The Biggest Obstacle for Women Renovators

The podcast for women who want to create income and a life they love through renovating

Join serial renovator Bernadette Janson as she explores the ins and outs of renovating for profit!

Bernadette has over 30 years of experience in the renovating for profit business. She’s a registered nurse, a renovator, a mum, and a teacher.

31 – Her Take On Negative Gearing

On today’s episode,

Bernadette is going to be talking about how you can use renovating to fund your retirement and solve your financial problems in life.

Retirement is not a good word to hear, it conjures up images of grannies, retirees, and seniors that grow roses and complain about young people and lunch on shopper dockets.

If you want a big life that leaves a mark, renovating will help you to make a difference

Listen to Episode 31: Her Take On Negative Gearing


Bernadette covers,

  • What’s it like to be a TV Renovator?
  • Reasons why you’d want to go on The Block or House Rules, reasons why you won’t
  • Is going on television a career suicide?
  • How being on television can fully disrupt your personal and business life
  • Why you should give it serious consideration to go on television with your reno projects
  • Acknowledging and being realistic on what you really want out of your TV participation
  • Why being self-funded is a must if you decide to be on a television show
  • How the show can make you question your goals and reno standards
  • Is being on a television show all it’s cracked up to be?
  • The best part of being on a television show

Episode highlights

00:45 – What it’s like to be a TV renovator?

02:18 – Would you go on The Block?

02:51 – You’re being paid

03:50 – Good fun

04:54 – Putting life out there

05:37 – 10 weeks without an income

06:44 – Photogenic

07:36 – Time consuming

08:10 – An argument

10:38 – Self-funded

11:50 – Everyone has their mojo

12:59 – Good relationships with real estate agents

13:45 – Good rapport with people

14:30 – It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

16:24 – Go forward


“And the other problem that I see with it is that there are so many so called gurus I should say. Property sales companies masquerading as education companies who are selling properties to people and using the supposed tax saving as a marketing tool. And the properties that they’re selling are just not right for the people that they’re selling them to.”


Well hello! It’s Bernadette back with another episode of She Renovates. And today we’re going to be sharing the She Renovates take on negative gearing.

So negative gearing, it’s been in the spotlight recently because the shadow government or the opposition was campaigning to abolish it. But thankfully that’s not going to happen in the foreseeable future. I say thankfully because there are a lot of people with negatively geared properties and contrary to popular belief they’re not real estate moguls by any stretch of the imagination. They are the battlers. The majority of them are anyhow and I will share an infographic in our show notes, it was shared by the ABC fact checking department that gives you a breakdown of the sectors of the community that do have negatively geared properties.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

What’s Happening In My Projects

Before I get into that I wanted to just share what’s going on in my life in terms of renovating.
And so I’ve got a couple of projects on the go and one of them is very close to home.

The Factory Floor

We have the ground floor of our home it’s a separate dwelling. Over the years have had that rented on long term rent and short term rent. We’ve had children living in it and when the last child left we decided to investigate the potential for it in terms of Airbnb. And I discovered that it has the potential of around about $60K per annum on Airbnb.

I decided to give it a bit of a makeover because it was looking a bit tired and to get it back onto Airbnb because it forms part of my retirement plan. I’ve been doing a renovation and part of that renovation has been a few weekend projects which is the part of renovating that I absolutely love. Injecting a little bit of personality into the property.

Now it’s hard to do this when you’re buying, renovating and selling because personality polarises your market. So you want to keep it pretty broad but in Airbnb it’s perfect because it makes the property talk-about-able. And so I have created a theme for this particular property and because it’s a warehouse conversion that was converted from an old factory into residential. I’ve decided to call this particular listing The Factory Floor and I’m going with a bit of a pseudo industrial theme.
we’d finish but we hadn’t sold. So they filmed the whole lot of that and didn’t take it to air.

I’ve got three weekend projects:

  • The first one was that I created a bed head, I shouldn’t say I did, it was my idea and my darling husband, Stephen executed it and that is made from some up cycle quite ornate doors and it also forms a walk in wardrobe so you walk arm round behind and the wardrobe is behind and so that’s installed and we’ve chalked painted it and we’re about to distress that and that will be done.
  • The next project was upcycled an old blackboard, so got a large framed blackboard and refinished it with blackboard paint and then had a go at my first attempt at chalkboard art and it was surprisingly effective.
  • The third project which is my signature upcycled industrial chandelier. I’ve got all the components assembled. So I had to have a steel fabricated ring made with some holes in it and I’ve bought a spider fitting that forms the basis of the chandelier.
    Obviously I don’t do DIY electrical. We get our electrician to actually wire it up but I basically assemble it and just bring him in to do the electrical work and install it and we’ll be sharing some photos of these projects over on our Instagram feed in the coming week. So watch out for those.

Wynnum Project

The other project that I have going is my reno in Wynnum which I’m doing as a joint venture with one of our students, one of our Wonderwomen and that is about 85% done. So it was a splitter block which we’ve realigned the boundary and so now are up to the stage where we’re able to register the vacant block as a separate title. And in terms of the reno it’s pretty well done.
We’ve just got to organize a carport and driveway which requires a little bit of work with our town planner. And then we’ll be able to complete, do the last bits of that renovation and get that to market. Thankfully the market is very healthy in that particular suburb. So yes. In the next couple of months we should have a result on that. And of course when I have completed that reno I’ve promised our Queensland followers that I’ll invite you in to check it out.
And yeah I’m looking forward to meeting you.

Negative Gearing

So now let’s get in to negative gearing. One thing I’m going to do in this podcast is to share an experience that Stephen and I had quite a few years ago where we went very close to making the biggest mistake of our property journey. And thankfully my due diligence skills saved us. But since then I have met a lot of people who weren’t so lucky. And so that’s why I feel this episode is necessary because I think people just don’t understand what’s going on. And there are a lot of sharks out there who will prey on you if you’re not quite savvy about this. And it’s pretty simple.

How & When Negative Gearing Works

Firstly, I’m going to talk about the applications for negative gearing, why you would do it. And then I’ll share my story and then I will share why you wouldn’t do it. I can tell you I think there are more reasons to not negative gear than there are to go with it but I’ll get started. So let’s get back to basics. The whole concept of negative gearing is that the strategy works when you’ve got the ideal conditions. It’s like any strategy, you’ve got to get all the touch points right. And so it’s based on the assumption that property increases exponentially in value over time. So the old adage that property doubles every 10 years it doesn’t double every 10 years in every area. But there are some core areas where historically that’s what’s happened. The first thing you need to do if you’re planning to go this way is to make sure that you purchase in an area that is hopefully, there are no guarantees but double over a 10 year period.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Many Australians Are Getting Into Negatively Geared Properties Inadvertently

And the other problem that I see with it is that there are so many so called “gurus” education companies I should say, property sales companies masquerading as education companies who are selling properties to people sort of using the supposed tax saving as a marketing tool. And the properties that they’re selling are just not right for the people that they’re selling them to.

And as I said I was going to give you an example of this and I will in a minute. But a lot of these companies are selling off the plan units and house and land packages and there is a huge issue with those for 2 reasons. One there is an endless supply of them because  the developers can just go on punching out more house and lands and more units. And the second reason is because they have astronomical commissions.

So hence the reason why these so-called gurus act are quite keen to sell them because they’re lining their pockets at an incredible rate and yet they will do this under the guise of looking after your interests. But I can tell you it is not your interests that they are looking after.

Our War Story: A Lucky Escape

Which brings me to the story that I was going to tell you. So some years ago Stephen and I sold a property and we wanted to reinvest the money in different states and do it quite quickly because at the time we were very time poor. Stephen was working really long hours and I was running a business and so we were looking for someone who could help us with that. And we came across a company who was promoted by one of my Mentor and someone that I really respect. And so we had a meeting with them and they recommended that we buy 8 properties house and land.

And at this stage we hadn’t formed a view on negative gearing. In fact it wasn’t promoted to us as negative gearing at the time but we knew it was. And I just thought that’s ridiculous. There’s no way we’re buying 8 properties from an untested sort of advisor with an untested strategy, it’s just not happening. So we said to them we will look at 4 and make a decision about whether we’re going to buy any or all of them. So we were invited back to their office for a second meeting which we did and were presented with 4 contracts. Incidentally those contracts each of them was like a copy of war and peace. They were massive and we had decided that we wanted to use our own legal representation because our one stop shop they covered everything. We didn’t want that because I just think that that creates extra risk. You need some checks and balances. And also that we would go and do our own due diligence despite the fact that they reassured us that their due diligence was second to none and that they are working now looking after our interests. And then they said that you probably should sign the contracts now but we won’t execute them until you give us the okay.

Now something happened inside that office because there is no way in a month of Sundays that we would ever sign a contract that we had not read. But for some reason we thought that was an okay idea.  It was hard for us to get in there together. And that was the reasoning that they gave. But even so it still to this day amazes me that we did that but we did and so we went away. And then when I got home I thought, Oh my god! What have I done? Like that was crazy. And so I rang them and said I want to remind you that you are not to execute those contracts until we’ve given you the say so. And also you need to email them to us so we can read them ourselves and so then we can send them to our own solicitor to have them reviewed.

So a few days after that I jumped on a plane and went to Melbourne.  There was one in Victoria, one in Western Australia, one in Queensland and one in northern New South Wales. And so I went to Melbourne to look at the first property and when I got there it was pretty much just the paddock. So they’ve started to make roads but it was like very very early stages. And when I looked around the suburb I realised that for the money that they were asking us to spend we could do a much better buys there and it just wasn’t a good deal. So that evening I rang Stephen and said it’s not a goer. It’s not a good deal. And he said, Oh well, the first contract has arrived and it’s been executed. So they basically were trying to railroad us into buying those properties $2 M worth of property. And so I was slightly panicked at that stage.

What we did was we wrote a cooling off letter and sent it by registered mail to their solicitor to make sure it got there on time. Keep in mind we still hadn’t received the email version of the of the contract. And over the next few days the same thing happened with the other 3 contracts. So they all turned up. They had all been executed and we were at that point in a conditional contract. But had we not acted to cool off we would have ended up in an unconditional contract which was a very undesirable situation to be in when we didn’t want the properties. So of course they had just crossed the line incredibly. But we were reluctant to cool off because when you cool off it means you lose your holding deposit. However, I was able to campaign to get that returned because clearly there was some deal between them and the developer.

But they argued with us for weeks and weeks trying to get us to not withdraw from the arrangement. But eventually we did and recovered the deposits. And then shortly after that I got a letter from the solicitor with a bill for each of the contracts that they had executed. And I rang the company and said you know we had explicitly said that we wanted to use our own legal representation. And they said to us you remember that contract that you signed that day in it you gave us permission to use our solicitor. So there you go. I figured that we had. That was a very cheap lesson to learn because the alternative was unthinkable we could have been in the in unconditional contracts with $2 M worth of property. So it was a lucky escape.

But since then I have met people that were duped by this same company and now own property in those same developments that we were offered deals and they are still not worth what they paid. So what I think is wrong with these scenarios is firstly most people that go into them have no idea what they’re doing and they’re relying on these sharks to advise them. And it just doesn’t work.

Issues With House And Land Properties

Some of the issues with these particular deals are that the properties are in very young developments. The development hasn’t matured. And so it takes them a long time to get up to speed and to start growing in value. If you’re in your 20’s or even 30’s and you buy a property like that it’s fine because almost any property over 30 years will double, triple or even quadruple in value. But if you are in your 50’s and you’re looking at buying a house on land you just do not have the time for it to appreciate sufficiently to make a difference to your financial future. In fact it’s going to be a noose around your neck for at least a decade.

The second problem that I see with them is that they’re overpriced to the tune of the fat commissions. So not only do you have to recover from the fact that they’re young, you also have to recover from the fact that they’re overpriced. I know this for a fact. We actually, in our community, we have a buyer’s agent who or a real estate agent who has actually shared with me the actual figures that they pay people who sell their properties. So the developers pay and they are anything from $30K to $60K or $70K for one quite modest property. You can see why these companies are eager to sell them because particularly that company that we were dealing with, had we bought those properties they would have made almost $200K upfront. So it’s the greed factor that kicks in on an unsuspecting prey. Their clients are really are up against it.

Now I want to put together some dot points to provide you with some clarity on this topic.

  1. Negative gearing like anything else requires ideal conditions to be profitable.
  2. You need to buy in an area that has significant potential for growth. And so generally that means a good suburb in a capital city.
  3. You need to be willing to hold it from minimum 10 years preferably 30 years and you also need to have a decent income so that you can cover the shortfall. Negative gearing is actually where you get a tax refund on the loss that you’ve made on the holding costs of that property. But like say if you’re in a 37% tax rate you’re still going to have to cover another 63% of loss. So it’s quite a lot of money to cover.
  4. There have been changes to the law flag the opposition is very keen on changing that law. It’s something that may change in the future, thankfully not for this period of office.
  5. It’s not something that you would take on late in your life cycle. So if you’re in your late 50’s buying a negatively geared property which is what a lot of people do, is crazy because you’re not going to be working for long enough to be able to hold the property and carry the loss for that property to be able to grow.
  6. If you’re going for a negative geared property be very wary of house and land packages and also units off the plan. They are generally overpriced because they have very large commissions built into them. This also brings in the greed factor. So the people selling these properties obviously there’s no end of supply and the commissions are significant. There’s definitely a reason for them to be quite aggressive about selling them.
  7. House and land packages are often properties that are really young in their lifecycle. So it takes a long time for them to get established before they start growing in value. So you’re behind the eight ball for quite a few years before you can start seeing any movement.
  8.  If a company is providing education and sourcing the property for you there’s a problem. There needs to be some separation of those elements of your property journey. Also one stop shops same deal where the legals, broking, sourcing of the property are all intertwined. That’s not a good situation, you need checks and balances. You need some separation between those elements of purchasing a property.

And like I think a lot of us, and this was certainly a mistake I made. I thought I didn’t have the time to figure this out for myself but seriously you really do need to. It doesn’t mean you need to do everything yourself, you need to get a bit savvy about it because otherwise you are a sitting duck for unscrupulous operators. So on that note I’m going to finish off and say thank you for listening. If you have had a similar experience or a negative experience with negative gearing. Unfortunately, two negatives don’t make a positive.

Come over to She Renovates Facebook group the free Facebook group because I really think that we need to get this out there so not so many people get trapped in their web. And also if you could take some time to write a review go over to iTunes and write a review for us. I would be very grateful and if you do happen to write a review take a snapshot of it.

Send it to me: and I will provide you with a free copy of the “Secrets Of Property Millionaires Exposed”.  This is a book that I contributed to recently but in it there are quite a few property experts with various strategies and including Chris Gray that I mentioned earlier in this podcast. If you are interested in negative gearing you can get his take on it and basically you just need to pay the postage and you can have that book for free. It’s valued at $29.99 and that will be my thank you gift to you for taking the time to write a review. So on that note I will sign off and I’ll see you next week.

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    “Just dropping by to show my support for your podcast Bernadette. I look forward to each episode and I am never disappointed with the content. It’s such a generous offering and compared to many of the other property podcasts I subscribe to, yours is the clear winner. Perfectly suited to people embarking on a new renovator journey but equally suited to more experienced folk like myself - there’s something for everyone. Keep up the great work. Your honesty is so refreshing! I look forward to future learning and hearing more student success stories. Best, David Michos (And yes... a bloke) 😉”
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    “If you have any interest at all in renovating, you would be crazy not to listen to every episode! As someone who has done many courses and a project manager by trade, i learn something every time. Bernadette is so genuine and generous and totally relatable. Do yourself a favour and subscribe now !”

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