My car commute to the office takes about half an hour from where I live in Thetford. The journey gives me time to plan and think through the day ahead as the tunes from Radio 1 blast out in the car. If there are property viewings in and around the Thetford area - it’s becoming a very popular area for industrial occupiers - then I will do these, first thing, before heading to the office to action anything as necessary.
The first two hours in the office are spent making calls and dealing with emails. It’s usually the busiest period of the day in terms of the number of activities. It’s one of my favourite times of the working day and not just because it’s accompanied by my first cup of tea.
On the agency surveyor side, the bulk of my office-based work is spent negotiating and progressing deals on behalf of clients we’re representing, be they landlords or occupiers, or dealing with enquiries about current instructions.
With my valuation surveyor’s hat on, this time is spent drafting and reviewing inspection notes and reports. Inspections will often get carried out at the same time as we’ve been commissioned by clients to carry out a valuation. These can be fascinating.
One time, I was accompanying Adrian Browne - who’s one of our Registered Valuers - on a residential portfolio inspection in Ipswich. We’d inspected every room before entering the living room where we found the owners.....asleep! On a recent residential valuation inspection - again with Adrian - there was the biggest-sized dog bone in the kitchen so we were thankful not to encounter the canine creature anywhere in the house during our visit.
I’ve also had to carry out an inspection in a funeral parlour where there was a body lain out in a coffin.
11.00am to 1.00pm
I like to book viewings around this time as it can coincide with a change of scenery for lunch and chance to stretch my legs. As a fairly early riser, I do sneak a pre-noon sandwich as I get really hungry.
It’s generally a sandwich lunch. However, I did attend an open day for two substantial new-build warehouses on the Suffolk Park development in Bury St Edmunds and was treated to a sit-down lunch by the hosts. It proved a good networking opportunity to catch up with fellow agents and surveyors - many of them the same age as me.
Proper lunches are a rarity and us younger agents and surveyors can only wonder at the tales of yore about the long, boozy lunches recalled, rather wistfully, by some of the senior, maturer surveyors.
Afternoons are spent on desk-based tasks and activities. I can be amending reports, compiling marketing details or organising mailouts of property details in response to enquiries about specific property instructions. I find that people respond better to receiving property particulars in the afternoon as they are too busy in the mornings.
5:30pm to 6.00pm
This time is spent ensuring there are no urgent matters outstanding and generally sees me attending to the day’s admin. That could be registering applicants on our database or making sure I have the keys and access arrangements in place for the following day’s visits.
We have a tidy desk policy and having been identified as our office’s second worse culprit, previously, I am now meticulous about tidying up. We deal with an awful lot of confidential - personal and financial - information so it’s imperative this is securely locked away and out of sight.
Evenings can see me making use of promotional vouchers and codes and out to a restaurant with my other half. Or, I can be at the cinema with an old friend from university who shares my taste in films in the way my other half doesn’t.
We’re gradually doing up our house which we bought as a ‘property project’ so we can often be found doing DIY of an evening. We’re making steady progress.
With the lighter evenings now, even our black labrador-retriever cross, Milo - who is twelve - doesn’t mind going out on his walk of the day. He’s such an old boy now so 15 minutes is about all he can manage. His morning walks are a thing of the past and we’re both happy about that.
Steven Mudd, Barker Storey Matthews, email@example.com