Nellie van Staden is a successful retirement villages expert. Here’s her story…
Born in Witbank where her Dad ran his own coal mine during the 1930, Nellie was the second oldest of four sisters and was raised on a farm. In the 50s, the family moved to Pretoria.
Her dad was influential in her life until his death from eye cancer when Nellie was just 11 yeas old.
After her dad’s death, thanks to the once-trusted corrupt family attorney, they lost their inheritance and had to survive on just 10 pounds per month. With the grace of God and her childless aunt and uncle, who built Nellie’s family a house on their farm and looked after them, Nellie was able to stay united with her mom and three sisters.
Nellies’ uncle was involved in a number of businesses and took Nellie along to the property auctions, which she loved! Little did she know at the time that these experiences would give her the foundation for her future.
Today Nellie is famed for her contribution and know-how in the retirement village ,development and real estate industry.
She didn’t start off in real estate though, she did hairdressing for years before she was able to follow her dream.
After Nellie got married, they bought their first property on a small holding. It was a dilapidated little flat but they worked hard as a team to build a future for them and their children.
Nellie’s husband, Lood, began building their dream house in his spare time and as funds became available. Eventually, in order to fund their property, Nellie had to sell her hairdressing business she had opened up with her sister.
Nellie continued as a hair dresser and after a bout of ill-health, she registered as an Estate Agent, holding both jobs. The extra income enabled her to register her own Real Estate Agency in 1978. Nellie van Staden Estate Agency started off with one agent, who still works there today.
Nellie’s first dream was to get a mandate to sell an entire development and within the first few years, her dream materialised, she was appointed the sole selling agent on a Retirement Village in the North of Pretoria. She worked long hours and often dealt with the guilt of not attending some of her children’s school events but she stayed focused and made many sacrifices for her family who supported her throughout.
With Nellie’s brilliant work ethic, Nellie van Staden Properties (Pty) Ltd transformed into a successful national company, which has over 52 successful Retirement Villages in its stable to date.
Thanks to Nellie, retirement villages have come a long way since the mid 1970s. Her compassion and love for people drove her to strive to improve the end-product in this niche market.
Nellie believes it’s imperative to listen to the buyer and identify their needs and then advise them accordingly.
Q. When was the turning point in your life with regards to retirement villages?
A. ‘I realised there wasn’t sufficient provision in our country for the older people. Old age homes were depressive and the standard of living and care they provided was questionable. I was motivated to establish retirement villages around the country where the elderly can still be independent with the necessary support when needed… Places where elderly can retire with dignity.’
Q. Tell us more about Nellie van Staden Properties group.
A. For me it’s important that the staff have a positive attitude at work and are productive and can work as a team.
Some of the staff have been with the company since the beginning of the company and others joined in 1987, they are loyal and are prepared to walk the extra mile.