Buying a new house can be a positive experience. Just ask anyone who has swapped a mature property for one that has been designed for 21st-century living.
But new developments have the power to do more than improve the lives of individuals. They can also be a force for good for entire communities.
You just need to look at some of the winning entries in last year's Herald Property Awards for Scotland.
In three categories in particular, Best Regeneration Project, Social Housing Development of the Year and Development of the Year, the accolades went to projects that have had a significant impact on both individuals and whole neighbourhoods.
Now judges in The Herald Property Awards for Scotland 2012 in association with YourPlace Property Management will be looking for evidence of similar improvements to the lives of individuals and neighbourhoods.
Last year Bield Housing & Care's seven-storey retirement complex of 27 spacious apartments at Pearce Street in Govan was voted Social Housing Development of the Year.
All the modern flats have level-access showers, high-level security features and views across the Clyde.
A spokesman for Bield Housing & Care said: "This proves that housing for older people does not mean old-fashioned design."
In the Development of the Year category the winner was Blochairn Place, a project that replaced an old tar depot in the north-east of Glasgow, with 100 new homes and offices for Blochairn Housing Association
The judges praised the development for its "clever design of a difficult space" and for being "a superb example of appropriate urban density".
Michael Carberry, director of Blochairn Housing Association, said: "We transformed an industrial dump into a bright, modern housing development, exceptional in its construction and design.
"The team did tremendously well to bring in a £12 million development ahead of schedule and on budget.
"It shows that a small, community-owned housing association, managed by local volunteers, can deliver a quality product. Winning the Development of the Year Award was a fitting tribute to everyone involved and it has given the whole community a real boost."
Twenty-three problematic, maisonette blocks in Linwood were replaced by 190 family homes, 23 of which are wheelchair accessible, in Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association's £26m redevelopment project.
Carried out in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Government, it was named Best Regeneration Project of 2011.
Among those whose lives have been touched by the project is Mary Murphy who is one of about 450 Linwood residents rehoused in the new properties. The gran-of-two now lives in a two-bedroom bungalow on Cowal Drive with her husband William.
Mary, 59, says: "I've lived in Linwood for 45 years and think the regeneration's brilliant – the area's much better than before. We're now warm in the winter and can enjoy a garden in the summer. Everyone now takes a lot of pride in their homes."
All the homes have generous living space, while the larger, family houses have en-suite bathrooms. Most of the properties are for rent but a number are available for shared equity.
Eileen Fowler lives with her husband Robert, 50, and their daughters Ailidh, five, two-year-old Amy and six-month-old Robert in Bridge of Weir Road.
Eileen, 28, said: "We moved here from a two-bedroom flat in August 2009 and are absolutely delighted.
"The home is lovely and warm and has loads of space for us to raise a family. I had never had a house with stairs or a garden before so this is like night and day.
"Our neighbours are great and the regeneration has helped create a real sense of community. The reduced bills are a huge bonus, too – our house is cheaper to heat than our old flat."
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
There are 12 categories this year, including, for the first time, the new category of Professional Adviser of the Year. Full details of how to enter can be found at www.heraldscotland.com/propertyawards12.
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.
web_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.
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