A Day in the Life of – Kirsty Barrows

Kirsty is a surveyor for Legal and General. Here, she tells us all about the day to day responsibilities of the role and managing work/life balance.

As a surveyor, my primary role is inspecting properties to identify if there are any structural issues or damp problems. I check to see if properties are fit for mainstream mortgage purposes by looking out for issues such as cladding, Japanese knotweed, and I also advise of any legal matters relating to a particular property.

I provide valuations for the properties I inspect for secured lending purposes.

What does your morning routine look like? 

I usually wake up, make some breakfast and then plan my day. This consists of doing my desktop research for all the properties I will be visiting that day. This involves:

  • Checking our systems to see if anyone from the company has previously been to one of the properties I will be inspecting.
  • Checking Google street view to get a feel for the area – this helps me identify if there are any issues with the location, such as the proximity of commercial properties, tube lines, busy roads etc…

Once my research is complete, I leave for my first appointment, aiming to get there for 8am.

After all the inspections are complete, I return home for some lunch.

What does a typical afternoon look like?

After lunch, I complete all of the valuations for the properties I have inspected that day, and sign off the reports so I am able to meet the lenders’ service level agreement.

This involves me analysing the most recent comparable data, liaising with estate agents to check the statuses of sales and, most importantly, checking the lender’s guidance to ensure I’m providing correct advice.

What do you find to be your most productive time of the day?

Early afternoon. I get my comparables in line and start thinking about the advice I’m going to give to the lender based on what I’ve seen that day – usually with a sandwich in hand.

How do you manage your time to ensure you have a good work / life / home balance?

I stay on top of everything as and when it comes in. There’s no time like the present to deal with lender queries. This also means I leave a clear desk at the end of every working day.

What is your favourite part of your working day in your role?

Seeing people’s houses and meeting the public. There’s never a boring day when it comes to surveying, as people do such interesting and beautiful things with their homes. Sometimes you come across something which just takes your breath away!

What does a typical dinner time look like in your household?

It starts with an argument about who is going to do the washing up! My partner and I are looking into getting a dishwasher installed as soon as possible!

What do you do to unwind?

The washing up!

When I’m not washing up, I love to unwind by going on hikes, getting stuck into a book, listening to a podcast, watching a show or seeing my friends and family.

If you could give one piece of career advice what would it be?

You’re going to get setbacks. Consider them to be opportunities to learn, rather than failures. If you work hard and keep your head down, you’ll get where you want and need to be.

How important has your support network been in helping you through your role?

My support network at Legal & General have been crucial to my development. I always know where to go if I do not know an answer to a question. We also have a group chat with other surveyors in my region. Many of them have been in the industry for a long time, so they have a wealth of knowledge and are always happy to help where necessary.

Does your job require a degree?

Not necessarily – there are routes into the profession via Advanced Apprenticeships or Degree Apprenticeships.

I have an Undergraduate degree in Sociology and a Masters’ degree in Building Surveying. I am also a qualified drone pilot and EPC assessor.