One-on-One Interview: Calum Stewart of Richmond Homes
Name and business title: Calum Stewart: Owner and Managing Director, Richmond Homes Ltd.
What regions do you cover? We primarily build new homes in east and central Scotland and the Scottish Borders; currently we have three developments in Perthshire and one in Fife. We also provide a design and build service for bespoke homes and renovation projects in Edinburgh.
What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas? Like all building companies at the luxury end of the market, we have experienced a downturn in demand for new homes in the past few years. However we are still here and are pleased to be experiencing an upturn in smaller-sized luxury developments in rural areas and bespoke luxury homes and renovations in the cities and are hopeful this will be a continuing trend.
What types of properties is your firm developing? Richmond Homes builds high quality luxury family homes in the best locations we can find. Our current developments are from two to nine homes with three- to five-bedrooms and spacious living areas with high quality specifications. We also provide bespoke luxury homes for individual clients which is increasingly a buoyant market for the company.
How much does a new home by Richmond Homes cost to buy? A new home from Richmond Homes can cost from £300,000 to over £1 million, depending on the aspirations of the customer.
Is your company currently offering any incentives or discounts to homebuyers? Incentives and discounts are not really relevant to our smaller, niche marketplace. We endeavour to ensure that a Richmond home is very competitively priced for the quality of the construction and finish. Our customers have the flexibility to make their home unique in terms of specification and finish to suit their own tastes, styles and budgets
Why should more buyers consider buying a new build home as opposed to older property? For our customers who have a clear idea of design, layout and location, they really can have their ideal home by building new. In addition there are definite economic benefits to building a new home; the lifetime cost of owning a new property will be considerably less than that of an older one given the higher energy efficiency of new builds, leading to smaller utility bills. Also the modern products and materials used in the construction of new homes results in greatly reduced maintenance costs.
There are also ecological benefits; the maintenance of a new home is less demanding on natural resources and the low heating costs are important for this reason too. We offer a range of "green" solutions for our customers; this aspect of our new home design is growing in demand day by day.
Is it worth buying property during the off-plan stage of construction? Yes, it is worth customers buying off-plan as they can bespoke their new home should they wish. We try to be as flexible as possible in customising a house type to our customers own specific needs. For example they can choose to amend the layout, alter the electrical and lighting plan and choose the type of fittings in the bathrooms and kitchens as well as introduce ecological elements.
Which of Richmond Homes current developments do you think stands the best chance of winning a What House Award? We would hope that Richmond Homes "Wood of Coldrain" Development at Kinross in Perthshire would have a good chance of winning a What House? Award.
We are very proud of the style of the overall development as well as the individual innovative design of the four house types. The use of natural materials such as Scottish larch and reclaimed local stone and slate is a particularly attractive aspect of the development. The location was carefully chosen, with beautiful panoramic views of the local countryside yet within easy commuting distance of major towns and cities. This provides our customers with the best of country living with all the benefits of city life just a short distance away.