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We sat down with Jason Field, the mind behind the transformative National Property Valuers NSW about the challenges, and his tips for navigating the Sydney market.
Hi Jason, can you tell us a bit about your career and what led you to starting your business?
I studied property valuations at Curtin University in Perth and after completing a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with a major in Property, I was promoted and transferred across to the CBA Property Valuation Department in Sydney. This was more than 20 years ago. My time at CBA was an excellent training ground where I specialised in the eastern suburbs residential market.
After the department closed, I subsequently worked for a few property valuation companies (both large and small). I was also previously a lecturer at UTS – Specialised Use Commercial Valuations. This developed my understanding of both the residential and commercial property markets throughout Sydney.
At the time, I felt that residential valuations were traditionally being done fast and often completed as a short form report. I found that there was a real need for quality which at times I felt was lacking in the industry. I wanted to bring my passion for property into my reports, and provide an excellent service, with attention to detail, accuracy and presentation. I have always maintained the same core values and integrity to all aspects of the business. I have always been focused on the value of the valuer – which is to consistently provide high-quality reports and continually trying to raise the bar.
Upon leaving school, I completed a Bachelor of Commerce Degree
(Property) at Curtin University. I did work experience with a few valuation firms and found all aspects of the profession extremely interesting, from meeting new clients, to inspecting homes, paying attention to detail, preparing quality reports and providing an excellent service.
What sort of services do you offer?
Property valuation services for a wide range of purposes. This includes: mortgage purposes for some of the major banks like Westpac, St George and Macquarie, property settlement and family law purposes, stamp duty and capital gains tax, acquisition and resumption, litigation, as well as pre-purchase and pre-sale advice. I’ve also been requested to provide evidence in court as an expert witness. I also specialise in the luxury prestige residential market and have valued many of the finest homes in Sydney, valuing homes and businesses up to $40 million.
Even if you’re not planning to sell, why is it useful to know the value of your own home?
To most people, their home is their greatest asset. People may wish to know the value for their own personal advice, property settlements, taxation, borrowing against the equity, advice prior to renovating or development advice in terms of whether the property may have potential.
What are the key things that you look for when working out what a property may be worth?
- Panoramic View
If the property has all of the above attributes, then the property is likely to achieve a premium.
You’ve been in the Sydney property market for a while, what changes have you noticed over the years?
I have noticed that the market generally increases and premium properties are generally in strong demand. I have noticed the benefit of borrowing against equity and the importance of trying to create equity and capital. I appreciate that the market can be sensitive to fluctuations, especially if conditions start to soften, and confidence is very important. At times, it is evident that there are inconsistencies and submarkets, and it is important to enjoy an informed local knowledge of the area when making decisions or valuing a property.
Why does Sydney continue to be such an attractive property market? Can you ever see it losing its appeal or will it only get more expensive to live in the harbour city?
Sydney was recently ranked 10th best city in the world for quality of living. I do not see it losing its appeal. Beaches, Sydney Harbour, restaurants, sporting events, low interest rates, strong economy and confidence. The property market is starting to see a softening in values and a decline in the auction clearance rates.
It’s difficult to predict the future, although my opinion is that the market is on a cusp, and at the peak of the cycle, and there is a risk that values could soften. The market is likely to become more appealing to buyers and renters, rather than owners & vendors.
Demand for the more affordable properties is likely to remain strong, although demand for prestige properties may become more sensitive to fluctuations which is typical as this class of asset appeals to a more limited niche market.
What advice do you have for people looking to add value to their own home? What’s the best way to go about it?
When refurbishing, try to focus on improving and enhancing the presentation and aesthetic appeal. Examples include: Landscaping the garden, painting, new floor coverings, new kitchen etc. Depending upon the location, be aware of the quality and level of finishes which the market would appreciate. Be cautious prior to commencing structural work as this can escalate the building costs. This will ensure you maximise the value whilst minimising any risk of over capitalisation.
What is a point of difference about your company?
Trust –Preparing a valuation report requires a great deal of responsibility, and I am fortunate that clients trust me with what is often their greatest asset. Whether it be for banks, property settlement, litigation or taxation, I am always mindful of ensuring high integrity and compliance standards are maintained at all times.
Quality – A quality valuation report encapsulates all aspects – not just the value and outcome. It is the attention to detail and intimate local knowledge which ensures that the reports are always prepared to the highest standards. This includes thoroughly researching the property as well as the comparable sales and all aspects which may be relevant. All reports are either completed by myself or checked by myself which ensures tight quality control. I am mindful of always providing the best quality report and the best service which is possible, and hopefully exceeding client’s expectations.
Accuracy – I am always focused about ensuring all valuations are accurate with a well explained sound basis for the assessment. My team have in jest wanted to rebrand NPV as National Pedantic Valuers which highlights my relentless focus to ensuring every report is carried out to the highest standard. As a quality control benchmark, I often compare how the valuations compare with subsequent sale prices, and our figures are generally proven to be very accurate.
Service – This encompasses various aspects, such as ensuring the instructions and clear and concise, time frames are met on time, and the report is always delivered to the highest standard.
Passion – Above all else, I am passionate about each and every valuation report. It is not just a value, it is a detailed and comprehensive report which provides the client with an objective independent impartial opinion which hopefully assists them to make an informed decision and achieve the desired outcome.
Value – I am mindful of the value of the valuer, which is delivering a report which provides the client with the correct accurate value. Based upon the valuation, this empowers the client with the information to make the correct decision. It is for this reason that after more than 20 years in the industry, the majority of my work comes from repeat clients and referrals.
What part of the profession do you enjoy the most?
Giving back. This includes training my team of valuers, giving guest lecturers at the University or at Banks, being an examiner on the board of valuers for the API or on occasion pro-bono work for charities and religious organisations.