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What exactly is General Practice? How do I create a career in this sector?

Written by: Judith Portman
Published on: 12 Apr 2021

Freelance - General Practice (March16)

A General Practice Surveyor’s role is to advise clients on land and property valuations and development, and to assist them in managing letting, buying and selling of properties. You could take a role in either the private or public sector.

What assets do I need to excel in this role?

You need to enjoy working with a diverse group of people and be great at negotiation. Your communication skills need to be excellent and your maths ability.

What qualifications are necessary?

You will need a degree or professional qualification, officially recognised by the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS). You may be able to study on a part-time basis, while simultaneously working as a surveying technician.

What would a normal day entail?

A ‘normal’ day would generally include some of the following:

  • Negotiating contracts and deals relating to the buying, selling and renting of various types of property.
  • You may also act as an agent, buying and selling property and land on behalf of your clients, acting in their best interests, ensuring they get the best deal possible.
  • You will have a responsibility to assess both the environmental impact and the possible economic viability of any such developments.
  • You will be valuing both land and property, therefore it’s essential to keep abreast of all local and national developments in price structures and any interest rate changes that could have an impact on valuations.
  • There is a fair amount of paperwork involved, such as compiling reports for valuation purposes for mortgages, as well as rent reviews and looking at investment potential.
  • You will be responsible for advising clients about property values, land purchase, tenure issues and any related legislation.

Can I specialise in certain areas?

Yes, in any of the following:

  • Development: You would be working alongside other professionals like town planners and architects. You may also work with the highways agency and structural engineers, considering new developments and what financial implications may ensue.
  • Management: This entails having responsibility for managing property on behalf of a landlord, including collection of rent payments, hiring contractors for maintenance and repair of rented properties and ensuring tenancy agreements are followed. (Failure to adhere to tenancy agreements could result in a severe financial loss for the landlord, so this is an extremely important aspect of management.)
  • Investment: Advising clients on all aspects of buying and selling their individual investments or showing them how to manage large property portfolios, sometimes worth millions of pounds.
  • Valuation Office Agency work: This involves having responsibility for valuing property for various bodies such as the government, as well as local authorities and public bodies for the purposes of setting business rates, calculating capital taxation, and purchases and sales.

What Working hours and conditions can I expect?

A general working week is around 40 hours, however in the private sector you may need to work extra hours to meet deadlines or to visit sites and have client meetings. Working in the public sector generally means your hours would be more regular.

Be prepared to work both indoors and on site, so you may be outside in all weather conditions. You may also need to visit clients which could mean spending nights away from home.

I’m excited – how do I get started?

You can become a general practice surveyor in one of the following ways:

  • Degree route: Having a degree in a subject such as estate management, surveying, building or construction, which would then need following up with professional development.

Most general practice surveyors hold a degree accredited by the RICS. If your degree isn’t in a relevant subject, it’s possible to take a postgraduate conversion course. If you’re working in engineering or construction, you can take a distance-learning postgraduate conversion course through The College of Estate Management (CEM).

  • Work-based route: You could start as a trainee surveyor, studying for further qualifications simultaneously.

Do you hold a HNC/HND/foundation degree, in either surveying or construction? You could work as a surveying technician, taking further qualifications to fully qualify. You can also qualify as a chartered surveyor through The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). Various routes are available, depending on your qualifications and experience.

In conclusion:

You need:

  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills.
  • Excellent STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
  • Good negotiating skills.
  • Ability to work as a member of a team and develop and maintain working relationships with other professionals.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Commercial awareness.
  • Good maths skills.

If you are interested in working within the General Practice sector within property - check out the current opportunities that are on our site.