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23 JUN 2022

Pride 2022: how inclusion for LGBTQ+ people is changing in real estate

Please tell us about yourself, where do you work, how long have you been a surveyor?

I am José Covas, Portuguese, happily married with two adorable daughters. I have worked in the real estate industry for 25 years. Currently, I am managing partner of AuraREE, an advisory and valuation company specialising in handling non-performing loans (NPL) and Real Estate Owned (REOs) transactions with offices in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece.

I became an RICS member in 2007, making me one of its first members in Portugal at that time. I am a chartered valuation surveyor and the Chair/President of the Portuguese RICS board.

 

What inspired you to become a surveyor?

Real estate has been on my mind since I was young. Back when I was around 10 years old, I remember walking in front of a brokerage office and wondering how the price of property was determined. I knew right away that it was what I wanted to do. My interest in urban dynamics and supply and demand approaches was one of the topics that piqued my interest when I decided to major in Economics at the University. The lecture on Project Valuations in my final year of university made it clear to me that I wanted to follow a career in real estate. It took just a few steps after that to get a job at one of the world’s top consulting companies.

 

Why is representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the profession important?

Diversity creates a healthier society. The real estate industry traditionally has been dominated by men. In some locations even quite conservative. By bringing diversity through LGBTQ+, people’s minds become open to new things, and they learn to respect everyone regardless of their identity. This enables all of us to grow and think outside of the box.

Portugal, historically, has been very conservative and there hasn’t been much visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in real estate. Fortunately, this is changing, and we created our own path and today it is much better working in this sector as an LGBTQ+ professional.

 

Is there any advice you would like to share with other young LGBTQ+ professionals considering a career in surveying?

The best advice I can give is, do not lose sight of who you are. There will be challenges along the way, but if you remain true to yourself, you will become a more complete and happier person. In the end, a more diverse world is a happier world, and if you use your skills to attain that, it will benefit current and future generations.