James Presly, Associate, Aberdeen & Northern (Estates) Ltd

What is your background (education/employment)?  
I come from a North-East family farming background and attended Methlick Primary and Ellon Academy. I undertook a BSc (Hons) degree in Agriculture and after a six-month working farm study in New Zealand completed a postgraduate Master in Land Economy, also at the University of Aberdeen.  
How long have you worked at the ANM Group?
I started at ANM Group initially on a part-time basis in May 2007 as a graduate surveyor.  
What is your role at ANM group?  
I am an Associate with the Aberdeen and Northern Estates property division. I qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in December 2009 and am also a RICS Registered Valuer. I am responsible for the agency and sales side of the A&N business.
Why did you choose ANM Group? 
I was offered a role at the ANM group through the then Chief Executive’s involvement in the John Fotheringham Memorial Prize for a study tour of the New Zealand sheep farming industry. I did my Chartered Surveying training here so it was a natural progression, however having said that there was no guarantee of a job but thankfully an opportunity opened up. 
What projects do you/will you work on?
I am mainly involved in farm and other rural property sales together with other professional work.  From tendering for a sale; drawing up sales particulars; dealing with interested parties; setting closing dates; receiving offers through to settlement of a sale.
What skills do you need? 
I think team work is important for us.  Although we are part of the larger ANM Group, we are a relatively small division and have to all work well together, which we do.  You also need to think analytically and professionally, dealing with a lot of information from a great number of different clients and so it is vital that we remain completely professional and client?focussed in everything we do. 
What does your average day entail? 
We are fortunate in that our role as Land Agents is varied, so there is no set routine with flexibility being very important.  A lot of time is spent on the computer and the phone, communicating with clients and customers, other professional advisers including solicitors and accountants. There are site visits to conduct, valuation reports to write, as well as fresh enquiries and meetings in the office to fit in.
What are your current challenges?
Managing and meeting clients’ expectations.  Selling a property is a major decision for our clients so we have to advise and help lead them through several sensitive stages of the sales process. From a business point of view it’s maintaining and growing our market share and A&N’s reputation as the leading rural property business that it is.