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.

76 – Should You Renovate During The Pandemic

On today’s episode,

In this session I am going to share with you some important points that I have shared  during my webinar “How To Adapt To The Changing Property Market”

By being vigilant in terms of monitoring what is happening in the market is a good idea.

Finding the opportunities that arise through this situation will help you have confidence and look at it with more clarity.

Listen to Episode 76: Should You Renovate During The Pandemic


Episode Highlights

  1. [00:01:34] Bernadette’s Update
  2. [00:03:33] Misleading headlines about the property market
  3. [00:04:18] The Elephant in the Room “Fools or Forecaster Report”
  4. [00:06:06] Don’t be a sheep
  5. [00:08:29] China’s hissy fit
  6. [00:10:00] Exercise prudence
  7. [00:10:50] Bunnings are booming
  8. [00:12:06] Fixing leaky buckets
  9. [00:13:17] Airbnb floodgates about to open
  10. [00:15:18] Case study: Bendigo
  11. [00:17:08] Flipping risks
  12. [00:18:01] Opportunities for land banking
  13. [00:18:42] Make the switch from hobby to professional renovator


If you’re wondering what you should be doing during the pandemic in terms of your renovating goals and this episode is for you.

Hello, it’s Bernadette Janson, back with another episode of She Renovates. And today, I’m going to be talking about what is going on in the market at the moment and giving you my take on how to progress in a time of such great uncertainty.

Before I do that, I need to remind you that before you take any action on renovating and property purchases, that you must get independent advice from your own legal and accounting advisors so that you minimise your risk and maximise your profit with advice that relates specifically to your personal circumstances. The information I talk about today is based on my experience and my opinion only, and should not be taken as personal advice.

So before I get into this episode, I want to just update you on where my life has been in the last couple of weeks. And I have to say it has been a little bit up and down. So I took a trip to Victoria to visit my mother and found that I couldn’t visit her because I’d traveled interstate. I was required to quarantine for 14 days. A minor detail that had not been communicated to me in the conversations leading up to that trip. But that’s okay. I got to spend a couple of days with Hannah, our oldest daughter in Melbourne, which was lovely.

And I guess it’s been business as usual. I’m really watching the market because I’m quite keen to get into another project, but I’m exercising great patience and just monitoring what’s happening with the market. Yesterday was an interesting day. I started out by dropping my computer. So what that meant was basically everything I did for the rest of the day went totally pear shaped because I do have a spare MacBook and got that out. But of course, it’s not set up for my day to day activities. So the screen share wouldn’t work. I had no contacts in it, even though I use Google Chrome to transfer my toolbars from one computer to another. For some reason, that wasn’t functioning properly and it was just doing my head in. But today is another day and things are looking much, much brighter.

I ran a webinar last night called “How to Adapt to the Changing Market”, and I thought that there were some points in that content that were podcasts worthy. So that’s what I’m going to be focusing on today.

So there is no doubt that the world is going through a whole world full of pain at the moment. And financially, that’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. And so there is a lot of rubbish in the media about what is and isn’t going to happen. And I call it rubbish, because to be honest with you, absolutely nobody knows what the impact of this lockdown this global lockdown will be because it’s never happened before. Well, I guess the Spanish flu was the last example, and that was a century ago. So it’s unprecedented.

And there is a historical precedent for so-called gurus getting it wrong even banks and I suggested to my community that they go over and download a report done by the “Elephant in the Room” podcast where they have a report called “Fools or Forecaster” and document the number of inaccurate predictions over the last 12 months or basically over the last decade. So if you’re concerned about the big numbers, 30% market crash and so on that are being reported in the media, I suggest you go and read it because you’ll feel a whole lot better after that.

Basically, I personally think the first thing to do is to turn off the media. Do not read the headlines because they’re there to encourage you to read the paper or read the article or watch the television show. They have very little relationship with the facts. And so the best way you can protect your mental health is to not read it and not allow that into your mindset. So there’s a quote that I often like to recall, and that’s by Warren Buffett, who says, “When others are greedy, you should be fearful and when others are fearful, then that’s the time for you to be greedy”. And of course, he’s talking about the opportunities that arise through a nosediving in consumer confidence, basically.

But I think it also has a message to not be a sheep to not subscribe to herd mentality when we are facing these times of change to think independently. And I think that if you take that on, you will feel a whole lot better about the situation and be able to look at it with more clarity.

So I know that there are some very brilliant economists who are assessing the situation at a very granular level. But I think this is one time where you need to look at it in really simple terms.

The fact of the matter is that at the moment, a lot of the pain is being buffered by the government stimulus and grants to protect employees and also to protect the economy and business. And so where normally people may be forced to sell property because they can’t maintain the payments, the mortgage payments, they are able to hold them because they are getting holidays from repayments. And I guess it’s keeping confidence in the market. Someone on the job keeper is not able to go and buy a property with finance based on job keeper. So it’s not putting any more buyers in the market, but it’s certainly keeping confidence up, which is buffering the market.

And so my advisers are telling me that the market is not overly impacted by the situation. In fact, some have been saying it’s still really hot. However, once those initiatives for supporting unemployment and helping property owners hold onto their properties, once they dry up, then that’s when that world of pain will kick in and we will see changes in the market. Now, whether we’re going to see a 30% crash or 40% crash or a 50% crash. Who knows? I personally feel that things are never as bad as predicted. They’re also never as good as predicted. So that’s the flip side.

Of course, we are very dependent on China particularly. And the little hissy fit they’re throwing at the moment has the potential to really hurt our local businesses and primary producers. But I still think that it would be surprising if it was as bad as has been reported. And I guess what I’m saying from that is if you are waiting for a catastrophic drop so that you can swoop in and grab yourself some bargains, you may be disappointed. But there is no doubt that there will be changes. And so that needs to underpin decisions that we make in the coming months.

I have a joint venture ready to kick off, but I want to just watch and see how the market goes. I do have students currently buying. But what I’m saying to them is if they are planning to go ahead, they need to be aware of what could be in front of them. And they definitely, at a very minimum, need to make sure that they have got a big buffer, particularly if they are buying with finance. Quite a few are buying with cash. So that’s not really an issue.

But anyhow, I’ll talk about that in a minute. So it would be prudent to spend a couple of months just surveying the market. And when I say the market, I mean your local market or wherever you are working in. There is not one market some areas are harder hit than others, mainly because of their exposure to certain sectors. And so being vigilant in terms of monitoring what is happening is a good idea. And of course, nobody wants to put their plans on hold for like indefinitely. And so what I want to talk about is what you can be doing in this time.

And so obviously, plenty of people are taking up my first tip, which is to improve your family home, because Bunnings is having a bumpy time at the moment. And so everyone. Well, that’s a gross generalization but lots of people are actually taking the opportunity to improve their family home. And I think that is an extremely savvy way of filling in time. And so, of course, you should always be mindful of what you’re spending because you don’t want to be making changes that are going to decrease the value of your property. And unfortunately, some people do do that. But improving the value of your property is 101, because what that does is it builds the stability of your base. It increases the equity of your home so that when you do come to get finance, then you are able to tap into that equity to take you to the next step. And I have actually done the whole episode on how to leverage the equity in your family home. And I’ll include a link in the show notes.

The next thing you can do is look for leaky buckets in your properties. So properties that are not returning, what they should be returning by virtue of the fact that they’re deteriorated or you may actually have a negatively geared property and negative gearing is only good in their few scenarios. And if it’s not one of those scenarios that I’ve covered in another episode of which I’ll include the link, then you might want to start strategizing a plan for what you’re going to do with that property.

One of the things that we often do with properties that aren’t performing is to test their suitability for short term rental or Airbnb and quite extraordinarily, Airbnb has been really hard hit by the restrictions because nobody’s been allowed to travel. It was incorrectly reported as being illegal, which also didn’t help. But people with Airbnb properties had no business for the last couple of months.

However, that is about to change. As the borders open up and travel well, domestic travel becomes allowable. Then I think we’re going to see a little mini boom in local tourism. And so that’s where Airbnb will come into its own. Certainly we have quite a few Airbnb hosts who are giving their properties a refresh to prepare themselves for what’s about to happen.

But the other thing that you can do is look at properties, any investment properties you have that may need a spruce up, and particularly at a time when vacancy rates are quite high. That would be a good thing to do during this period of time. And in fact, we had a member of our community had a property in Bendigo that was badly in need of a zhush up. And so he actually DIY the renovation. He was quite sheepish about that because he’s heard my views on DIY. But I was quick to clarify that DIY in an investment property provided you balance it out against the holding costs and it’s not costing you an astronomical amount to do will actually save you money that you will not be paying off over 10 or 15 years.

So I think it’s a brilliant idea if you have the skills and unlike renovating to sell where you’re doing projects in quick succession an investment property, you might maybe do one every couple of years. So it’s not like you’re going to burn out on it. And that’s my concern around DIY. Plus, the standard of finish is not as demanding. Fortunately or unfortunately, buyers of renovated properties can tend to be very picky, which requires that you have a very high standard of finish.

So anyhow, let’s get back to Paul in Bendigo. So he did a fantastic job. He was very cost effective. He hunted around for bargains. So the property was originally worth, I think,  $270K. And he spent $32K on the renovation. And the holding costs cost him $8K. And in the end, he had it revalued and it was revalued at $390K. So he’d increase the value by $120K. However, if you take the $40K costs off, it was increased by $80K and which represents around about 20% of the overall value of the property. And he had increased the income by 50%. $120/week over and above what he was getting, which is a 50% increase. Now, in terms of the 20% increase in equity, I did a little calculation because the actual area of Bendigo that this property’s in has a capital growth rate of 3.87% per year. Now, if you calculate that out over 10 years, it means that it would have taken that property 10 years to reach the value that it sat right now. So he’s done in a couple of months what would have taken him 10 years to do organically. So I think that’s a really powerful argument for renovating investment properties that need it. So this property badly needed it. It was termite infested and was very sad. So definitely a very useful way to utilize the lockdown period.

The next strategy is renovating to sell which is always the highest risk strategy. So doing a high risk strategy in such uncertain times is certainly playing with fire. You want to make sure that you have got loads of buffer. But the other thing is that you need to be willing to hold that property for longer than you first imagined, because like every downturn that we’ve ever had, the property market does bounce back. But it can take some time. And so you have to be willing to sit that out if you are going down that path. So having a longer term view is definitely the way to go.

A successful property flipper will buy low and sell high. So buying at the right price is always critical. And so if a period of time comes along where you’ve got basically in the position to make once in a lifetime buys, then what we’d be doing right now is getting ready in case that happens. So that you are able to buy one, possibly two, maybe even three properties and just hold them for the coming years when the property market picks up, then you can start working through the renovations. And absolutely nail it.

So if up to this point you’ve been a hobby renovator and you’ve been thinking about making the move to be renovating more professionally. And what I know is most people think about it for a long time before they actually do anything about it. And you may have gone through a couple of booms and then felt like you’ve missed your moment.

Well then this may be your moment. And so what you can be doing with this time is getting prepared and getting educated for it. And one way we can help with that is we have the doors open to our first ever online bootcamp, which will be kicking off on the 10th of June.

And so I often think back to what my life would have been like had I had the information back when I started that I impart in these bootcamps and I can absolutely promise you it would have been a much easier ride. And so that is my intention to really shortcut the learning process so that you get to results quicker.

So we’re not running it like a normal online course where you get served up a whole lot of prerecorded material and then you just work through it and that’s that. So basically, it consists of 8 modules where you have a module of prerecorded material each week. And then at the end of the week we have an online tutorial. Some of them are run by me and some by our experts, such as our property accountant, architect, finance person to really give you those little nuggets that you need to apply to your own personal situation so that you get an opportunity to interact and so on.

We have 3 levels of support in terms of the Facebook group, the tutorials so there’ll be opportunities they’re run like meetings rather than webinars. And also, you can send in your questions to our email address. And it is very keenly priced because we no longer have the costs of running a live bootcamp. So I would encourage you, if you are thinking about some training, then you follow the link in the show notes and maybe go over and consider the bootcamp. That’s about all I’ve got for today.

So if you’ve not subscribe to the podcast yet, please make sure you do subscribe. And also, if you could go over to iTunes and leave a review if you’ve not done that before either. I love reading those reviews because it really gives me some insight into how the content is landing and whether it’s useful. And so it guides me to map out the coming episodes. And it just gives me a real kick to see that it really is helping you. And I’m very grateful for those comments. So that’s me for today. Take care and I’ll see you next week.

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    Amazing Free Content!LeaLea707 via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 05/22/22
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    “I have been listening to this Podcast for a few years now. I love how Bernadette freely shares her experiences and knowledge of renovating and how to create wealth through property. There are many people out there doing a similar things but Bernadette is the real deal. Her down to earth approach reasonates with me and I’ve learned lots from her. I’d highly recommend She Renovates!”
    Just brilliant!fbegeng via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 03/16/22
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    “I've been binge-listening to this podcast for the past week and it's absolutely brilliant. Bernadette has amassed so much knowledge and wisdom about renovating and she shares it generously and in a really easy to understand way that's inspired me to give it a go. Her advice is practical and I love that she approaches renovating in a really ethical and open-hearted way. Every episode honestly is gold. I also love that each episode is quite short and addresses a specific topic without any waffle. Thank you so much for this podcast!”
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    “Hands down best renovation podcast there is. There’s no scams or tricks here and Bernadette provides honest and practical advice that you can actually apply to your life. There’s also great insights into the property industry (not just renovating) and Bernadette’s simple approach gives you tools to mitigate risk and fuels confidence to start your own projects.”
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    “Bernadette is an inspiration. Warm, open and a fountain of wisdom and advice. I’ve learned so much about everything from renovating to selling to creating an independent future from this podcast. Look forward to every episode!”
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    “If you need to break through any of your limitations to find the joy and success in renovation, Bernadette is your inspiration and advisor with decades of experience. Her down to earth, practical style of sharing what works and how to keep control of any renovating project is worth tuning in for - week after week. I have done a few renovations in the (distant) past and now feel motivated to go again, this time for a change of pace and new horizons. This podcast shows the way. Thanks Bernadette, James Burgin”
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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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    If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

    The only membership you need to grow your renovation business…

    Wonder Women is a combination of live sessions and pre-recorded content to help you get what you need, when you need it. I know that you’re the expert and you’ve got all of your subject knowledge nailed – now it’s time to build the business behind your renovation projects and stop being the worlds best kept secret. 

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