Rural property surveyors (also known as land agents or agricultural surveyors) advise on the use, value, sale, purchase, management, planning and development of land and rural property. They may act as consultants, for instance to local authorities, or be contracted to manage several private estates.
Land agents (known as factors in Scotland) fulfil a similar role. Farm and estate management is a key function - managers supervise the day-to-day running of a farm, plan crop rotations, buy and sell livestock, maintain accounts and produce financial projections, deal with grant and subsidy applications, and advise on legal matters. They also negotiate land access for companies involved in the construction of distribution networks, such as power and water.
Rural property surveyors carry out valuations of property, machinery, crops and livestock for purchase and sale, and for insurance, taxation, compulsory acquisitions and compensation purposes. They arrange auctions of farm property and set up and organise all stages of an auction - valuing goods, preparing catalogues, arranging advertising and conducting sales.
Working with other professionals, surveyors may be involved in the digital mapping of landscapes on projects such as estate restoration or the creation of wildlife conservation areas.
Diversification is increasingly important in the rural economy and surveyors play an important role in advising on the development of land use, particularly in the fields of leisure, conservation and specialised food production, and the impact of European directives on land use.
Working hours vary depending on the day's tasks. If based in the office, then hours are usually 9am to 5pm. However, much of the time will be spent visiting clients on farms or estates, which could mean early starts and late finishes, as clients can be spread over a wide area. Some travel to auctions and meetings will also be required. A driving licence will be useful.
Rural property surveyors should:
Opportunities are excellent, as there is such a diverse range of specialisms undertaken by rural surveyors. Many work as consultants in private practice advising clients consisting of tenant farmers, smallholders, local authorities, government departments, lending institutions, insurance companies, or individual purchasers. A smaller number are employed exclusively to manage country estates.
Others act as land agents/factors, and are employed by individual landowners, public authorities or other land owning organisations such as the National Trust and national parks.
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