Row of cows at farm in Shropshire

Five minutes with…Andrew Parker, Senior Surveyor

03/04/23Five minutes with…Andrew Parker, Senior Surveyor

How did you come to specialise in valuation?

I built up broad experience with general practice surveying, but ended up taking on more and more valuation work as it seems to suit how my mind works. The variety of work also means it’s always interesting. In the same day, in the morning I could be visiting a wide variety of residential dwellings, from a little flat to a five bedroom house, and then in the afternoon I can find myself going around some industrial units. You certainly never know what you’re doing to uncover, particularly if a property has been empty for some years. On one occasion I found an old World War Two service revolver, which was a little unexpected to say the least!

What are the challenges when it comes to valuing a property?

Valuation is not always straightforward. When it comes to retail for example, in some of our smaller towns or villages there may be next to no transactional evidence to support the valuation. This is the case when businesses haven’t changed hands for years, perhaps even for generations. The quirkiness of some residential properties also makes valuation tricky sometimes, as what makes a building appealing to one buyer may put another buyer off completely. You might think, as an example, that if a house has its own swimming pool, this would be a huge selling point and would massively increase its value. On the contrary, for every buyer who is excited at the prospect of owning their own pool, there will always be at least one who is really deterred by the prospect of the maintenance it will require.

How can a vendor increase the value of their property?

I’m often asked what people should do to their homes to increase the value when it comes to selling. Again, this is actually not a very easy question to answer. Generally speaking, flashes of very individual taste, are more likely than not to put buyers off. So, if you are looking to upgrade a kitchen or bathroom to increase the saleability of a property, rather than its value, it’s a good idea to keep to plain and simple designs, rather than something a bit quirkier, which you may think adds character, but others may disagree, which will restrict its marketability.

What’s the valuation market like at the moment?

The residential market has continued to be very busy due to pent-up demand over lockdown, when it was difficult to move anywhere. We’ll have to wait and see what happens as the cost of living crisis starts to bite. We may find that more people want to sit tight for a while rather than commit to a move, but some homeowners may find that interest rate increases have made mortgage renewals unaffordable, which may mean they need to move.

The industrial market is really strong in our regions, and shows no signs of slowing. Again, it’s a question of keeping a watching brief as to what happens to interest rates. In the world of retail, locations vary. Shrewsbury High Street for instance is looking very resilient, with lots of local shops thriving and very few vacancies. Town centres with smaller units are definitely less exposed than those that have lost their big occupiers. These empty spaces won’t stay empty forever and it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens with those.

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