quite some time.

Exchange rate fluctuations will be the only visible effect of Brexit in the short term.

The two year process of leaving the EU will not begin until Article 50 is triggered and this is currently scheduled to happen in October 2016. (Despite protestations, Europe cannot force a faster pace until Britain formally takes this step.)

It is also important to note that this referendum is non-binding, and British politicians will now enter a protracted period of horse trading over what to do next – or even who’s in charge.

With Brexit leaders already dialling back their rhetoric and promises, it is not a foregone conclusion that Britain will completely leave. Huge debating points now remain over whether Brexit means a total withdrawal from the single market (EEA).

Time will tell, and it all serves to slow the process.

The net effect is Britons will continue to enjoy the benefits of European citizenship for some years, and can expect a broadly similar deal once Brexit is complete.

The British love affair with Spain continues.

For further details on homes to buy in Spain, visit For the latest data on the state of the Spanish property market, visit

English Country Gardens – Don’t hold back on the dahlias

English Country Gardens – Don’t hold back on the dahlias

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  • 2016 is the Year of the English Garden
  • Capability Brown celebrates 300 years of garden design
  • Your home is twice as likely to sell fast if the garden looks loved
  • Barton Wyatt offer professional advice to their clients on garden design

“How many gentle flowers grow in an English Country Garden?” asks the lyrics of the old Morris dancing song. Today the answer is undoubtedly more than almost one hundred years ago when Australian composer Percy Grainger famously arranged this well-known tune for piano in 1918.

Daffodils, hollyhocks, roses and fox gloves have made way for alpine mosses, alliums, sun flowers and lilies in English designer gardens – modern day gardeners are forsaking tradition for exotics from Asia, Europe and South America.

To mark the 300th anniversary of prominent historical gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the UK is this year celebrating the Year of the English Garden.  The programme seeks to spotlight and celebrate the country’s fabulous gardens, using events to inspire people during 2016.

Capability Brown was a garden designer whose vision for the future has influenced the landscapes of hundreds of English Country estates.  Brown cut his teeth at Stowe, then owned by Lord Cobham – now a leading public school where the gardens are still open to the public to be enjoyed.  Over the years he designed over 170 parks, many of which can still be seen today.

Indeed garden design is in vogue as much today as it was in the mid 1700’s, although gathering exotic plants and well established trees is an easier accomplishment now.

Prime Surrey Estate Agency, Barton Wyatt are regularly involved in offering advice to landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers when it comes to the foliage in their garden.  Barton Wyatt is situated in the heart of the millionaire’s paradise, Virginia Water and the Wentworth Estate.  Drive around this estate during any daylight hour and most homes will have gardener’s vans on the drive whilst the steady hum of a leaf blower pervades the air.

Capability Brown was no stranger to Surrey working on the magnificent gardens of Kew, Hampton Court, Claremont and Clandon Park to name a few.

James Wyatt, Partner of Barton Wyatt and Wentworth resident, comments:

“We are blessed in the vicinity with some wonderful gardens to visit. The Savill Garden is part of the Royal Landscape and is just moments from Virginia Water. Here gardens and woodland can be enjoyed by everyone, from dedicated horticulturalists to families wanting to enjoy someone else’s green fingers.  And a couple of miles further afield is Great Fosters where the garden is designed to replicate the intricate beauty of a Persian rug. In the summer fragrant beds of flowers and herbs are bordered by manicured hedges and topiary.

“Homeowners like to introduce some of these green fingered ideas into their gardens and we are able to put our clients in touch with some visionary gardeners in the locality.  Many of the homes we sell are newly built and developers must work hard to create something that doesn’t look too barren and new.

“Savvy developers work with landscape architects from the onset of the project, creating external plans that keep existing foliage and trees.  These are often trimmed back as the schemes commence and shaped to perfection as the last paving stone is laid.”

James continues:

“An unloved garden will do nothing to help sell your home or get a tenant in situ quickly.  Smart homes with manicured gardens sell 10 times quicker than a garden that has been left to run riot.  Indeed, we do not accept houses for rental that have not had their gardens attended too – it would be a waste of everyone’s time.  And once a tenant is living in a rental home we can arrange for a gardener to come weekly to keep it in shape.

“I would say that 95% of the gardens on Wentworth are maintained by professional gardeners – people living in these homes are captains of industry and often running their own businesses.  I am sure they would love to deadhead the dahlias but quite frankly they don’t have the time.”

For more information on homes in Virginia Water with stunning gardens contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit


For more information on Year of the English Garden 2016 visit

Image is taken from Visit England.

Stylish ultra-luxe apartments coming soon to the ‘super suburb’ of Sunningdale

Stylish ultra-luxe apartments coming soon to the ‘super suburb’ of Sunningdale

United Kingdom
  • Sunningdale named a ‘super suburb’ (The Daily Telegraph)
  • Property prices up 15.4% over 5 years (Zoopla)
  • New luxury apartment development by Halebourne Group coming soon to Sunningdale


Sunningdale is a quiet, refined village which sits in the gentile county of Berkshire. The village butts up to other highly popular communities such as Ascot and Virginia Water, both known as millionaire hideouts, attracting wealth and affording residents an easy commute into London coupled with a peaceful lifestyle.

Large areas of wood and heathland hide glorious mansions, which can be glimpsed at behind ornate gates with meandering drives. It’s hardly surprising that Sunningdale warranted a place in The Daily Telegraph’s London’s super suburbs: the most valuable property markets report.

Aside from its roster of notable celebrity residents which have included Richard Beckinsale, Sir Cliff Richard, Gary Lineker, Chesney Hawkes, Brian Blessed, Diana Dors, Billy Ocean and even the late, great Agatha Christie, Sunningdale is well known for golf. The highly respected Sunningdale Golf Club has hosted numerous major competitions over the years including the Men’s European Open, the Women’s British Open and several qualifying rounds. Some say that the course is equal to, if not better than, the courses at mighty Wentworth just a few miles away.

Situated only 13 miles from Heathrow international airport and affording fabulous motorway links to the rest of the country and direct rail access to Central London in just over 50 minutes, Sunningdale is the ideal location for commuters both into the capital and overseas.

A-list worthy mansions might be the norm in Sunningdale but for savvy buyers looking for something different, local developer, Halebourne Group have created The Ridge. This mansion block sits in the very heart of Sunningdale and comprises ten luxury apartments that have been created to inspire and take your breath away.

Appointed selling agent Rupert Wyatt, of award-winning estate agency, Barton Wyatt, couldn’t be more excited,

“Buyers looking for a pied a terre need look no further. This impressive mansion block sits on one of Sunningdale’s most prestigious roads and we are already getting a great deal of interest in these luxury apartments.

“The Ridge is a perfect balance between the imposing grandeur of a large home paired with the ease of running a low maintenance apartment. The development is classically styled and the apartments have been designed to be graceful with majestic high ceilings and faultless design, giving owners a sense of space and refinement.”

As you arrive into the development the entrance hall oozes class and sophistication and here owners will have the benefit of a concierge to help with deliveries and reservations.


The apartments range from 2,314 sq ft to 3,606 sq ft with each accommodating sumptuous living space and private outside terracing. There is a choice of two and three bedroom apartments all with en-suite bathrooms and high spec kitchens. A lift services all floors and the basement has parking for two vehicles per apartment as well as generous secure storage.

Wyatt continues,

“The Ridge presents the perfect property for several buyer groups. The luxury and detail of the development will appeal to buyers who are used to a five-star lifestyle and enjoy easy living.  The sumptuous interiors have been designed to feel like home and with ease of living in mind, The Ridge is within walking distance to the mainline station with direct trains to London Waterloo in under an hour. For those with busy lives and little time for cooking, Sunningdale is flushed with many great restaurants just a short walk from the development.

“The whole concept of The Ridge is focused around people looking for a very high quality home that is secure, simple to maintain, easy to ‘lock up and leave,’ with spacious rooms, outside areas, garaging for their cars and plenty of storage.”

The luxurious show apartment is available to view by appointment from March 2016 with apartments ranging from £2,000,000 up £2.95 million for the penthouses.

For more information contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit

Home is where the heart is. Perfect Valentine’s Day pads in seductive Surrey!

Home is where the heart is. Perfect Valentine’s Day pads in seductive Surrey!

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Elvis wasn’t wrong when he sang, “Home is where the heart is.”

Whether you rent or own a property, for the majority of people “home” is their sanctuary and the place they feel at peace, however grand or humble.

For those looking for somewhere new to rest their hearts this Valentine’s Day then perhaps one of these beauties available through prime Surrey agent, Barton Wyatt, might give rise to a flutter or two:

March House, St George’s Hill, Weybridge Surrey                                     £8,950,000

With its sleek lines and imposing frontage, March House is designed to be a brand new ‘super home’ located on a prime 1.1 acre plot in the world famous St George’s Hill gated estate in Weybridge, Surrey. This truly spectacular property would offer stunning accommodation and is of a contemporary Mediterranean style that conveys a sense of peace, calm and tranquillity.

A home designed not just for entertaining but also for the family, March House blends both of these qualities into an intoxicating mix of elegance and style that is bound to tantalise the senses for love.

Wonderful living accommodation will be provided by three spacious reception rooms, a magnificent kitchen/breakfast/dining area, cinema room and five sumptuous bedroom suites. Key features will include a bespoke wine wall considered and built by award-winning furniture designer Ed Johnson and a spectacular two storey entertaining space 6 metres high.

With leisure facilities including a heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi and gymnasium, as well as a mature landscaped garden with large terrace to the rear finished in Portland stone, March House will truly be a heart stopper.

Long Ridge, Wentworth Estate, Surrey                                                     £5,500,000

Searching for something a little more traditional for your Valentine’s setting? Then look no further than classically styled Long Ridge. This imposing house is situated in the very heart of the exclusive Wentworth Estate.  A superb two storey family home set in gardens of one acre with a delightful heated swimming pool.

Magnificent reception rooms and a refitted kitchen/breakfast room make Long Ridge perfect for easy family living. Upstairs boasts five en-suite bedrooms plus a luxury annexe with one bedroom that would suit a nanny, granny or just for guest use. A large loft also offers buyers potential for additional space (subject to planning).

Long Ridge underwent a full renovation in 2012, which included air conditioning to the master bedroom, CCTV alarm system and new doors and windows throughout the main house.

The gated swimming pool has an electrically operated blind and pool cover and there is a large patio for entertaining. The pool house has been completely renovated and includes underfloor heating, a kitchen and shower room for those steamier moments!

Longbourn, Wentworth Estate, Surrey                                                      £4,950,000

Longbourn is a light and spacious home with an excellent flow of accommodation ideally suited to contemporary family living and entertaining. Upstairs, the five bedrooms all have en-suite bathrooms with the master boasting a fantastic vaulted ceiling and balcony overlooking the rear gardens. There is a small basement and impressive wine cellar, perfect for storing those vintage bottles ready for Valentine’s night.

Over the triple garage is a delightful one bedroom staff/au pair annexe.  The house sits in the middle of the 1.5 acre gardens, which are immaculately tended and well stocked. High hedges and mature trees give complete privacy from the adjoining properties.

Across the rear of the house is a large expanse of terrace, which leads to the outdoor pool area, carefully positioned to catch the afternoon and evening sun. There is also a large tennis/sports court with an all weather synthetic grass surface. The rear boundary borders the 15th fairway of the championship West Course, a truly beautiful outlook.

Badgers Hill, Wentworth Estate, Surrey                                                     £2,750,000

Badgers Hill is a unique and superbly presented home with adaptable accommodation set over two floors incorporating a magnificent indoor swimming pool complex amounting to 5,680 sqft in all.

The property is set behind electronically operated wrought iron gates in beautifully maintained and tended gardens of just under half an acre, with a sunny aspect and backing directly onto the Cabrera Trust Woodland Nature Reserve, a coveted and tranquil location.

The house has white washed internal walls and wooden flooring giving it a lovely clean, spacious, Dutch feel. There is an amazing kitchen for rustling up a tasty Valentine’s dinner and a gorgeous feature fireplace to complete the romantic setting.

If you’ve got that loving feeling and are in search of the perfect romantic home, contact the experts at Barton Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit

Get a property MOT: Barton Wyatt’s top 10 tips on how to sell your house this spring

Get a property MOT: Barton Wyatt’s top 10 tips on how to sell your house this spring

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Multi award-winning Surrey estate agent Barton Wyatt has been selling homes in the Virginia Water area, where house prices regularly top £15 million and the average price is over a million, for over 50 years. Half a century’s worth of xperience has certainly taught the team a trick or two and there is not much they don’t know about buying, selling and letting mansions in Surrey’s prime territory.

The Barton Wyatt team is trusted by Surrey’s vendors to achieve premium prices for their homes, being appointed time and time again by clients both at home and overseas, who leave the sale of their homes in the custody of the long-standing, loyal team.

Property experts are, in general, predicting a bumper year in 2016 but it will be a bumpy ride for the prime market with increased stamp duty levies hitting this sector the hardest.

With this in mind your home needs to be in the best possible shape to sell. Barton Wyatt’s expert team encourage all vendors to undertake a ‘MOT’ on their property before selling and here are their top 10 tips:

  1. First Impression – “This can be make or break” says Sales Manager Oliver Clarke. “If a potential purchaser is put off before the entering the front door then we are doomed. So take a look at the outside of your home as a stranger might see it. It might be winter and very wet but for a small sum or some time and energy you could tidy the garden and plant a pretty pot by your front door.”
  2. Odour – It may seem minor but the aroma of your house is really very important when you are selling. A simple diffuser discretely hidden in the lobby could do the trick. Some people proffer the advice of coffee and home baked bread but we are realistic, it could take a few weeks to sell your home and you cannot be there ready to turn on the bread maker at the drop of a hat.
  3. Tidy – Be obsessive about this, as it is a make or break to a prospective client. Our advice is to have a seriously good clear out before you put the house on the market – even if you bundle up your prized possessions and take them off site. Prospective buyers want to see clean lines and uncluttered work surfaces that create a feeling of space.
  4. Clean – Fresh, sparkling and inviting would be perfect. Hard to achieve when you have an active life with pets and children running amuck we know, but the cleaner your house is the easier it is to sell.
  5. Temperature – Heating houses is an expensive business. However, taking a client into a house that has sat empty for the weekend without the heating on is going to put them off instantly – keep your house ticking over at a pleasant 15° C – it will stop your pipes bursting and mean that we don’t shiver round the viewing!
  6. Animals – People’s pets are much loved by the owner but very often just the owner and not necessarily the person that is going to buy the house. Pets also can have quite a strong odour, not to mention the litter trays, food bowls and paraphernalia that goes with having an animal in the house. Try to keep pet evidence to a minimum.
  7. Bathrooms – Generally we don’t advise sellers to refit a bathroom prior to sale – unless it is really ghastly. Do the obvious instead – re-grout, re-silicon, fluffy towels, pleasant scent, clean and spotless please!
  8. Kitchen – Spare a thought for the poor estate agent as you dash out of the house without loading the dishwasher! We want to take pride in your house when we show clients around and leftover breakfast is not the first thing they want to see as they enter the kitchen.
  9. Problem areas – It is possible that you have a part of your house that you would rather not draw attention to, perhaps somewhere that is mid repair. Our recommendation: don’t put the house on the market until it is in tiptop condition. Make it your problem, not the client’s.
  10. Brief the agent – The more we are prepared to answer questions about your house the easier it will be to sell it and allay any fears that prospective buyers may have. As an estate agent we dislike not having the answers. And we particularly dislike not knowing how your gadgetry works so please do show us how to use the iPad entry system, the drop down cinema and the fancy lighting system! If we make it look easy the clients will love it. If we don’t know how it works, then they won’t.


These are tried and tested tips – they will make a difference and the Barton Wyatt team are here to help, so give them a call on 01344 843 000 or visit

Surrey’s property market is no Monkey business for Chinese buyers

Surrey’s property market is no Monkey business for Chinese buyers

United Kingdom
  • February 8th marks the start of the new Chinese Year – The Year of the Monkey
  • Prime Surrey estate agent looks to the East as new buyers are attracted to Wentworth
  • New Chinese school coming to North Surrey

February is an important month for the Chinese. February 8th sees the start of the new Chinese Year – this year the naughty Monkey takes over from the staid Sheep.  The Chinese New Year also heralds the start of Golden Week in which many Chinese nationals take a week off, often overseas, to celebrate the start of their New Year.

Down in the affluent county of Surrey, Chinese property buyers have been taking a peek at what the quintessentially English village of Virginia Water and the exclusive Wentworth Estate has to offer this New Year. Increasingly attracted to the area since the purchase of The Wentworth Club in 2014 by Chinese business, the Reignwood Group who own drinks company, Red Bull.

James Wyatt, partner of prime Virginia Water estate agency Barton Wyatt, has been showing Chinese buyers around homes in the area during Golden Week for the past few years. He comments,

“It’s been interesting to see who has been enticed to look at homes in the area off the back of the Chinese company buying The Wentworth Club last year. So far they are not buyers but observers and it is apparent from the viewings that the Chinese are not looking to buy the showiest homes on Wentworth, these tend to attract the Russian and Middle Eastern buyers. Chinese interest seems to be focused on new build properties with compact beauty.

“Houses that have proven popular are packed with high tech gadgets and gizmos – but to be fair all new homes on Wentworth are very highly specced – and those with the correct feng shui. Chinese investors have also been keen on hearing about our Private Office – our concierge service which allows owners complete peace of mind.”

A new Chinese school is in the offing for North Surrey according to Barton Wyatt.  James Wyatt goes on to say:

“We are working with a client to secure premises for a new Chinese school in the area and this will definitely be the crucial decider for many looking to relocate to the area and no doubt drive further sales.”

For more details about luxury homes in Virginia Water and on the Wentworth Estate contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit

Hold on tight, 2016’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Hold on tight, 2016’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Uncategorized United Kingdom

2016 property predictions from James Wyatt, partner of prime Surrey estate agency, Barton Wyatt 


As prime Surrey estate agency Barton Wyatt celebrates 50 years in Virginia Water this year, Partner James Wyatt muses the year ahead:

“At the end of 2014, I predicted that the FTSE 100 would end 2015 at 7125. It is clear that my crystal ball needs a serious service.

“The price crash in commodities and oil during 2015 has laid waste to my prediction, and therein lies the rub when it comes to predicting where the property markets may be headed – we just don’t know what might be round the corner.

Despite worldwide woes, the UK property market has been hit over the last year by a staggering array of extra stamp duty taxes by our Government. Receipts are forecast to be down by nearly £1bn this year – mainly as a result of 10-12% lower transactional levels. The top end of the market (over £5m) is in the slaughterhouse with 12% stamp duty killing off the golden goose. So there are several issues to watch in 2016.

Impact 1 – Buy-to-let                      3% extra on purchases. Another Government stab in the back for those investing for their retirement. Watch very strong sales up to £300,000 in Q1 then listen to the tumbleweed…

Impact 2 – Interest rates               The US have moved. We are likely to see our base rate shift up in Q3 or Q4. Despite its inevitability, the increase will spook just about everyone with mortgages.

Impact 3-  Brexit                               I sit on the wall about this but an exit would end the UK’s position as a grand world influencer. The £ and property would suffer.

The good news is that 10% deposit mortgages are back and so 2016 will see a strong first time buyer market in most areas. Major towns and cities outside London may see prices increase by 10%.

The Home Counties will be hard hit in the £2m+ market. Expect to see modest price increases of 2%. Over £5m prices will remain static as buyers factor in a 5% increase in stamp duty.

London – will – probably be nursing a property hangover for all of 2016.

It’s a rocky road ahead. Make sure your seatbelt is on!”


For more information on these predictions contact James Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit