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Rising Star: Kylie Briggs, Paragon Bank

  • 22/04/2024
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Rising Star: Kylie Briggs, Paragon Bank
This week, Mortgage Solutions is speaking with Kylie Briggs, regional surveyor at Paragon Bank.

What does your role entail and how long have you been doing it?    

I have been in this role for just over a year. My role entails providing valuation work of a high standard and monitoring market trends and feeding back where necessary. I also aid in providing a satisfactory customer journey as part of the mortgage application process, ensuring that we are lending on the correct type of properties within risk appetite as well as providing guidance and advice on property matters.  


What attracted you to working in the financial services sector?    

Rewind to December 2022 whilst having Christmas dinner with friends, I was asked what my ideal role would be. To which I responded, “undertaking mortgage valuations”. I longed to return to the road, gaining exposure to a variety of properties and regularly meeting people, as I did when working within my father’s firm in South Africa. This, coupled with a personal interest in property lending, risk appetite and investment, I was keen to widen my experience and decided to go job hunting. After coming across a vacancy at Paragon Bank, not only was I impressed by their staff retention rate, but I was motivated and excited to pursue the opportunity to be part of a team providing specialist lending advice, following a criterion that ensures that Paragon only lend on good quality homes supported by the surveying team. All of this whilst achieving the best outcome for our customers in a highly competitive market that requires an understanding of governance, property risk management and a high level of commercial awareness.  


What were you doing in the five years before starting here?     

After having emigrated from South Africa only a few months earlier, I had just started a new role in the affordable housing valuation advisory team at a well-known and high-profile property firm in London. I was also about to enroll in a master’s degree, working towards obtaining my MRICS [chartered member of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors] qualification, which I have successfully obtained.  


What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?    

Attention to detail; whether it be during an inspection, carrying out research or, identifying any areas of concern that could pose a risk or have an impact on the suitability of a property for lending. 


What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?   

I would love to improve my drawing skills. If only you could see my floorplans and illustration of trees within my site notes, you would understand.  


How has the pandemic changed the way you approach your job?   

Given the number of properties I frequent, I approach my job with extra care to ensure I protect both myself and anyone I come into contact with, which in turn keeps me productive by maintaining good health. The pandemic has also changed my perception of what a healthy work-life balance is, and how important it is to maintain. 


What is the most interesting/memorable property deal/case you’ve been involved in?    

Going back in time, the most memorable experience was when I was asked, by a rather enthusiastic client, to join in dancing and chanting around a tree in their garden. Always being up for a bit of fun and new experiences, I was happy to oblige and am filled with laughter every time I recall this peculiar moment. The most interesting case was recently carrying out a valuation on a multi-unit block of flats which was converted from an old granary. I loved how the original features were maintained whilst still providing a modern living space. 


Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?     

At Paragon Bank, filling the same role but having a large network of well-established relations within my region and hopefully having extended responsibilities within the team. 


If present-day you could go back in time and tell yourself something five years ago, what would it be? 

Brace yourself, it’s going to be a bumpy ride but it will be worth it in the end.  


What’s the biggest challenge you’ve tackled so far in your career?    

The whole journey leading to my MRICS qualification was a significant challenge, not only from the perspective of my career but also in my personal development. I encountered several roadblocks which tested my strength and made me question my future in the industry, but I am proud to have persevered and have learnt and developed so much as a result of the experience. 


If you could have one superpower, what would it be?    

The ability to fly, so that I can take myself to various holiday destinations. 


And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?    

I was once asked: “Exactly how long is your hair, in centimetres”. Having never used a measuring tool on my hair, I was unable to provide an answer. However, I would have gladly answered any property measurement related questions. 


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