Why is a career in property valuations better than others? We speak to valuers who have made significant career changes to become a property valuer. Among these is Geoff Douglas who used to be a high school teacher and guidance counsellor prior to pursuing a career in property valuations. We asked him about the decision to change careers at the age of 52 years, and what skills he brought from his previous profession.
What career were you pursuing prior to being a property valuer?
I had been a high school teacher in Cape Town for 24 years.
At what age did you decide to change careers and become a property valuer, and why?
I was 52 when I made the change. A small company with talented valuers was inundated with work in that boom cycle around 2007 and I happened to be the brother of one of them. They were encouraging and offered every assistance. I found that I had more discipline and ability to study some difficult topics than I’d had in while studying in my 20s. Studying at night was not really different to teaching but the rewards were.
Some regrets. I have always respected and admired teaching as a career, and I think the world could do with more teachers. So I had to put aside the values that had originally drawn me to teaching to pursue a career that offered me a more comfortable lifestyle and eventually retirement.
In what way has your prior career or learnings benefitted you as a valuer today?
My previous studies in psychology were helpful especially Decision Theory (because valuers make decisions involving millions of rand every day), Epistemology (how we know anything i.e. how reliable are the sources on which we’re making those decisions) and Environmental Psychology (which deals with how the built environment affects human behaviour and studies the sorts of spaces valuers typically assess).
What do you think your 13-year-old self would say to you today if you could tell them that you had become a property valuer?
My 13-year-old self would’ve said “What you smokin’ dude?!”
Any advice for others looking to pursue a career in property valuations?
I found mastering the new technology now available to valuers a challenge to learn in my old age. Youngsters who have a firm grip on technology will find these modern tools a help but no substitute for knowing the basics so having a good mentor is essential. The profession is increasingly collegial so finding one is hopefully becoming easier.