What was your route into property as a career?
I studied Civil Engineering at university and always had an interest in the built environment. I did some work experience during my studies at various places and was drawn to the property sector. I then went on to graduate in the middle of the recession and took the opportunity to study another year and completed the Real Estate Masters at UWE. Even though the property market was still difficult I was successful in securing my role at Cooke & Arkwright.
Tell us about your work at Cooke & Arkwright
My early years were spent in the Rating Department where I gained invaluable experience working with all asset types, utilising a variety of valuation methods on a daily basis. I then changed my focus to residential development land.
I now deal with residential land instructions across South Wales and beyond. My work ranges from dealing with long term promotion to immediate development opportunities. Development land is a complex discipline where there are number of facets, and we are constantly working with other professionals including lawyers, planners, engineer and architects to bring projects to fruition, which definitely keeps it interesting. I am also a RICS Registered Valuer and undertake valuations of development projects for a variety of clients.
Give us an overview of what an average day for you could entail?
I normally start my day with constructing a daily plan, this helps me to manage and keep tabs on the various live workstreams. Invariably I will need to collaborate with other people whether that be consultants, another surveyor, or clients and so I will spend part of my day speaking to people either in person (pre Covid) or on the phone. For the larger projects we are involved with there are weekly meetings/calls to take stock of progress and these are important to keep consultants aligned to deliver key project milestones.
I still get out to site quite a bit which is vital to be able to advise clients effectively and it’s interesting to see some of the places. I once dealt with the sale of a row of lighthouse cottages which required me to be on the Pembrokeshire coast a couple of days a month during the summer, which was glorious.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
The people. Firstly in the office - there is a good team ethos at Cooke & Arkwright which makes the working day more enjoyable. The wider profession is full of likeminded people also which enables good relationships to be forged and developed. A personable approach and good relationships within the industry help us to deliver the best service to our clients.
What advice would you give someone starting out in property now
My main advice would be to make contact with people in the industry. In my general experience and at Cooke & Arkwright especially there is always the willingness to provide insight or information to people looking to get into the industry. At the beginning of your career these insights and snippets of advice will help you find your way into the right career.
Tell us a bit about your experience working from home
Working from home has been positive on the whole. Our working practices have definitely changed, even though the Covid effect is yet to show its full impact on the markets, the working from home element hasn’t hindered our effectiveness in any way. For me personally, the homeworking set up has allowed me to be a bit more flexible in my working day to fit in other interests such as exercise, which has had a positive effect on work/life balance. I am also currently sporting long hair and a moustache, but don’t know whether that’s a positive or negative.