Member spotlight: Richard Steedman

This month we shine the Member Spotlight on Richard Steedman, API Tasmania’s President and experienced valuer

How long have you been in the property industry? How did you get your start?
I have been in the property industry since 1998 (16 years). I was a commercial property manager for five years and undertook tertiary property studies by correspondence during this time. Towards the end of my degree, I transitioned into the valuation department of the organisation I was working for at the time.

Where are you currently working?
I currently work for Opteon Property Group (OPG) in Hobart as the manager of Hobart's Commercial Valuation Department.

How did you come to be in this role?
I have been with Opteon (formerly Brothers & Newton) for approximately 11 years and have progressed from trainee valuer to residential valuer to commercial valuer and in more recent years, to managing the Commercial Department.

What are the best parts of your job?
Not being tied to a desk and getting out and about and meeting people from various walks of life on a daily basis. Every day is a new day, with no two jobs the same. You never stop learning or having new experiences.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Rationalising an irrational market where one plus one doesn't always equal two.

Tell us a bit about your background, career path?
I started as a commercial property manager, managing a mixture of retail, industrial and office buildings for five years. During this time I developed a greater interest in the financial performance of property and property market dynamics, more so than building maintenance and contract management. This led me to consider the valuation stream, furthering my studies to ultimately become of Certified Practicing Valuer (CPV). Upon becoming qualified, I spent three years as a residential valuer in Hobart and the past eight years as a commercial valuer in Hobart, undertaking valuations of office, retail, industrial and hospitality properties.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in this area?
Growing up, I always had an interest in property from both a design and financial perspective. The outdoor element of our profession was also enticing (despite Hobart's winters). The mix of these elements was attractive.

What do you think are among the biggest challenges facing the property industry?
From a valuation perspective, valuing our expertise and remaining relevant to our clients. There has been significant changes in our sector in the past five years or so, which is, in part, a result of technology, in particular the methods of data collection and analysis. There is a tendency in society to want the answer instantaneously, however that comes with an accuracy/quality trade-off. The property and financial industries must not lose sight of a property professional's role and importance in the financial decision making process. Everybody at some stage throughout their life deals with a property professional and thus our profession has a very important role to play in society.

What are your plans/goals for the remainder of 2014?
From an API Tasmania perspective, increase our profile and appeal (particularly to those outside of the valuation profession) and enhance member services.

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 is continually engaging with and representing our interests with major stakeholders of our industry, which is vitally important in this ever-changing world and profession. It is also setting and maintaining the highest level of professional standards, which enhances the standing of a property professional with API membership.

What would you say to upcoming property professionals?
Invest in your future by becoming engaged with your industry. Join committees/industry groups, go to seminars and functions. Soak up the information available at every opportunity. The property industry covers a very broad spectrum and is rapidly changing, so you never know where it will take you or what opportunity will present itself.