The winter period is often a time for assessing current living arrangements and planning what comes next..

In this week’s edition, we discuss: 

The winter period is often a time for assessing current living arrangements and planning what comes next, whether it be a move from rented accommodation into home ownership, a step up to a bigger and more suitable family home or swapping a now too large family home for something smaller and more manageable with a view to retirement.

Homeowners who decide to sell early rather than later, can take advantage of the fact that there are generally fewer properties on the market to greet the sharp upturn in demand from serious buyers in the first few months of the year, which is often reversed come spring when the market becomes more crowded.

After that, the crucial decision is…who to entrust with the sale of your home?  Some owners go straight to the bottom line and decide solely on cost, which is incongruous as a home is likely their most valuable investment – and a precious repository of memories and emotions. Why risk selling it on the cheap, or worse, with someone unknown operating solely online? It takes no skill to list a property and sell it to the first buyer who comes along, compared to a professional agent with a long-standing reputation and vested interest in ensuring your home is marketed to a wide audience, attracts maximum interest, and sells for the highest price possible.

A good gauge is to ask around locally. Excellent service is the foundation for word-of-mouth recommendations, but other visible service indicators include having an established, local high street office offering a standard of service evidenced by high-calibre marketing and presentation, including professional photography and videography, floorplans – all the high-tech investments designed to present properties to maximum effect.

Estate agents are not all the same. Some over-price or over-egg properties to secure the business then fail to deliver, while others lack the necessary experience, knowledge and awareness of local supply and demand fluctuations to be able to advise clients accordingly. For those buying and selling in and around the central belt of Scotland, Halliday Homes is a highly respected, independently owned firm with high profile branches in Bridge of Allan, Auchterarder and Linlithgow, all staffed by locally based property professionals who are experts in their individual fields, be it estate agency, letting or financial services.

25 Kenilworth Road, Bridge of Allan – Offers Over £395,000

A traditional lodge houses are unique and invariably quirky, an ideal combination for buyers who are seeking a character home with a difference – and Ben Loyal Lodge is no exception. Situated on Kenilworth Road in sought after upper Bridge of Allan, within walking distance of the town centre, this detached stone-built former lodge house has fully enclosed south-facing garden grounds and benefits from off-road private driveway parking, while the gardens include a raised section of lawn and patio at roof level, which gives the illusion of being a roof garden.

Inside, the split-level accommodation is particularly spacious and predominantly all on one level with only one bedroom on the upper floor, accessed by a white, highly ornate, wrought iron spiral staircase. The heart of this home is a vast, 36ft open plan space with a vaulted beamed ceiling and arched double doors to the garden. Half of this impressive space forms a living room with focal fireplace, while the other half is a dining area, with steps leading up to an adjoining 20ft fitted kitchen with exposed ceiling beams, wood-burning stove and two Velux windows in addition to a large rear-facing window with built-in window seating. Other kitchen notables include modern units with wooden work surfaces, tiled splashbacks, exposed stone feature walls, Befast sink, and a range cooker.

The ground floor accommodation also includes an entrance hall, large half-tiled 13ft bathroom with corner bath and separate shower cabinet, principal bedroom (with en suite WC), another sizable double bedroom with built-in storage, and a back hallway where an internal staircase and external door at the top, provide access to the raised area of garden to one side. Finally, the spiral staircase positioned in a corner of the dining room, opens into a superb 28ft wood-floored third bedroom with three Velux windows, a space that offers unlimited uses and the potential to be two rooms as opposed to one. Ben Loyal Lodge is a one-off family home that combines character and adaptable accommodation in one of the town’s most coveted addresses, known as the ‘Royal Mile of Bridge of Allan.