If you’re a people person with great organisational skills then a career as a land agent could be ideal for you.
Land agents are responsible for the negotiation and acquisition of land, valuing farm and estate assets, giving clients advice on legal and tax issues, and planning and developing land use.
Farmers Weekly asked Laura Fieldsend, rural surveyor and senior associate director at Strutt & Parker, to share what it’s like to do her job.
Name Laura Fieldsend
Job title Rural surveyor and senior associate director
Company Strutt & Parker
Sum up your job:
Put simply, I’m a facilitator, negotiator and problem solver.
What does this involve day to day?
The majority of my work is estate management and it’s about creating the right balance between the landlord and tenant relationship so that it’s prosperous for both.
I am also involved with compulsory purchase work and compensation claims, negotiating on behalf of my clients, who are mostly farmers.
What do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy having good relationships with my client and working with my colleagues.
What can be the downside?
The nature of the role tends to be one of dealing with problems and that involves a certain level of tenaciousness to keep your spirits up. However, coming up with solutions is very rewarding.
What percentage of your job is office-based?
A fair amount of time is spent in the office – I would say on average I’m about 65% office-based.
What essential skills and qualifications are needed?
On a practical level, good communication skills are really important. With regards to formal qualifications, a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredited degree is necessary to do this job.
Then the completion of the RICS APC (assessment of professional competence), making successful candidates a member of the RICS, known as MRICS.
Most people also choose to become a FAAV – fellow of the Association of Agricultural Valuers – which I am also.
What experience did you have before you started?
After completing my degree in agri-business economics and management at Newcastle University, I briefly worked for the British Horseracing Board.
I then joined Barclays on their agricultural graduate programme and worked towards being an agri-business bank manager and latterly working with small to medium-sized corporate clients.
I then went to complete the one year full-time post-graduate RICS accredited course at Harper Adams before joining Strutt & Parker in 2008.
What advice would you give to someone wanting a similar role?
Go for it; you’ll certainly meet some very interesting people. However, modern land agency is all about relationships – being personable, communicating and hanging on in there.
Good negotiation skills and lots of perseverance are essential to have in this line of work.
Give us an idea of salaries or earnings:
The average land agent will never be wealthy, but the plus side is working in the countryside with lovely people.