News Book a Property Valuation

Woodhead Oswestry Sales and Lettings were invited to a preview evening at the Marches School this month, to showcase the plans for the forthcoming School Eco-Dome project.

The Eden Project-style geo-domes funded by the Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ initiative and sponsored by Woodhead Oswestry Sales and Lettings, Tesni Homes and Carbon Zero, is scheduled to commence later this month.

The project will see a disused piece of land on the school grounds converted into a landscaped area occupied by 3 dome shaped classrooms to enhance the students’ learning and understanding of conservation, the environment and wildlife habitats.

Stage one will see the first dome being erected whilst further funding is sourced to complete the project.

During the preview evening residents and local businesses will be given the opportunity to hear about the vision for the school project and will then be invited to view the recently opened Tesni Homes show home and sample locally sourced delicacies. 

Sarah Longville, Executive Headteacher said, “We are delighted to be the first geo-dome classroom in England to be constructed by company Carbon Zero. This would not be possible without the support and commitment from our event partners. It is a transformational time for the school in the way our lessons will be conducted through an innovative and engaging learning environment. We welcome our local community to embrace the concept and share the use of this new space.”   

Kate Howell, owner of Woodhead Oswestry Sales and Letting explained “It’s really important for me to support educational projects like this one. As a local business person, I feel a sense of responsibility to give back to the local community. I have a young family myself and am delighted that the geo-domes will be available for local schools to enjoy for many generations.”   


Oswestry has been named one of the top 10 most beautiful English market towns.

The list announced by website ‘Britain and Britishness’ last week places the town alongside the likes of Keswick in Cumbria and Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.

In 10th place, Oswestry is featured for its historic Iron Age hillfort, the legend of King Oswald, and of course its historic market which dates back to 1190.

The article describes Oswestry as: “… the largest market town in Shropshire and close to the Welsh border.

With a story dating back some 3000 years, Old Oswestry has one of Britain’s best preserved Iron Age hill forts.

It is sometimes called Caer Ogyrfan, meaning The City of Gogyrfan, the father of Guinevere, wife of the legendary King Arthur.

Legend has it that in 642, two Anglo-Saxon kings fought at the Battle of Maserfield. One of the kings—Oswald of Northumbria—was killed and dismembered. A raven carried one of his arms to an ash tree where miracles were said to have been performed since Oswald was considered a saint.

And so “Oswald’s Tree” is thought to be the origin of the name Oswestry.

The right to hold a market each Wednesday was granted in 1190 and saw an influx of Welsh farmers, with many townsfolk becoming bilingual.”

Read the full article:

 Oswestry; Credit: Shropshire & Telford TSB

Oswestry Credit: Shropshire & Telford TSB


‘Secret Agent’ Kate Howell, of Woodhead Sales and Lettings in Oswestry is certain 2017 is going to be another steady year, but as 2016 taught us - we should always prepare for the unexpected.

I don’t think anyone could have predicted the political events that befell 2016 at this time last year.   But uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote and the ripples from Trump’s election in the US have failed to cause an Armageddon in the Oswestry property market.     

House prices to Flatline

Industry forecasters are unanimous in predicting zero house price inflation for 2017.  But with this we expect sales to increase on older properties needing renovation, where value can be added.  Oswestry is a microclimate when it comes to house prices - not affected by the booms or busts experienced in the big cities.  Instead, reliant on a steady rise that not only allows young people to join the property market, but provides a reliable investment for the older generations too. 

Rental properties to fall

Rental industry experts ARLA have predicted the number of new rental properties entering the market will fall, following last year’s changes to stamp duty and this year’s impending reduction in tax relief and the ban on letting agents’ fees.  Rents are expected to increase as lower stock levels and increased landlord costs impact the market.

The year of the first-time buyer

House price deflation, and an increase in rents combined with low interest rates and a drop-off in the number of buy-to-let purchases points to 2017 being the ideal climate for first-time buyers to flourish.

These buyers traditionally buy the same type of low-cost property as landlords, meaning there will be more stock for them to choose from.  And, with interest rates at an all-time low and property prices set to rise again for 2018, there’s never been a better time for first-timers to climb onto the ladder.

Moving in 2017?

We are already taking appointments for valuations for many local people who want to move house this spring and anticipate a busy and positive sales and rental market for the first quarter of 2017.


The young winner of a drawing competition run earlier this year in the Advertizer was delighted to see her winning design transformed into Christmas cards.


The competition, organised by Principality Oswestry Agency, was aimed at children aged up to 12 years old and invited them to draw a picture of Dylan the Dragon – the building society’s fiery mascot.


The competition was held as part of a celebration for Principality Oswestry Agency having been established in the town for three years and more than 100 entries were submitted.


The first prize winner was Keira Evans (9) from Morda, for her picture of Dylan with Agency manager Kim Morris. Kiera won a family day pass to Park Hall Farm and £50 for her building society account, in addition to her design featuring on the business’ Christmas cards.


Principality manager Kim Morris said: “I am delighted to welcome Kiera back to show her what her design looks like in print.  Her card design will be sent out to over 1,000 homes and businesses around Oswestry.”


Business owner, Kate Howell presented Keira with a Christmas hamper and her original picture in a frame.  She added: “We were so impressed with Kiera’s picture, it really stood out amongst some other very good entries.  Not only is Keira a fantastic artist, she’s also become one of our best young savers since winning her £50 prize money and we look forward to seeing her each month when she comes in to deposit her pocket money.” 


Principality Oswestry Agency, based on Leg Street in Oswestry is part of Wales’ largest building society, offering savings & mortgages.  Located next door to Woodhead Oswestry Sales and Lettings the two businesses are run by local business woman Kate Howell. 


As the season of good will approaches, I’ve turned my attention on giving.  No matter how large or small, a business is part of the community in which it trades and as a local business owner, I feel a great sense of responsibility to contribute to my community in a variety of ways.

Whether that’s supporting a local charity, voluntarily teaching skills to others or sponsoring an event, giving something back to my community has become an ingrained part of my business model and while I don’t do them expecting any kind of financial gain, they are not without their own rewards.  The benefits go beyond simply helping the charity, organisation or person, it has a knock-on effect on things like employee morale, making new connections and providing positive PR – all things that in the long run help to strengthen my business.

I always choose projects that mean something to me and this year’s efforts have been no different.   I don’t just want to donate money to causes, I want to actively contribute with my time and skills as well.  I donated money to help The Marches School build their first geo-dome learning space – because I believe that it will benefit school children throughout the area and for generations to come.  Alongside this I exhibited at the school’s festival of education – giving careers advice to students, and have recently taken on one of those students as an apprentice.

Last weekend I attended an event to raise money for Severn Hospice – a cause very close to my heart, after they provided palliative care to my late father.  I donated £500, but more importantly I stood up on stage and showed a room full of business people that I’m supporting that charity, in the hope that it would encourage them to do the same.  The evening raised over £5000.

Successful business people are well rewarded for their ability to provide a product or service that society demands.  We owe it to society to provide something back in return - however large or small.  If you think your company is too insignificant to make a big difference, my experience says it’s not the case.  It’s a bit like buying Christmas presents - it’s the thought that counts and that thought has a knock-on effect for all the stakeholders in your business.


Pictured: An eco home by developer Tesni Homes.  View more details of this property.

“As a local business owner and mum, I try to make responsible decisions that will benefit the area and my family.  It’s important to me now more than ever that I take the environmental responsibilities we all have seriously and act to preserve our beautiful part of the country.

“Oswestry is a traditional area; the trend for building eco homes that started down south seems to have almost avoided us entirely until recently.  But there is a new generation of educated urbanites moving into town who expect their new homes to be affordable both to buy and run.

“Don’t be put off by the term ‘eco home’; they are in fact just better homes.  Any stigma that used to surround them – uncomfortable, ugly or you have to be a certain type of person to live in one – are long gone.  All over the country, beautiful eco homes are challenging the stereotype and showing that we can live how we want to live, but responsibly too.

“Step forward Tesni homes, who until recently were focused on UK renewable energy provision. Their entrance into the development business is filling a gap locally of homes with an incredible EPC ‘A’ rating.  The properties on their Morda Road development feature dual-fuel log-burning stoves and velux sun pipes to enhance natural light.  The buzz around the properties resulted in them selling the first home on its opening day.

“Other developers are being forced to follow suit, with Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) - used to assess a dwelling’s energy performance - becoming ever tighter.  Standard double glazing will have to be replaced with triple glazing and solar panels and ground source heating will become the norm on new developments.

“Oswestry is ready to progress and the cost-effective nature of running an eco home will suit the pockets of our buyers.

 “Putting my money where my mouth is, I will be investing in The Marches School’s Solar Dome Project; to create an exciting outdoor classroom space and conservation area.”


The Marches School in Oswestry is getting closer to achieving its dream of building three ‘Eden Project style’ geo-domes thanks to input from two local businesses: Woodhead Oswestry Sales and Lettings and Tesni Homes.

Money to cover the cost of the first of the three proposed geo-domes - which will be used as outdoor classrooms -  has now been raised meaning the school can start work on the project.

Kate Howell, owner of Woodhead Oswestry Sales and Lettings on Leg Street donated a substantial four-figure sum to get the project off the ground.  She explained: “It’s really important for me to support educational projects like this one.  As a local business person, I feel a sense of responsibility to give back to the local community and saw this as an ideal way to do that.  I have a young family myself and am delighted that the geo-domes will be available for local schools to enjoy for many generations.”  

Environmentally friendly housebuilder Tesni Homes has also donated a four-figure sum to the project, as well as securing help from Carbon Zero UK, who are providing the domes at cost price to the school and supermarket chain Tesco, who have shortlisted the school for its #BagsofHelp initiative.

Marketing manager at Tesni Homes Lorraine Hopkins said: “We have made a long-term commitment to investing in the future of the school and we intend to work alongside them until the project is complete.  We like the idea that these domes will be around for years to come, helping to educate thousands of children on the benefits of eco-living.”

To celebrate the milestone, staff and students dropped in to see Tesni’s view home at Glentworth Place, Morda Rd, which is part of a six detached home development on the site of the town’s former ambulance station.

Jo White, business development manager at The Marches School said: “I would like to say a big thank you to Tesni Homes and Woodheads for the kindness they have shown to the school in their donation, expertise and time.  It is greatly appreciated and will go a long way to achieving our dream of building the geo-domes.”

The first dome is expected to be in place early in 2017.  Anyone interested in supporting the project should contact [email protected].


An Oswestry business woman has lent her support to a popular Shropshire hospice charity.

Severn Hospice are set to receive £500 from Principality Oswestry Agency and Woodhead Oswestry Sales and Lettings, based on Leg Street, after owner Kate Howell was one of 170 guests who attended a fundraising event this weekend (22 October) at the Wynnstay Hotel in Oswestry.

The event raised over £5,000 on the evening, which will be used to fund vital palliative care through Severn Hospice’s Hospice at Home Service.

Event organiser, Enid Thomas, who spent 38 years working as a district nurse and also a Marie Curie nurse specialising in palliative care and has raised nearly £40,000 already for charity is delighted with the support she has received: “This is a cause very close to my heart, having worked on the front line of palliative care I know how vital it is to support not just the patients, but the families too.  It’s also important for me that the money is spent locally and on those who need it and I will be working closely with Severn Hospice to make this happen.”

Kate Howell, who lost her late father Bill Woodhead to cancer is especially grateful to Severn Hospice for the support they gave her and her father in his final days.  Kate comments: “It’s a frightening situation to find yourself in, when a loved one has a terminal illness.  Years ago, there weren’t as many resources as patients have access to now, but Severn Hospice and nurses like Enid were there when we needed them most and I will always be thankful for that and look forward to continuing to support such a worthy cause.”

To find out more about Severn Hospice, or to donate, contact community fundraising advisor, Mike Perry on 01952 221350.


With many prospective buyers taking a summer break from house-hunting, autumn represents a time of fresh hope for house-sellers everywhere.  No sooner has the school bell sounded to mark the start of a new year, prospective buyers are on the phone arranging viewings and making offers.  The incentive being a new home in time for Christmas. 

With an average house sale taking anything from eight to 10 weeks to complete, October is the month for buyers to secure their new home in time for the festive season.  Here’s five tips to help make the process as smooth as possible:

1.       Prepare for the costs of selling your house

·         Factor in agents and solicitors fees, which may double if you are buying another home.  Also bear in mind you may not get the asking price you are expecting, particularly if you are looking for a quick sale

2.       Prepare your home for the buyers

·         Redecorate, repair and declutter.  The smell of fresh paint and new carpet will provide a welcoming interior for viewers.  Outside, lawns should be mowed, pathways weeded and any repairs required should be completed before the house goes on the market

·         Use a professional photographer to make sure your house stands out from the crowd

·         Get an Energy Performance Certificate – you must order one before you market your property

·         Gather relevant paperwork, such as gas safety certificate and guarantees for building work, new windows and doors

3.       Set a price

·         Compare your property with similar ones for sale in your area

·         Get a valuation from your local estate agent

·         Agree price and fees with agent

·         Have a price that you’d accept clear in your mind, so that when you do receive an offer you can respond quickly to secure the deal

4.       Contact a solicitor

·         Select the solicitor you want to use for the sale and contact them in advance to let them know once your house has gone on the market

5.       Keep it moving

·         Once a sale is agreed your estate agent will contact your solicitor for you with the details of the sale

·         Reply to your solicitor’s queries quickly

·         Agree on a date of exchange of contracts and completion date with your solicitor and your purchaser through the agent.




An Oswestry estate agent has launched a free online valuation tool on their website.

Woodhead Oswestry Sales and Lettings on Leg Street launched the new tool this week after increasing demand for their valuation services.  A sales and lettings valuation of any home can be found in 60 seconds by entering a few simple details into the website.

The tool, supplied by The Guild of Professional Estate Agents, of which Woodhead is the only Oswestry representative - generates an instant property valuation using data from Land Registry.

Owner, Kate Howell said: “the success of our estate agency is based on our consistent development of modern ways of communicating.  The new online valuation service will marry our core, traditional, customer-driven values with the new technological age so our clients are delivered the best of both worlds.   We fully expect our new valuation service to be the perfect launch pad for anyone considering getting their property valued.

“Lots of our valuation requests are from homeowners who might not be ready to put their house on the market, but want an idea of its value.  This is the perfect tool to deliver that information.”

The latest addition to the website is one of a number of technological advancements implemented by Woodhead in the last few months, including hybrid videoettes and touch screen technology on their store front.

Woodhead Sales and Lettings Oswestry is an independent estate agency specialising in property sales and lettings in the town and its surrounding borders, boasting an award-winning team of local people with a passion for property.   

Anyone who would like to use the free valuation service should visit:


“Buy-to-let is a key entrepreneurial activity in the UK.  It enables those bold enough to take the leap to supplement their income or to move away from employment altogether and become financially free.  But such a decision should not be taken lightly and more recently the government has tried to deter would-be landlords in a bid to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder.

“Anyone buying a British property since April this year with the intention of letting it out has had to pay an additional three percent of the purchase price in stamp duty. 

“Yes the stamp duty hike will affect the south of the country with property prices spiralling ever higher, but here in Oswestry, you can easily purchase a two bedroom buy-to-let home for under the £125,000 threshold.  Making stamp duty just 3%, compared with properties over £250,000 for which you’d pay a whopping 8%. 

“Success in the buy-to-let market is reliant on doing the research - know your area and know your rental values.  Would-be landlord entrepreneurs – and existing ones – should not be put off by some of the headlines, because even the potential for dents in profits has done little to dampen the appetite of buyers.

“The term ‘safe as houses’ applies well here - property is a tangible asset and people like an investment that they can touch.  Rents are going up and demand for rental properties is still strong.  It still makes sense - even for someone who isn’t an investment expert - to put their money into property.

“Cuts to the tax relief landlords can claim on mortgage interest payments, due to be phased in from next year, is also expected to have little effect.  Apart from the people who buy rental property in cash or inherit property and decide to become landlords, Bank of England research shows that two-thirds of landlords with a buy-to-let mortgage are basic rate tax payers, meaning only a very small minority of landlords on higher rates would be affected by the restrictions.

“As anyone with a basic understanding of economics will be able to work out, where demand is high, supply will follow.  Whatever penalties the authorities try to put on landlord investors, the fact remains – there’s a profit to be made on buy-to-let. British house prices have become detached from incomes and demand for rental properties is here to stay.”


The young winners of a drawing competition in last month’s Oswestry Advertizer have been announced.


The competition, organised by Principality Oswestry Agency (based within the Woodhead Oswestry Sales and Lettings building) was aimed at children aged up to 12 years old and invited them to draw a picture of Dylan the Dragon – the building society’s fiery mascot.


The competition was held as part of a celebration for Principality Oswestry Agency having been established in the town for three years.  More than 100 entries were submitted for the competition.


The first prize winner was Kiera Evans from Morda for her picture of Dylan with Agency manager Kim Clowes. Kiera won a family day pass to Park Hall Farm, £50 for her account and her design is to feature on the front of Principality Oswestry Agency’s Christmas cards this year.


Runners-up prizes went to Oliver Johnston, Jenson Vaughan, Poppy Hodgson, Victoria Theobald and Hayden Evans, who also win a family day pass to Park Hall Farm and £25 for their account.


Agency owner Kate Howell said: “we were overwhelmed by the number of entries we received and the standard was very high.  I’d like to thank everyone who entered and look forward to seeing this year’s winning design on our Christmas cards.”


Principality Oswestry Agency, based on Leg Street in Oswestry is part of Wales’ largest building society, offering savings & mortgages.


Pictured:  Manager Kim Clowes with (far left) winner Kiera Evans and runners-up.



Kate Howell, of Woodhead Sales and Lettings in the centre of Oswestry, is our ‘Secret Agent’, lifting the lid on the world of property.  This month, Kate is thinking about the EU referendum…

“In or out, Brexit has been the subject of intense debate over the last six months and while you’re reading this the votes have been cast and the decision made, but at the time of writing there is major uncertainty about which way the vote will go.  I predict whichever way it has gone that it’s business as usual in Oswestry.

“The referendum has been an unwelcome distraction as we impatiently await the result so that business life can resume.  We’ve just come out of a recession - things are growing - wages are going up, rents are increasing and the face of Oswestry is about to change with multiple major developments planned.  Those developers are already committed to building in Oswestry, whatever the outcome of the referendum. 

“The scare-mongering used to dissuade us from voting for a Brexit has focused on falling house prices.  One of the great things about living in Oswestry is that our house prices don’t experience the highs and lows that some parts of the country do.  The house prices here represent the pace of life; steady, and I predict it will stay that way, Brexit or no Brexit.

“We live in a growth area and property is a growth market.  The infrastructure in Oswestry is ripe for development and demand for housing has never been higher.  All these signs point to a positive outcome for the local property market, whatever the result. 

“The only uncertainty I have is whether we’ll be leaving the EU, what I am certain about is that Oswestry’s property market will continue as it always has done, attracting people to the town for it’s reasonable pricing and steady pace of life.

“I look forward to moving on from the referendum and enjoying all that the town has to offer this summer, in particular the food festival on the 9th and 10th of July, where we welcome in lots of visitors from outside of the town and showcase the best of Oswestry.”


The dust is still settling after the nation’s decision to leave the EU and experts are arguing amongst themselves about the long-term effect it will have.  While the stock markets seem to be in turmoil, one market that is particularly concerning to many is housing.  Kate Howell, of Woodhead Sales and Lettings in the centre of Oswestry, reflects on what a Brexit means for the Oswestry property market:

“In June (pre-referendum) I predicted it would be ‘business as usual’ in Oswestry regardless of the referendum result, and I’m glad to report that is exactly what it is.  In May/June it felt like people were holding back, waiting anxiously for the result.  And after a result that seemed to shock the nation, we very quickly settled back down to business.

 “May was a month of uncertainty for potential house buyers and there was a noticeable drop in demand, quickly followed by a sharp spike in viewings and sales agreed following the results of the referendum.  I’m in the banking, property letting and sales market and I’m pleased to report that all of the figures are on the up.

“My advice now is the same as it always has been to prospective property buyers; as long as they have a reasonable deposit and are looking to live in the home long-term, they should go ahead with any agreed purchase.

“Nationally there are more positive signs in the housing market with mortgage market looking very healthy and set to improve further if interest rates fall, which they are predicted to do later this year.

“It’s too early to know what the full impact of the vote to leave the EU will be on the property market, but what we do know is that we’re in a growth area, sheltered from the price fluctuations experienced by other parts of the country, so we’ve every reason to be positive about the Oswestry housing market.”