A day in the life of a valuer25/10/21
Our Senior Chartered Surveyor, Sophie Wall, shares her experience of a typical day in the life of a valuer:
I qualified as a rural chartered surveyor before specialising in valuation of residential, commercial and rural property. Working in valuation means no two days are the same. I can go from valuing a fish and chips shop with a flat over it in a busy town centre in the morning to a parcel of land for glamping in beautiful countryside in the afternoon. As a valuer, it’s important to be able to build a rapport with our clients within the 45 minutes/hour inspection visit to be able to gather as much information about the property and the area as possible. My job is currently two days a week out of the office, often covering hundreds of miles, with three busy days in the office.
I’m usually on the road before 8 am, it always pays to add a bit of contingency to make sure I’m not late to my full day of appointments. After picking up our assistant surveyor Amie, my first stop was a home in Rhyl on the North Wales coast. It required the same level of inspection as a full valuation report but with a very short deadline of just two days. The report was straightforward, only complicated by the feisty little dog in residence, who didn’t take kindly to our presence.
Next visit was to value a roadside takeway in Holyhead. Going behind the scenes in a fast-food shop is not for the faint hearted and does have the power to put you off that particular type of food for life! Luckily, we could move on fairly swiftly to the third and most beautiful property of the day, a £750,000 house on the island of Anglesey.
We returned to the mainland to view a 1930s bungalow which needed full upgrading. This required noting down repair works outstanding so I could calculate a residual valuation. As part of the report, I also had to consider cash value; there was no bathroom or kitchen which means that the property is currently un-mortgageable. I certainly spotted loads of potential, along with dozens of spiders.
Our final visit of the day was to a small shop, with a huge six bedroom house to the rear. I was asked to value on the special assumption of conversion to an HMO (house in multiple occupation). This meant I needed full residential knowledge as well as HMO knowledge. I needed to find evidence for residential transactions as well as evidence for HMO transactions, then also commercial transactions to be able to value the shop. As the property is coastal, HMO’s are few and far between as property tends to get snapped up as second homes or as holiday lets. By this time, it had started to rain and was time to head home. The next day would find me busy in the office, starting to write up a series of reports on today’s findings.
Local knowledge is vital
This day involved driving over 200 miles to very varied locations. I make it my mission to familiarise myself with the markets in every area we work in. We speak to local estate agents regularly too to make sure we can provide well informed advice. This is a busy job, looking at a variety of property types, which means that we regularly use the comparable, investment and residual method of valuation to inform our opinion of value. The diversity of property types (and conditions!) challenges us as valuers and means that we are always prepared for whatever we are faced with – we are yet to find a property we are unable to value.