What is the appeal of a brand-new house? Is it the fact you get a blank canvas on which to create the home of your dreams, or is it the intelligent use of space that attracts buyers?
The truth is that, when it comes to choosing a new property, anything could tip the balance for a potential purchaser, from the location of the development to the size of the en-suite bathroom.
Assessing the merits of individual properties and their ability to deliver a high-quality product is a job for the judges in The Herald Property Awards for Scotland 2012 in association with YourPlace Property Management. And in two categories in particular, developers will be hoping they have done enough to secure the judges' votes.
Those are Best Family Home, sponsored by Space and Time Media, and Best Apartment sponsored by Ross & Liddell.
Last year Cruden Homes West scooped both these awards.
They won Best Family Home for The Melrose at Govan Gateway and Best Apartment for Park Court, also in Govan.
Liz Mallon, sales and marketing manager at Cruden Homes, says: "We were absolutely delighted to win in both these important categories and the fact we also won Property Innovation of the Year for our UPS initiative at Govan Gateway, which was designed to assist first-time buyers, meant that last year's awards dinner was a very special night for Cruden Homes."
NHS community mental health nurse Chris Carter, who bought his home at Park Court, says: "When I looked at these apartments, I was amazed at how much space was on offer for the price -tag."
Meanwhile interior designer Brian Irvine, who was commissioned by Cruden Homes to style the interior of their Melrose home, was so impressed by the property that he actually bought one.
"As soon as I stepped through the front door, I fell in love with the space," says Brian. "From the outside it looked small, but it is actually like a Tardis on the inside. There is loads of storage space, which is a real selling point, and because there are two bathrooms, I've been able to rent out one of the three bedrooms to my old flatmate."
Brian's home is part of a crescent, with landscaped gardens to the front, and judges were impressed by the fact the property provided almost 1,200 sq ft of well-planned living space for a price of just £130,000.
The development is just minutes from the M8 and a short walk from the subway, and according to Brian, the crescent has turned into a real community.
"I can honestly say I have spoken to my neighbours more since I moved in here than I did in the 14 years at my previous address."
Choosing between the contenders is always difficult for the judges but last year the task to find just one winner in the Individual New Build or Best Renovation Project category proved impossible and in the end it was shared by two very different developments.
In the south side of
Glasgow, Govanhill Housing Association's transformation of a small gap site into a residential home for people with dementia was proof that good architecture can have an impact on individual lives.
Each of the 17 bedrooms at Bankhall Court has a balcony and there is also a roof garden where residents can meet and benefit from the open air.
Colour coding has been used to differentiate between the living and dining spaces on the ground floor and the bedrooms on the higher levels, while stained-glass panels by artist John Clark are illuminated to add interest to the exterior at night.
Meanwhile, in Bridge of Allan, Crammond Select Homes won plaudits for their conversion of B-listed Chalmers Church and the adjacent church hall into a mixture of duplex and triplex apartments and townhouses, each filled with character but designed for 21st-century living.
Best Show Home
For properties under 1800 sq ft. Sponsored by Daw Signs.
Judges will look for a design that is appropriate for the property and its potential purchasers and which enhances the home's interior space. Style, colour, fabrics, fixtures and fittings and unusual features are some of the qualities being rewarded.
Best Luxury Show Home
For properties more than 1800 sq ft.
This category will reward homes at the top end of the market. The best luxury home will combine quality fixtures and fittings with a tasteful design scheme to create a sumptuous interior that reflects the property's size.
Best Luxury Home
For developers building more than 50 units per year. Sponsored by s1homes.com.
This award rewards spacious and stylish properties. Design, quality of finish, landscaping, fixtures and fittings and location will be combined to create a spacious and well-designed home.
Best Luxury Home
For developers building less than 50 units per year.
This is open to builders who specialise in creating unique, luxury homes in prestigious locations. Consideration will be given to an innovative design, craftsmanship, quality of materials as well as the property's sustainability.
Best Family Home
Sponsored by Space and Time Media.
Affordability, good value and meeting the needs of a family with children are key. Judges will be looking for adaptability, space saving, safety and convenience in a well-located property built with the family in mind.
Sponsored by Ross + Liddell.
For all sizes of apartment. Judges will look for site layout, design, presentation, storage, communal areas, usability and value for money.
Individual New Build or Best Renovation Project
An individual new build with outstanding environmental credentials, a conversion to fit a specific need or a sympathetic restoration project using traditional or modern skills – this award will highlight projects which stand out and may address unique needs.
Property Innovation of the Year
This category will reward innovative developers who are finding new ways of attracting customers, by using financial, technical, contractual or marketing innovations. The innovation should, however, have been launched and be available within the entry period guidelines.
Professional Adviser of the Year
This award will recognise an individual or business that supports the home building industry in Scotland. Entrants must be able to demonstrate a record of quality advice and service that has benefits to the market and clients. Examples could be: architects, surveyors, accountants, financial services or designers.
Best Regeneration Project
Open to projects of all sizes, as well as public and private sector companies and partnerships. Entries should show innovative use of brown field sites as well as design and consideration for green issues. The project should demonstrate value for money and how the area has been revitalised for those who live and work there.
Social Housing Development of the Year. Sponsored by YourPlace Property Management.
This is open to registered social landlords in Scotland. The judges will be looking for evidence of a social housing development that has impacted positively on the lives of residents and contributed towards regeneration. Consideration will be given to the use of sustainable materials and building techniques, as well as the impact on the local environment.
Development of the Year. Presented by Scotland's Homes.
Site layout, design, range of house types and amenities are key. Judges will be looking for a development that has been carefully planned to make the most of its location.
Go for gold
If you would like to enter The Herald Property Awards for Scotland 2012 you can download an entry form online at www.heraldscotland.com/propertyawards12 or telephone 0141 302 7319
Book a place now
The Herald Property Awards for Scotland 2012 will take place on Thursday September 13, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow. Arrival is at 7pm for a Champagne reception. The evening is an important and popular date in the house building industry's calendar and tables are once again expected to be in high demand. Tables of 10 are available for £900 + VAT. Ticket price includes champagne reception, three-course dinner with coffee, ceremony and entertainment. Details can be found at
www.heraldscotland.com/propertyawards12 To book, call Victoria Scott on 0141 302 7319 or email Victoria.Scott@heraldandtimes.co.uk