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.

45 – The Australian Market: State By State

On today’s episode,

Bernadette is going to be sharing one of her Masterclass trainings from her membership that she does each month with her students. She has invited local experts to be the special guest speakers to give you an overview of the Australian local market.


Listen to Episode 45: The Australian Market: State By State


Bernadette covers,

  • Michelle Lewis overview of the South Australia market
  • The hot spot for subdividable properties in South Australia
  • Julie Anglesey’s overview of the West Australia market
  • The low, middle and high-end market of Perth
  • Lisa Parker’s overview of the Melbourne market
  • Why Melbourne is the auction capital of Australia
  • Amanda Gould’s overview of the Sydney market
  • What is the Sydney market like after the elections
  • Jo Vadillo’s overview of the Brisbane market
  • What are the big standouts in buying a property at the Brisbane market

Episode highlights

02:38 – A general overview of South Australia

04:20 – A quick rundown of the Perth market

06:20 – Rental vacancies in Perth

09:31 – The higher end market of Perth

12:44 – What’s happening in the Melbourne market

17:00 – A window of opportunity in Melbourne

20:27 – One of the challenging things

20:41 – Sydney at the moment

23:27 – You’ve got to know what you’re doing

25: 59 – The Brisbane market

28:17 – Dual Key properties

30:57 – The big standouts

33:00 – Financial Freedom…Against The Odds

33:15 – She Renovates Facebook group


“Basically what I did was called in some of my contacts from around the country and asked them to present on the state of the market in their particular state and more importantly, on what opportunities there are for renovators.”​


Hi there, it’s Bernadette. And in this episode, we’re going to be doing something slightly different. What I’ve done is taken one of our trainings, masterclass trainings that we do inside our membership each month with our students. And I have included it here or an excerpt of that training here, because I think you will find this really great value.

Basically what I did was called in some of my contacts from around the country and asked them to present on the state of the market in their particular state and more importantly, on what opportunities there are for renovators. My community loved this. And so I thought that I would include a section of each of those talks for you. We’re going to get into it now. And the first cab off the rank is Michelle Lewis from Adelaide in South Australia. She’s going to be talking about what she’s seen and heard of happening in Adelaide and South Australia. Enjoy.

Bernadette: Welcome, Michelle!

Michelle Lewis: Thanks, Bernadette. Thanks for having me on. I thought I’d start with just a general overview of SA (South Australia) and then go into some specific deals or areas that I’ve been looking at buying in and have bought recently. Is that okay?

Bernadette: Perfect.

Michelle: Excellent. I did a bit of research from the experts to the likes of Peter Carley’s and others and the general theme was the inner west in the areas of Bagot Mile End and Richmond and they’re about a high 5 to low 6’es price point. They were areas that were mentioned.

The other area that is very popular with the price range to about $550 as a buying price is the inner and southwest area of Marion. Now an insider tip with that area is there has been a change in the development plan. Some policy areas, policy area12 where you could normally do one into three, you can no longer do so. Once the market gets wind of that there’ll be an opportunity for renovators to come into those areas and buy those properties that would have perhaps otherwise been bought by developers.

The areas that I’ve been looking at are a little further out with a lower price point. I tend to buy and work in the lower end of town because there are always buyers in those areas.

There is a picture I sent to you, this was an auction I attended at Christies Beach which is about 30 kilometers south of Adelaide it’s a coastal town and this particular property was in Michelle Lewis special and it was 1 Fox Avenue in Christies Beach and that was a house that had been inhabited by squatters. I went along to the auction with sort of an idea that if I could purchase it at $260K that would be something I’d like to do. It had basically been empty for some years. The owner had passed away. The squatters moved in.

This particular house did sell at auction for $269K and went to a young couple who would owner occupy and renovate it themselves. I was happy to buy it at $260K. I was also happy to see them purchase it at $269 and then that property could be on-sold for the low 4’s once renovated in a nice manner with room for profit there.

Australian Market
Australian Market

Michelle: The other areas I’ve been looking at a little closer to the city but still south in the areas of Blackwood or Hawthorndene. We settled on a property there on Monday we’ve purchased a 2-bedder for $320K that will change into a three-bedroom house, do a budget reno and hopefully sell for a minimum of the mid 4’s or even more to make a nice little profit on that one.

And then the last suburb I wanted to mention that I also attended an auction in and I don’t know that you can do a renovation or purchase renovate, renovatable properties in the area is Happy Valley and that’s 20 kilometers south of Adelaide. The auction that I went to recently was 2 houses on 1 title it was a 2 bedder and a 3 bedder and that sold for $360K which some say cheap compared to other states. And there was definitely money to be made in that deal with renovating them on the budget and on selling them or even keeping them and renting them out.

Bernadette: So are you doing any deals with land as well?

Michelle: No, but I do know a couple. Do you mean subdividable properties, Bernadette?

Bernadette: Yeah.

Michelle: Absolutely. Largs North is a hot spot for that particular strategy at the moment. I do know a couple that have purchased for about $430K and they’ve split off the back and they should get about to $230K for the back block and they’ve renovated the front house and they’ll sell that for a little bit of a profit. But the profits in the back block in that, it’s a property with the right side, a right frontage on either side of the block so it goes through to 2 roads each side. I know that one particular couple are using that strategy in that area, which is a seaside location in the northwestern area of Adelaide.

Bernadette: Awesome. Thanks so much Michelle. Okay. Next, we’ve got Julie Anglesey. Julie is in Western Australia and she will be sharing her understanding of what’s going on, in particular, in Perth.

Julie Anglesey: First of all, I just wanted to give you a quick rundown on how I look at what’s going on in the Perth market. Everyone, I think probably knows that the prices in Perth have been going down over the last 5 years or so. I just wanted to show a couple of graphs and data from the Real Estate Institute of WA’s website.

Australian Market

Julie: The first thing that I like to look at and monitor is the property listings for sale and you can see here that I’d put a red box around the numbers at the bottom. This week, there’s currently 13,892 properties for sale. Just to put that into some sort of context. Equilibrium in Perth is considered to be about the 12-13,000 properties for sale. You can see that 4 weeks ago it was 14,000 and then this time last year it was 15,500. It’s actually a positive sign to see that the number of listings is starting to go down a little bit. It’s just steady and it’s not huge. So it’s not going to be any sort of like booming market anytime soon but it’s just giving people a little bit of optimism about the supply isn’t so oversupplied as it was.

The next thing that I look at is the median house price in there. There’s a really great visual you can see what’s been going on in Perth since 2015. The median price was $555K or something and now it’s $485K. A lot of properties that I’m seeing for sale but the asking price is lower than what they paid for it 10 years ago. In Perth, we definitely don’t have that saying about property values double every 10 years. They definitely haven’t in Perth.

Australian Market

Julie: The next slide is just a little bit more about the market and the days on market is another thing to look at here in Perth and days on market is still increasing according to that graph there. And that’s not such a great sign but I can say that it was sort of flattened out over the last quarter so let’s hope it just starts to go down a little bit in line with those listings going down as well.

And the other thing that we look at is rental vacancies. You can see in the red box there that we’ve currently got 6,500 properties for rent in Perth. Four weeks ago it was 6,800 the same time last year it was 7,800. Once again the available properties for rent are just steadily going down. These are just all very slow but slightly optimistic signs for Perth after we’ve been absolutely hammered.

Australian Market

Julie: And on the next slide or you can see also that the house median rent in Perth is $360 dollars a week which probably sounds ludicrous to you in Sydney. The median house rent would be $360 but there you go. It is actually gone up if you can see it in the next slide. It was $350.

What I like about this slide is the bars on this graph here show the actual vacancy rate. Back in September 2017, the vacancy rate was 7% which is really high but currently, in the last quarter, it’s 2.9% that is also just another positive sign for Perth.

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Julie: The next slide we’ll go into is where I say the opportunities are. I’m a little bit like Michelle. I do like the low end because it’s easier to pick up something cheap and make it look beautiful and it really stands out from the crowd and you can usually definitely make a profit.

This is one that I did earlier this year and the buy price was $130K. The opportunity is in buying something that people can’t move into and live in. This had a nonfunctioning kitchen and it was a deceased estate and cats have been living in it and that stunk can get pretty much, no one really wanted to buy this. We were able to pick it up for $130K and we spent $50K on painting, putting in a new kitchen, bathroom, and laundry and sanding the floorboards and doing a bit of gardening. And then we sold it for $259K. The profit in that was $63K. At such a low-end property, I see that as a great opportunity to make some money and do it quickly and you can do it quite cheaply as well. From us, buying and settling to the settlement of its selling was 3 months. The renovation took about 5-6 weeks and it was over Christmas as well. There was a decent amount of stuff done but because it’s a small property just wasn’t too hard it wasn’t a headache at all.

Australian Market

Julie: Just talking about the middle of the market just doing my research for this presentation. The feedback that I’ve got is that the middle of the market which in Perth is around $500K-$1M mark is the toughest area of the market to actually try and make money out of a renovation because you’re paying more than the lower end and you need to do a lot more to that house to make it stand out really get that extra uplift.

But if you were wanting to work in that area of the market what you would need to do is find a house that is non-livable like the previous one and like this one here is one that I did but turn it from a three-bedroom one bathroom to a three-bedroom two bathroom. There has to be some other add value if you’re wanting to try and make money in this area of the market usually an extra bedroom is probably not going to do it but definitely the extra bathroom would. And that’s where a subdivision would come in as well.

Australian Market

Julie: And then the higher end of the market which is the over a million-dollar mark, the upper end. The only opportunity that I find that people are making use of is if you are actually a builder. I’ve spoken to a couple of women whose husbands are builders. They work with their husbands’ building company and what they’re doing is buying an old two-bedroom one-bathroom gorgeous 1930s house in an inner-city suburb and doing a proper structural renovation on turning it into a four-bedroom two-bathroom but because they are the builder they’re not having to pay that builder’s margin. That’s where they’re able to actually make their profit. For your average flipper there’s not really any money in this area of the market either.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Julie: The next slide is the last opportunity that I see which is, buy, renovate and hold. And this is the one that I have found for your student, Bernadette. They wanted an apartment close to the city and they wanted something to buy and hold. I found this one didn’t really need a renovation all it needed was a paint job. But I was able to find it through an agent that sells off a lot of I suppose distressed properties in a way deceased estates and that kind of thing. We’re able to get the two-bedroom two-bathrooms in units in this complex, it’s got a swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna, games room. It’s a really nice complex. They were selling up to $400K four years ago but we were able to pick this one up for $245K. Then I found a tenant for them at $365 a week. That’s definitely neutrally geared if not positively geared but it’s got great potential for capital growth soon as Perth starts to turn around.

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Julie: This is in a great location between the airport and the city and it’s close to the river. But the tenant that I’ve found for them is going to be the perfect tenant for them because she’s running an Airbnb, her Airbnb business. This is one of her properties and her Airbnb. It’s obviously going to upkeep the apartment it’s not going to need regular property inspections or that kind of thing. I got her to send me photos last night so I could share it here on this presentation. They’re not the proper photos it’s not even on the Airbnb site yet but you can just see how just getting rid of the navy blue wall and installing it. It’s made it more appealing for a start but the win-win is it’s a great property for the owner.

The new owner they don’t need to do too much except take the rent but if you were someone that was in Perth and you wanted to find this yourself, paint it yourself and then run Airbnb. It’s an awesome opportunity in this area of the market. I suppose in summary the 2 areas that I see are the best opportunities in Perth at the lower end. If you can get it cheap enough and do the right things to it and the buy, renovate and hold in good locations.

Bernadette: Okay. So next person, Lisa. Now we have Lisa Parker and Lisa’s a fabulous buyer’s agent in Melbourne, and so she’ll be giving you the take on the market in Melbourne.

Lisa Parker: Hello.

Bernadette: Hi. How are you?

Lisa: Really good. Thank you. Where flat stick in Melbourne it’s buyer advocates. We’ve gone from being a little bit quiet the last 18 months to really at waitlists. We are about to tip over into waitlist territory. Things have really taken off in Melbourne since the federal election.

Just to share with you what’s happening on the ground. I think one of the most important factors for people to understand about the Melbourne market is two things. Firstly, we’re the auction capital of Australia. Most of our properties in the inner and middle rings of Melbourne will run to the auction. Typically we have a 4 1/2, 4-4 1/2 week campaign. What we’ve been seeing is the auction clearance rate since the federal election has jumped from, their hovering around the 50-55% clearance rate mark. And now in the last 12 weeks, they have steadily climbed to the 70% mark. And over the last 6 weeks, we’ve been seeing them close to the 75-76% mark.

The other really interesting for buyer advocates is that we’re down, that we’re going to be down roughly 7,000 properties this spring. Typically spring is our biggest selling season in Melbourne and we’re usually very busy from September through December. And it’s where we have the most auctions held every week. This spring the RERB is calculated that we’re down roughly 7000 homes that would normally go to auction. What is happening as a result of that is instead of buyers having 3 or 4 or 5 houses to choose from they have one house to choose from. And so all of the options that we’re attending in most instances we are up against 4 to 6 bidders and we’re seeing prices. We’re seeing properties sell for very healthy levels above the quote range.

The difficulty for buyers and the thing that people really need to be careful of is that we’re in a situation where prices are rising at the moment but when the banks look at the comparable sales in the area there’s going to be a disparity between what people are paying for property and what the comparable properties have been selling for in the previous 6 months. And so buyers need to be very careful to ensure that they’ve got comps to support the purchase price they are paying. And if it’s contested that they can provide those comps to the value of. Also that they have backup plans if there is a valuation shortfall. They need to find the money to come up with that shortfall. Having a backup plan is really important in the market at the moment. Until we have a little bit more history of the higher price points.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Lisa: Overall in Melbourne 18 months ago we saw the prices come back 15% across the board. And I think by December we should probably see the prices statistically come up probably about 5% below the peak of the market in the last cycle. At the moment we still have that disparity. A perfect example was a townhouse that I called in to appraise for a client in Coburg. The identical property next door had sold for $810K three months ago. And somebody offered before the auction $850K. This was a situation where I advised my clients to walk away from because there was not a single comparable sale in the area to support $850K. And it was a high-risk purchase for the clients if they didn’t have that $40K difference because obviously the valuer is going to look at the identical property right next door which just sold 3 months ago.

So overall in Melbourne we have had about 15K properties available for sale where usually we would have between 23-26K properties. We’re roughly 8.5K properties down this year. We’re expecting spring to change that because that’s where we see vendors put their properties on the market. But unfortunately, we’re not seeing vendors do that.

I think if you guys know people who want to sell in Melbourne this is a little tiny bit off-topic but related, if you’ve got property in Melbourne that you are thinking of selling there’s a window of opportunity between now and December where you’re going to get a really strong price for your property due to the lack of stock. What will happen is once the data is released into the public domain it gets out in the news and consumers hear the information enough times to accept it as true and fact. That’s when they will start to put their properties on the market.

I’m expecting early next year that we should see the number of properties being put on the market increase. And I think we’ll see a slight leveling off in property prices because technically we really shouldn’t be experiencing this little mini-boom that we are currently in Melbourne.

The biggest opportunities I think in this market at the moment. Quite a contrast to Michelle and Julie. I love your prices by the way. I mean we’re at $400K in regionals in Melbourne. Yeah, we just don’t really get those prices. We’re dealing with budgets of $800K and up most of the time. The biggest opportunities are actually in the middle ring areas. What we’re finding is that people want to buy properties that are already completed. They want to walk in, they want a nice garden, they want to have nice fixtures and scenic finishes. They want to walk into a property that’s already done and they don’t want to have to spend time renovating.

If you can take something that isn’t presenting well and maybe had some floor plan challenges and correct the floor plan challenges to create an end result which is in line with modern-day expectations there’ll be a lot of homeowners that will want the property and we’ll compete heavily for it. We see that in the inner city in particular. People don’t want unrenovated homes and there seem to be a lot of them on the market at the moment. Mostly off-market and getting access to that off-market is a really good opportunity because you’re not competing with other people at auction and we’re able to buy more competitively when we don’t have competition.

We’ve asked agents for off-markets that don’t just rely on what’s coming onto the market. Create those good relationships be known as a reliable buyer who acts fast, who is decisive, who is really good to deal with so that you become one of the buyers at the very top of your local agent’s hit list and you’ll be the first person they call. And if you are really good to deal with they will deal with you exclusively for 24 hours before going out to the rest of their database.

I think the low end of the market there’s a section in Frankston which is close to in the Karingal section of Frankston where there is an opportunity right now to be purchasing in and around the $430-460K mark and renovating the property. Pick up some really good floor plans where you can actually put the house to a four-bedroom two-bathroom and the floor plans really important, get the right floor plan and create that four-bedroom two-bathroom home and you’ll get $660K for it.

One of the challenging things for us is our really high stamp duties. When you’re training in and out of property it can become difficult at that lower price point. But the numbers are stacking up reasonably well for that section in Frankston at the moment.

Bernadette: Next up, we’ve got Amanda Gould, who has a company called High Spec Properties, and she will be talking about the Sydney market.

Amanda Gould: In Sydney at the moment. We’re seeing a slight rise between 2 and 5%. These are going up especially at auction. Obviously, before the election, we did have a downturn in the market which did carry on for some time. After the election, it started to get a lot steadier. But I would say the last 4 weeks that I’ve been attending auctions they’ve been the highest I’ve seen them. We went to 3 auctions represented 3 different clients on the weekend. We only bought one of the three because the prices people were paying were desperation prices like we saw in 2016 and 2017 for the scarcity and the lack of stock in the market.

A prime example was just a very basic renovated property that I went to auction for in Chippendale 2 levels 77 square meter apartment. I valued that at $925K at a push the agent’s guide was $800-$880K but I knew it was worth more than that. After doing extensive price research I went for $965K. I was trying to protect my client. That’s what they hired us for, to protect them from making emotional mistakes. And that’s what’s happening at auction at the moment people are overpaying.

Now there was another bidder interestingly enough who was there and she came up to talk to me after and asked for my card and I have a badge on she said, “As soon as I saw you stop bidding I stopped bidding, too because I figured you knew what you were doing.” That was really interesting. And that was not a great reno like by any stretch. It was a pretty standard basic IKEA reno, very beige. My clients were going to have to redo it and that’s why I needed to protect the margin for them because if they were going to sink $50K into it that would have been the $50K that they would have overspent. We walked away from that at a certain point and we’re still on the search for them.

The lack of stock is driving those prices. I’m about to go to auction for another property that has been renovated very nicely. It was packed. It was in Rose Bay. Now the agents’ guide was $1.2M It’s a $1.35M to $1.4M property any day of the week. We’re finding agents are either underquoting to drive in as many people through the door so they look good to their vendors or their really so confused about what to put a price on and there are a lot of agents that are getting paid 2% commission which should be experts in their field that don’t do half as much research. I’m sure Lisa will agree as a buyer’s agent. They’ll say that two-bedroom apartment and that two-bedroom apartment are in the same block so they’ll be the same. But when you drill it down, ones the north-facing, ones on the top floor, ones on the bottom floor, ones 70 square meters, ones 60 you’ve really got to know what you’re doing out there because you can make a lot of mistakes by overpaying in a market like this.

I don’t think it’s going to creep up like 2016/2017 but it’s interesting to see that people’s, frenzy is not the right word, but people are crazy. I mean I went to a $3M auction and the agent’s guide was $2.5M to $2.75M. I said this is a $3M to $3.1M property any day of the week. They went for $3.280M. They’re either underquoting on purpose or they’re underquoting because they’re not prepared or just lack knowledge.

But I will say that doing a renovation and something that’s going to stand out in the market that works for you because obviously you are from all around the country. We’re sick of seeing generic vanilla renovations they’re not getting the same, normally they’re not getting the same price.

This one in Rose Bay that I’m going for has been beautifully done, the floorboards are oak, the kitchens they’ve done a big galley kitchen it’s beautiful I can send the address out once on board and I don’t want to say anything until I got it. But they’ve done a really great job for the unit that it’s in an old 80’s block as most of the units in Sydney there are 60’s 70’s 80’s that you’re doing renovations on but making the most of the floor plan and really doing it to the best that you can afford and making it stand out. Maybe using tiles, flashback tiles that have got a little bit of texture so people go up and automatically touch them. That’s a big thing.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Amanda: I do that in all my own renovations even in my home because when people come in even I have a cabana near the pool that I built, not me personally, but I chose all the stuff already there. And every time somebody goes in that bathroom they go, “Wow! Those tiles are amazing!” They’re like a dragged out hexagon sort of. And their resin, they’re baked they’re quite an interesting tile and they’re the sort of things that people will remember. And the colour schemes, I like the palette that you use. I’m just so sick of seeing the beige and the typical see-through stone. No, because people don’t have an idea. But Sydney is seeing a peak and we’re telling clients that are going to auction expect to pay between 2 and 5% more than you budgeted for. Whether we use that or not is another. We may not even get to that but if we have it in our back pocket and we have the money for it and it’s a long term hold obviously not for renovators but for your end product if you’ve got a good product that will sell at auctions, that’s the way to do it at the moment.

Bernadette: Beautiful. Well, thanks so much for that Amanda that’s a really good insight.

Amanda: Pleasure.

Bernadette: Okay. The last cab off the rank is Jo Vadillo and Jo’s going to be talking about Queensland. Lastly, I’ve got Jo Vadillo from Advocate Property Services and Property Women, and she’s going to be talking about the Queensland market. So Queensland’s got interesting recently. Listen up.

Jo Vadillo: With the Brisbane market. A lot of what I do crosses over on both those realms and as you’d know Bernadette we love the splitter blocks that are available in and around Brisbane City Council. I love the opportunity the splitter block provides it means that you have potentially got a house it’s already on one side on one title and you can technically split off another block and then on-sell that as well. A lot of the formulas can be slide in the house to one side and renovating that house and selling it and frame a whole block of land or like some people, they realign the boundary kick the original house, renovates it, sell the house, sell off the block of land perhaps they keep the house. There’s a multitude of strategies that come with that and that’s what I find really exciting and fun.

Brisbane’s going gangbusters at the moment. When BIS Oxford Economics put out a report in July looks to indicate that Brisbane’s got the strongest growth projected about 20% although they do say that 20% will be in the back lot of that next 3 years.

Now Sydney’s home for me but as an investor I’m very much a non-emotive investor and I’m just gonna be following where the market is showing where the fruits are to be had. Just in Brisbane now, Morton Bay is north of Brisbane City Council and in the next 3 years, Morton Bay is actually going to run out of land. Like everywhere it’s being built out so it’s going about 3 years left of land. It’s a really good area. It’s definitely one to watch. I’ve got a couple of properties there myself. You can still do a splitter block in the Morton Bay Area.

I work in conjunction with one of our business partners, who does a lot of the research for us ensuring that where we look at there’s high rental demand, low vacancy. When we’re buying existing properties ensuring there’s enough margin that if you want to renovate that property and put it back in the market that people in that location are still paying a premium for a renovated version of that house ensuring also that, I guess an oversupply of housing estates or perhaps it is just an oversupply of a certain housing type as well.

The other part of my business is building dual key properties. And again that’s ensuring that we’re not in an area that’s oversupplied with the dual key offerings. And the reason we loved doing the dual key case is because of the two-income aspect as well and allows our clients to free up their income and then be out of buy and buy again.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Jo: Just looking at Brisbane City Council at the moment, If we go north of Brisbane City Council, Kedron, Everton Park around Chermside is an area that’s very very much sought after. There’s a big gap between your entry-level houses and you’re nicely renovated ready to go beautifully finished Queenslanders. So because it’s got such a disparity between entry and selling that does indicate to me that’s a good opportunity for renovators who want to come in and I guess rake the returns adding that value to that area as well. It gave us a go to Morton Bay and I’m looking at areas around the drivable distance to the city, to the water, Costco, IKEA, the university campuses just these areas that are just bringing people in.

They just won a $5B government contract to build tanks. It’s going to bring in about 1000 talking about 200 new jobs, new jobs bring in family units, family units need schools, they need houses and this is a long term plan as well so it’s making that part really sort of being on the map again as well for Ipswich.

Moving down south or south of Brisbane City Council I’m a big fan of Wynnum, Wynnum West, mainly. Bit of a sleepy spot has been for quite some time. When you drive through this area a lot of people are knocking down and doing rebuilds in this area. Lots of gentrification, lots of family units coming into that particular nook as well. And what’s interesting about that part of that area is there are opportunities there. People wanted to look at multi occupancies as well. That’s certainly an area to keep on your radar. If you’re in and around Brisbane looking at doing some things of opportunity.

But then the big standouts for me at this point in terms of making a buying decision I think, Logan it’s very affordable. It’s a massive land that sits between the Gold Coast and Brisbane city. Make sure if you’re looking at areas like this that you’d go into an established area that’s got a really good high percentage of owner-occupiers in it as well. And there’s always a fairly but very low vacancy in these areas. But you want to make sure that if you’re going to be doing anything like renovating or subdividing that you’ve done your biggest really solidly and you know there’s enough opportunity there for you to get to it and have an obviously good rate of return once you sold of as well.

Bernadette: I hope you enjoyed that and got some value out of it. I’m sure you did. I know our students really loved that particular masterclass.

Before I sign off. I just want to remind you that this weekend is our “Financial Freedom… Against All Odds” event in Sydney and Brisbane. If you don’t have a ticket, you’ve got today to grab one, you’ll find a link on the website and in the shownotes. And also, if you’ve not joined our free Facebook group, She Renovates, then jump over there and jump in. Get into the conversation. We’d love to see you there. Okay. Until next week. It’s Bernadette signing off for today. Have a great week.

“We’re not comfortable borrowing more money from the bank. So our goal is to get to a 50% LVR (Loan to Valuation Ratio) once we get to a 50% LVR we can then continue the renovation process and the fastest way to get to a 50% LVR is Airbnb. “​


Today I’ve got Lucy Scott with me. Lucy has taken working from home to a whole new level. I’m being a little bit ambiguous there but she not only runs the business out of home but she also has successfully started an Airbnb business or short term rental business. She epitomises the idea of actually maximising the use of the family home. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today how she’s been able to do that. She’ll share some of the challenges and also the rewards not all of them are financial. Which is a great thing. And I think Lucy would agree that it’s a very enriching experience and so welcome Lucy!

Lucy: Hi Bernadette. Thanks so much for having me. I’m very honoured to be here on your podcast. I’ve been a long term listener.

Bernadette: Well, that’s great. Yes. The podcast has been quite an interesting experience for me. One of my mentors has been I guess talking to me about it for 2 years and it’s taken me this long to get going and now I’m absolutely loving it. And while I haven’t heard of any listeners not loving it.

Lucy: Another platform for you to share your wisdom.

Bernadette: That’s right. Thank you. Now before we get started Lucy, would you like to share. Just a bit about yourself and where you are in life. In family, in business?

Lucy: Absolutely. I am a mom of 3 young kids so I’ve got a 9-year-old, 7-year-old and a 4-year-old trying to manage the family home at the same time. When I was growing up I had a mother who worked full-time and didn’t have much extra time for us to play with. No nothing against full-time mothers. You’ve got to do what you gotta do. But for me, I knew that that wasn’t what I wanted as a mother. I wanted to be able to pick the kids up from school and  take them to their activities and that sort of lifestyle.

When I was choosing a career, I chose one that would balance that for me which meant that I wanted to work from home so as a remedial therapist I work from home and the kids are at school. And also when my husband gets home from work that’s basically what I do. But outside of that I am also a self-proclaimed entrepreneur.

Bernadette: I think you’ve earned your stripes, actually.

Lucy: I love to build businesses and I get very excited when that business starts to do well. When I met you, you introduced me to a whole new platform. It’s been wonderful.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Bernadette: Great. Let’s talk a little bit about that. You came to us thinking with renovating in mind.

Lucy: Yes. Because when you were looking to upgrade our house when our 3rd daughter was born. How smart it was, insane like we couldn’t afford what we wanted. So we decided because we were bidding against all these international investors we just couldn’t compete. We decided we were going to get another rundown place with something that had the potential to be really beautiful.

And so instead we bought a rundown place with the idea in mind that we were going to renovate it to be our dream home. When that happened I like to be educated before I take on projects. So I was looking for somewhere I can get some support and a community that will help me do that because it makes such a difference if you can ask questions along the way and hear from people who have done the same thing. With that in mind. Yes. That’s how I came across your course and found you.

Bernadette: Awesome.

Lucy: Very funny because when I went to your course I was so excited I had my plans with me and I knocked into your door and I showed you my plans and I was really enthusiastic and you just said, “No”.  Which threw a spanner in the works for me. And when you looked at my plans you said, “No, you’re over capitalising” And then you said, “Just fill in this wall, build this out here. And even next to your bedroom and everything that you need…” Of course, why did I not think of that? That’s brilliant. So any way you did that and now we’ve got an extra bedroom and a bigger laundry which is great.

Bernadette: Awesome.

Lucy: But I like to think of myself as a bit of a minimalist. I then had all this spare space on the side of the house and I hate wasting things as well. With that space, I thought, “Well how can I then utilise this space to generate income for me? Because I don’t like wasting this space” Which kind of contradicts minimalism a bit. But at least it’s not wasted. We found a use for it anyway.

airbnb queen lucy scott

Blackburn North

airbnb queen lucy scott
airbnb queen

Bernadette: It’s important to note that you did still get your dream home.

Lucy: Still in the works 4 years in. We’re closer to it now very, very close.

Bernadette: Awesome. But with a much smaller price tag.

Lucy: A much smaller price tag, absolutely. It saved us about $80K.

Bernadette: That’s awesome. So that no was a very valuable no.

Lucy: That was a very valuable no. And a good lesson in renovating.

Bernadette: That’s the thing because often if you’re not strategic around what you’re doing either with your family home, what you could’ve ended up with was a big mortgage and not in a position to be able to move anywhere.

Lucy: And as the housing market dropped, too. We would have over capitalised completely. I’m so glad that we didn’t do that.

airbnb queen lucy scott

Bernadette: Yeah. Oh, that’s awesome. Next step, Airbnb. What attracted you to Airbnb?

Lucy: To be honest I was very hesitant to do it. You encouraged me to do it. I think there was something on your Facebook page that said, “Right, let’s get cracking!” I think that’s what prompted me to do it. I finally built this new room or filled in this wall so I could create an extra bedroom for my kids. But I was still hesitant to do it because of stranger danger. In my house with 3 young kids, that was holding me back a bit.

But when I spoke to my husband about it we decided that the way to combat that because a spare room is next to 2 of our girls’ bedrooms that they share. And you can’t on Airbnb choose between a male and female guest. So when we had a male guest, we just moved the kids into the front lounge room. And they loved it! Because it was like a slumber party and they had a TV in there and it was so exciting.

Bernadette: Awesome. And so how’s that been going?

airbnb queen lucy scott
airbnb queen lucy scott

Lucy: It has been wonderful. We’ve had some amazing people come through and created some really strong friendships from all around the world. And another huge benefit for us is having the kids exposed to people from all around the world. They love learning about new cultures and new people and the experiences that they have in different places. And that’s been really rewarding and enriching and they really thrive with that. Even my eldest daughter I said to her if she wants to move into that room that we have for the guests she can but it means that we can’t have homestays anymore. And I said that’s your choice. And she made the choice to stay in the smaller room.

Bernadette: Wow! She’s that keen about meeting different people here. Do you have a choice of how much you can mingle with your guests?

Lucy: It is more difficult when you have a private room. It’s basically up to them if they want to mingle. They come into the common area. If they don’t want to mingle they stay in their room. It is difficult because if they want to be in the common area I’m not moving. We certainly give them their privacy if they’re in there.

Bernadette: OK. It wouldn’t be for everyone but for you, it’s been an awesome experience.

Lucy: It has been an awesome experience my husband and I are very social. We just consider it like having a slumber party and making new friends. Well, we’ve only had I’d say one not so great experience but everybody else has been wonderful.

airbnb queen lucy scott

Bernadette: OK, that’s great. And you’ve actually met some of your guests overseas.

Lucy: Yeah, we have. That’s also one of the major benefits of that. She wasn’t actually an Airbnb guest. She was somebody stayed with us before we started Airbnb. We just fell in love with her. That was the second time we’ve been over to visit her in Mexico.

Bernadette: Wow. I know with our oldest daughter, Hannah. She doesn’t now because they’re further out. That when they live in Melbourne they had this spare room in Airbnb and made a lot of European friends. And so they had one particular guest who lived in Paris and they were about to go to France for a wedding and he said to them, “If you like, you can stay at my place in Paris for the same price as I paid at your place” which was out of this world because his apartment, they had a whole apartment was in the same block as the Eiffel Tower. And in actual fact, his brother David also stayed there and it became a bit of an extension of the family.

Lucy: It’s wonderful. Like we’ve even got this one guy who stayed with us who is now moved to Melbourne. Because our market is the people who are relocating to Melbourne. He and my husband got along famously and they go out regularly rock climbing because that’s both an interest for them. And I’m like, “Well, if you don’t know anyone in Melbourne yet come over for Christmas and you can have Christmas with us”. And it’s wonderful because now we’ve got an open house for anybody who wants to come and socialise. And we love it because it adds so much colour and flavour to all of our experiences.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Bernadette: That’s awesome. What’s the next step?

Lucy: We’ve just finished building an extension as I mentioned earlier. Which is in place of what we originally had planned and what I present to you. Basically, it’s like a studio apartment. And it’s on the side of the house. But what we wanted was something that we could build that we could potentially use in the future. So it’s attached to the house. But we’ve put a lock on the internal door so people can’t get into our house unless they want to use laundry or whatever. But it’s got an external entrance so it’s completely private.

airbnb queen lucy scott

Studio Apartment

Lucy: What’s fantastic about it also, is if our parents need somewhere to stay. But a bit of independent living at the same time. But in the meantime, we’re using it to generate income because when speaking to you at the course your advice to us was to get the mortgage down as fast as possible so that we can increase this renovation journey. We’re not comfortable borrowing more money from the bank. So our goal is to get to a 50% LVR (Loan to Valuation Ratio) once we get to a 50% LVR we can then continue the renovation process and the fastest way to get to a 50% LVR is Airbnb.

Bernadette: Awesome. And so have you got the second property actually listed on Airbnb?

Lucy: Yeah, I had the professional photos taken last week. I haven’t got them back yet but I’ve already got 4 months of bookings.

Bernadette: Wow! That’s awesome. And so do you mind if I mentioned what suburb you’re in?

Lucy: No, go for it.

Bernadette: Lucy’s in Blackburn in Melbourne. She has got a very sweet little. Well, it’s not so little anymore. Weatherboard would it be Victorian?

Lucy: Yeah possibly yeah. From the 1950’s.

Bernadette: Very gorgeous. Your plan is to work on your LVR. Get that down and then I think that’s really smart.

Lucy: That’s the plan. Get that down and then I really would love an eco-sustainable house at the Mornington Peninsula. After we get to that point that’s the next step.

Bernadette: Beautiful. Have you thought about using any rented properties to increase your return?

Lucy: I was talking to Mary. She highly recommended doing rented properties as well but I have thought about it. But what I think what’s holding me back is approaching the landlords and getting through that process.

airbnb queen lucy scott
airbnb queen lucy scott

Bernadette: Lucy, you’re up for it!

Lucy: It’s something that I can probably get my head around. Not right now, but maybe a year or so.

Bernadette: Yeah just to fill everyone in. We had a get together of some of the Melbourne students last Friday night and Lucy was there and prior to that, we went to look at a listing that one of our students, who’s also been on this podcast is Susie Guest has a fabulous Airbnb in the Docklands and went and had a look at that.

And it’s really interesting because from what I can say in Melbourne does much better than inner city Sydney. Just seeing what she’s able to do with it. It’s a reasonably modest 3 bedroom apartment but I think she said she’s clearing $4k a week after the payments which I think is. Oh, sorry not $4K a week $4K a month, an apartment in a building like that you should be able to do at least a couple of thousand a month if you’re renting. It’s a great strategy and of course the different market. It’s interesting that you’ve identified your market as people who are relocating.

Lucy: Yeah, absolutely. Our market in the internal room is people who are relocating or her for business. The extension, the new room the market is people who are in-between homes.

Bernadette: Okay. That’s interesting.

Lucy: That’s what we found so we’re really encouraging those long term stays. It’s less work for me and it’s so much easier.

Bernadette: Are you doing the cleaning?

Lucy: Yes. For me, it’s so easy because I’m not sure how it will go with the extension but if people are staying for 3 months. You don’t need to outsource that so much because a couple of hours of cleaning every 3 months I can do it.

Bernadette: And so what would you say have been your biggest challenges?

airbnb queen lucy scott
airbnb queen lucy scott

Lucy: The biggest challenge has been I would say relocating the kids. That for me has been the biggest challenge. The other one is keeping the volume down, those are such minute challenges. Aside from that, there haven’t been any challenges. It’s more at the security of the kids, we’ve never had a problem it’s more just trying not to be naive about it.

The other thing is we’ve had to investigate ways that we can get a more secure lock system because at the moment we’ve got normal keys and they can easily be copied. That’s it, just changing our locks to make sure that people can’t duplicate the keys. Other than that, that’s it.

Bernadette: Awesome.

Lucy: It’s been really wonderful. We’ve got one guest who stays every 6 weeks for a week. We have formed a relationship with her. She’s a Russian living in New Zealand and comes to visit her grandmother every 6 weeks.

We’ve made a really strong connection with her as well. I have nothing bad to say.

Bernadette: That’s awesome. Okay. I just want to recap and you also run your business out of your home as well?

Lucy: Yeah. I’m liking the way that my house, the floor plan is at the front of the house, it’s kind of the parents’ retreat. In that area, I’ve got parents living room, bathroom, parents room but also a room next to it that I work from. It divides the house into sections for me so it makes it so much easier.

Bernadette: Yeah. And of course, you would be aware that when you’re using a home for Airbnb and business that it does have some implications on the capital gains tax exemption. That’s something that people need to know. But often with your family home, you’re probably not going to sell it. Not after you’ve put all this much work into that’s probably a lot but it’s always something to be mindful of.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Lucy: And another thing that’s really important to mention to be mindful of is the insurance component. So that’s one thing that I learned about during this process as I called up my insurance company to say, “Look we are now renting out our room in a house and generating income from that I need to upgrade my insurance” I was really shocked because they said to me, “Oh no, we don’t do that. We don’t cover that” It made me realise that if something had happened in the house without them knowing about it, I wouldn’t have had any cover. So I went for several months without insurance. And that is something that’s really important for people to know is that you need to notify your insurance company that you’re doing it because I don’t feel that Airbnb insurance is sufficient. You need more to protect yourself.

Bernadette: Yeah, exactly. And you need to work with a good broker who understands your situation. Because a lot of people think that landlord insurance will cover their Airbnb as well as people with investment properties and that’s not the case.

Lucy: That’s right. You’ve got to really look into it. Speak to a property tax accountant and get that stuff sorted, your insurance sorted and then work out how you want to run your Airbnb business. We had only one bad experience with Airbnb and we learned from that. And so now we regulate our bookings so we don’t take people last minute. We don’t take people with no reviews.

Bernadette: That’s a really good thing to have in place.

Lucy: Since implementing that I mean that was at the very start that this happened but since implementing that we haven’t had any bad experiences.

Bernadette: That’s awesome. I must admit that the only bad, really bad experience I’ve ever had was a last-minute booking. It actually wasn’t through Airbnb and it was through We do the same.

Before we wind up. Would you like to share, maybe 3 tips for anyone thinking about using their family home to build income through Airbnb?

Lucy: Three tips, I guess it all depends on circumstances but the most important one is to just do it. Just do it. Give it a go. Your house doesn’t have to be a palace. It doesn’t matter. Also, keep an open mind about it because you might make new friendships that you wouldn’t otherwise make. And then also another tip depending on what motivates you. For us, our motivation is the end goal and that is our sustainable beach house.

Bernadette: That’s so true. I think you can. It pulls you forward, doesn’t it? Once you’ve got something to work for.

Lucy: Just have some clear goals and that helps really push yourself to achieve them.

Bernadette: Yeah, awesome. Just to recap where you come from. You started out with architectural plans for an extensive renovation and you switched your strategy. Pull those back and actually created the floor plan that you wanted within the existing footprint. Do you still have your double packing?

Lucy: No. What we did is we realised that we couldn’t fit it in, side by side, double carport. We put an extended carport, single carport.

Bernadette: OK. So you’ve still got parking for two cars off the street?

Lucy: Correct.

Bernadette: Great. Awesome. And so the first thing you did was to establish an area in your house that you could rent out on Airbnb? That’s got a bedroom and bathroom?

Lucy: In the internal house, it’s a shared bathroom and a bedroom.

Bernadette: And then the second step was to build sort of a granny flat, not a granny flat but under the main roof so that you now have a listing that’s completely independent. And now the intention is to, well I’ve just added this now is to add a couple of rented properties to your portfolio.

Lucy: In the future. Yeah, absolutely. You want my rented properties going.

Bernadette: Well, listen Lucy. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. What I will ask you to do is send me some photos.

Lucy: Absolutely.

Bernadette: And also will include the listings in the show notes so that anyone that’s wanting to experience your brand of hospitality can do that. Yeah, we’ll take it from there.

Lucy: Wonderful. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Bernadette: Thank you so much, Lucy. It was great to have you. You’re a breath of fresh air.

Lucy: Thanks, Bernadette.

Bernadette: See you later.

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