Linda Lees could retire this year - but the Tauranga real estate agent isn't ready to give up her job of 20 years just yet.
The 65-year-old loves real estate and has vowed to carry on as long as she can.
"There is not one day I won't get up where I don't want to go to work," she says.
"It's because I love people."
Since the Covid-19 lockdown, 42 people in the Bay of Plenty aged 50 or older have joined Lees in the profession. That includes 22 women and 20 men.
In total, 154 Bay people applied for the real estate licence post-lockdown.
Real Estate Authority chief executive Belinda Moffat said more people have been entering the real estate profession since the 2020 lockdown, with 45 per cent more new licences issued nationwide compared to 2019.
At the end of February, there were 15,711 active licence holders, which Moffat said was the highest since 2018.
The average age of someone applying for a real estate licence nationwide was 38 years old, which suggested applicants were bringing skills and experience to the real estate sector having had careers in other fields, she said.
"This might be due to their work circumstances changing because of Covid-19 or interest in the profession fuelled by the hot real estate market."
'We never count the commission'
Linda Lees joined the Bayleys Tauranga office in 2000. Her husband Ray Lees started there in 1994 and now, their daughter Laura Lees is part of the team.
Linda was working in gardening and landscaping when her husband invited her to join him in real estate. She never looked back.
"You meet so many different people every day."
For Linda and Ray, it's about the people and not about the money.
"We never count the commission," Linda said. "We are about making people happy."
Her advice to younger real estate agents joining the profession was to forget about the money.
"Be personable, be transparent and go that extra mile. It's about honesty and integrity."
That's what she has built her 20-year reputation on.
When Lees first started, she would spend entire days with clients viewing homes.
"I loved that part of it. I am a people person."
Now, with new technology and the internet people can view the property at the click of a button.
"I think we've got to embrace that."
Twenty-three years in real estate
Debbie Smith has worked in real estate for more than two decades.
The 61-year-old says she fell into the profession "by default".
Smith began her career studying for a Bachelor of Social Work degree and moved into Human Resource Management Training.
"I love people, property and interior design. Real estate married the three loves of mine."
In her first six months, Smith was involved in selling 40 sections in a Wellington subdivision.
"That boosted my career."
Fourteen years into her real estate role, Smith decided to take a break from it and moved into fashion. However, after 18 months, Smith says she started to miss real estate.
"I missed being able to meet different people. I just love helping people achieve their goals."
The Tremains Rotorua sales consultant's 23-year career has since included listing and selling residential, rural and commercial properties in Wellington, Coromandel Peninsula, Tauranga and Rotorua.
Smith said industry regulations had changed a lot in two decades and house prices have skyrocketed.
"It's amazing the house prices that are being achieved now compared to 23 years ago.
"I've just sold three properties over $1 million. That's probably a first for a number of people."