This article appeared in the ESPC magazine in June 2023.
It tells of one person’s experience of buying and selling in the Minto in the Scottish Borders.
“The Scottish Borders is a picturesque part of Scotland with a scenic landscape that attracts walkers, cyclists and those who love the outdoors with top-class fishing spots, a beautiful coastline and woodland.
In 2010, antiques specialist Rob Armstrong was hunting for a new property to showcase his finds when he came across the Old Schoolhouse in Minto – a pretty conservation village in the Borders, set between the neighbouring towns of Jedburgh and Hawick.
The property was built in 1838 by renowned architect William Henry Playfair who built the majority of Edinburgh’s eastern New Town and some of the Capital’s most famous buildings, such as the neoclassical National Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy. It was later extended in 1889 when a Gothic-style schoolroom was added.
Rob used the ESPC website to find the house which has amazing views of the Teviot Valley as well as an expansive garden with rhododendrons and fruit trees, but it was the schoolroom that first drew Rob to the property.
“The main house needed upgrading but it was a great project,” he explains. “It has great views and someone could spend £1 million on it to make it amazing, but I just spent what I had on it.”
Rob started the renovations by adding central heating and ripped out the 70s-style carpets and replaced them with solid oak flooring, as well as adding a sunroom and landscaping the garden.
Rob says: “The garden was a lot of work, but it was one of the things that made the property so special. “Location is key with everything – if it doesn’t have the view, you’re wasting your money.
“Living in the Borders is like going back in time – it’s extremely beautiful and it has an amazing microclimate, it’s one of the driest parts of Scotland, especially in Kelso. You can get to Edinburgh quickly, or Berwick for the beach. It’s a great place to bring up a family.
“I have a three-strike rule – if there are three great things about a property, you’re fine. The Schoolhouse has character, location and views so it was a no-brainer to purchase it.”
Rob used the main residence as a four-bedroom family home while running a holiday let apartment based around the 19th-century Baronial-style living room. There are additional Shepherds Huts in the grounds which Rob turned into a glamping business, but he decided to sell the property last summer.
“The Old Schoolhouse didn’t sell as quickly as we thought but it was a tricky market at the time. The property could have been sold as a business or a family home,” Rob says.
“Some people thought they were paying a premium but it’s a great property and people who came to view it were blown away by the beauty of it.”
The home was sold by Borders-based ESPC solicitor estate agent Hastings. In Rob’s opinion it’s important to use a local solicitor estate agent, adding: “Hastings know the market here, they are brilliant. I first used them 15 years ago when another agent badly advised me on value and failed to sell my property. Hastings is proactive with finding customers from outside the Borders.”
Rob eventually found a buyer who fell in love with the property: “The buyer is an elderly lady who likes antiques,” he says. “She’s going to make it her retirement home but she hasn’t moved in yet.”
Rob has some key advice for other sellers: “There’s no substitute for using a good local firm as you get what you pay for.
“You need to go to a well-established local firm who know what people want and they can advertise outside the Borders.
“Big national companies don’t give a personal service – you need someone who understands the market and how it works.”
This article appeared in the June 2023 issue of the ESPC magazine. Find out more about the ESPC magazine and read the latest issue online.
“There’s no substitute for using a good local firm as you get what you pay for.”Rob's advice to Sellers
Hastings Legal are trusted and long-established Solicitor Estate Agents in the Scottish Borders.
• Selling your property with a Solicitor Estate Agent means you have control of the process from start to finish.
• Our Virtual Viewing Video Tours are the New Normal for a first viewing and are included for no extra charge.
• Our extensive database of purchasers who are looking to buy their dream home in this area is at your disposal.
• Professional photographs as standard
• We regularly achieve more than the Home Report Value for our Sellers, often at Closing Date
“You need to go to a well-established local firm who can advertise outside the Borders.” Rob's advice to Sellers
It’s never too early to call Hastings Legal, Solicitors and Estate Agents in the Scottish Borders
* only Solicitor Estate agents can advertise in ESPC – the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre
““Big national companies don’t give a personal service – you need someone who understands the market and how it works.” Rob's advice to Sellers
Would you like to sell your house?