Nellie van Staden was born in Witbank, her Dad ran his own coal mine during the 1930 's  and moved to  Pretoria, South-Africa, during the 1950's.

Nellie was the second oldest of 4 sisters and was raised on a farm. Being Dad's “son” as she had no brothers, and a very strict Dad that NEVER accepted the words  " I CAN'T. " as an excuse.

Nellie would always try to cover for her sister when in trouble and was very obedient to her Dad's call as he wasn’t a tolerant man.

At the age of 11 her Dad passed away, he suffered from eye cancer, that affected his eye sight and he couldn’t see very well. He had to trust people, especially when signing documents, unfortunately his attorney who, he trusted signing his will, caused the family to lose their inheritances, including the farm. The only income after her father’s death was Ten ponds a month, from one of the properties sold by the same attorney.

This attorney was later summands with a jail sentence as he was found guilty of MANY similar cases.

Nellie’s darling Mother, who was very religious, had to make ends meet with nowhere to go. Having only Ten pounds a month she had to apply for welfare funds, and with God's grace, Nellie's Uncle and Aunt who had no children, built them a house on their small holding and took care of the family.

Nellies’ Uncle was involved in various businesses and always took her with to attend the property auctions, which she loved doing. Little did she know that these experiences, gave her the foundation for her future. Today Nellie is well known for her contribution and knowledge in The Retirement Development Sector and Real Estates industry which, she has been involved in since 1978.

Nellie did not grow up wealthy and could not go to University after finishing school.

After Nellie got married, they bought their first property on a small holding, which consisted of a very dilapidated little flat. They worked very hard as a team in order to achieve their dreams and build towards their future and a better future for their children.

Without a dream one can easily forget what you are working towards. Every person has something that makes them tick, the dream of creating a better future gave Nellie a burning ambition within, which gave her the motivation and a positively attitude to believe in herself, her abilities, and her Dads words “no excuses you can” always whispered in the back.

Nellie's husband Lood started to build their dream house, which he could only do in his spare time, after hours and weekends or as money came available. They worked as a team, as they could not afford helpers and therefore had to do everything themselves.

Nellie and her eldest sister opened a hairdresser which was very successful, however time was running out and the release figure for their property had to be paid. It wasn’t easy to obtain a bond unless you were prepared to pay a loyalty fee. Nellie and Lood had no choice as they had already put all their savings into the property.  They then had to sell the hair salon to raise the necessary funds to save their Investment.

Nellie carried on as a hair dresser which, was a full time occupation and also had to attend to the needs of her family and the household obligations. As a result Nellies’ health deteriorated, but she never gave up even after many operations she never gave up and because of her strong belief in God she kept going.

Nellie registered as an Estate Agent and carried on working as a hair dresser, on flexy time. The extra income enabled her to register her own Real Estate Agency.

Nellie loved what she was doing and registered Nellie van Staden Estate Agency and started with one agent, who is still working with her. 

Nellie’s first dream was to obtain a mandate to sell an entire development. She worked hard and jumped at every opportunity. Within the first few years of building her own business her dream came true and she was involved as 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 events. She stayed focused and made many sacrifices, her family have been a constant support structure and she has now been married 50 odd years.

Nellie van Staden Properties (Pty) Ltd turned into a successful national company, which has been involved in more than 52 successful Retirement Villages up to date.

Retirement Villages have come a long way since the mid 1970’s. It is not only the hard work, long hours and compromises that contributed to her success, but once you meet this phenomenal lady you will realize it is her compassion and love for people that drove her to strive to enhance and better the product in this niche market.

Many professional and various institutions such as banks, developer’s etc. approach Nellie for her knowledge and experience.  On various occasions Nellie was asked to help with unsuccessful developments which, Nellie managed successfully turn it into a successful development.

The structure of a retirement development differs from a lifestyle estate and one needs to consider certain criteria to evaluate a retirement development.

Nellie’s belief is that is imperative to listen to the needs of a buyer and to identify their needs and have the ability to advise and assist them accordingly.

More about the person beyond this successful business:

•             Do you love adventure? / What kind of adventure?

                I Love challenges, starting a new development is not only a challenge but also an adventure

                I love to travel and experience different people’s behaviours and their culture

•             Have you ever done impulsive things and have ever regretted doing anything impulsive?

                I have done quite a few impulsive things over the years for instance having my photo taken   while sitting on a tigers back.

                Taking a canoe sundowner trip on the Zambezi River. This my Husband and I regretted, since you got attacked by a hippo “biting” our canoe in half leaving us in the water with the hippo’s and crocodiles.

•             Do have many friends or mostly acquaintances?  Do your friends support you? Do have time to spend time with your friends?

 I have many friends, but only a few close friends who have always supported me. I enjoy spending time with my friends as frequently as possible.

•             Have you got any resolutions before and how did it work for you, and/or do you have any new resolutions?

                I find it is better to set clear goals with a time line and someone who can hold you accountable to your goals. If one just think of resolutions and doesn’t action them then you will fail. There are still many changes I would like to see and accomplish in my life.

•             Did you always know you would be involved in Property, Developments or the sales component there-of?

                As a child I attended many property auctions with my uncle and this exposure triggered a passion for the real estate industry.

•            When was the turning point in your life? E.g. when did you realize you want more from life…?

                I realised that there wasn’t sufficient provision in our country for the older persons. The old age homes were depressive and the standard of living and care in such places was questionable.  I was motivated to establish retirement village’s country wide where the elderly can still be independent with the necessary support when needed. Places where elderly can retire with dignity. I realize we had to do something to uplift the standard of living of the elderly.

  • Were you a quiet or shy child?

                I wasn’t a quite or shy child but, I was very obedient.          

•             Can you recall priceless events as a child?

Going shopping with my Mother once a year to pick out our own dress, hat and shoes for church.

•          Have you ever been scared of anything?

Yes, I am Scared of Snakes, spiders and a Bull. I had a very bad experience with a bull as a teenager.

I don’t believe one should live a fearful life, I strongly believe God will protect us from all evil. God intervened in many situations and helped me out of many dangers and I believe He has a purpose for my life.

  • How did you learn to process it – your fears?


 I have learnt to focus on the positive things in life. If you look for the lessons you can learn out of the experience then you can grow as a person.


  • What do you do to trust people?

                Try and get as much background of a person as possible (ask lots of questions)

                Make sure I have all facts in place before making a decision

 Don't sign a contract if I am not sure of the contents and get legal advice (this I learnt only later in life, different in my initial believe that all people are trustworthy).

                Get promises in writing and keep good records

  • How do you feel about the Nellie van Staden Properties group?

 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


  • You work with a number of family members in your company, does this work for you? Do you sometimes find it difficult? If difficult is it still worth the while?

Working with family is great, as long as everyone at the work is placed according to their abilities and respect is shown. Yes, we have our differences like in any business however, our basic values and goals makes it easier to find the right solution. I value family and family standards.

  • Did you start your own business from the start or did you first join with an existing Estate Agency?

 It was important and imperative for me to join an existing Estate Agency to get first-hand experience in the market place.  I then decided to focus on retirement developments and wanted to make a difference in this field.

  • Do you still enjoy your work after all these years?

 YES, it is my passion in life to make a difference in the lives of other people.

  • Do you see yourself continuing in the business for many years to come?

 We still have many challenges to face and the changes in the economy have given us the opportunity to develop a better product and system for the elderly. I have a passion for what I am doing and love working with people. So Yes, I sincerely hope to be working for many years to come.

  • Have you ever had days when you felt you need time out?


Sure we are all just human, and to be working with people and dealing with so many different personalities and work scenarios, I do feel from time to time I need to break away from it all.


  • Do you see yourself powerful in the market?


I don’t see myself as powerful. However, I believe that the role that my company plays in the market place is important, and has an influence and improves the quality of life of an elderly person by giving them the sound advice and creating an opportunity for a better retirement environment.

•      How old are you?

 As my grandson would say – “age is but a number”. The only thing that one can link to age is experience. Experience influence your views, your attitude and that determines your strength.


•             Has anyone meant you any harm through the many years in business?

 Yes definitely, no one is perfect. In the beginning, I tried to cope with it and fell back on the old saying of “the higher the tree, the more the wind” and then you still go home and do soul searching ….go through every step, and yes sometimes it hurts when you realize people are just out to get to you or that you were misinterpreted, however my intensions are always pure and by knowing that I face life head on. I realized life happens and we are not always in control, but we can control how we respond to the situations.



Nellie van Staden


Nellie van Staden Properties (Pty) Ltd.

Tel: (012) 940-1040

Fax: 086 624 9437



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