Where it all started

The end of one chapter; selling our home, shutting down my business, and starting again in a new town...



Firstly, I am not a professional writer, I however do love to write! So please excuse my grammar and spelling mistakes, I will do my best to proof read my posts, but I might not always catch everything! I type with passion and speed and for me it's more about the story! ;)


Like so many, it all started with Covid. Just months before the outbreak, we took on a huge lease and did a full fit out on a commercial building. I say we, as my husband Ben is a builder and I love all things interior design, so I hired an architect to draw plans of what was in my head. My husband then made it happen. It was one of the most exciting times of my life, it was everything I had ever dreamt of and worked towards. It was the beginning of my own high end photography studio, or so I thought!



I'm the type of person who doesn't do things by halves. I believe if you are going to do something, then give it your best and do it properly. So that's what we did.


I invested in all the top end photography lighting, a high end website and we ensured the space looked amazing and felt inviting. It was beautiful. The bookings started coming in (thank goodness!) and I was in business. Everyone raved about the space and the experiences they had in the studio, not to mention the beautiful results.




I was in my element and I was proud. I however was also under a lot of pressure and anxious about this looming virus.


Once Lockdown was announced I just knew everything was about to fall apart. I had way to many overheads and was only in my first 3 months of the studio opening. No government payouts or holds on the lease were going to fix the fact that I was unable to do business for weeks. I simply wouldn't be able to catch up on the lost days, but I was determined to try.


By the time the second lockdown happened I knew it just wasn't going to work. I felt broken, I felt like I had failed and I was in a very dark place. Everything I had worked for and dreamt of was over.


When life knocks you down, punch back!

I'm a very optimistic person and live life with a glass half full mentality. If you focus on the bad things and negativity, well, you'll simple attract more. If you shift your thinking and focus on the good things, with positivity and gratitude, then more will come into your life.


I could let this situation nock me down, or I could simply make the most of it and think about what's next! So thats exactly what I did!


I was fortunate enough to be right in the middle of an incredible campaign I was running, titled #30over30. I have created another blog which talks a bit more in depth about the campaign, as I felt it deserves its own segmant!


I decided to finish this campaign in the best way possible, create my photography exhibition (which I had always dreamt of) and then end my 11 year career on a high! I turned a sad situation into an exciting one, which allowed me to feel inspired about my next chapter!


The next chapter...


Despite knowing that my photography career was about to end, I didn't exactly know what I was going to do! What I did know was that I needed to do something I loved and that I was passionate about.


After doing a full #renovation on our first family home (which I also have a full blog on) and doing the fit out for the studio; I knew it had to be property related. So I dabbled in a bit of sales for a construction company and then started a Diploma of Interior Design. The sales role wasn't for me, it wasn't fast paced enough, but it made me realise that I should do my real estate license!


I was so excited and hit my papers hard! As a person who has lived in 3 countries and 36 houses, I have a vast knowledge on homes and the process for #buying and #selling. I also loved the idea that I could incorporate my creative side and love for #homestaging and #interiordesign, to help my clients achieve the best possible results!


And then...

Everything was on track, but something still didn't feel right. My husband and I were struggling in numerous ways, and we both felt it was time for a change. We had lived in the Gold Coast for 5 years when we first met and came back to NZ after he was made redundant (also, a whole other story!). We moved back for security and to be close to family so we could start our own family.


Now that the kids were both here and a little older, we felt it was time to live somewhere else that resonated more with us. What better place than the beautiful Bay of Plenty, specifically, Papamoa!


Within week, we packed up our house, ensured it looked the best possible and put it on the market.


It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, I literally have tears rolling down my cheeks now just thinking about it. This was our home, we had put EVERYTHING into it. We had transformed it from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan and we loved everything about it. It's where our children spent the first years of their lives, it's where my photography studio flourished, it's where we made life long friends. So you can believe me when I say, it was a tough decision.






This is where I really started to appreciate the value of a persons home. It's not just bricks and mortar, it's our sanctuary, our safe place, it's our memories!


As the market was so hot and we lived in such a desirable part of Auckland, with a very unique and beautiful home, I decided to sell it myself privately. I was half way through my papers and I had a really fair idea on what was involved.


Despite selling it within a few weeks, and negotiating a great price that we were happy with, I will always regret not putting our house on the market properly and listing it with an agent! Yes sure, we saved ourselves commission fees, but how much profit did we loose by not ensuring it reached the most possible buyers?


Hind site is a wonderful thing, and this experience just helps me to re-iterate to my clients the importance of an agent and what we are actually here for. There is so much work involved in marketing and selling a home, something I know all too well now! And like I said in the beginning; if you're going to do something, do it properly!


So here we are in the beautiful Papamoa and already I have so many stories and adventures to share with you, all coming up in my future blogs. I hope you enjoy my stories and style of writing, I hope I can inspire you in some way.


I would love to hear from you, so please reach out and share your own personal experiences or thoughts with me, maybe you can relate? I would love to hear from you xxx




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© Casey Van Liefde Property - 0211850827 - caseyvl@pb.co.nz - www.caseyvanliefde.com