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Perthshire Telephone Exchange Sells for £85k in ‘quirky’ Property Boom

Perthshire telephone exchange sells for £85k in ‘quirky’ property boom

Measuring just eight metres by two and with a distinct lack of mod cons, it is certainly what estate agents might like to say is on the “compact and bijou” side.

For years, the tiny telephone exchange building on the outskirts of the small hamlet of Ardeonaig in Perthshire did a fine job helping to keep communications flowing.

Now, however, the disused stone building overlooking Loch Tay has astounded its owner and the online auction firm that has just sold it, after smashing its initial £15,000 guide price by around six times that amount.

The rather snug building – a little longer but barely wider than the average domestic garage – attracted international interest as bidders battled it out before it finally went under the hammer for £85,000.

The price is roughly the same as some two-bedroom properties currently on the market in towns such as Dunoon and Glenrothes, Fife.

While the telephone exchange accommodation might be far more basic than a home – there’s no running water, toilet facilities or heating for a start – the location, overlooking the loch and with Ben Lawers towering in the distance, certainly had a lot to do with the final price.

The Covid-fuelled boom in Scottish rural holidays and even the growing trend for “huts” – secluded and basic accommodation offering an escape into the wilderness – are also thought to have inspired interest in the small building.

According to auctioneer George Douglas, of seller Online Property Auctions Scotland, the unusual property became the focus of heated interest within minutes of its details being posted online.

“Within an hour we had people trying to buy it for £25,000,” he said.

“At that point we knew it would sell for quite a good price, but it ended up outstripping anything we have seen in a while.

“Enquiries were coming in from all over the UK and abroad. We had between 500 and 600 enquiries and for the actual auction we had more than 80 people registered to bid.

“We didn’t expect anything like that for a building like this.”

The old telephone exchange – barely large enough to accommodate a double bed – sits on the south side of Loch Tay, just off the A827, and without a neighbour to be seen for miles.

Killin is around eight miles in one direction, and Kenmore is the same distance in the other.

Mr Douglas said there has been a noticeable trend towards “quirky” and unusual buildings attracting significant interest from buyers, particularly when in attractive rural locations.

Earlier this year, a public toilet in Tarbet on the west shores of Loch Lomond sold for more than £20,000, while the Glasgow-based online auction firm recently sold Borgue Church near Kirkcudbright for £50,000 – around half the price of a garage in some parts of Edinburgh. The B-Listed Gothic-style church has a history that dates from 1150 and a graveyard which contains the mausoleum of the Gordon of Earlston family, including Colonel Sir William Gordon who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade.

In Aberdeenshire, the former Auld West Kirk in picturesque Alford also sold at auction for £40,000.

It’s thought interest in unusual rural properties is being driven at least in part by investors looking to convert them into rental holiday properties for the booming 
self-catering sector.

Mr Douglas added: “Properties that people might not think are worth anything are turning out to be attracting a lot of interest, including churches.

“People are looking for alternative and quirky places either to live in or to use as holiday accommodation.

“What one person thinks is a carbuncle, someone else will look at it and think it will be an ideal holiday home.”

This article first appeared in the Herald on the 12th September 2021. Credit Sandra Dick.

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Bridge of Weir: More than 80 bids made for derelict house

A derelict house in Bridge of Weir has been sold for £313,000 at auction following a frenzied bidding war

The Bridge of Weir property has been lying empty for many years

The four-bedroom detached villa, which requires full upgrading, has been lying empty for some time and is unsuitable for habitation.

Selling agents Online Property Auctions Scotland had originally set a guide price of just £195,000 for the half acre site on Johnstone Road, one of the most sought-after locations in the west of Scotland.

However, the property went under the hammer for a significantly higher sum of money on Thursday, August 12, following more than 80 bids.

The bidding began at £180,000 and over next five hours, seven would-be buyers battled it out before the 82nd bid of £313,000 proved to be decisive.

George Douglas, CEO of Online Property Auctions Scotland, told The Gazette: “This type of property is rarely available in this area, which is why it attracted so much interest.

“The purchaser has several options, which include renovating the existing house or building a brand new detached house or residential development, subject to obtaining planning permission.”

Located between Bankend Road and Bridge of Weir Road, the property benefits from a substantial main road frontage and was in the ownership of the same family for a large number of years.

The property currently comprises of a dining kitchen, utility room, three public rooms, two WC, a bathroom, four double bedrooms and a boxroom.

There is also a large three-car garage and basement rooms.

This article first appeared in The Gazette on the 21st August 2021. Credit Jacob Nicol.

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Borgue Church going up for auction

The historic B-listed Borgue Church building will be put up for auction next week, three years after it was closed closed due to a dwindling congregation.

Borgue Church goes under the hammer with a guide price of £53,000

The church had been in existence since 1814 and the churchyard contains the late 19th century mausoleum of the Gordons of Earlston.

Borgue Parish is linked to Gatehouse, Tarff and Twynholm parishes, it lies five miles south-west of Kirkcudbright and six miles south of Gatehouse of Fleet.

The sale, by online auction takes place on Thursday, July 29, with a guide price of £53,000.

The 3280 sq ft property, which was previously on the market for offer over £60,000, is located in an elevated position, overlooking Borgue with views out to the Galloway Hills and the Solway Firth.

According to selling agents, Online Property Auctions Scotland, the church provides excellent development potential and is likely to attract interest from developers seeking a bespoke opportunity to create something special.

A spokeserson said: “We are delighted to offer to the market this substantial detached Category B listed former church building.

“The church is of Gothic design and is ideal for conversion into a magnificent house or a commercial venture including a possible tourist facility (all subject to planning consents).

“The varied landscape and seascape of the Borgue area makes it highly desirable for outdoor activities.”

https://opascotland.com/lot/details/49190

*This article first appeared in The Galloway Gazette on the 21st July 2021.

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Foreign investors go online to buy Scottish homes

Foreign buyers are increasingly taking advantage of relatively low prices to invest in residential housing in Scotland, according to one online property auction site.

Buyers from the Far East, North America and Eastern Europe are among those who have purchased flats in a variety of locations across the country through Online Property Auctions Scotland during the past two months. According to chief executive George Douglas, this is an increasing trend in the market.

“We are now attracting interest from around the globe, at higher levels than before,” he said. “Among the recent buyers of properties auctioned by us have been investors living in China, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Romania and the USA.

“Prices in Scotland have risen steadily over the past 12 months, despite the pandemic and the obstacles it has caused to viewing. This is due to the market adapting to a more online-based selling system.

“Even with the increase in value, Scotland is still thought of as an area with great growth potential.”

Among the properties purchased by foreign buyers through Online Property Auctions in the past two months are: a flat in Princes Court, Ayr, to a Chinese buyer; a one bedroom flat in George Street, Ayr, to a New York resident; a one bedroom flat in Saracen Street, Glasgow, to a Chinese resident; a three bedroom flat in Millgate Road, Hamilton, to an investor based in Hong Kong; a tenanted commercial property in High Street, Kirkcaldy, to a Saudi-based investor; a two bedroom flat in Jimmy Sneddon Way, Motherwell, to a Romanian resident; and a two bedroom flat in Castlefern Road, Rutherglen, also to a Romanian buyer.

Mr Douglas added: “While the various lockdowns have prevented viewing in a traditional sense, it has led to a greater reliance on online sales. Despite everything that is here, foreigners still see Scotland as a good investment.”

*This article first appeared in The Herald on the 23rd January 2021. Credit Kristy Dorsey.

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Interview with George Douglas CEO of Online Property Auctions Scotland

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a marked decline in traditional property viewings due to social distancing rules.

However, these conditions have allowed Online Property Auctions Scotland, a company specializing in digital property auctions, to thrive.

CEO George Douglas says: “Obviously it’s not been possible to attend live auctions during the pandemic, but we’ve found a very healthy number of regular ballroom auction patrons migrating to our online auctions during the lockdown.

“We don’t charge any fees whatsoever to those looking to sell their property in our auctions, and we offer a speed of sale that estate agents simply can’t manage at the current time.

“We’ve sold properties in all four corners of Scotland in the past year, and we’ve also grown the number of sellers looking to list with us.

“Interestingly many sales were completed with the aid of video viewings etc.”

The company has a wide range of properties, both residential and commercial, presented for sale through auction three times a month.

In recent weeks OPAS have sold several flats in Glasgow, a pub and restaurant portfolio in Cambuslang, along with other property in Paisley, Ayr, Airdrie and Kirkcaldy.

George Douglas adds: “Perhaps the most unusual sale recently was a former church building in rural Perthshire

“The new owners intend to convert it into a stunning family home. It is always refreshing to see people with a dream and vision which will breathe new life into a neglected building.”

Sellers include financial institutions, banks, insolve​ncy practitioners, executory sales, large and small investors as well as private clients who seek a fast, guaranteed sale.

Prospective buyers are provided with a legal pack prepared by the vendor’s solicitor.

It is also always possible to view all of the properties and potential buyers are urged to carry out their own due diligence.

*This article first appeared on Novaloca on the 16th November 2020

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Dundee restaurant owners to turn former Stanley Church into luxury homes after auction purchase

Lauren and Calum Runciman outside the former Stanley Church.

A Tayside couple have revealed plans to turn an historic church into luxury homes.

Lauren and Calum Runciman bought the 200-year-old Stanley Church at auction, after it was given a “terminal diagnosis” and sold off by the Church of Scotland.

It is the latest project for the couple, who run The Giddy Goose and The White Goose restaurants in Dundee.

Lauren, 23, said: “Our plans for the downstairs – which used to be the manse – is to make two apartments. One will have one bedroom and the other will have two bedrooms.

“We also want to convert the main building into a luxury family home.

“We plan to make it a five or six bedroom house with a spa, a gym and such like.”

But despite the significant changes to the building’s interior, the couple don’t want to change the church’s outside appearance.

“We have been doing some research about the church and we want to keep the outside as much the same as possible,” said Lauren.

The couple hope they can complete the two apartments in around six months. They aim to conclude their entire project in around 18 months to two years.

But despite the ongoing pandemic, Lauren and Calum believe restrictions have not been an issue for them.

Lauren said: “It has been a good time to focus on the church in Stanley.

“Our families said we are crazy but we think this is the perfect time to do this.”

Meanwhile, SNP councillor, Grant Laing says he “welcomes” the move.

The Strathtay ward representative said: “I welcome that there is a use for the building.

“I also welcome that the saga is coming to an end and that there will be some use out of it.”

The former church was given a “terminal diagnosis” by building inspectors after it sustained damage during Storm Frank in 2016.

Church of Scotland put the property up for sale as they believed it will cost around £500,000 to make the building safe in the short term and over a million to secure it for the future.

It has remained empty since the storm, but Lauren and Calum hope they can give the building a new lease of life.

*This article first appeared in The Courier on the 9th November 2020

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Abandoned ‘Greek Thomson’ mansion up for auction

An abandoned mansion fit for a millionaire is coming up for auction this month at a heavily discounted price

Abandoned ‘Greek Thomson’ mansion up for auction

The substantial five-bedroom detached villa is situated in the exclusive Dullatur Village near Cumbernauld.

It was bought in December 2005 for £500,000. A few years later the owner is understood to have moved abroad, leaving the home empty and unattended.

It was recently purchased by a developer, who stripped it internally in the first phase of a refurbishment project.

The developer has now had a change of heart and has put the 0.7-acre site up for sale with a guide price of £525,000.

George Douglas of sellers, Online Property Auctions Scotland, said: “This is a rare opportunity to purchase a blank canvas and transform it into the mansion of your dreams.

“This type of property, in terms of location, stature, size and condition, only comes onto the market once in a generation.

“At this price the potential reward for any buyer is massive.”

The property, “Woodend” on Prospect Road, Dullator, is designed in the Greek Thomson style and comes with plans for a gym and a cinema room.

Although it doesn’t go under the hammer until October 15, there has already been huge interest in it.

OPAS say on their website: “The property is in need of full refurbishment.

“It comes with a large detached double garage which contains a bespoke kitchen made for installation which was costed at £30,000.

“This is a very rare opportunity to purchase this fantastic villa and create a stunning, unique family home of character.”

*This article first appeared in The Herald on the 1st October 2020