How long have you been in the property industry? How did you get your start?
Hannah Stevens: I started my career in 2006 while studying Business (property) at the University of South Australia. I worked a few days a week at CWM Market-Line, (now Opteon Property Group) assisting administration staff prepare valuer files. I also worked a couple of days a week at AVJennings Development as an acquisition assistant.
At the beginning of 2007 I accepted a full time position with AVJennings Development as a development analyst working on large government tenders and smaller integrated property acquisitions until the end of 2009. I transitioned into valuations with Southwick Goodyear (now Opteon Property Group) and enjoyed over four years of diverse valuations, driving around South Australia.
I am currently one of three in-house valuers in the finance department of Adelaide City Council.
How did you come to be in this role?
HS: After a secondment in 2013, I accepted a valuer’s position within the rates and valuation team.
What are the best parts of your job?
HS: Valuers are fortunate to have a great mix of office-to-field work ratio. I thoroughly enjoy getting out of the office and inspecting unique properties and meeting interesting people.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
HS: It is always difficult valuing properties where owners are financially stressed.
Tell us a bit about your background, career path.
HS: I started my career in acquisition as a development analyst and contributed to the project management team from time to time.
Later I accepted a position in a private valuation firm and valued property throughout South Australia including residential, hobby farms, holiday homes and residential/rural land.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in this area?
HS: I have always been intrigued by the property industry and was made aware of the valuation profession through my uncle, Jack, who is a valuer in Melbourne. Jack was passionate about the industry and enjoyed his career, which in turn convinced me to study the degree in South Australia.
What do you think are among the biggest challenges facing the property industry?
HS: There are a number of challenges facing the property industry including the uncertainty of the future jobs market and consumer confidence. Other challenges include the deterioration of professional fees and the dwindling number of qualified CPV valuers between ages 25 and 35.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
HS: I am looking forward to going on a holiday to Vietnam with my family. Professionally, I am looking forward to Council’s revaluation period starting shortly.
How is the API helping your career and why do you believe a membership organisation such as the API is important to property professionals?
HS: I joined the API when I was a student and believe the mentor program helped me to build confidence to approach potential employees and apply for my first job. The networking has been invaluable.
Through the API I joined the Young Property Professionals in 2008 and subsequently became Chairperson in 2012 and 2013. Being able to hold a leadership position early in my career has broadened my future prospects and opened new doors.
The ongoing professional education keeps me up-to-date on events, market, current practice and legislation.
I am passionate about the property industry and believe in giving back to the industry. Currently I am a South Australian Division Councillor, Continuing Professional Development Committee member and on the National Education Board. Being able to be a part of my professional body and influencing the future is rewarding and exciting.
What would you say to upcoming property professionals?
HS: As a greenhorn, I always had a 5-point plan for my career and where I wanted to be in 10 years’ time. However, life experience has taught me that you cannot predict the future and to make use of every opportunity. I may not have planned to be where I currently am, however I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given along the way.