A commercial/residential surveyor deals with all aspects of residential and/or commercial property in both the private and public sectors. Principal activities are related to the management, purchase, sale, or leasing of land and property, as well as valuing and surveying property. The surveyor may act as an agent, broker or auctioneer during a sale and may also carry out contract negotiations between landlords and tenants. Commercial/residential surveyors may specialize in: development; investments; planning; consultancy. Consultants may work in private practice, for a local authority or other public sector organization or they may be self-employed.


Typical Work Activities

  • Valuing properties by applying expert knowledge and awareness of the local property market.
  • Taking accurate measurements of sites and premises.
  • Assessing the impact of a major development in terms of economic viability and environmental impact.
  • Purchasing land and securing funding.
  • Visiting sites at all stages of development, from green field to foundations and completed buildings.
  • Writing detailed reports on property for purposes such as rent reviews, investment potential, valuations for mortgages and other purposes, marketability and building surveys.
  • Negotiating with confidence, orally and in writing, on issues such as rents.
  • Selling and buying properties and sites on behalf of clients.
  • Applying appropriate law for landlord and tenant negotiations and enforcing health and safety regulations.
  • Assessing properties for business rates, capital taxation, acquisitions and disposals.
  • In the case of surveyors specialising in investment: advising clients on the purchase and sale of individual investments and managing large property portfolios.
  • In the case of surveyors specialising in management: managing all kinds of property on behalf of a landlord to meet the landlord’s contractual obligations, ensuring compliance with the conditions of the tenancy, collecting rents and handling building maintenance and repair.
  • In the case of surveyors specialising in development: working closely with other professionals such as highways and structural engineers, town planners and architects, in considering new developments.


Technical Skills

  • Enthusiasm and commitment.
  • Good oral and written communication.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Numeracy.
  • Readiness to take responsibility and act on your own initiative.
  • Teamworking skills.
  • The ability to remain calm under pressure.
  • Confidence in your own judgement.
  • The ability to confidently develop and maintain a network of professional contacts.

Many of the jobs in surveying require physical mobility to survey a site, a building under construction or an inaccessible part of a residential property. A driving licence is usually essential, unless you are working in a defined urban area, such as a city local authority.


Career Development

As a chartered surveyor, you may move employers to gain more experience and broaden your skills. You will usually have specialized in either commercial or residential surveying and will normally stay within that area, it is rare for surveyors to move between the private and public sectors. In the public sector, you may work for: local authorities; universities; hospital trusts; or government posts. In the private sector you could work for different size practices in order to gain different experiences. Some large organizations may own considerable numbers of premises or have dealings in property development. If you work in a large private sector firm you may have the opportunity to become an associate or salaried partner. You may also be invited to put money into the firm to become an equity partner, where you would directly share the profits. You may decide to specialise in a particular area such as: investment; development; land; property; plant and machinery auctioning; and valuing and auctioning of fine arts and antiques which is quite feasible, after you have gained experience, to set up in business on your own, and manage this either as a sole trader working from home or in partnership with other surveyors.



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