My surveying story: Neil Higson

Written by: RICS Recruit
Published on: 1 Sep 2014

This week, RICS Recruit met Neil Higson, a Chartered Surveyor in the Agency team at Nolan Redshaw. We talk to him about being an apprentice, and why patience is a virtue in the industry.

Neil3What inspired you to enter the surveying industry?

I always had an interest in property from my teenage years. I started at a residential estate agency to start fueling my bug. Following a HNC in Property Management & Valuation I realised that I would prefer a little more diversity and entered the world of commercial property in my apprentice role at Nolan Redshaw. I studied the BSc (Hons) in Estate Management distance learning at Reading for 4 years whilst working, which allowed me to gain valuable experience and also have an accredited degree. This enabled me to sit, and pass, the RICS APC back in Spring 2013.


Why did you choose your surveying specialism?

The diversity that the Commercial Property pathway offered really excited me. It is a great way to understand the commercial sector, by getting involved with all aspects at a General Practice. The experience helped me with my studies, and also for the APC, due to the array of work ranging from rent review and lease renewal, to assisting valuation and development work and commercial agency. Each day offers something different, and that is what makes me happy at work.

What has been your greatest career challenge?

Now that I have become a Member of RICS I have specialised in Agency and Investment. I have started an investment department at Nolan Redshaw, and have been involved in £10m+ worth of investment transactions in just 18 months. This has been a mixture of on and off-market transactions, and mainly on an acquisition basis for retained clients. The highlight of this was the acquisition of a trade park portfolio worth £6.34m, on behalf of a Plc client based in London.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

It would be extremely satisfying if my current work led me on to gaining more respect in the profession, to achieve a larger client database and build on that success. Working at Nolan Redshaw provides me with the opportunity to grow as a surveyor. It is also exciting to one day work in a rising 'bull market' as my experience to date has mainly been gained in a more flattened recession economy and I am looking forward to new challenges that will come from this.

What one piece of advice would you give to people starting out in the surveying industry?

'Patience' is a key word, and is something that I was told early on. It is important to remain realistic. Certainly whilst studying and working for a degree or APC, patience is a virtue that will pay dividends later in your career. Taking advice and learning from experts in the sector is fundamental. Each colleague, fellow surveyor or client, will probably tell you something that you didn't know. This happens every day whilst learning for the APC, and throughout your career. Always remember to take advice on board, and share this with your peers and future colleagues in years to come.

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