Fact V Fiction: Surveying The Truth

AssetSkills presents a factual account of the realities of life working in the property sector

The recent television documentary highlighting some of the more unscrupulous professionals in the estate agency world has done little to improve public perception and confidence in an industry that was already - unfairly - regarded with some suspicion. But away from the spotlight, the majority of firms are run professionally, honestly and with integrity. Money is regularly invested in staff training and qualifications, and firms pride themselves on providing recruits with clear career progression.

Walking down any high street you will no doubt find a handful of agents offering sales and letting services, all competing for your custom. As you don't need to use an agent to sell your home or let your property, they have to compete not only on price but also their professionalism, customer care, knowledge and experience in dealing with property law. Seen by many as a profession that anyone can enter with few or no qualifications, this level of professionalism can only be achieved through hard work and a clear and structured training programme. Whilst some who become estate agents may have left school with no formal qualifications, there are many others who have come through a more traditional A-level route.

Despite popular myth, being an estate agent isn't about driving around in a fast car valuing properties and encouraging clients to gazump each other; rather, it's the opposite. The first few months will see time spent understanding the legal process of buying and selling homes as well as customer service practices, with courses often being undertaken in-house and on the job.

The majority of a new recruit's workload will involve taking instructions, booking valuers and dealing with the administrative side of the sales process to ensure that they gain a full understanding of the procedures involved, whilst working closely with the legal teams responsible for conveyance. Obviously viewing properties with potential customers also forms a large part of any estate agent's day, and the willingness to interact with the public and have good communication skills are vital to an agent's success.

There are a number of National and Scottish Vocational Qualifications that those new to the industry will be required to undertake as part of their induction into the role. This then culminates into a fully fledged qualification and membership of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA). The NAEA ensures that certain codes of practice are adhered to and rules of conduct are met, safeguarding clients and their interests.

For those interested in property and the law surrounding it, a career in estate agency can be very rewarding and, with enough hard work, the financial rewards can be substantial.

Surveying is another career in the property sector to be considered. It can offer a wealth of opportunities and variety rarely seen within other industries. The popular perception that the surveying industry is made up of men who go around counting bricks or measuring buildings only goes a small way to telling part of the story.

Whilst it is true that the industry has traditionally been male dominated, more and more women are undertaking surveying degrees and qualifications, and securing high-level positions across the profession. Year on year the number of women entering the profession is steadily rising.

The opportunities available to a qualified surveyor are numerous. Obviously there is a demand for those who value properties and manage corporate leases, but these portfolios are far from being dull and can be worth millions of pounds, offering a variety of challenges. They are usually the lifeblood of an organisation and its success.

The planning, management, numeracy, communication and organisational skills required to be a surveyor means that those within the industry are perfectly equipped to undertake multi-million pound projects. These could include the design and layout of pop festivals, becoming involved in environmental issues, providing innovative solutions to housing shortages and responsibility for major projects such as Terminal 5 at Heathrow.

The traditional entry route has been through a relevant degree, followed by a professional qualification for membership to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). There are also a limited number of opportunities for entrants securing a surveying degree through on-the-job experience and support from the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust (CSST), again concluding in an RICS professional qualification.

Surveying graduates are among the highest paid with a purported £24,000 three years after graduation. This is another key selling point to those interested in a challenging, varied and sociable career and, as such, the higher they climb the greater the rewards.


* For further information on the various careers within the property sector log onto

* For a list of over 700 job profiles and information on relevant courses in your area visit /featured/assetskillsintro/ or call 08000 567160

* Latest news and up-to-date information is available from the National Association of Estate Agents. Log on to their website at

* Visit the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors at

* The Chartered Surveyors Training Trust provides advanced apprenticeships in the main fields of surveying - building surveying, quantity surveying, general practice and facilities. Visit

* Asset Skills, at, is the Sector Skills Council for the property, housing, cleaning and facilities management industries

David Beckham
peopleFootballer joins No campaign
Angel Di Maria
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
newsIn short, yes
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Secondary School Teachers in Ipswich

Competitive & Flexible: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education are l...

Primary NQTs

£80 - £114 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Newly qualified teachers requi...


£80 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: KS1 & 2 Primary teachers urgen...

Reception Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is the UK mark...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories