Confessions of a valuer, chapter 13: War! Planet of the Apes style – The Property Chronicle
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Confessions of a valuer, chapter 13: War! Planet of the Apes style

Investor's Notebook

In this very special series of exclusive articles for the Property Chronicle, Australian property legend Norman Harker reflects on his extraordinary 50-year life in real estate. He will pull no punches partly because, as he freely admits, Norman has a limited life expectancy of five years from December 2018 due to a diagnosed terminal blood cancer, which he has cheerfully accepted in preference to (in his words) “kicking the bucket without notice”. We are honoured he has chosen us to publish these brilliant, funny and incisive reflections of a lifetime in property.

Chapter 13: War, Planet of the Apes style – valuers’ and appraisers’ version

Important notes: Facts, figures, dates, and details have been changed to protect the guilty. See the brief concluding serious note on ethical dilemmas involved.

I’d wanted the role of Harlton Cheston in the film, but I was rejected, and I still can’t see why.

What’s he got that I haven’t got?

First skirmish

You may not recall Chapter 5, but opponent number one had been stocked and shunned when Obnoxious Norman walked out of an interview after five minutes saying he wouldn’t want a job there.

My client now had a 99-year lease of an entire well-located building with reviews at 36 and 72 years. To explain, I’ll use round figures – I never did like skinny women (Dolly Parton could have had me if she’d played her cards right).

Current rent £25,000 (set 36 years before). They didn’t want the accommodation. Market rent of £400,000 a year – ouch! A repairing obligation was going to cost £200,000. A letter quoted £450,000 a year. Summary: (expletive deleted)!!

Having nothing better to do, I’d RTFLd (read the fine lease) on receiving instructions and before meeting with my client. Being old, it was printed on beautiful parchment

Read the fine lease






Investor's Notebook

About Norman Harker

Norman Harker

Norman Harker FRICS FAPI, the Principal of Sydney-based consultant Norman Harker & Associates, is a specialist Excel property consultant, with expertise in developing, validating, and securing the robustness of Excel DCF and CF analyses for analysing transactions, valuations, investment analysis and feasibility studies. He was an elected New South Wales divisional board member of the Australian Property Institute in 2013-2015 and for many years was a senior lecturer at the University of Western Sydney, where he specialised in developing applications for the use of practising valuers; before that he lectured at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He began his career at Conrad Ritblat & Co in London, where he rose from trainee valuer to associate partner. He was diagnosed with incurable multiple myeloma in 2018 and given a life expectancy of five years, and also suffers from an incurable and often inappropriate sense of humour.

Articles by Norman Harker

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