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Solving problems on lie of the land

Published on Friday, 24 May 2013
Adam Lee, Knight Frank director and head of land advisory services, says land advisers must have a ‘can do’ attitude.
Photo: Nora Tam

Land advisers are consultants who assist property developers on matters related to the development and administration of land in Hong Kong.

"More specifically, we advise clients on land control solutions," says Adam Lee, director and head of land advisory services at Knight Frank. "Development in Hong Kong involves land, and the Hong Kong government - as the owners of all land that can be developed - needs a land control system to manage all developments."

Developers face many challenges over the administration and control of land. This is where the land adviser comes in.

"Our role is to advise clients of possible solutions to facilitate the intended development of a piece of property," Lee says. "We are property development consultants advising clients on matters related to property development."

Not only is Hong Kong's property market highly volatile, government rules and regulations are also constantly changing. It is a land adviser's responsibility to keep abreast of these developments in order to keep their clients well-informed. Knight Frank has offices around the world. If a developer has projects in another jurisdiction, they will usually be referred to one of its other offices.

So what does it take to become a successful land adviser?

A good land adviser is someone who can think outside the box, integrating information in a comprehensive way in order to best serve the needs of clients. While hard skills are essential, soft skills are even more crucial. The right character traits are key, Lee says.

"Academic qualifications are a prerequisite, but personality is even more important," he adds. "They need to be outgoing, able to talk. They need to have a 'can do' attitude. We stress inspiration and are always looking for beneficial solutions for our clients."

For those with the right combination of skills, land advisory can be a very rewarding career.

"Problem solving is the most satisfying aspect of the job," Lee says. "You can't just sit and write. You have to think about the problems our clients face and provide solutions to help solve them."

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