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Katie Read owns READ Media Ltd, working with authors, publishers and the Oxford & Blenheim Literary Festivals. She lives with her family in Woodstock.

Wake up to Woodstock

Katie Read

Meeting Flowers

On the morning of 15 January, the timber structure of our new house arrived on the back of a lorry and was craned into place on the foundations next to our three-bed semi in Woodstock. However challenging it was, we realised that the opportunity to build our own home in one of the country’s most sought after towns would be – eventually – a dream come true, and it is very much down to that fact that my partner and I are one of the lucky people to have come into contact with husband and wife team, Jay and Simon Flowers.

More than estate agents, I would describe them as life-long property consultants, as valued by many in this area as a favourite doctor, dentist or accountant. And this is the key to the couples’ success in Woodstock where, five years ago, they drew on their combined 40 years’ experience in the industry to start their own agency, Flowers Estate Agents. Simon said in my recent interview with him and sales manager, Dan Lloyd, “We are not a service that is only about the sale. We look at the bigger picture for everyone that comes to speak to us so that we can help them achieve the best result for their individual needs. In some cases, we have encouraged a potential seller to stay where they are and build an extension instead! We know that by being genuine, we build authentic relationships with the community over a long period of time and that whenever they have property issues they will come to us.”

I have certainly been on the receiving end of this genuine advice. Since selling us our current house and plot three years ago, Simon has sat for more than one occasion till late in the night around our kitchen table sharing his advice and humouring our frantic house hunting when we were so fed up all we wanted to do was pack it all in and sell up!

It is forward thinking and generosity of spirit that epitomises Woodstock, and why, as Dan tells me, so many people eventually compromise on their perfect property. “We often have people new to the area rent in the town while they wait for their dream home here to become available. But what often happens instead is that the town gets under their skin and all that becomes important is living in Woodstock, the house becomes a roof to go to bed under and buyers make compromises they wouldn’t initially have dreamed of.” Like um… building the house ourselves!

- Katie Read