Q: How did your career in the property sector start?
NW: On leaving school at the age of 18, I went straight to work for one of London’s largest corporate estate agents. During my seven years there, I was responsible for managing and training a team of property consultants, focusing on client management and career development. I worked on a huge variety of property types and specifications.
As I had not attended university, I wanted a qualification that would enhance my status and mean I was recognised as a property professional. I also wanted to build on my love for property and my practical knowledge base.
Q: What happened next?
NW: I applied for a position as a trainee surveyor with Arnold and Baldwin, a firm of general practice surveyors specialising in property surveys and valuations throughout London and the South East of England. Its managing director, Joe Arnold, sits on several RICS working groups, including the Residential Survey and Valuation Group.
Because I had more than four years of relevant experience in the sector, I was taken on by Arnold and Baldwin which has a graduate training programme. This provided an intensive course of training on the job with local surveyors, who guided and mentored me to the point of being able to submit an application for the accreditation of AssocRICS.
The practical assessment phase included a 2000-word submission on technical and mandatory competencies, an ethics test and a case study, which comprised surveys of a variety of properties and valuations using the comparable, residual and investment methods. I had to supply supporting evidence including detailed analysis desktop research and a comprehensive method statement.
I was also enrolled on the classroom learning part of the Sava course. This is intended for candidates who may not have a degree or have previously made different career choices. It aims to produce competent,confident, residential surveyors.
When I had completed the course satisfactorily I was awarded the Sava Diploma in Residential Surveying and Valuation. As this is approved for direct entry into RICS, I have now gained AssocRICS membership through the Residential Survey and Valuation pathway.
Q: What does your daily routine involve now you are qualified?
NW: Now I balance my time between conducting inspections, carrying out valuations and writing reports. I have also been involved in growing the new business development department of the firm.
This includes meeting for example estate agents and lawyers to maintain existing relationships and expand the firm's client base.
Q: Has your previous senior role in estate agency helped you in your new career and if so how?
NW: Having spent so many years in estate agency, I empathise with potential homeowners, and can see the importance of a qualified surveyor's advice to them when it comes to deciding whether to proceed with a purchase. I also believe it helps me understand and communicate with everyone involved – particularly estate agents - to make the whole process as stress-free and easy as possible.
Q: What happens now you have attained AssocRICS status?
NW: Arnold and Baldwin wanted me to benefit from the knowledge available to continue my professional development. There are several Sava graduates working in the firm and they are among its most talented surveyors.
Nathanael Watchorn AssocRICS is a surveyor with Arnold and Baldwin