The property reporting profession is quite a varied role or at least it can be if you set your sights further than just inventories. But it can be limited if you don’t look beyond your own services or settle for the same business model that agents expect of you.
If you have established yourself as a property inventory clerk you’ll be well aware of the very specific skills and abilities the job demands. If you’re at the start of your career you’ll learn about them very quickly as you develop your service.
A successful inventory clerk balances very strong interpersonal skills with a highly organised approach and precise attention to detail.
While you don’t need formal technical knowledge of say structural or electrical issues, you very quickly gather a solid grounding.
Challenging but rewarding role as a service provider
It’s not a job for the impatient or the easily discouraged. Performing your duties takes time and perseverance, but also requires speed, energy and efficiency.
Ultimately, the role of an inventory professional is all about assessing innumerable aspects of the physical environments of a property and you also play an important part in the smooth running of a private landlords’ portfolio and the agents business.
A key point to make here is that because the working life of an inventory clerk does not follow a 9 to 5 structure, conducting property reports or multiple inspections, one after another, maintaining a full workload is challenging.
Most clerks are self-employed; your livelihood often depends on getting as many jobs as possible, which is why both in slow periods and as part of your business planning, you should really think about how the skills you use in your primary work can be transferred to other vital processes and opportunities.
Here at Inventory Base Academy I always advise inventory clerks to take the widest possible view of their capabilities and consider how they can find comparable work that utilises your skills and your knowledge base.
What types of service options could you offer?
Let’s look at some of the opportunities available here:
The concept of risk assessment in public places and working environments was introduced as a legal requirement only in 1992.
As it applies in so many situations, any assessment needs to be carried out with tremendous care and professionalism. It’s not enough to walk around a private rental property, a school, building site or factory with a clipboard simply ticking boxes.
It’s a proactive inspection, which involves looking ahead, thinking creatively and making connections between what is and what might happen.
In most cases you are already carrying out a risk assessment as you enter a property; this is called a dynamic risk assessment.
But a more detailed assessment of the property such as Fitness for Human Habitation looks at a mandated list of 29 key elements that determine whether a property is safe for tenants and their visitors.
So the skills and experience of a property inventory clerk are perfectly suited to the role but you should undertake appropriate training so that you can competently assess the property as part of your service.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
This is a specialised technical practice, that requires formal qualifications to be a domestic energy assessor (DEA).
To work as a domestic energy assessor, you’ll need to complete a Level 3 Certificate in Domestic Energy Assessment and become a member of an approved accreditation scheme.
But your skills as an inventory professional will be relevant when understanding the legal requirements to assess the property. They will include attention to detail, analytical thinking, verbal communication, flexibility and the same level of IT knowledge – all the skills you’ll already have developed using Inventory Base property management software.
The kind of issues you’ll be called on to assess are the property’s size, the nature and extent of insulation, heating and ventilation provisions, the absence or presence of double or triple glazing, construction type and the kind of interior lighting used.
You’ll need to inspect the entire property, including any loft space, taking pictures and measurements, so a head for heights is possibly essential but in essence this is not much different from what you are already accustomed to doing.
The number of vacant buildings, both domestic and commercial, is noticeable. You only have to walk down your high street to see how many properties are shut and in disrepair.
Every one of these apparently abandoned properties is owned by someone, and whether they have been retired pending demolition or refurbishment, or simply haven’t yet found a tenant, they remain assets of considerable value.
Their empty status makes them vulnerable to vandals, criminals and squatters. Even without human interference, they can fall into disrepair and structural decline
This means they need to be thoroughly checked on a regular cycle so that faults can be identified while remediable and before irreversible damage is done.
As an inventory professional, you are perfectly suited to this role so is a potential body of work you should explore as part of your service offering.
Viewings & Property Pictures
Estate agents are quite open to contracting out some of their responsibilities when it comes to the sale side of the property industry.
It’s very common to find staff or viewing services showing prospective buyers and tenants around properties, particularly at weekends. Just one viewing can take a couple of hours out of an agent’s day, so it really does make sense to outsource.
The same goes for taking the photographs and assembling any other information property that goes into a sales marketing pack. Who better to outsource these jobs to than to a professional who spends their working day inspecting properties?
If you plan it well you can easily intersperse visits with your own inspections, saving everyone time and augmenting your income.
Walk Through Tours
Technological advances are changing the way landlords, estate agents and vendors deal with tenants and buyers. The walk-through tour has become an extremely effective way of giving interested parties a comprehensive first sight of a property.
The tour needs to be constructed thoughtfully and thoroughly, with the kind of attention the average estate agent may not have time in their diary to give, not through any lack of professionalism but simply because that kind of close precision is not necessarily in their toolbox.
However for you, as an inventory professional, it is simply a case of creating a visual report slanted towards marketing rather than providing detailed condition and damage information.
Once again, you’re the perfect candidate.
Commercial service options
- Gas safety
- Electrical safety (EICR)
- Legionella risk assessments
- Fitness for human habitation risk assessments
- Commercial inventories
- Asset registers (commercial or legal)
- Block management reports and assessments
- Snagging reports
- Maintenance services
- Home surveys (including drones/thermal imaging)
- Gardening services and maintenance
- Hospitality services
Skills, knowledge and determination
These are just some examples of areas into which your inventory and investigative skills could enable you to diversify your service offerings as well as provide insights into other areas of the property industry.
It’s not an exhaustive list so you should keep your eyes and mind open for all opportunities as often they come via chance conversations or out of need when the agent or landlord are struggling and need a bit of help.
Keeping dialogue open and maintaining relationships with your client base is essential.
And the important thing to remember is that you are qualified for more than one role.
Don’t stay in your lane!
Don’t meet the expectations of others, redefine yourself and your service by making the most of what you’re good at but also extend yourself.
Learn and hone your skills and you’ll quickly see the benefits.
For more information on training to become an CPD accredited inventor provider visit Inventory Base Academy to explore the available courses and get your business in the spotlight with Inventory Base property reports and inspection templates.
To view the webinar recording please visit: https://youtu.be/C77tkQrCpIw