Walton on Thames




Statistics reveal a continuing increase in the popularity of renting



We have seen many reports in the media recently in regard to the number of people in the UK who are either renting or buying their own property. Over the past decade or so, there has been a sizable shift to private renting, and this is a trend that looks likely to continue in the coming years.



The statistics seem to back up the impression that fewer people are paying a mortgage now than in the past. The regular information gathered by the English Housing Survey has provided us with a number if interesting facts and figures, and in many cases they have proved somewhat surprising.



Figures published recently cover the period between 2013 and 2014, and they show that more people have paid off their mortgage in full than are still paying a mortgage. This is a clear indicator that fewer people are signing up to such deals, and are choosing to rent instead nowadays.



Mortgage numbers are dwindling now



According to the influential This Is Money website, the number of people with a mortgage has dropped to levels last seen in 1985, while renting is at its highest for more than 30 years. Much of this swing has been as a result of economic uncertainty during the recent global recession.



One in ten English households are now rented from a housing association, while around 7% are rented from a local authority. There are also around 4.4 million homes in England which are rented from private landlords, an indicator of the rise in buy to let (BTL) ownership.



There are a number of properties to let in and around Walton-on-Thames, and many of these would have been in the hands of owner-occupiers at one time. The local rental market is a thriving one, in part perhaps because of the popularity of this particular neck of the woods.



The cost of renting when compared with the cost of having a mortgage has been the subject of great debate over the years, but in truth the plus or minus points of each option will vary depending on the circumstances of the people in question. Average weekly costs of renting in England (£176) are, however, higher than average weekly mortgage repayments (£153).



Local authorities in most parts of the country have been under increasing pressure to build more housing, so it comes as no surprise to discover the rise in the number of dwellings in England. In 1996 there were 20.3 million, but this rose to 23.3 million in 2013.



The figures reveal some fascinating trends in the housing sector, and they serve once again to remind us that nothing ever stands still here. The coming years will continue to provide challenges to everyone involved in the industry, and here at James Neave we are always happy to be part of the process.





Be Sure to Choose the Removals Firm that Matches Your Needs



They say moving house is one of the most stressful activities we ever engage in, but the truth is that it can be made less tiresome if you choose the best professionals in your area. A team of dedicated experts can take much of the stress away from you, so be sure to choose a company that ticks all the right boxes.



Once you’ve decided to buy a house you need to make arrangements for the move, and that includes searching for the right movers. There are plenty to choose from in the UK, of course, but how do you know which among them will be the right ones for you and your family?



Perhaps the best indicator of any company is word of mouth, so be sure to ask friends and neighbours if they are willing to recommend a particular firm. If you hear nothing but negative feedback about one or two organisations, it would be a good idea to avoid them altogether.



When you are ready to contact one of more of the local removals companies, be sure to have a checklist of questions that you would like answered. This list should include items such as:



  • Insurance Details – While we all hope nothing will ever be broken, it can happen, so you will want to know what provisions are in place should the worst case scenario take place

  • Price – Every removals company will be able to give you a quote based on the task in hand, so make sure you have a final price to take into consideration. Remember, the cheapest is unlikely to be the best

  • Extra services – It’s always a good idea to ask whether the company will lend you packing boxes, and whether they are prepared to plumb and un-plumb various domestic appliances

  • Approach – This is an important issue to consider, although it’s one that won’t affect the overall price. If the company offers a pleasant and friendly approach, it may help to make the big day more enjoyable. And always remember, removals people generally love tea and biscuits!


Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to find plenty of information about the various companies in advance of booking their services. Those with positive reviews tend to be the ones to choose, so be sure to check the web at some point.



Here at James Neave the Estate Agent, we are always happy to offer advice and guidance along the way, whether you’re buying, selling or both. Be sure to contact us for more information.








Peace of Mind for All, thanks to Client Money Protect



Here at James Neave the Estate Agent, we are committed to protecting our clients at all times, and that’s why we are proud to have become members of Client Money Protect (CMP), a scheme that has been designed to give more security to landlords and tenants in the UK.



We all know how important it is to have peace of mind, especially when we enter into long-term financial commitments. There are so many boxes to be ticked before a new tenant takes the keys to a property from a landlord, so it’s reassuring to know that the issue of financial security has been taken care of.



Client Money Protection Insurance gives both sides of the transaction a degree of confidence that was missing in previous years. It works in a simple way, providing a means of redress for anyone who has had money stolen or misappropriated by business owners, landlords or tenants.



James Neave the Estate Agent are proud to have become members of this scheme, which offers protection beyond that of the usual legal rights of all parties. In a perfect world, there would of course be no need for extra protection, but there have been a number of occasions in recent times when things went awry.



The UK’s Property Ombudsman reported a 37% increase in disputes against letting agents over the past twelve months, but as more and more agents decide to become members of CMP this number is expected to decline. A letting agency such as ours can now offer yet more protection to both landlords and tenants.



In recent years, the number of people choosing to rent instead of buy has risen dramatically, so it’s more important now than ever before to make sure you are using an agency that has access to an approved redress scheme should something start to go wrong.



According to the Office for National Statistics, some 8.3 million homes were occupied by rent-paying tenants in 2013. This figure represents around 36% of the total number of properties in Britain. Any addition to the levels of protection afforded to both landlords and tenants should be welcomed by all. Going forward, there is a hope that greater confidence in the whole process will continue to grow, and that’s why James Neave the Estate Agent is delighted to be able to offer clients the extra peace of mind.





The Do’s and Don’ts of Buying a Home



Buying a home represents a significant outlay of money, of course, so it’s a process that you want to get just right. As you might expect from a major purchase, there are a number of things to consider before you finally sign on the dotted line, so here are a few tips that can make the experience a more rewarding one.



Don’t overstretch your finances



While it’s only natural to want the best house, the largest rooms, the most attractive location and the most sought-after neighbourhood, you need to be sure that you keep control of your finances. Work out beforehand just how much you can afford to repay and try to remain within budget for all aspects of the purchase.



Do remember that the housing market is subject to change



Anyone who tells you that they can definitely predict future changes in the housing market is likely to mislead you. This sector is constantly changing, and many of those changes are extremely unpredictable. When people say the value of your investment can go up or down, they are right. Always expect the unexpected.



Do some research about your chosen neighbourhood



Even if you find the perfect house, that once in a lifetime property that ticks all the right boxes, you need to be happy living in that particular location. If you move in and find the area too noisy, not noisy enough, too far from the shops, over-run by parked cars or any other potential issue, you might find that you regret the purchase. Be prepared to do some homework before you agree to the move.



Ask plenty of questions



Make sure you ask lots of questions about the property itself and about the area in which it’s located. A top quality estate agent will have a wealth of knowledge about the local vicinity, of course, and about the flat or house. If you need to know more, always speak to the experts, and of course don’t be afraid to ask the current owners, too.



Compare upcoming costs before you move in



When you move in, there will no doubt be dozens of issues that need to be taken care of, but you can hit the ground running by arranging some matters beforehand. Home insurance costs can vary greatly from one provider to another, but you can compare policies in advance and save money from the start. The same applies to domestic energy bills, so be ready to look around. If you need advice about anything related to the home, remember the estate agent is there to help you right from the start.







Walton Bridge on Thames, JMW Turner



A Short but Fascinating History of Walton on Thames



We tend to think of Walton on Thames in terms of how we see it today, a pleasant town that can be described as having the attractiveness of rural Surrey and the convenience of suburban London. It has become a lovely place in which to put down roots, but it should be noted that it has a proud, diverse and fascinating history.



Walton on Thames started life as little more than a river crossing that connected Surrey with Middlesex, and there are claims that Julius Caesar crossed the waters here during his second invasion of Britain in 54BC. These claims could well be true, because it was certainly possible to do so at that time.



Over the centuries Walton on Thames and the surrounding area remained a collection of small hamlets located on and around the roads from Chertsey and Guildford to the city of London. While it remained a relatively quiet area, there have been a number of important archaeological finds in recent times.



They include a number of cinerary urns, which were used to contain the ashes of the deceased after cremations, a Neolithic flint dagger and an uninscribed gold coin which was found in the Thames. These finds show there was a distinctive amount of activity in the vicinity.



It all started with a humble river crossing



The beginnings of the town can perhaps be traced back to a toll crossing on a wooden bridge that was established by a Mr Samuel Dicker in 1750. This was the first in a long line of bridges at Walton that led to the current construction which opened as recently as 2013. Previous incarnations were famously painted by Canaletto and Turner.



As is the case with so many other locations around London, it was the construction and development of the railways which transformed Walton on Thames from a village into a town. First established in 1838, the local station now handles almost three million passenger movements every year.



A number of famous names have had strong links with Walton on Thames over the years, including the celebrated naval commander Admiral George Rodney, who was born in the town. Hollywood superstar Dame Julie Andrews and rock singer Nick Lowe were also born here. Some of the famous names who have lived in houses in Walton on Thames include former US President Herbert Hoover and one-time US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.


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