Staying current and planning for the future

Our management team attended the annual PropertyMark conference in London last week where we may have met our team mate of the future!

The star-studded event featured our favourite property-TV presenters Sarah Beeny, Jenny Falconer and Phil Spencer, plus political journalist Daisy McAndrew.

Claire Williams OBE, former deputy team principal of the Williams Formula One racing team, gave an inspirational talk that we are taking back to the pits with us.

We are now brimming with fabulous new ideas, but most importantly, these conferences ensure the team stays up to date with pending changes to legislation.

Whether you are selling or renting, Monks are your friendly PropertyMark-protected agent 💚

Read next:  Patricia’s vision  –  An empowered workplace  –  Careers

Respected local estate agent Kate Goddard has re-joined Monks bringing her plentiful experience and luminous personality to our three offices.


Six years ago, Kate worked in our Shrewsbury office, qualifying as a Member of the National Association of Estate Agents.  When the opportunity arose to move to a prestigious national chain of agents, Directors and Co-owners Judy Bourne and Patricia Baila encouraged Kate and fully supported her decision.


To the credit of all parties, this positive relationship meant the door was always open for Kate to return to Monks.  A proficient and empathetic agent, Kate radiates knowledge gained meeting clients and colleagues from Chelsea to Chester and selling a broad mix of homes with every associated conveyancing challenge.


Shropshire-born, Kate began a former career in hospitality management at Shrewsbury’s iconic Armoury, part of the Brunning and Price gastro-pub chain.  With her natural ability to connect with people, Kate led successful teams in delivering first-class and memorable dining experiences.  This customer-centric approach suited Kate’s intuitive move into property sales. Reputation and recommendations are built on positive lasting impressions and Kate inspires confidence in her clients and colleagues alike.


Behind Kate’s passion for property is a love of architecture and history.  Fascinated by homes passed down through generations, she feels the lucky residents are only ever custodians of a building.  An admirer of period features, Kate favours an Edwardian pile.  At this stage in her property journey however, Kate shares a newly built home with her husband and daughter.  “Judy’s influence must have rubbed off on me!” she jokes.


Kate values the power of a strong team around her and believes that recruiting is first and foremost about personality.  “Personality always shines through”, she says.  And with Kate firmly back in our team, we agree!


Read next:  Patricia’s vision  –  An empowered workplace  –  Careers

Monks are super proud Greg Wilshaw who completed TWO marathons in TWO weeks raising funds for TWO charities.

Thank you to EVERYONE who supported and sponsored Greg on this incredible journey. Together we have smashed his fundraising target by 157%!!

Patricia Baila, Director and Co-owner of Monks and Greg’s wife, was leading the support:  “This has really pushed Greg out of his comfort zone and I am so proud of him.  It brings positivity from the sad loss of his friend.”

Greg was running to raise funds for Severn Hospice and Hospice UK.  He set himself the challenge in recognition of the care recently provided for his close friend.  Severn Hospice gives specialist care and support free of charge to families across Shropshire and North Powys who are living with an incurable illness.

This was also a personal fitness challenge for Greg who recently turned 50.  Greg had never run a marathon before and began training in September 2023.  Now he can proudly say he has run TWO in TWO weeks!

To show your support for Greg and his charities, please donate via his fundraising page.

The Brighton Marathon was on Sunday 7th April, followed by the London Marathon on Sunday 21st April 2024.

Read next:  What makes us, us?  –  Meet the personalities  –  Property search

From setting the standard as Shropshire’s leading estate agency, to readiness for a regulated industry, Patricia Baila draws on her impressive international career in her vision for Monks.


Raised in an entrepreneurial family, Patricia determined early that she would become a businesswoman.  “Growing up, I used to visit my grandfather’s and father’s businesses.  My dad bought me a phone and note pad and I used to spend hours watching him work and having long conversations with my imaginary clients!”


A degree in Business Administration followed with holidays spent gaining practical experience.  Patricia still makes time to revisit her first employers in her hometown where she worked part-time and learnt to value trust and relationship building.


Drawn to international opportunities, Patricia saw perfecting the English language as essential and, in 2000, moved to the Lake District to study at the University of Lancaster.  Returning to Spain she excelled working for an export company with high-net-worth clients based across Spain, France, UK and Ireland, and Lebanon.


When Patricia entered real estate, she discovered the industry is all about the people:  guiding clients through the largest financial transactions of their lives.  With that role comes responsibility, a duty to be honest and empathetic, and accountability to manage the transaction with knowledge and expertise.


It is this level of professionalism that Patricia is insistent on instilling into the practice and culture of Monks.  Her mission is to counter the sometimes-stereotypical view of estate agents and to build a business based on honesty and transparency, expertise and responsibility.


Patricia has a particular interest in developing people.  She leads Monks’ Continuous Personal Development programme which offers staff appraisals, career planning and support in gaining industry qualifications.  Patricia is herself a qualified Member of the National Association of Estate Agents.  Monks’ practice of promoting from within and offering family-friendly policies has created a loyal workforce and a positive culture of female advancement.


“We always say to our team that if they want to grow within Monks, the sky is the limit!“


A positive attitude and a can-do approach drive Patricia’s optimistic outlook on life.  With a smile on her face, she believes there is a solution to every problem.  Mindful of her well-being, Patricia balances hard work with enjoying live music, a glass of red wine, walking in the hills, and visiting her family in Spain.


Patricia is pro regulation of the UK property industry, as in many other countries.  Government regulation by licensing would ensure estate agents abide by a set of guarantees and requirements, receive official training, and are regulated by an Ombudsman with accountability through law.


Under Patricia’s guidance, Monks is primed to lead a regulated and licensed industry and remain the leading estate agency in Shropshire.


Read next:  Meet the Personalities  –  What makes us, us  –  Careers

On #IWD we can celebrate the many achievements of our female-led business.  However it is the knowledge that gender equality and female empowerment are firmly engrained in our culture and in our practice that we truly value.


Monks is a self-funded business, owned and led by women, and with 80% female employees.  Judy Bourne and Patricia Baila bought the business to become Directors and Co-owners in 2014.  For context, in 2022 just 18% of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises with employees were led by women*.


Investing in people is key to Monks’ success.  In the last 12 months three female staff have been promoted, reflecting Monks’ policy on the advancement of women.  Beth Griffiths achieved her MNAEA Level 3 qualification in February 2024 and was promoted to Senior Sales Negotiator along with a male colleague.  Monks follow a policy of equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender.


As part of Monks’ recruitment, we offer Continuous Personal Development training and annual performance appraisals.  This focus on helping staff to grow within the business appealed to Beth who moved from another local agent: “I knew that Monks valued training and career progression, and this was one of the reasons I joined them.”


“As employers, we understand women have a difficult journey to get where they are now and we want to support them through their process.  We always say to our team that if they want to grow within Monks, the sky is the limit!”  explains Patricia Baila.


Lucinda Thompson, MARLA and MNAEA, is a perfect example of growing within the business.  She started her career at Monks as a Letting Negotiator in May 2015 and became part of the Senior Management Team three years ago.  During this time, Lucinda was supported through her qualifications, became a member of ARLA and NAEA, got married, and had a daughter.  “It is great to see families grow as part of Monks!” smiles Patricia.


Monks is proud to offer family-friendly policies to all staff.  We employ seven mothers and three grandmothers who all balance child-care commitments with their jobs.


Monks’ practice of female advancement extends to supplier diversity and networking with other female-led businesses.  Monks trusts the services of Sarah Ridings at Ellis-Ridings Mortage Services.  We work regularly with Anna Kayiatou at Dutch Living.  Carlie Birch, Director at Penguin Electrical, is a long-standing supplier.


International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.


* According to data from the Government’s annual Small Business Survey.


Read next:  What makes us, us?  –  Careers at Monks

Congratulations to James Archer and Beth Griffiths on passing their Propertymark Level 3 qualifications and being promoted to Senior Sales Negotiators.


Monks are very proud of the hard work and commitment James and Beth have shown to achieve this promotion.  The equivalent in demand to an A-level, Propertymark advises 120 hours of personal study time is dedicated.  Those 5 meaningful letters which illustrate their experience and dedication – MNAEA – are now proudly secured to their signatures.


Monks support the continuing professional development of all our staff to maintain high professional standards and to further improve the quality of service offered to our clients.  Propertymark is the UK’s specialist awarding organisation offering industry-recognised qualifications in property.


Monks believe in growing from within and both Beth and James have been promoted to Senior Sales Negotiator in recognition of their dedication to property.


Based in our Oswestry office, Beth has working in property since 2016.  She joined Monks knowing that the management team valued training and career progression.  Beth be reached at 01691 674 567 or by emailing


James has worked for Monks for three years in our Shrewsbury office.  He is available for all enquires in the Shrewsbury area on 01743 361 422 or by emailing


When choosing Monks as your estate agent you can feel confident in the hard-working attitude, experience and qualifications of our team.


Read next:  What makes us, us?  –  Careers at Monks –  Property search

When you ask Anne Marie Taylor about Wem her eyes light up. “Kind, friendly, genuine, helpful and a diverse mix of characters… Wem grows on you!!”


Anne Marie has insider knowledge of the Wem property market.  She moved here 10 years ago, first deciding to rent and get a feel for the area, then buying her home from the owner after just 12 months. Wem hasn’t disappointed, delivering the perfect work and life balance, and even enticing her jet-set daughter to settle nearby.

“In Wem you get so much more house for your money”, explains Anne Marie. “And it is so well connected, especially by rail.  11 minutes into Shrewsbury with a £5 return ticket, and trains all evening!”

Anne Marie’s in-depth knowledge of Wem’s property stock means she can quickly match homes with prospective buyers or renters.  There are plenty of bungalows within walking distance of essential amenities, ideal for retirees.  There are grand period properties and detached homes down winding lanes for high-end buyers.  She knows the appeal of newly built homes and the draw of pre-loved properties in need of some TLC (and can recommend good local tradespeople to help!).

It’s the diversity of people she meets, and understanding their unique requirements, that Anne Marie says makes her job in Wem so interesting.

Anne Marie enjoys listing Wem’s surprisingly varied amenities. There is Yoga in the Townhall, as well as BYO-wine Movie nights.  A theatre with drama groups for all ages.  Local fresh produce and craft markets.  A delicious new patisserie.

For families, Anne Marie points out the local schools and popular scouts, brownies and clubs which offer holiday activities.  She has met many young couples returning to Wem to raise their families and emphasises again the value for money.

It’s clear that Anne Marie likes to help people and she cares about getting it right.

Read next:  Property search  –  About Wem  –  What makes us, us?

Inflated moving costs, high-interest mortgages and ever-increasing property prices are all conspiring to keep tenants in situ for longer.  If managed correctly, this brings benefits for landlords and for tenants.


So what should landlords be doing during a long tenancy?

  • Support tenants to access the right energy tariffs. With increases in energy prices and changes to tariffs, it is important that tenants can move to the provider that works for them.  As they are not the property owner, they may be unsure about changing providers or be unable to change without the correct paperwork.  Talk to your tenants about their energy usage patterns and support a move if necessary; you could save them a pretty penny and earn favour.
  • Check safety certificates are up-to-date.  With a rolling tenancy, it’s easy to lose track of when certificates were last issued.  Gas supplies need checking annually; electricity every five years.  An EPC report is valid 10 years, and even though the Landlord reform bill has not made achieving E-rating or higher a legal requirement, it is still good practice to provide an environmentally-sound building.
  • Build a good relationship.  Over time, a positive relationship can grow between tenant and Landlord.  Communicating your long-term plans for the property can make tenants feel settled.  In turn, they will be more likely to give a lengthy notice period if they do have plans to move on.  Both parties gain security.
  • Property maintenance. Whilst it is important to schedule regular visits to inspect your investment, if you can establish good routes of communication with tenants, they will likely flag up any issues within a good time frame. Furthermore, long term tenants are more likely to invest in your property.  This could be fresh decorating or improving the garden.
  • Wear-and-tear reduced.  Tenants planning to stay for several years will cause less incremental damage as they care for their home’s ongoing appearance.  This could be looking after carpets or employing a regular cleaner.  This can reduce the inevitable wear-and-tear costs at the end of a tenancy.
  • Schedule annual rent reviews.  Having a long-term tenant shouldn’t mean that you miss out on current market rates.   Finding a new tenant at a higher rent needs to be weighed against the losses of a void period and agency fees.  Suggest to your existing tenant a smaller increase than market levels and you both win!  Of course, this will be seen more positively if you are already addressing the points above!

Monks provide a Full Management Service and can handle all the above on your behalf.  If you have any specific requirements, we’re happy to adapt our services to suit them.  Our role is to represent the Landlord and to maximise your investment.

Contact Monks’ Lettings Manager, Lucinda Thompson for details.


Read more:   Full management service  –  Let only  –  Our 5-step process