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How to find your perfect flat and ensure the tenancy goes smoothly

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Published: 18/07/2017   Last Updated: 18/07/2017 19:07:32   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Lettings, Tenants, Property,

1. Firm up on a realistic budget. Don’t start the search online or begin any viewings until you know what your parameters are. Think about outgoings, bills and other expense too. Starting with the wrong budget may only lead to disappointment.

2. Get first dibs on properties on your favourite streets. If you want something in a specific area or street, set an alert on Rightmove or Zoopla and it will email each time a vender lists a property. Simply type in your location and click 'Create an alert' on Rightmove, or 'Create email alert' on Zoopla.

3. Make a good impression. Don't forget, you're being checked out too. They're more likely to want a tenant that's professional, prompt and polite.

4. Take snaps when viewing. This makes remembering what you’ve seen easier and allows you to start thinking about any of the particulars like furnishing the space.


5. Get your references lined up. Landlords will need references (eg, from your employer), ensure you ask your referees in good time.

6. Be prepared to go fast. Good rentals are often snapped up, especially in sought-after city areas. Once you've decided, move quickly with your offer. Yet don't be irrational – stick to your budget and don't be pressured.

7. Go through the contract ASAP. Raise any issues as soon as you can with the landlord, so there's time to get them changed before you move in. Also check who's managing the property (ie, the landlord or letting agent).

8. Have the rent and deposit ready. Make sure you have enough cash set aside for the first month's rent and deposit (usually about six weeks' rent). This can be a lot more than you think, so work it out early. For example, £200/week rent could mean you'd need to put down about £2,000 to cover these.

9. Know where your stopcock is: Your mains water tap, or stopcock, is the off-switch for all the water in your home. Hopefully you'll never need it. But if you don't know where it is and a pipe bursts, you'll be powerless to stop it flooding your home.

10. Get Contents Cover Insurance: Landlords are responsible for buildings insurance but it would be an idea to get your own contents cover to keep yourself covered.

11. Get Landlord permission for any redecoration. Check your tenancy agreement before you get the hammer out. It's possible to get specially designed removable strips that promise to hold up pictures without damaging walls, eg  Command Strips.

12. Ensure you have generous or unlimited broadband.  If you're in a flat-share and you know everyone will be downloading, make sure you have decent download limit on your broadband package, or better still go for an unlimited package (most are anyway these days).

13. Give the place a good clean in order to get your deposit back. Normally an area of contention so best to do everything you can in advance to avoid any disputes. Get a scrupulous friend or family member to check the place over to check there's nothing you've missed, and remove all rubbish.

General Election 2017

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Published: 09/06/2017   Last Updated: 09/06/2017 10:32:45   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Vote, General Election, Property, Economy

So let us first start off by saying that both main political parties were neck and neck for most of their election campaigns.

The Conservatives obtained the most votes, in comparison to the other parties, however not enough of a majority to form a government, meaning that we are set to see a coalition once again.

The most likely Tory coalition is predicted to be with the DUP who hold 10 seats (this would bring the conservatives above the 326 seat majority threshold).

In the local council Both Brent Central and Brent North which are both Labour strongholds, have successfully held onto their seats meaning that although the government is set to be controlled by the Conservative coalition the local council will remain under Labour control.

With this we would like to congratulate our local Members of Parliament: Barry Gardiner and Dawn Butler and offer commiserations to all other candidates who put themselves forward as a candidate in Brent.
 
We hope that the our elected representatives will do what is best for our community and local businesses and people living in the area.
 
With Brexit negotiations to start within the next 11 day we hope that our government organises itself as quickly as possible to get our nation back on track with the tasks in hand including Brexit, National Security, and reducing national debt, to name just a few.

 


 Image source: www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2017/results

Homes cost more than seven times the average annual income

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Published: 24/03/2017   Last Updated: 24/03/2017 10:11:43   Tags: Affordability, Sales, Lettings, Property

Working people typically face house prices of more than seven times their annual earnings as affordability is increasingly stretched.

The typical property cost 7.6 times average annual earnings of employees in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The aftermath of the financial crisis saw affordability levels plateau.
But now buyers face paying a record multiple of earnings as the affordability gap widens.

In 2007, the typical buyer faced paying 7.2 times their earnings on a property, but this was surpassed in 2015 (7.4 times) and again in 2016 (7.6 times).

The official figures will make gloomy reading for potential first-time buyers whose wages have stagnated and who now see property ownership become comparatively more expensive.

However, borrowing costs are at historic lows with banks and building societies cutting interest rates on mortgages to attract customers.

A recent report by Shelter suggested that nearly eight out of 10 families across England are unable to afford newly built homes in their local area.

Northampton is the fastest-moving property market in the UK, according to analysis of listings on a property portal.

Zoopla calculated the length of time that properties were listed on its website before being marked as under offer.

Typically, among towns and cities across the country, properties in Northampton were listed for the shortest amount of time, 27 days.
Milton Keynes (29 days) and Croydon (30 days) were next on the list.

Regionally, properties on the site came under offer fastest in the South East of England and the East of England (42 days) compared with the longest - Wales - which took 66 days.

The ONS figures show that London hosts seven of the 10 least affordable areas to buy a property in England and Wales last year.

In Kensington and Chelsea, the typical property costs 38 times the average annual income of residents in the area. In 1999, a home cost 13 times typical earnings.

Buyers in Westminster had to pay 24 times typical earnings for the area last year, and it was 21 times multiple in Hammersmith and Fulham.

 

to view the full article please see: www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39301963

Five things you didn’t know about Willesden Green

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Published: 17/01/2017   Last Updated: 17/01/2017 15:47:24   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: History, Fun Facts, Willesden Green, Property

1. Earliest records date back to 939 AD

The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon Willesdune, meaning the Hill of the Spring, in fact it dates back to 939 AD.

2. They used to make cars here

The Iris was a British car brand manufactured from 1906 by Legros & Knowles Ltd in Willesden. The Iris cars were luxury vehicles with large, water-cooled four-cylinder in-line engines. Between 1906 and 1908 a six-cylinder 40 HP was available, but it is probable that only one unit was built. A striking feature of all models was the diamond shaped radiator grille.
 
In 1923, the specialist coach builder Freestone and Webb established their base in Willesden, producing bespoke cars on Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis until 1956.

3. Middles class to working class to Middle Class
 
World War I caused Willesden to change from a predominantly middle class suburb to a working class part of London. Willesden suffered large damage due to the heavy concentration of industry, such as munitions factories, and railways in the area. Many factories opened up after the war and it is at this time that the area became predominantly working class, including Irish, Jewish and later people from the Indian sub-continent. 

The area surrounding Willesden Green station has become more middle-class and gentrified with marked property price rises in 2015 and 2016.

4. It’s safer than you think
 
There has been year on year drop of all crime in the Brondesbury park area (combing robbery, theft, violence sexual behaviour, drugs, vehicle and antisocial behaviour). Crime data from Home office Communities and Local Government show a -12 point drop for every 100 reported incident.

Brent as a borough has a lower crime rate than plush areas including Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Greenwich, Camden and Westminster (this borough has the highest crime rate not only in London but in the entire nation with 1,580 crimes reported per km2 in a year).

5. It’s still up and coming
 
Today, north-west London is witnessing a new era of railway improvement, while the legacy of the pioneering Metropolitan Railway, perhaps the greatest of the Victorian-era train companies, is still producing property ripples.


Buyers in Kensal, once displaced from Notting Hill and Holland Park, are moving into Willesden Green and the fringe areas such as Harlesden. Urban redevelopment plans are underway for neighbouring Cricklewood too. If you’re interested in properties in the area check out what properties we have available.

Don't Let a Burglar Ruin your Christmas

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Published: 15/12/2016   Last Updated: 15/12/2016 11:43:01   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Christmas, Home, Property, Security,

Christmas is the season for family, togetherness, visiting friends and enjoying all the festive cheer. Ironically, even thought we have a famous character called Santa Claus who goes around at Christmas with a big bag full of gifts, a burglar is not the first thing you think of at Christmas. However, Christmas is a burglars favourite time of year.
 
Here are a 5 simple tips to reduce becoming a burglars next stop this Christmas:
 
1) Ensure all of your doors and windows are locked, this is number 1 priority as most thieves are opportunists, they look specifically for properties with open windows and doors, if your property is unsecure they are more likely to make you their next victim .
 
2) Be careful of what you put on the internet, (this is one that you might not have thought of). Potential burglars look through posts seeking out information on the types of gifts people have received, or when they plan to leave their homes for Christmas shopping or for vacation.


3) Make sure that your gifts are not visible from the outside, Its nice to see presents under the Christmas tree but if the tree is near a window, the gifts offer burglars with a tempting invite so try to keep presents out of sight.

4) Don't discard your empty gift boxes in your bin or outside your home. This is the same as putting a sign up for a burglar saying look we have a brand new...computer, DVD player, TV, etc. Burglars appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal. You bring the boxes down to your local recycling centre or break the boxes down to conceal the items better.

5) If you are going away make your home look like someone is in. There are a number of way to do this including, using automatic timer-switches to turn your lights and radios on when it goes dark. Also make sure you cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries. Mail sitting on your doorstep is also a sign that you are away, a trusted neighbour may be able to help you by collecting your post, opening and closing curtains and they could park their car on your driveway.

 

Tenant Fees are soon to be banned

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Published: 24/11/2016   Last Updated: 24/11/2016 17:38:29   Tags: Lettings, Tenants, Fees, Government

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced plans for Estate agents to be banned from charging fees to tenants and that he wants these changes to come into effect "as soon as possible" under plans announced in the Autumn Statement.

 

Tenants can be charged fees for a range of administration, including reference, credit and immigration checks.

Tenants face charges when agents draw up tenancy agreements along with the possibility of a non-refundable holding deposit paid before signing up to the deal.

Mr Hammond also announced plans to increase the construction of affordable homes. It is estimated that at least four million people of working age in England would need affordable housing by 2024, according to the Local Government Association. The average first time buyer paid just under £30,000 for their new home in the 1980s compared with more than £150,000 now, according to the Resolution Foundation. In the year to the end of June, local authorities built 1,500 homes in England out of a total of 131,370 - that is just over 1%.

Crucial details are yet to be revealed in the Treasury’s small print, but at lunchtime the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, confirmed the ban, which marks a U-turn for the Government.

The Prime Minister Theresa May has previously voted against a ban on fees, while housing minister Gavin Barwell has called it a “bad idea”, saying that landlords would simply raise rents. The Government’s line has so far consistently been that it will keep under review the legal requirement for agents to display their fees openly both on their websites and in their offices.

The ban is necessary, Hammond told MPs, because the fees themselves are unregulated and have spiralled. “This is wrong,” said Hammond. “We will ban fees as soon as possible.”

He said that the Government was not afraid to intervene where there had been “market failure”. The concern in the industry will be if the ban does not come in for several months, as this could stall the lettings industry with tenants deciding to delay their moves.

Earlier, ARLA reacted with outright dismay.

David Cox, ARLA’s managing director, said: “A ban on letting agent fees is a draconian measure and will have a profoundly negative impact on the rental market. It will be the fourth assault on the sector in just over a year, and do little to help cash-poor renters save enough to get on the housing ladder. This decision is a crowd-pleaser, which will not help renters in the long term.

“All of the implications need to be taken into account."

“Most letting agents do not profit from fees. Our research shows that the average fee charged by ARLA licensed agents is £202 per tenant, which we think is fair, reasonable and far from exploitative for the service tenants receive."

“These costs enable agents to carry out various critical checks on tenants before letting a property. If fees are banned, these costs will be passed on to landlords, who will need to recoup the costs elsewhere, inevitably through higher rents. The banning of fees will end up hurting the most, the very people the Government intends on helping the most.”

Alan Ward, chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, said: “This will not help tenants, especially those who are ‘just managing’. “Agents’ fees have to be paid by somebody. If any extra fees are passed on to landlords, tenants will end up paying them forever as market rents will increase.

Isobel Thomson, chief executive of the National Approved Lettings Scheme, this morning sent an email out to all NALS members describing the ban as “an easy political win but one which directly affects your business”.

What is in store for UK property prices

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Published: 05/11/2016   Last Updated: 05/11/2016 15:26:27   Tags: Renting, Buying, London, Interest Rates

A recent article in the Evening Standard suggests that average London rents are forecast to increase by 24.5% by the end of 2021, compared to a 19% increase in the rest of the country.

They suggested that the renewed stress on rental prices will be caused by potential first-time buyers being forced to rent as housing market conditions will get tougher. However, there are expectations that interest rates will remain low for some time yet, keeping borrowing costs low, which should prevent house prices from falling across the country generally.


“Despite the gloomy predictions, the average property value in London, currently £481,000, and is expected to increase by 11 per cent over the next five years. (That means the average property in the capital by the end of 2021 is expected to be worth £533,400)” the article suggests.

 

Gladstone Park

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Published: 22/09/2016   Last Updated: 22/09/2016 13:51:31   Tags: Willesden Green, Empire Estates, Property, Gladstone Park

Gladstone Park is ninety-seven acres of parkland woodland, hedgerows and open ground, all of which change with the seasons. and there is an additional twenty-seven acres of open space. It is the most used park in Brent and is a holder of the Green Flag Award. The award is based on high environmental standards, community involvement and quality of green space.

The park is situated in-between Cricklewood, Dollis Hill, Neasden and Willesden meaning that residents of all four areas benefit from the park and can also use it as a shortcut to walk or cycle between these different areas.

Gladstone Park also has a rose garden, duck pond, tennis courts and offers beautiful views of the surrounding area including Wembley Stadium, and on a clear day there are views of Parliament, the Shard and the London Eye.

The Rio Olympics 2016 have commenced

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Published: 08/08/2016   Last Updated: 08/08/2016 10:28:06   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Olympics, Gold, Rio, Empire Estates

The UK are off to a good start and have already started to collect Gold and Silver medals, with many more predicted before the end of the tournament.

 

Some competitors from other countries however have already been eliminated from the competition due to fractures, sprains and breakages, especially the French gymnast who unfortunately broke his leg and will no longer be able to participate in this years games.

 

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our athletes representing Great Britain in the Olympic Games the very best of luck, safe travel and plenty of gold medals.

Portugal wins Euro 2016

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Published: 11/07/2016   Last Updated: 11/07/2016 11:21:08   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Football, Empire Estates, Willesden, Sport

Finishing third in their group and winning only once inside the 90 minutes, might not have made Portugal the pundits favourite.

However Eder secured their victory last night at the Stade de France.

The Portuguese team are now the champions of Europe. France failed to rise to the challenge, it was a very disappointing game for the French fans who believed that there dream was so close to reality. Portugal finished as the stronger team and Eder's strike was worthy of winning any game.

How does Brexit affect you?

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Published: 04/07/2016   Last Updated: 04/07/2016 17:09:55   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Brexit, EU Referendum, Empire Estates, Property

The United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union has hit the property sector over the past week, with a some banks freezing loans for buyers and some investors pulling out of deals.

Some overseas investors, however, are making the most of the drop in the pound to buy what they see as residential bargains. Properties in London are a magnet for foreign investors, and as a result of this, prices in the capital have sky-rocketed.

Britain's June 23 vote to leave the EU has already caused the government to collapse and deeply divided the country.

 

Regardless of the referendums outcome to leave the EU, it is widely predicted that the property market and financial sectors will stabilise and that the effects will only be short-term.  

The EU Referendum - In or Out?

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Published: 23/06/2016   Last Updated: 23/06/2016 11:06:03   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Vote, Referendum, Property, Europe

The day is finally here, today is the referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union. Polling stations in the UK will be open from 7am - 10pm. We are keeping a close eye on the property market and await the outcome tomorrow. 

The football season is here!

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Published: 10/06/2016   Last Updated: 10/06/2016 14:39:20   Tags: Euro2016, Empire Estates, Moving, Goal

As the Euro 2016 football tournament is here, we eagerly wait in anticipation to see who will get past the group stages. All of the staff at empire estates have got their personal preferences of who they would like to see in the final however if moving is your goal then contact us at empire estates or give us a call on 020 8459 2600 to find out why we are a winning team.

Tips on finding your ideal home

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Published: 26/05/2016   Last Updated: 26/05/2016 12:53:49   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Location, Property, Empire Estates, Lettings, Sales

Know Your Budget


Before arranging to view any properties work out your budget. The more realistic and honest you are about what you can afford, the easier and quicker it will be to choose a property.

Location


A good location is one where people want to live, it doesn't need to be the cheapest or the most expensive area. You should choose an area that has the most potential for the future. The type of property you are looking for may also influence your choice of location.
 
Type of Property


The type of property is an important consideration. Find a type of property which will appeal to you and your lifestyle choices. One type of property to consider is a new build property as they generally have less repairs to carry out, however will need to weigh this up with the character features and charm the older properties have to offer. If you have young children it might be a good idea to find a property with a garden or outdoor space. Likewise if you are a professional couple an apartment within close proximity to a tube station might be a better option.  

New to the market

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Published: 19/05/2016   Last Updated: 26/05/2016 11:53:56   Tags: Luxury, Empire Estates, Willesden Green, Mapesbury Conservation Area

This stunning property is new to the market for sale on Teignmouth Road within the highly sought after Mapesbury Conservation Area

All our properties are On The Market, is yours?

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Published: 18/05/2016   Last Updated: 18/05/2016 18:00:08   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: On The Market, Empire Estates, Willesden, Property

We are pleased to announce that as from today all of our properties are now listed on OnTheMarket.com

 

OnTheMarket.com launched in January 2015 is the state-of-the-art way to search for property.  When you search OnTheMarket.com, you'll enjoy our cleaner, fresher, more focused approach. No irritating ads, no unnecessary information, no spam mail and no nonsense.

 

If you're selling or letting a property, choosing an agent who is a member of OnTheMarket.com means that your property will not be mixed in with homes being marketed by remotely located, part service "internet-only" operators or directly by private sellers or landlords. Every property you see at OnTheMarket.com is on the market with full-service, office-based estate or letting agents who are experts in their local area.

Sadiq Khan announced as new Mayor of London.

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Published: 07/05/2016   Last Updated: 07/05/2016 12:44:57   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Votes, Election, Mayor, London

Congratulations are in order for Sadiq Khan who beat his Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith by a total of 315,529 votes. Mr Khan received 1,310,143 votes compared to Mr Goldsmith's 994,614 votes.

 

In Sadiq Khans manifesto he pledged to tackle the housing crisis, build more affordable homes, freeze transport fares, improve Londons  air quality, and improve the quality of lives of all Londoners.

 

Spring is here

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Published: 20/04/2016   Last Updated: 20/04/2016 17:13:08   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Spring, Moving Home, Empire Estates,

The weather is finally improving and the days are getting longer.

But that is not the only positive, Spring is a great time to Sell or Let your property. The number of potential buyers and tenants are increasing as many people want to move in before the summer.

 

Here are 5 easy tips to help encourage a potential Buyer or Tenant to put an offer on your property:

 

1) Let the outside in, take down net curtains during viewings, have blinds open and open windows where possible.

 

2) Remove clutter, and de-personalise, this also gives you the opportunity to safely put away any fragile or valuable items.

 

3) Clean Up, Make sure the property is nice and clean, regardless of its condition, also make sure the property smells clean.

 

4) Hide Pets, If you have a pet make sure they are out of the way during viewings. Unfortunately pets put a lot of people off.

 

5) Presentation, make sure the grass is cut in the gardens, that the front door is freshly painted and that the internal walls are all painted in neutral colours.

 

Always remember that first impressions count, if you need any help or advice about marketing your property for sale or to let, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0208 459 2600 for a free market appraisal.

The Stamp Duty Changes are here

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Published: 04/04/2016   Last Updated: 04/04/2016 12:13:48   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Stamp Duty, Tax, Property, NW London, Empire Estates,

The Stamp Duty changes have come into effect from 1st April 2016.

The changes are beneficial to first time buyers who will benefit from change in the way stamp duty is calculated.

 

However, the changes will have a negative impact on Buy to Let investors and existing property owners who are looking to purchase a second home (which will not be their main residence) as the people who fall into this category will have to pay an additional 3% in Stamp Duty Land Tax.

 

The government have made these changes to encourage first time buyers to get onto the Property Market and to try to reduce the number of buy to let landlords, who the government feel are taking over the property market.

 
More detailed information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax/overview

 

The property market is moving, are you?

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Last Updated: 10/03/2016 16:04:02   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Stamp Duty, Property, Empire Estates, Local Experts, NW10, NW2

As the property market is starting to pick up once again why not make a change, we have already begun to see an increase in the number of new properties on the market.

It has been predicted that 2016 will be a good year for the property industry, this has been linked to a number of factors, including the changes to the stamp duty affecting landlords and investors.

A growing number of market experts feel that the stamp duty changes will cause a large number of property owners to either sell or buy property prior to the changes taking place in April 2016.

In recent years especially in Willesden Green and the surrounding areas we have seen many changes and improvements including improved transport links, with the Jubilee line is now operating 24 a hour service on weekends, there is also a number of night buses and 24 hour bus routes.

This has also been one of the reasons that such a large number of people have decided to move into the area, stretching the property market even further, which subsequently led to an increase in both sales and rental figures within the area.

If you would like to find out the current value of your property contact your local experts Empire Estates on 020 8459 2600 or visit http://www.empireestates.com

This is our first Blog Post!

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Last Updated: 29/02/2016 14:38:01   Author: Empire Estates    Tags: Willesden, Property, Blog, Empire Estates

As technology advances, so have we!

Here Empire Estates we look to expand our reach to many different clients across all media platforms, including the ‘old fashioned’ methods such as writing a letter, and a lot of ‘digital’ methods ranging from writing an Email to posting on Facebook, property portals (such as Zoopla.com), our website, and now via our Blog…

On our Blog we will look to provide informed expertise on a range of Property related matters, with over 50 years combined experience in the property industry and Our Offices being based in Willesden Green for the last 20 years, we feel this gives us a lot more insight to the local area in comparison to many new and inexperienced estate agencies appearing in the area.

For professional and reputable advice please do not hesitate to contact Empire Estates on 0208 459 2600 and we will be happy to assist you with your enquiry using our local knowledge and years of experience.
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