Just under a year ago, graduate surveyor Charlotte Wint joined Carter Jonas in Cambridge. She describes what life has been like in that time and answers some specific question from us on how a newcomer finds the world of development.
I am a graduate surveyor within the residential development team based in the Cambridge office for Carter Jonas. I graduated from the University of Reading with a degree in Real Estate, and I joined Carter Jonas in August 2022.
After graduating, initially I lived and worked in Spain for six months teaching English at a primary school. This involved leading lessons whilst facilitating conversation and discussion about specific topics of interest in English culture. My responsibilities included lesson planning, classroom management, and coordination with the tutor.
The adaptability and problem-solving skills this taught me have been crucial for my success as a member of the residential development team.
I have the dream job in my opinion, since no day is ever the same. I could be scheduling viewings, visiting sites to gather information for marketing particulars, assisting with development land agency sales and acquisitions, updating landowners on the market, conducting development appraisals for a prospective client, or attending meetings with local housebuilders, developers, landowners, promoters or colleagues from other departments. I have appraised a number of sites for private clients, ranging from a single plot to a 173-unit scheme as well as a 27-unit scheme for a government department.
I consider myself incredibly lucky to work for a reputable company that gives me access to such a substantial professional network. I think the office in Cambridge has a great atmosphere and is an excellent environment to learn from others. I can always ask my colleagues for support, whether or not they are in my team.
Since joining the company, I have had the opportunity to participate in a wide range of rewarding and interesting tasks such as selling land and property on behalf of a government department. It amazes me to see how your efforts and contributions can influence significant projects.
What has surprised you in the development world?
The most intriguing aspect of development is that everything we do is linked to other departments, such as rural, residential, and commercial.
What are your thoughts on working in the office v working from home?
Personally, I prefer working in the office since it allows me to listen in on conversations that I can learn from on a daily basis. I also believe that it is essential for our team to be present in the office so that other departments can simply and efficiently ask us any questions they may have.
What are your thoughts on what skills/attributes you need to be a developer?
The ability to think logically and problem solve, strong verbal communication skills, an ability to manage clients, and the willingness to work both as an individual and as part of a team are the crucial skills that are needed.
What is your ultimate ambition?
I maintain my initial motivation to learn more about the wider real estate industry with the longer-term goal being to become a successful professional who can make a positive impact on the industry and undoubtedly the built environment.
What are the current opportunities for developers?
From an East of England perspective, the suggested recent endorsement by Government of the ‘Cambridge 2040’ plan as well as the emergence of new markets, such as the construction of homes outside of cities post pandemic, Build-to-Rent schemes and self-build housing.
What are the current challenges for a developer?
Recent regulations requiring nutrient neutrality and biodiversity net gains, as well as continued workforce shortages and rising building and financing costs, provide the most significant challenges for developers.
What are your thoughts on the prospect of AI in development?
There is still a long way to go as the real estate industry is still very much in the primary stage of technology innovation compared to other industries. That being AI is increasingly being used in various ways from conducting property valuations to aiding with home renovations.
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