James Carruthers has recently been shortlisted at the RICS Matrics Young Surveyor of the Year Awards and we couldn’t be prouder! We sat down to catch up with him and to learn a little bit more about his career in the property industry.
Hi James, firstly, congratulations for being shortlisted in the Valuation category at the RICS Matrics Young Surveyor of the Year – what a fantastic accolade. Can you let us know a little bit about your career journey?
Thank you very much! I started at George F. White as a Graduate Rural Surveyor in 2020 after completing a Masters in Rural Estate Management. I was based in the Wolsingham office and worked my way through my APC, qualifying as a Chartered Rural Surveyor in 2013.
Despite my early training and career being largely rural based, I became really interested in commercial property and my career naturally started progressing in that direction. I officially moved over to the George F. White Commercial team in 2017 and focus is predominantly commercial valuation advice.
It is great to see how the commercial team have developed over the years to have played a part in that. We have built good relationships with corporate, institutional, and high-net worth clients that have seen us be able to undertake some interesting and varied instructions. It is these jobs that have allowed me to develop my own skill set as a surveyor and valuer and have promoted me to want to stay up to date and undertake further CPD on niche valuation matters such s.18 and Charities Act valuations to be able to create success for my clients.
What would winning the award at the RICS Matrics Young Surveyor of the Year mean to you?
Ensuring client satisfaction is my working priority, and my usual barometer of success in any work that I undertake. However, being nominated for this award is a huge honor, so to win would be incredible! It would be a fantastic recognition of the level of professional service that I aim to achieve for my clients.
Valuation can sometimes come across as something of a dry subject, and it isn’t always ‘topical’ as many other areas of commercial property consultancy. However, if my nomination can help show graduates and other young professional that valuation can also lead to a highly rewarding surveying career, then all the better.
What is your biggest achievement in your career?
Maybe not the biggest, but one of my proudest achievements stems from a s.18 valuation that I carried out. A client, who had formerly been a tenant of a commercial property had been presented with a dilapidations claim in excess of £100,000 on the basis of their alleged disrepair of the property.
I was instructed to prepare a valuation to ascertain how much the value of the Landlord’s property had been depreciated by on account of these alleged repairs, which I found to be little over £15,000. Due to the robustness of the valuation report, the matter was settled on the basis of the figure given in my report.
The clients were worried that they may have lose the value of their pension in contesting the Landlord’s allegations. Therefore it was extremely rewarding to have been able to provide the key advice they needed to help save them from losing such a substantial amount of money.
You are predominantly based in Yorkshire, can you let us know what is happening in the commercial property market in the region?
With some relevance to both rent/lease renewals and valuation work, particularly on the industrial side, market conditions are fairly tight with limited supplies to the market of high-grade stock which seems to be having a knock-on effect for both rental and capital values as a result. Although for how much longer, with the ongoing inflationary pressure in the wider economy, we will have to see.
From a personal point of view, we seem to be at a point in the cycle with a number of commercial rent reviews and lease renewals taking place; I am currently involved in a mix of industrial, retail and telecoms rent and lease negotiations.
Valuation instructions also seem to be coming through thick and fast, with the highest volumes currently seeming to come from lenders and pension funds seeking up-to-date valuations for many of their secured assets.
What piece of advice would you give to someone that is looking to enter a career in the commercial property market?
Never stop learning. The market is constantly evolving and clients’ requirements with it. It is vital that any advisers practicing in this area remain up to date with developments in the market, legislative changes, and so on, ensuring that the advice being given is always accurate and reliable.
The awards are taking place of Friday 4th November. To see the full list of finalists, please click here.