Local businesswomen Diana Evelyn Signal achieves Registration with The Valuers Registration Board -Women Valuers represents approx. 15% of our industry.
When Diana started her career as a Property Valuer and establishing her business Wanganui Valuers Ltd, there were no women valuers in Whanganui. Women Valuers make up only approx. 15% of the industry in New Zealand.
Few women contemplate property valuation as a career option which is a real shame.
Diana says she was always interested in property ", but I didn't know what the property job options were apart from real estate agents and at the time the market was flat and the real estate industry in Whanganui was fairly over-represented. It wasn't a career I felt would provide the financial stability and flexibility required of a single mother of two dependant children.
The journey has been long with plenty of sacrifices both financially and time-wise for me and my two daughters Phoebe and Hazel. Initialling Diana achieved a Diploma in Valuation and Property Management through Massey University and working part-time with Registered Valuer and mentor Steve Attwell, a Levin based valuer who Diana credits to instilling her with excellent business practice and procedures.
The next part of Diana's journey involved achieving a Bachelors of Business Degree majoring in Valuation and Property Management. As a Graduate Valuer Diana was permitted to undertake valuation assignments; however, the industry standards require unregistered valuers have their work co-signed for three years by a Registered Valuer. A barrier Diana did not anticipate when obtaining her Qualifications. "I guess we leave University with our Degree in hand, expecting to walk into employment. With no available job placements in Whanganui and student debt of $27,000. Diana established her own business Wanganui Valuers Ltd.
By chance, Diana received a phone call from a Registered Valuer with 35 years experience in residential, commercial, industrial and rural/lifestyle valuation who had returned to Whanganui and has been part of the Whanganui Team now for three years. Having someone with such a long history in the industry is fantastic when those tricky out of the ballpark assignments come up and invaluable to my business."
The final stage of my induction into the industry saw Diana sit in front of the Valuers Registration Board in Wellington. The Valuation Registration Board is the industry's governing body established in 1948 which oversees the performance of New Zealand's Valuers. Diana received confirmation shortly after of her acceptance as 1 of the 1200 Registered Valuers in New Zealand.
Property Valuation is still a predominantly male-dominated industry. One of the three board members conducting Diana's oral examination included the 3rd ever female valuer appointed to the Valuers Registration Board since 1948. Diana is Whanganui's only women Registered Valuer and only female Registered Valuer of the Local Branch of the Property Institute of New Zealand of which she is a committee member.
"I am very enthusiastic about the future of my business Whanganui Valuers Ltd. I have great support from our growing client base and have extended my business to surrounding smaller townships including Marton, Patea, Waverley, Hawera, Bulls, Ohakune, Raetihi, Taihape, and Hunterville as these areas generally have no Local Valuers". Diana saw an opportunity to provide a much-needed service to these smaller service townships.
Although growing up in Auckland her extended family has been based in Whanganui/Manawatu so she has been part of the District since a very young age, and Whanganui feels like home.
Diana hopes to be a promoter of the profession to other women because although it's not an easy path, she has found it extremely rewarding, every day is exciting and provides a challenge.
Working in provincial townships faces unique challenges with historically limited sales evidence a lot of research is crucial to determining properties worth. Each valuation is a journey, Diana says. "As each property is unique, and inquiring personality is a must almost like a detective pulling together all the available information. Diana has learnt the information provided in databases is not always reliable so getting out and viewing every sale is best practice.
Other qualities Diana credits to her success in the industry is her excellent memory, the ability to write reports in a way clients understand, approachable personality and exceptional attention to the analysis of sales. "You have to analyse the sales carefully to adopt an appropriate net rate or make adjustments for unusual characteristics of a property which may not be in Databases".
The process of Registration, although daunting, has been a rewarding experience which has benefited Diana in ways a degree could not. It has given Diana insight into the newly adopted International Valuation Standards, and ethics is also a big part of our industry. The BBS VPM degree and Registration process involved a lot of studies centred around both recent and historical case law. "Property Law is an area I excelled at University and have developed a real interest in since. I now can apply these cases to real-life situations. I fully embrace the requirements and benefits of continuing professional development and education required, it ensures we as Valuers do our job right and to a high standard".
Although Property Valuation as a career choice may seem unappealing and fairly conservative career choice for young women compared to other more traditional gender-specific roles, I hope to see an increase in women in the valuation industry.