Property insider view: Katrina Candy, Bidwells property consultants' head of communications for Scotland

Job title Head of communications (Scotland) with Bidwells property consultants.

Bidwells' Katrina Candy
Bidwells' Katrina Candy

Bidwells buys, sells, manages, advises and negotiates on all aspects and types of property. We’re at the forefront of the forestry, energy and renewables, land management and rural agency sectors, providing a complete property advisory service.

We work with a diverse client base – from private individuals to institutional investors, all seeking to maximise returns from their assets.

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In 2020, Bidwells’ Scotland team posted a record turnover, which is amazing given the challenges we have all faced.

How did you get started? I’ve always had a personal interest, having developed houses since the mid-1990s.

My journey to this position began as a newspaper reporter before moving into internal comms for John Lewis.

Prior to joining Bidwells in 2015, I was head of PR for the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust for 13 years, which really opened my eyes to who owns what in Scotland.

I suppose I have quite a unique skill set in understanding – in depth – the land uses that shape this country, what affects them and who’s involved.

My journalistic background has been invaluable in really getting to the heart of an issue and I’m always keen to find out more.

Importantly, it’s realising that property isn’t just houses – and every square metre of this country is managed to some degree.

What is your typical day like? In any given week, I can be working across all communication channels – writing a media release about a stand-out rural estate we are about to bring to market, organising a “hot ticket” industry event with senior politicians, or editing a video about climate change mitigation for digital usage.

Being head of communications for Bidwells is a hugely varied job and requires a broad, yet detailed, understanding of the markets that we work in.

I’m a creative, so really enjoy finding the story and an interesting hook to engage people. There’s a lot going on and I have to be organised – lists are my best friends!

What is the best property you bought or sold for a client? We are just about to bring to the market a completely unique property on the banks of Loch Nevis.

It’s not just the breathtaking location, it’s the vendors who are fascinating and I’m really excited to be working with adventuring legend Tom McClean and his wife, Jill, to sell Ardintigh Bay. Tom has lived and worked there for 50 years and it’s very special.

What is your favourite type of property? I don’t have a favourite type as such – having renovated very old houses and just completed our own new-build, I’m very open to design and appreciate many styles.

What grabs me about a property can be something very small, an architectural detail or quirkiness which makes a house individual. I like a house to breathe in its surroundings and have enough space to show itself off, regardless of its size.

I do love some of the architecture in San Francisco but equally value Bauhaus functionality and I really like a rustic Scandi look.

Where do you live? I live in the Carse of Gowrie, Perthshire. We moved here 20 years ago, originally to a very old cottage on which we built a two-storey extension, effectively more than doubling its size. We built it very sensitively and it works really well in its village surroundings.

We decided to sell that family home without a real plan and were very fortunate that friends of ours offered us a plot with a derelict cottage only about a mile away. It’s taken us five years to build, once we negotiated buying the land, the planning system and jumped through all the other hoops.

Plus, we built most of it ourselves, so it really is a labour of love –definitely worth it, but not so sure we’d do it again.

How is the market in 2021? There is such buoyancy in the rural housing market, as well as forestry and a definite surge in interest for the renewables sector, so it’s full steam ahead for Bidwells which is very encouraging.

We’re also spearheading a new sustainable investment and carbon strategy service, which is facilitating that important connection between landowners, investors and industry all keen to mitigate climate change and deliver net-zero benefits through positive carbon capture projects.

It’s a really exciting time and I think there’s big changes ahead for how property is managed.

Any charity work/extra activities that you or the company do? As a firm, we’re supporting Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance and CHAS (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland).

I’m currently training for another Macmillan Mighty Hike in August, so I’m hoping for good weather. I’m on the precipice of publishing my third children’s book for charity. All profits from the sale of the books benefit the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, and they have been so well received it makes me quite emotional.

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