Row of cows at farm in Shropshire

Five minutes with… Ed Merriman, Director

06/09/21Five minutes with… Ed Merriman, Director

When and how did you decide to pursue a career in land and property surveying?

I loved farming, but I had always been interested in property. After speaking to a career’s advisor, it seemed that becoming a rural surveyor would allow me to combine my interests in both farming and property. After leaving secondary school, I went on to study the Rural Enterprise and Land Management course at Harper Adams University.

What advice would you give to someone interested in following the same career path as you?

If you have an interest in the countryside and property, becoming a rural surveyor will be an enjoyable career for you. It’s not easy, and you have to work hard, but every day is so varied and you are constantly learning something new. You will also get to meet people from many different walks of life.

How did you first hear about Forge Property Consultants?

I first heard about Forge Property Consultants during my time at Harper Adams University. Back then, Forge was just starting out on its journey to where it is today. Over the years I was kept aware of the growth of Forge via my good friend Tom Mason, who has been at Forge since its early days.

What do you love most about working with Forge Property Consultants?

Working within an ambitious and supportive team. Everyone works hard and supports one another, but they also all have a good sense of humour too.

Which has been your most interesting or rewarding property to survey/value?

All properties are uniquely different, so they are all interesting in their own way. In terms of valuation, you have to be attuned to the diverse nature of market demand and valuation drivers affecting different types of property, that can be an interesting challenge in itself.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your role so far?

Familiarising myself with a new way of working and office procedures. Forge tries to run a largely paperless office, which is certainly better for the environment, and I think that it promotes more efficient way of working as well.

What does ‘a day in the life of a Director’ at the new South Wales office entail?

I could give a different answer for each day of the week! The work pattern of a rural surveyor is very varied. I could be out inspecting a farm, a residential property, and/or a commercial unit in the morning, and then back at my desk completing professional reports in the afternoon. I also meet clients and third party professionals, such as solicitors and accountants, when undertaking certain instructions.

A working day is never boring, and more often than not you wish that you could squeeze more hours into the day to get what you want done. Now that I am Director, this does bring an added level of responsibility in terms of work management, but I am enjoying the challenge of it.

What advice do you have for buyers and sellers in today’s property market?

It’s very much a seller’s market at the moment in terms of property transactions, with demand exceeding supply in many property sectors. For this reason, anyone thinking of selling their property has a great opportunity to maximise the value of their asset, with sales often being agreed within a short space of time after the commencement of marketing.

On the other hand, for buyers, the situation is trickier because there seems to be a great deal of competition for most properties that come to the market. This has seen an increase in sale prices for most property types across the country. Understandably, many buyers are concerned as to whether or not this will be a continuing trend, and they are uncertain as to whether they should buy now or wait until market conditions have cooled somewhat before making a property investment. Unfortunately, nobody can accurately predict what the future will hold. Although, history has generally shown property to be a good investment in most circumstances.

Individual buyers have to consider their own longer term needs to determine what level of investment risk they are comfortable with, before making a decision about buying a property.

Why do you think Wales and the West Midlands have so much to offer in terms of interesting properties?

Many parts of coastal and rural Wales have long been desired as holiday and retirement destinations for people. There is a significant amount of good quality period and modern properties available, and those that do become available for sale are often keenly sought after by purchasers both near and far alike. I can’t see that trend changing, particularly in the near future, as many town and city dwellers appear keen on relocating to coastal and rural Wales after the impact and perceived risks of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Welsh tourism and food sectors also seem to be having an impact upon demand, with both sectors going from strength to strength.

The West Midlands is strongly associated with England’s industrial past, with many good quality period properties built around the time of the industrial revolution having been maintained and/or renovated to a good standard in the well-serviced towns and cities. There are also some attractive character properties situated within the rural areas, with the likes of Shropshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire being traditional heartlands for English farming. These latter areas provide scenic countryside and charming villages, which is attractive for all manner of purchasers.

It should also be borne in mind that many good quality modern properties have been developed within the West Midlands in recent years. It is likely that property demand will also increase here in time given then development of improved transport links such as HS2.

How do you think your love of countryside pursuits has helped you with assisting with rural property management?

It’s been very beneficial because it has allowed me to mix with clients and other professionals who enjoy the same activities. From a personal point of view, it has certainly allowed me to network and obtain work, but I also think that it has been helpful to gain a better understanding of those individuals and form good relationships with them.

Find out more about the rest of the Forge team here

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