Joe Stansfield, Treasurer and Senior Vice President of the Tasmanian Australian Property Institute (API) Divisional Council, talks about his professional journey and his insights about the benefits of being an active API member.
How long have you been in the property industry? How did you get your start?
I’ve been in the property industry since mid-2007 when I began a cadetship on the north-west coast of Tasmania. Clyde Eastaugh, a long serving member of the Australian Property Institute (API), influenced my decision to enter into the industry by explaining the wide variety of opportunities a career in property could offer.
Which university did you study at and what did you study?
I actually began my degree in valuation at RMIT at the start of 2007. However, I was then offered the cadetship and cancelled my enrolment prior to the census date. As a valuation course was not (and continues to not be) offered in Tasmania, I enrolled in a distance education course with Central Queensland University.
Where are you currently working? What's your role?
I’m currently working in Hobart with Saunders & Pitt, a small independent firm with four practicing valuers specialising in a wide range of work with a focus on valuations, rental determinations and compulsory acquisition work.
My role is that of a valuer, with my workload including the limited residential mortgage work that we still undertake in regional areas and a mixture of other commercial type work.
How did you come to be in this role?
I grew up on King Island, a small island in Bass Straight between Tasmania and Victoria. After my family sold our sheep farming property, my father went in to real estate. This gave me an initial interest in property, which was furthered by dealings with Clyde Eastaugh, who was a valuer who frequented the island.
After a gap year working on a beef farm following completion of college in Launceston, I began a cadetship in north-west Tasmania with ESK Property (now a part of Opteon).
Over a period of three years I moved to Launceston and then to Hobart where I began employment with Saunders & Pitt where I was exposed to a wide range of valuation work. I had several experienced valuers mentor me over the duration of my cadetship who were extremely valuable to my development.
Over the past two years I have also taken on the roles of Treasurer and Senior Vice President on the Tasmanian API Divisional Council. I’m enjoying providing assistance in tackling issues concerning the membership of a professional body such as the API.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in this area?
I chose a career in this area because I was told about the career opportunities it would provide. When I first considered the valuation profession and even during my initial stint of study at RMIT, I had no idea what a valuer actually did. However, I have always had an interest in problem solving and analysis and these are areas central to valuation.
What do you think are among the biggest challenges facing the property industry?
I believe the issues facing the industry include:
• low level of fees for residential mortgage work
• centralisation of valuation work to third parties such as Valex and the impact this has on communication channels and client relationships
• mortgage insurers and the current practice of extending reliance of reports without any monetary consideration
• retention of young valuers in a subdued market
Tell us a bit about your involvement in YPP? What’s coming up in this area?
In Tasmania we have a limited YPP program. Unfortunately, our small member base within the API means an even smaller number of young property professionals! Our aim over the coming years is to hold some joint events with the API in order to get the brand of the YPP into the wider business community. Hopefully, in coming years, the YPP will be able to hold events in its own right within Tasmania.
What are your plans for 2013? What do you hope to achieve?
In 2013 my aim is to continue to establish myself in southern Tasmania and slowly undertake my complex valuation work. Right now I’m happy with my career and employment status. Hobart has a wide range of opportunities outside of work to create a good work/life balance.
How could the API enhance service to members?
In my opinion the API could enhance its services to members by focusing on improving the environment in which the majority of members are employed. The valuation industry continues to face difficulties over a range of issues and I know the effort the API has put in to some of these challenges, particularly that of PI Insurance. This has been of great benefit and on the back of this, I think there are a wide range of other issues the API could focus on which would result in improved outcomes.
Further, the API should continue to offer quality education options for new and existing members. The Future Property Professionals (FPP) program is a step in the right direction and opens up learning opportunities for members which may not be available in their day to day jobs.
How is the API helping your career, and why do you believe a membership organisation such as the API is important to property professionals?
The API has helped my career immensely. Having the opportunity to be a Divisional Council Member and now the YPP representative on the Australian Property Standards Board (APSB) provides valuable experience and insight to which I would not otherwise have access. This experience can be translated into my day-to-day role as a valuer and, through the mentoring of other senior members within the API, widen my field of knowledge on a wide range of issues which affect the industry.
An organisation such as the API is critical to any professional, not just those within the property industry. The education, guidance, legal advice and other services offered to members is vital. Smaller independent firms are particularly reliant on API services as they’re sometimes unable to undertake these services themselves (such as quality CPD seminars, legal advice on service agreements and education of potential insurance firms).
What advice would you give to upcoming property professionals?
Take every opportunity that arises. Although my current role is as a valuer, there are a wide range of career paths that such a career opens up. Further, I would advise people to strive to become active members within the API as our industry and the API require quality, driven professionals to drive the property industry in to the future.