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  • Writer's pictureReal Estate Today - New Zealand

From Nursing to Real Estate: A Journey of Resilience, Adaptation, and Success


My parents separated before I had my first birthday and my Mum took on a house-keeping role for a central North Island farmer who had lost his first wife following the birth of his 4th daughter. I was amalgamated into the new blend of a family of 7.


They later married and had yet another daughter. Sadly, my mum died very young and my adoptive father was on the fatal Erebus flight. At this stage I was 22, married and following a very successful nursing career, which helped me see many parts of the world.


I returned to NZ to further my nursing, working at Greenlane Hospital and completing my Post-grad Cardio-thoracic Nursing training which included some operating time alongside the likes of Sir Brian Barrett-Boyes. I later moved to Wellington and worked in Wellington Public Hospital CTU and Wellcare Private CTU.


Recognizing an opportunity, I established my own private nursing agency providing registered nurses wherever required, but specializing in cardio-thoracic intensive care.



I later divorced and moved to Dunedin (1989) where I met my future husband, Stephen and later began my Real Estate career.


I first sat my Real Estate sales certificate in 1991.


However, I failed to do any Real Estate in the following two years and was required to re-sit it before I was allowed to become active. The papers had changed immensely in that period from a simple tick box few pages to quite an endurance test, I managed to pass them and joined Stephen & my father-in-law Trevor, at Reid Farmers (later to become Johnston Realty).


I must admit it was an easy in-road for me as the family reputation and workload meant there was always plenty to keep me occupied.


In the early 90's things were very different to how it is today. One of the major impacts has been the digital photography - we used to have manic Monday and Tuesday's making sure we had the photographs taken, often having to use the very expensive one-hour processing, to ensure the photos were available to be sent off to the Property Press.


The Deadline for this was Tuesday lunchtime and it was always stressful. A lot of my time was spent on page layouts. I had my own decent camera as occasionally we were let down by the professional photographers.


Cell phones have also had a major transformation over that period of time - the early 90's had contraptions very similar to the size of a brick, and only capable of calls - not like todays mini computers.


Day one of my Real estate career I worked out my plan of whom I was going to call in the evening, after getting our young family off to bed I waited and waited.


Stephen had got to our one landline phone first and after his three-hour call finished it was too late to get onto my list! 


Day two of my career saw a brand new cell phone and a second home landline.


The internet has also had a huge impact on the way we do business and the speed and reach of what can now be achieved.


About five years after starting my career one of our agents decided to start using a CRM system - this was a bit scary for me, however I've overcome my fears and totally value what a good CRM adds to one's business. 


Many lessons have been learnt along the way - I remember in 2008 with the REAA implementation of the new regulations, Stephen was away on a ten-day health retreat. On his return we had transformed our previous listing authority from a one-page Agency Agreement with the property details on the back into a ten-page document to cover the new rules & regulations. 


Prior to 2008 I recall a vendor calling me to sell her place. She wanted it advertised that weekend and we were about an hour from our advertising deadlines, so we did agreed on the Agency with a "hand-shake over the phone" and got on with the advertising.


In May 2009, I gained my AREINZ qualification. I did this study via the Open Polytechnic in Christchurch, leaving Stephen to cope with running the business and our three young children for a week at a time - it wasn't easy on either of us as if I hadn't handed in all of the papers before leaving Christchurch I would struggle to find time to do them once back home juggling work, family and study. 


So, Christchurch days were crammed with the daytime course attendance and night-time study to write up my assignments. 


The business we have built has changed immensely over the years. We have always strived to have the needs and expectations of our Vendors at the forefront. My attitude has always been it's not my timeframe that's important, it's theirs.


Buying and selling houses can be very stressful as it is often an emotional experience, so I'd like to think I add understanding as well as guidance. I also value the importance of keeping in touch with past clients and have developed many long standing friendships over the years.


I think there are many lessons to be learnt in Real Estate:


  • You are not going to get all the appraisals you do as listings, so don't expect to. The quicker you get over the disappointment, the better your business will be.

  • Don't put yourself under financial pressure - you will be giving the wrong vibes at your presentations.

  • Don't spend your commission until it is in the bank.

  • Always go with your gut feeling - if it doesn't feel like a good fit with the potential Vendors, walk away as not all listings are worthwhile.

  • If you keep doing good deeds, good things will come your way.

  • Keep focused - the more focused you are, the "luckier" you are.

  • Real Estate can be 24/7 if you let it - I always had Sacred Saturdays, it didn't always pan-out as I'd planned, but it did mean it was me making the choice.

  • The 2008 time of being left at the helm has left a lasting impression of the onus of responsibility required to lead and run a business. I much prefer a team approach.

In 2016 Stephen and I decided it was time to change our business and joined One Agency It has been a truly amazing journey ever since.


Our current business model is fabulous for our team. We attract experienced agents and have a very different pay structure to ensure they keep more of their hard-earnt money plus have less conflict with other agents as they work on their own listings (no salespeople running interference which makes for a much better culture).


We have always valued our admin team - two of whom have been with us nearly 20 years - they are such an important part of a business and are part of our family.


Real Estate has given me a great lifestyle. It has kept me captivated, interested, motivated and adaptive. It has empowered me to embrace new technology and given me huge satisfaction in sharing my knowledge to help others make good Real Estate decisions. It has offered lots of flexibility in a journey that is not over yet.

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