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The surveyor plays an essential role, but a lot of real estate investors do not fully understand their work. Today, we have Tom to tell us more about it.
Tom is a Chartered Surveyor at Colliers International Hong Kong. He works within the Valuation and Advisory Services department where he is responsible for providing property valuation and consultancy advice to institutional and private investors across Asia.
- What are the key roles of a surveyor?
- What are the different types of surveyors?
- How do surveyors impact an investment?
- Why is it necessary to engage with one?
As it can be difficult to catch some minor errors, transcripts may contain a few typos or inaccuracies.
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Alright, let’s get back to the transcript of the show. Enjoy!
Darren: Hey, Tom.
Tom: Hey, Darren, how’s it going?
Darren: It’s good. Good. Thanks for coming in, because I think I met you, I think last year, close to last year. And there were happy hour drinks with a bunch of people in our industry. And last month, again, I met you with my friend Gary. And it’s great to talk about, you know, our work. And something that I really want to know as a surveyor, because to give you my background before I used to work in real estate funds so the only time that I worked with a surveyor is for Appraisal. But then obviously for developments, for other works that tend to be more and given different surveyors. So this episode is explored more on that kind of subject. And so thanks for coming in and I hope this is a blast for all of us.
Tom: Brilliant, thank you for having me and yeah looking forward to it.
Darren: Yeah, well, for the audience who might not know who you are, would you mind telling them your background and a bit about yourself?
Tom: Yeah, absolutely. So, hey, everyone. My name’s Tom Parker. I’m a manager in the Federation Advisory Services at Colliers in Hong Kong. I’ve been working in Hong Kong for close to two years now. Previously, I was working in the United Kingdom, where I began work in 2011. So I’m a chartered surveyor. So that means I’m a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and I’m an RICS registered buyer as well. So most of my work essentially involves carrying out evaluation and advisory projects across Asia. So not just limited to Hong Kong, I still do some work in the United Kingdom as well. So it’s a fairly global remit. But essentially the main role I have is helping clients make investment decisions, helping them manage their portfolio, effectively, making sure they’re getting the right advice to make these decisions.
Darren: I see well so for the audience and myself who are not familiar with surveyors and appraisals, would you mind telling the audience a broad intro of the concept and what they do?
Tom: Sure. So essentially, appraisal is a function of a surveyor. So you can have surveyors for various different roles. There are surveyors who appraise arts and antiquities, there are surveyors who will measure land surveyors who be involved in the construction of projects. They’ll look at building defects, they’ll estimate building costs, what building materials are required. But most surveys generally, if you hear the term general practice surveyor, they’re typically property surveyors and normally commercial surveyors as well. So one of our roles is appraisal. And then alongside that, we’ll also do landlord and tenant work, we’ll do agency work as well. So we perform the full function. Appraisal is essentially giving a value for property or building at a certain point in time. So that’s one of the many roles we can fulfill.
Darren: So, yeah, I’m like living under a rock so there are a lot of questions I have regarding this subject. So before anything, right would you mind because just now you mentioned that there’s commercial surveyors, there’s a residential surveyor, what other types are there? And then what are the types that a new real estate investor tends to work with?
Tom: Okay, so the easiest thing to do is to split into three different pathways. So there’s property surveyors. There are land surveyors. And then there are art and antiquity surveyors. So the art and antiquities is quite a small arm. It’s a fairly niche part of surveying. And they’ll essentially look at the fine art, give values for fine art. They’ll appraise the additional value if it’s fine art at all, for instance, one example could be, I’m from southwest England, you may have heard of the graffiti artist Banksy.
Tom: Properties that have a Banksy on them, which a few do in Bristol, that can have a major impact on the value of that property. So we’ve seen vast differences between properties that have the Banksy on and the one next to it doesn’t. So that’s one side of things. Then the land surveyors, they will typically they’re the people you often see out on the street. They’ve got the tripods. They’ve got the cameras. They’re looking at distances. They’re looking at different heights of land. That’s how surveyors originally came about so that was that. A primary role, hence the term surveyors, it was surveying land, say, maps that you see produce. Where you see the contour lines. Where you see the heights of mountains. That was work originally produced by surveyors. That, too, is still quite a – it’s become much more of a niche part of surveying. So typically when someone says I’m a surveyor, I’m a chartered surveyor, they’ll be talking about property surveying and then we can split that into commercial, which is four sites. I generally look at commercial buildings, that’s offices, shops, industrial properties could be things like hospitals, schools as well. Then there will be residential space and then you’ll also have real surveyors as well. You don’t see them as often in Hong Kong. Fairly common in the UK and they will look predominately at farmland. They will work on the sale of large tracts of land. They’ll also look at alternative energy projects as well. Power stations that sort of work. And then there’s building in quantity surveyors as well. So a building surveyor is someone who you would call if you’re looking to buy a building, but you want to know, does this property have any defects? If I buy it today, how much money am I likely to be spending over the next five to ten years? I’m keeping this property up to standards. And then there’s quantity surveyors as well. And they generally work with long construction projects. And their job is to say, okay, to complete this project, you will need X number of bricks, certain amount of time. So they’ll work alongside the costing of a project to make sure all the materials are delivered on time. And you know exactly how much it’s going to cost. Now generally the main thing is commercial space.
Darren: Obviously, because in real estate surveying obviously has a very important role, which I’ll go into detail later on. And then just I think a lot of people, when they think about surveying, it works closely with conveyancing. Would you mind explaining it as well on the conveyancing as surveryors role in the process?
Tom: You see, conveying is essentially buying and selling assets. So a surveyor, you don’t need to have a surveyor to work with you to buy or sell land, but I would say it would be highly recommended. And there’s a number of reasons why. So if you bring a surveyor in when you’re looking to buy or sell a piece of land in the first instance, their role will be purely advisory. So you could say, look, I’m interested in disposing of this property. Can you come in and have a look at it? And a surveyor can come in and the first and they can do is give you an appraised of the value of the property. So at that stage, you know, straightaway, “Okay, my building is worth X million Hong Kong dollars.” So you’ve got a good idea of what you should be to sell it for in the market so you can have a fair degree of confidence when you do get an offer as to whether that represents market value or not. Another role for them may be to have them work with you to look at whether a dispose of this is in your best interests at that time. So you may say, okay, we’re looking to dispose this property in the next six months, but the surveyor might come on board and say, well, actually, have you considered this? And that could be a multitude of reasons why selling the property at that particular time isn’t in their best interests. So the surveyor should be able to work with them to help them come up with a much more fought out and structured disposal program. Then it comes onto the technical side of things. So a lot of the work that we still do is agency based. So we would represent the particular seller to help them find a buyer for the property. And that would involve not just finding the buyer, but also ensuring the terms upon which the sale is agreed, “Are they best suited to the seller and the best terms that they can get?” So that helps them know that they’re getting – so they’ll be getting their advice all the way through the process. Then when it comes onto the actual legal side of the conveyancing, the surveyor will work with their client alongside the solicitors to make sure that the client is getting real estate specific advice. So although a lot of solicitors are most solicitors will have a fair degree of knowledge in real estate when it comes down to some of the more technical aspects of real estate, it still pays to have a surveyor there in your corner to help you understand what it might mean for you if you agree to a certain term, what a certain clause may mean to make sure you’re fully clued up for about the process. And I think they can add the value that perhaps the solicitor can’t do in that instance.
Darren: I see. Because, like, it seems like a very technical work when I listen to it and everything it seems like it requires a lot of studying, a lot of experience, a lot of insights that a lot of people in the real estate industry might not even know. So what do you need to become a surveyor and what kind of license do you need to be one?
Tom: Again, this depends on what sort of survey you want to be and which professional background, which professional body you want to be a member of. So typically the term surveyor sits alongside the term charter surveyor. So if someone says to you, I’m a chartered surveyor or if you see the designation MRCS FRCS after their name, that will mean they’re a member of the institution of charters. So this was the original professional body. It was founded, I think it was founded in 1868 so it’s a fairly old body, take you back quite a long way. So to become a member of the RICS, first we have to do a RICS accredited degree. Now, this is something I think a lot of people who are looking to go into real estate don’t always realize straight away. So it’s something I didn’t realize myself. So my undergraduate degree was in geography. Well, actually, if you want to become a chartered surveyor and you want to do it as quickly as possible, you need to do an accredited degree. So I then did the master’s degree in real estate in order to get that Rik’s accreditation. Once you’ve got that, then you then need to find a job. So you’ll start off as a graduate surveyor. And typically graduate surveyors will work within different departments at the business so they can see, do I want to work in valuations? Do I want to work on professional advisory? Do I want to work for an agency? They’ll have the chance to explore different areas of business. And then as they’re doing this, they’ll be building up – we call it an APC diary. So the APC is an Assessment’s Professional Competence. And your diary is something you fill in as you’re going. So you have to do this over two years. And at the end of the two years, you can do your APC, the Assessment Professional Competence. And that consists of an interview and a presentation. And within that interview, the assessors will decide, does this person demonstrate the professional and ethical standards in order to become a chartered surveyor? So if you do fantastic, that’s great. You’ve passed and you become a Chartered Surveyor. The other route, and this is something that’s open to people who don’t perhaps have professional experience, sorry who don’t have the accredited degree is the professional experience route. So this would allow someone who’s accumulated a certain number of years of professional experience the chance to go straight through to the interview process. So a panel can then decide whether they have enough experience to date, whether they’ve got the qualities required. There’s different routes and not having an RICS degree is not necessarily the end of it but for younger people coming into the industry, it’s the quickest and the easiest way to become chartered.
Darren: That actually sounds like a lot of work. When you say it out loud, I’m just like, “Wow, I’m just really happy that I didn’t have to go through that path because I know it’s a technical.” I’m not someone that like you kind of just read some books and just know how it works. And it does require a lot of particularist experience and study and to be really good at one. So, you know, it’s something that is a very, I wouldn’t say rough, it’s more like it’s an interesting pathway, I would say, in the real estate sector. So it’s kind of cool. So, you know, like obviously this show, I’m sure you’re aware, is for investors or people who want to understand real estate, learn more about investing overseas or locally, and what’s the best way of the whole process. So there’s something that I want to know your point of view on is that what are some potential risk for real estate investors when they neglect engaging with their surveyors? You know, because just now, I think the question we mentioned before is that, you know, in some process, you’ll have to have one. But then it’ll be very important to be as advisors or having a longer team to help you out. So I would like to have your opinion on that.
Tom: Yes, sure. So for me, investment or good investment is about de-risking yourself as much as possible. Typically, for less risky investments, say, putting your money in a high interest yielding account, that’s a fairly low risk investment. So your level of return is going to be pretty low as well. We’re talking maybe one percent possibly. With real estate, you can typically get a yield. Yields in Hong Kong are very light. But still, you’d be looking at the moment to get a yield of around between 2.5% through to 10% plus. Now, the higher the yield, the higher the level of risk is. But if you want to try and really understand that investment, I would say the best thing to do is to bring on board a professional advisor. So this should be someone who’s familiar with the local market, who’s familiar with the property type and who can give you a fair appraisal of that particular investment. So, for instance, maybe we have a client – hypothetical situation we have a client who’s looking to acquire a property in Thailand. Now they may look at the properties and think, “This is great. It’s offering us 9.5% yield every year. It looks like it’s led to some good tenants. It’s a nice new building. Where does that go wrong?” Well, actually, there’s quite a lot that can go wrong. A surveyor at the initial stage, they get to look at that property for you and look at what’s happened in the area around the property. For instance, it may be there’s some serious infrastructure works going on that will affect accessibilities for that property over the next couple of years. If you look at the tenant profile, they may have that market knowledge vacant advisor and say, “hey, your anchor tenant has been in the market for the past six months looking for a new property.” Now, that’s information that you wouldn’t normally have unless you start to speak to a professional. Now, if you speak to a general estate agent, they may tell you things like this in order to try and persuade you to either buy the property or not buy it. If you’re engaging a surveyor and you’re engaging a professional, you should be able to rely on that information much more. As you know, the surveyor doesn’t have a hidden agenda. They make it very clear to you at the start. If they’ve got a conflict of interest or not, if they have, they shouldn’t be acting for you. But normally they won’t if they’re active for you. So you can be confident that they’re giving you unbiased and independent advice. So that can help you formulate the strategy for acquiring a property. So you may look at it now and say, “Okay, 40% the property could be vacant in the next 18 months, what’s going on in the market?” And the surveyor would be able to work with them and say, well, actually, inquiries have dropped down by 20% over the past six months. We’re seeing rents falling and they’ve fallen over the past few quarters by around 5% que on que, and our projection is they’ll continue to fall as well over the next couple of quarters. So you can start to build up much more of a detailed method statement for getting ahead the investments or not. And that enables you to do a proper appraisal. And it may be that once you build in the void periods, once you build in the rental decline, once you build in all the other factors, once you’ve come up with a final figure, the surveyor might say, well, actually you’re looking at this property for $10 million baht. Actually, we only consider the property is worth $7 million baht, particularly if you want to achieve your your 8-9% yield. So it’s it’s helping you to derisk the investment. There’s other roles a surveyor could fulfill as well. So you maybe you employ a building surveyor alongside your commercial surveyor. And the building surveyor might say, well, I’ve had a look at the, I’ve had a look at the construction and there’s a couple of hazardous materials within the building or there’s a couple of inherent defects within the building. And whilst it may not be an issue at the moment, over the next five to 10 years, this may become much more of an issue and may require a significant level of capital expenditure to resolve. So it’s looking longer term as well and looking at what your costs are going to be over that period. So you can see initially an investor may look at the investment and think this is fantastic, but then if they drill down a little bit more, they may start to see some of the issues, some of the hidden costs and some of the some of the things they’re going to have to overcome over the next few years. So for me, it is about giving the investor all the information they need in order to make us as clear and as transparent decision as possible. And that’s really the value of a surveyor. And I’ve seen so many instances where people have gone to buy property and haven’t been properly informed about the property, haven’t taken the right advice and it’s it’s come back to hurt them further down the line. They’re not making as much money as they could have done or they’re ending up losing money.
Darren: For sure. I think something that people it’s like, you know, if you floss every day; people know that they just keep forgetting it. So obviously, hopefully this type of video will help people to remind them that, hey, maybe you should consider engaging with one or having some one on your team to have better decision making. And then so I’ll switch back to something you’re more familiar with the commercial setting right. What kind of role can surveyors do to impact with investments?
Tom: See, there’s, obviously, the initial work they’ll do before you’re looking to buy the property, which we just covered. And then there’s the ongoing management of the property as well. So a surveyor or surveying firm, because you’ll be using different arms or different types of surveyors to do this work, will be able to manage the property for you. They’ll be able to find new tenants. They’ll be here to give you advice on what’s happening elsewhere in the market. For instance, have similar buildings sold recently. Are you seeing certain tenants looking to move around? What’s going on in the market? It will help you to to really understand what’s going on and really give you that information you need to make detailed decisions. So when it comes to when it comes to board meetings, you’ve got to be very clear, very concise details to have exact to what’s happening. So you can make the best possible decisions. One of the roles but is often blurred with an estate agent is on the agency side of things. Using a surveyor for the agency is very different to using an estate agent. First of all, about the additional professional and ethical requirements that a surveyor has, they can’t act for you or they can’t do work if there’s a conflict of interest. So, you know, everything they’re doing for you is going to be in your absolute best interests. And the advice they’re giving you is not to make you make a decision. It’s not for them to make to make a quick dollar from you. It’s for you to make the best possible decisions. I think really for me, that is the fundamental quality of a surveyor. And the reason why people should continue to engage with surveyors is that level of trust and that level of transparency.
Darren: I see, you know, obviously throughout the questions so far, you kind of listed out a couple of ways that surveyors can help. Would you mind because like a lot of people, might need some explanation of how to walk through and everything. Would you mind doing a walk through on one or two scenarios on how and why people need to engage with surveyors and let’s say a fund or, you know, someone who’s got a family office or something like that.
Tom: Okay, so I guess one example could be there’s a fund who have several commercial office buildings. They are looking at what they should do with these properties. Should they hold on to them? Should they sell them? If they sell them, should they sell one or two or should they sell the whole thing? So I would say if you’re ever in this position, the best thing you can do is speak to a surveyor straightaway. The surveyor will be able to come in and provide that information for you. It’s the way that would work initially, I’d say the best thing you could do at this stage is or the initial step would be to get a full appraisal done of all the properties. So that should enable the fund to say, okay, these are our properties. This is what they would be worth if we were to sell them in the current market. So that enables you to look at what the potential returns are if you were to sell the property. The second stage, I would say, would be to undertake a full market, a market appraisal, sort of to look at what’s going on in the market, to look at what else is available. So the surveyor could work with them to say, well, if you sold these properties, you would potentially have a large amount of capital that you’d be looking to redeploy. Now, you could look to redeploy that in the local market. And we’ve identified a couple of opportunities for you. And they’ll be given a list of properties and details on the potential return. Details on what we consider the risks that those particular investments are, how we see that property evolving over time. So do we see it possibly being under the threat of high levels of vacancy? Do we see new buildings being built around it that could perhaps access competition so that should then enable the fund to say, “Well okay, well, if we do sell, this is what we could buy instead.” And that could be extended not just to the local market, but also to a more international scale as well. So it may be a fund asking us in Hong Kong to look at this for them. And we say, well, have you considered investment in Malaysia? And we could connect them with our experts in that part of the world who would then be able to help them see what’s available in that market as well. So it’s about giving them. We’re not telling them which decision to make. We’re giving them the data. We’re giving them the information they need in order to start making these decisions. Now, coming back to the valuation side of things within the valuation report, as well we will typically give advice on what could be done within the property in order to help preserve its value or improve its value. So one of the things we might say is the current average lease term is fairly short. So if we sell the property and you can only say what the current level of income is guaranteed for the next six months, that immediately starts to ring alarm bells for investors. Whereas if we could say to them, if you extended that from, say, at the moment, the average lease time is two years, if we extend some of these key tenants, look to tie them into new leases and perhaps tie them down for longer period maybe up to three years that could have this impact upon your overall value. It may even be that you could offer them a rental discount to get them to sign a longer lease. And that would still increase the value because it’s increasing the level of security investors would have about the level of income. So it’s helping them there to position the assets as well. So say if you did dispose of this asset, this is how you could make sure it’s in the best possible position in the market to achieve the highest possible price. Then if you do say, right, that’s it. We want to sell these two properties. Then you could bring this surveyor back in again to help you sell the property. So that would be a case of producing a suitable marketing program, sending it to various parties who they may know are currently in the market and helping the seller to achieve the best possible price for the property. Then once that’s done, they could work with them again in terms of where do we move the money now? What do we sink this capital into? So it is about providing them with all the advice and guidance and making sure that they’ve got all the information they need to make the decision first of all and then making sure that any decision they do make, they’ve been given the advice to make sure they’re positioning themselves in the best possible place so that they’re achieving the best, the best possible result they can. Now, there’s other roles that the surveyor could do as well in terms of looking at redevelopment, looking at what upcoming works required. The redevelopment tango in Hong Kong is always an interesting one. A number of buildings could be redeveloped to achieve a higher sale price. And that may also be something the client hasn’t initially considered but it could be something we give to them. So say actually, your property’s worth two billion Hong Kong dollars at the moment. However, you’ve got an opportunity to redevelop this asset and there’s a building that’s recently redeveloped just across the street, similar size, and that’s now worth four and a half billion Hong Kong dollars. So maybe they then work with them on the redevelopment to that asset so that they’ve got the best possible. They’ve maximized the value of that of that particular property.
Darren: I think you did a great job of painting the whole picture, because now, I’m sure everyone will be like now I understand the differences and then it sounds like you are also the investors very close alliance to like how to make the asset better, investment better and think better. And obviously, the decision making is still on the investors point of view. But you’re there to support them in every single journey. So you did a very good picture painting of what you do and what surveyors do as a whole, how does the industry evolved over the years? And then you know we both understand Property Tech and the power of it. What’s your view on how technology can change the whole landscape of it?
Tom: So just to give a bit of a brief history and in terms of our profession. So Surveryors actually the first use of the term surveyor was actually found in ancient Egypt. So surveyors worked back in Egyptian times. They helped to map the land when the Nile would flood each year. And then when the flood waters receded, they helped to map who or which particular farmer would have which particular parcel of land. So that’s how surveying started. And then even probably up till 200 years ago, that was still the main role of surveyors. It was about mapping land. And it was about registering ownership. Now, when the industrial revolution happened and you saw more more commercial buildings. So up until that point, you had shops sure, but typically, a shop was the ground floor of someone’s house. You didn’t really have factory buildings. You’d have farms, but no factories. And the concept of an office was still fairly, fairly abstract at that point. So when the industrial revolution happened, you started seeing much more in the way of development of commercial buildings. And then surveying evolved as well to meet the needs of the owners of these buildings. So at first, factories, offices, they would be developed by whoever it was who would one day occupy the building, but then they started realizing, okay actually, we want to move to a larger factory, but I would like to hold onto this one and try and find a new tenant. And that’s where surveying really started to change and become much more transactional, much more advisory in that regard as well. And that was really the birth of commercial surveying. Now, as an industry, surveying has been fairly slow to adapt to technological changes. From a boss who used to take great pleasure in telling me about how the standard day would start, they’d all sit around in the mayor room for two hours opening letters. And a number of my former colleagues, particularly older ones, they would still most of the work they did was on pen and paper. They still like to use tape measures, measure rods. They hadn’t moved on to perhaps a bit more I’d say recent developments. But actually, the likes of laser measures, computer aided design, that’s been around for a long time. But still, there’s been a reluctance particularly among our oldest surveyors to properly embrace that. We still see it today. I’d say, in terms of the use of technology, surveying is is behind many other sectors. Now, I’m not sure exactly what the reasons for this are. And I have to say as well in Hong Kong, it seems to be a particular problems. I’d say Hong Kong perhaps hasn’t fully embraced all the changes in the same way as some of the other parts of the world have. But going forward, I think technology has huge potential to severely disrupt our industry. So we’ve been looking at this a lot lately, say, for appraisal, one of the things you can start seeing a lot more of and you start to see in other parts of the world is automated valuation models. So these are essentially what you would do you’ll see on a lot of Websites, you can get free one done, you just put in your property address and details and it gives you a rough value where the automated variation models taken that a couple of steps further. So, again, you give all the details about your property and then within, say, 10 minutes, it can give you a fairly accurate valuation. So I’ve seen reports saying that they’ve managed to get the automated vibration models through in 95% accuracy. I’m not disputing that and I think that certainly will start to happen more. But that technology is still catching up. It’s still trying to fully incorporate all the all the subtleties that perhaps you need in order to appraise the value of a property. But that’s going to severely change the way we value properties. And for investors, instead of bringing on board a firm of surveyors to do the evaluation for them in say, two weeks, if they could get a figure of in 10 minutes and minimizing all these human errors, that’s got to be a major attraction. The other side of it is we’ve agency. So we’ve seen the rise of virtual agents. So at the moment, these don’t take on any physical form. It’s entirely, entirely based online. But I’ve seen some places where you go out and you have the virtual agent on your phone and you can say, “Oh, hey, what did what did this property sell for next door?” And the virtual agent will be equipped of all the with all the transaction information that’s available. Everything that you’re able to build into that database and they can say, oh, this property sold last year for this price. Now, normally, if you go in the command of property, whoever is showing you around should be able to tell you roughly what properties will sell for next door. But to have this service, to have someone who’s got all the information on hand, every single transaction you’ve got records of, that is incredibly valuable. And these electronic agents, they’re available 24/7. They have a 100% callback records. So really, that’s going to change massively how we buy and sell property. Now, does that mean the end of people like me, humans surveyors? No, absolutely not. I certainly hope not. I think there’s still real estate. Real estate is very much relationship driven still. And I think always will be. So I think these technological changes will help to compliment the industry and they will help to improve our standards as well. They’ll help us to minimize some of our errors, they’ll help us to become more efficient. But as far as valuation gaze, yes, a large part of valuation is scientific, but also valuation is still very much an art as well. And I’m not sure a computer model will therefore be able to fully capture that. They might do. But my thoughts of it is that they won’t. So I think that there will always be a role for human surveyors but certainly technology has enormous potential to change the industry as we know it.
Darren: Yeah. I mean, there are a lot of similar products to facilitate a surveyor like AVM, for example, like I remember when I heard about it, I was like “this is too good to be true.” But a lot of people in the industry would think that, hey, some market you can do AVM. Not all of them. And not all the asset class, you know, commercial there’s not much comparables besides it. Residential’s are easier but even rezoning or a new development is still going to be very different. At the same time, there’s drill and everything. but I believe that a surveyor is kind of like, there’s so many neurons, you can’t just have a computer and say, hey, it’s the best outcome. I believe there are more neurons that sometimes it’s not part of that which comes – because our mutual friend Gary has startup called inflow. And so I saw a guest post on it about the global measuring standard. And sorry about that, National Property Management’s standards, sorry about that and then would you mind explaining to the audience what that’s about, because I’m very new to it and it seems like a very big topic in the industry.
Tom: Yes. Absolutely. First off, I’ll just touch briefly on what you just said as well about AVM would work better in certain markets in Hong Kong, we’re very lucky. The market is very transparent. There’s a lot of comparable information around. Same in other markets, Australia, the United Kingdom as well. Very transparent markets in some of the less transparent markets like the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma. It’s much harder to find any comparable information at all. And even if you did, you can’t be that confident with it. You should never take comparative information you can find for these sort of markets and rely upon it. So that’s where again, it has potential. It has potential but there’s still a lot of issues. Then leading on to your next question about the international property measurement standards. I’ll refer to it as IPMS for short. Less of a mouthful, but that really is about transparency again and the information that’s available in the market. So before globalization, I’d say it didn’t matter as much different markets would have certain measurement standards and ways of measurement buildings they used. And it was fine because normally you didn’t need to know about other countries, other markets in as much detail as you do today. The issue we have now is if you’re in charge of the directive, the real state director for a large multinational company, you’re in charge of properties located all across the world. And if you’re comparing a property, typically what we one of the first things to look at with real estate is how big is it? How many square feet is it? How much is it worth per square foot? What can I rent it for per square foot, even down to what other running costs and typically running costs will be expressed, you might say it’s $30 US dollars a square meter to run this particular building. Everything is brought back to size. How much space do you need? It comes down to square feet again. But one of the issues we found and this was discovered probably relatively recently was only around 10, 15 years ago. But they looked at – they took the same office building, exactly the same floor plate. And they had various professionals from across the world try to measure the building and say how big that building was. And what they found is there was a 25% difference in unquoted areas between these professionals, which is enormous, it’s really enormous. And how can you make a decision about real estate and about property if you don’t even have the most basic of information available to enable you to do that. And what we were finding in the market is someone will come to us and they’d say, okay, we have 100 people, and in the UK we occupy one person per hundred square feet. So this is how much space we need. But then when you come down to looking for space, it may be that the UK is measured 25% larger than the market you’re looking at. So you may end up actually taking a space which is 25% too small. And we’ve seen that become an issue. And you see it is costly for businesses because they can’t fit all their staff into the office from the start and then they end up having to move once so they’ve spent all the money going into the office, and then they can only be there for one lease term before they have to move on to find a better, a larger building. So to help them with their decision making to make an even playing field, the idea of having a truly global measuring standard was introduced and it began life solely with offices from January 2016. So we haven’t seen huge uptake so far. But it’s certainly something if you speak to a Chartered Surveyor, it’s something they will be very familiar with and a chartered surveyor should be able to give you the area of building using the IPMS assets, so they should be able to look at both your buildings in different countries and give you a consistent measuring standard that you can then use to make decisions from. Now one of the reasons I think this is important for Hong Kong as well when it comes to finding office space in Hong Kong, you can very quickly become confused about what basis of measurement the landlord is using. You’ll see some landlords stating this office is 10 000 square feet gross. This is 10 000 square foot letter Bo. This is 10 000 square foot on whatever basis of measurement they want to use. This is fairly unique to Hong Kong in most other markets. All the landlords who use the same basis of measurement may not necessarily use IPMS, but they will use the same basis of measurement. But in Hong Kong, it can be very difficult to compare certain buildings because they’ve been measured in a different way. And this trips up a lot of occupiers here as well, because they might say, well, we looked at 10 000 square foot in this building, so it’s got to be the same in this building. Now, it all depends on what basis of measurement they’ve used. And you may think because you’re given the rent, they might say this is HK$20 a square foot. This building is HK$100 per square foot and think oh great this ones the cheaper building, but actually, it might not be. You may be paying more for the space you’re actually physically able to use because of the basis measurement they’ve used. So really IPMS is about improving transparency, letting occupier’s and letting decision makers see exactly how much space they actually have in the building. So it is a very important step.
Darren: I see, So it sounds like a very important thing to do, right? So let’s say if you have a big, you know, a broadcast or a voice through the whole industry, right, how would you tell them about how this standard can impact the industry? And I want to ask you more about why you think it;s not implemented yet? Because it sounds like something that from a surveyor point of view, it sounds very logical even when I heard a whole description of it, it sounds very logical so far but how come it hasn’t been taken so far?
Tom: Yes so I think that the IPMS is an initiative. So people who perhaps aren’t RICS members initially at first will be like oh it doesn’t apply to me, I don’t need to use this. And even people who are RICS members as well. It can be very difficult at the moment still to implement it. And a lot of that comes down to education. So a lot of clients will say we’ve always used this basis of measurement, it’s going to be very difficult for us to explain to our investors why the area has suddenly changed and you’re now telling me the property is 10% smaller than we believed it was. So that’s the difficulty. And I think that’s one of the roles as surveyors is to help raise the awareness of this among our clients and to show them the benefits of it, to help them feel more comfortable perhaps with utilizing it. It’s still fairly early days. As I said about technology in the real estate industry can be quite resistant to change. So I think it’s something you’ve going to start seeing more of going forward. And although it may be a while until all the landlords are using this, it may never get to that stage where landlords use this. But we should be in a position where if you’ve employed a chartered surveyor, they will be able to provide you the advice on this. And they’ll be to give you what the IPMS measurement is for the buildings you’re looking at. They may need to measure it again themselves. If the information isn’t available, but they should be to give you that information to help you make your decisions.
Darren: I see, so, I think today you’ve covered a lot of very important information about what a surveyor does, the future of it, what can be done and why is it important? What kind of take away do you want the audience to have? Regardless, there are maybe retail investors, family offices. What kind of tips do you have for them to find the best surveyors or engage a surveyor to help their investments?
Tom: Thank you, So firstly, you need to make sure you’re engaged in the right surveyor. Now, surveyors should be able to tell you straight away. For instance, if someone phoned me up and said, hey, I’m looking for some advice, I’m looking to buy a shopping mall complex in Australia, I would say straightaway, “Look, I don’t have the knowledge in order to assist you on that. However, I can refer you to a colleague who does have that knowledge.” So you want to make sure you’re using the right surveyor for the job. So surveyors should tell you this, but do look at their background, look at where they’re based, look at their track record. Look at what projects they’ve been involved in in the past. Make sure you get the best person to give you that advice. The other thing, and this is the absolute key, is have a chat with them. Explain what your desired outcome looks like. So the surveyor should be saying to you right from the beginning. Okay, what is your current reality? What’s the position you’re currently in? And now what is your desired reality? How do you want this to look? Once we’ve gone through the project and they should be able to give you some information there and then about how they will help you get from your current reality to your desired reality. But I think really it comes down to expertise. If you’re not using a real expert. You’re not going to be getting the full value for money. So you really need to make sure you’re using the right person. And I think that can be difficult to find, but typically, you want to find someone who’s in the market you’re working in or has a track record within that market.
Darren: I see. I mean, that’s what Denzity kind of wants to do too, because we thought that if we have a better assortment of different experts for example different types of surveyors, different experience, different expertise, then people will spend less time sorting to find the experts. And there won’t be miscommunications or disengagement with someone that cannot help you? So it’s something that always obviously to me, it makes a lot of sense, but something that a lot of investors tend to make. So I want to say thank you for this episode, for your time it’s very informative and for the audience who might want to find you, talk to you more about your services, how would you suggest they reach out to you?
Tom: Yeah, absolutely. So I’m on Linkedin so you can search for Tom Parker MRICS. Yes. Or Tom Parker Collier’s and you should be to find me that way. Similarly, you could email me. Always very responsive to emails and happy to speak to people, even if they’ve just got a question about how to get into the industry as well. So my email is Tom.Parker@Colliers.com. And they are probably the two main methods to reach out and find me. I do produce a fair amount of media for other sources, but not on social media at the moment myself.
Darren: Okay, that’s fine. So I’ll include everything in the show notes and I want to say thank you for your time, it was a pleasure and I hope there’s a second episode where you can join us again, about maybe I’ll get Gary together, talk about the future of surveying, different type of a way of looking at it so thanks for your time again. Thank you.
Tom: No problem. Thanks, Darren. Thanks so much. Cheers.
Darren: Thank you, bye.
Tom: Bye bye.
Tom：是的，絕對。所以，大家好 我叫Tom Parker。我是香港Colliers國際聯合會諮詢服務的經理。我在香港工作現在已經接近兩年了。以前，我曾在英國工作，於2011年開始工作。因此， 我是一名特許測量師。因此，這意味著我是英國皇家特許測量師學會的會員，並且我也是RICS註冊。所以我的大部分工作基本上都涉及進行評估和整個亞洲的諮詢項目。不僅限於香港，我還在英國從事一些工作。因此，這是一個相當全球性的任務。但本質上我的主要職責是幫助客戶制定投資決策，幫助他們有效地管理自己的投資組合，確保他們獲得正確的建議來製定這些決策。
Tom：是的，肯定的。因此，對我而言，投資或良好的投資是要盡可能地降低自己的風險。通常，對於風險較小的投資，例如，將您的資金投入高息收益賬戶，這是一個相當低風險的投資。因此，您的回報水平也將很低。我們在說一個可能％。有了房地產，您通常可以獲得收益。香港的收益非常低。但是，儘管如此，您還是會尋找獲得收益率在2.5％到10％以上之間。現在，收益越高，風險水平就越高。但如果您想嘗試並真正了解這項投資，我想說的最好的辦法就是聘請專業顧問。因此，這應該是熟悉當地市場，熟悉房地產類型並且能夠給您對那項特定投資的公正評估。因此，例如，也許我們有一個客戶-假設情況，我們有一位客戶打算在泰國購置房產。現在他們可能會看一下屬性並認為“這太棒了。它每年為我們提供9.5％的收益。這看起來像是招募了一些好租戶。這是一棟漂亮的新建築。哪裡出問題了？” 好吧，實際上，有可能會出錯。最初的測量師，他們會去研究為您準備的物業，看看物業周圍地區發生了什麼。例如，可能正在進行一些嚴重的基礎架構工作，這將影響在未來幾年內該物業的可及性。如果您查看租戶資料，他們可能有空缺的市場知識顧問，並說：“嘿，您的主租戶已經進入了在過去六個月中尋找新房產。“現在，除非您開始與專業人士交談，否則您通常不會擁有這些信息。現在，如果您與一般房地產經紀人交談，他們可能會告訴您這樣的事情，以試圖說服您購買或不購買財產。如果您正在聘請測量師，並且正在聘請專業人士，那麼您應該能夠更多地依賴該信息。如您所知，驗船師沒有隱藏的議程。他們向您很清楚開始。如果他們存在利益衝突或沒有利益衝突，那麼就不應該為您行事。但是通常，如果他們為您活躍，他們就不會。這樣您就可以確信他們正在給予您沒有偏見和獨立的建議。這樣可以幫助您制定購置房產的策略。因此，您現在可以看一下，然後說：“好吧，有40％該物業在未來18個月內可能會空置，市場情況如何？”而且，驗船師將能夠與他們合作，說，實際上，在過去六個月中，諮詢量下降了20％。我們看到租金在下降，並且在過去幾個季度中下降了5％ que on que，我們的預測是，在接下來的兩個季度中，它們還將繼續下降。這樣您就可以開始建立更多詳細說明是否進行投資的方法。這使您可以做一個適當的評估。可能是，一旦您在閒置期間建立了建築，一旦您建立了租金下降，又在考慮了所有其他因素之後，一旦得出了最終數字， 驗船師可能會說，嗯，實際上您是在以1,000萬泰銖的價格購入這處房產。實際上，我們只考慮該物業的價值為700萬泰銖，尤其是如果您想要達到8-9％的收益率。因此，它可以幫助您降低投資風險。 驗船師還可以發揮其他作用。因此，您可能同時僱用了建築測量師和商業測量師。建築測量師可能會說，嗯，我已經看了一下，我看了看建築，建築物內有幾種有害物質，或者建築物內有一些固有缺陷。和雖然目前可能不是問題，但在未來五到十年內，這可能會成為更多問題，並可能需要大量的資本支出來解決。所以它也需要更長遠的時間，並希望在這段時間內您的費用將會增加。因此，您可以看到一開始，投資者可能會看一下投資並認為這很棒，但是如果他們再深入一點，他們可能會開始看到一些問題，一些隱性成本以及一些他們將必須要做的事情在接下來的幾年中克服。因此，對我而言，這是向投資者提供他們需要的所有信息，以使我們更加清晰和盡可能透明的決定。這確實是測量師的價值。而且我見過很多人去買房而沒有去過的地方適當地了解了該物業，沒有採取正確的建議，這是回來對他們進一步造成傷害。他們賺的錢不如他們本來可以做的，否則他們最終會虧本。
Tom：因此，僅簡要介紹一下我們的職業歷史。因此，驗船師實際上是在古埃及發現了驗船師一詞的首次使用。因此，測量師在埃及時代開始工作。當尼羅河每年洪水氾濫時，他們幫助繪製了土地圖。然後當洪水退去時，他們幫助繪製了誰或哪個特定農民將擁有哪個特定土地的地圖。這就是調查開始的方式。然後甚至直到200年前，這仍然是測量師的主要角色。這是關於測繪土地。這與註冊所有權有關。現在，當工業革命發生時，您看到了更多的商業建築。所以直到那時商店肯定是，但通常情況下，商店是某人房屋的底樓。你真的沒有工廠大廈。您將擁有農場，但沒有工廠。和概念那時的辦公室仍然相當抽象。因此，當工業革命發生時，您開始在商業建築的開發方式中看到更多。然後，為了滿足這些建築物的所有者的需求，也進行了測量。首先，工廠，辦公室不管是誰，有一天會佔領這座建築物，但後來他們開始意識到，好吧，我們想要遷移到一家更大的工廠，但我想抓住這個工廠，嘗試尋找新的租戶。這就是調查真正開始發生變化的地方， 在這方面變得更具交易性，也更具諮詢性。那確實是商業測量的誕生。現在，作為行業，為了適應技術變化，測量一直很慢。來自曾經非常高興的老闆告訴我標準的一天將如何開始，他們都坐在市長房間裡閒逛了兩個小時。我的一些前同事，尤其是年長的同事，他們所做的大部分工作仍然是筆和紙。他們仍然喜歡使用捲尺，量尺。他們沒有繼續前進我想說的是最近的事態發展。但是實際上，激光測量，計算機輔助設計之類的東西已經存在了很長時間。但仍然，特別是在我們最年長的測量師中，仍然不願意正確地接受這一點。今天我們仍然看到它。我會說，利用技術，勘測落後於許多其他部門。現在，我不確定到底是什麼原因。我在香港也不得不說，這似乎是一個特殊的問題。我會說香港也許還沒有完全以與世界上其他一些地區相同的方式接受了所有變化。但是展望未來，我認為技術具有巨大的潛力來嚴重破壞我們的工業。因此，最近我們一直在進行評估，例如進行評估，其中一件事是您可以開始看到更多東西，然後您開始在世界其他地方看到是自動評估模型。因此，從本質上講，這些就是您會在許多網站上看到的內容，您可以免費獲得一份，只需輸入屬性地址和詳細信息，它為您提供了一個粗略的價值，其中自動變化模型採取了進一步的步驟。所以，再次，您付出所有有關您財產的詳細信息，然後在10分鐘之內，它可以為您提供相當準確的估價。所以我看到有報導說他們已經設法以95％的準確度獲得了自動振動模型。我沒有爭議，我認為肯定會開始發生更多的事情。但是該技術仍在追趕。它仍在嘗試將所有評估屬性值可能需要的所有微妙之處。但這將嚴重改變我們評估屬性的方式。對於投資者來說如果他們能在10分鐘內得到一個數字，那麼他們就不用花兩週的時間來聘請測量師事務所為他們進行評估，盡量減少所有這些人為錯誤，這將是一個主要的吸引力。另一面是我們代理。 因此，我們已經看到了虛擬代理的興起。因此，目前這些還沒有採取任何物理形式。完全是基於在線。但是我看過一些地方，您外出時，手機上有虛擬座席，您可以說：“哦，嘿該物業在隔壁賣了什麼？”虛擬代理將配備所有可用的交易信息。建立到該數據庫中，他們可以說，哦，去年該物業以這個價格出售。現在，通常，如果輸入property的命令誰向您展示周圍的人，都應該能夠大致告訴您隔壁將出售哪些物業。但是要獲得這項服務，要有人掌握所有信息， 您有記錄的單筆交易，這是非常有價值的。這些電子代理商可以24/7全天候使用。他們有100％ 回調記錄。因此，確實，這將大大改變我們買賣房地產的方式。現在，這是否意味著像我這樣的人，人類測量師？不，絕對不是。我當然希望不會。我認為仍有房地產。真實房地產仍然是很多關係驅動的。而且我認為永遠都會如此。因此，我認為這些技術變革將有助於稱讚行業，並且將有助於也要提高我們的標準。它們將幫助我們最大程度地減少一些錯誤，並幫助我們提高效率。但是就估值而言，是的，估值的很大一部分是科學的，但估值也仍然是一門藝術。而且我不確定計算機模型是否能夠完全抓住了這一點。他們可能會做。但是我的想法是他們不會。因此，我認為對於人類測量師來說，總會有一個角色，但是技術無疑具有的巨大潛力，可以改變我們所知道的行業。
Tom：是的，絕對是。所以我在 Linkedin上，所以您可以搜索Tom Parker MRICS。是。或Tom·帕克·科利爾（Tom Parker Collier），您應該以這種方式找到我。同樣，您可以給我發送電子郵件。總是非常響應電子郵件，並樂於與人們交談，即使他們也只是對如何進入該行業有疑問。所以我的電子郵件是Tom.Parker@Colliers.com。它們可能是聯繫並找到我的兩種主要方法。我確實為其他來源製作了大量的媒體，但本人目前不在社交媒體上。