She holds degrees in Spanish, history, and law but it’s the business of real estate that fires Liz Derbyshire’s enthusiasm each day. They say if you find work you love you’ll never work a day in your life and that rings true for Liz Derbyshire. She’s worked at Barfoot & Thompson for 26 years—with the odd break away—but it’s a profession she just keeps coming back to. Jenna Moore discovers why.
Have you always worked in real estate, Liz?
“No. I left school early and trained as a registered nurse. A girlfriend and I wrote a letter to Gisborne Hospital saying that’s what we’d like to do. They accepted us and we simply turned up and started our training. We were very lucky really and we loved our time there.
“After qualifying, I worked in a high-security psychiatric ward at the Royal Brisbane hospital before heading to London where for the next four years, I lived between London and a small fishing village in the Canary Islands.”
When did you come back to New Zealand?
“In the mid-’80s as I was accepted at Auckland University to complete a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Spanish and modern history. Upon completion, I decided I’d like to try real estate and joined Barfoot & Thompson in 1987.”
Has real estate changed since then?
“A lot! We used to drive people around a lot more. I drove an Alfa Romeo Alfetta and my manager at the time would often watch from the office door as I drove off at a certain velocity He was positive they’d sign up just to be let out of the car! These days, people are more likely to go to the internet for their first viewings. More efficient and possibly safer for the buying public.”
You’ve got a law degree too, haven’t you?
“Yes. After a couple of years at Barfoot & Thompson I left to go to law school. It was the result of a few wines over summer at Mt Maunganui with friends who thought it would be a good idea. Two of us applied and were accepted. Why law? I think it was a desire to continue learning and learn how to take a more rational and consideredapproach to life. The year I finished I was fortunate enough to be offered a position working as a VIP host for New Zealand at the World Expo in Serville for 10 months before returning to NZ afterwards as my working visa was up. On my return I worked at Fortune Manning Law as a solicitor but I think I’d become too accustomed to not having a strict 9-5 routine with three-week holidays so, after seven years away, I went back to real estate. The manager where I applied at that time was initially reluctant to take me on—something to do with me being a lawyer,I think. We got on famously once he got past that and there are now many agents with varied professional backgrounds selling real estate.”
What do you love about real estate?
“I have a lot of very loyal clients, and I always appreciate hearing from them and being recommended to their friends. I really like the people I get to meet and enabling a great result for both the seller and the buyer. Job satisfaction plays a large role in our lives and is essential to me.”
Where are you based?
“I’m based in the city branch close to the premium central city suburbs I work in and where I’ve also developed a niche market working with our beautiful heritage buildings over many years. In the current ‘slower’ market, experience comes to the fore and gives owners confidence they will get the best result.”
Indeed, Liz’s varied background blends together to offer valuable real estate expertise, well-honed negotiation skills and a warm and vivacious charm.