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.

79 – Celebrity Interviewer Explores Bernadette’s Secrets To Financial Success With Renovating

On today’s episode,

This episode is from Natascha Moy and Dr. Vincent’s Living Out Loud podcast. We talk about financial literacy and empowering women by renovating and flipping properties to build financial stability and wealth.

So many women leave marriages with very little and they feel torn between needing to work and raising children. The renovation path provides them with the opportunity to make money and manage their time so they can achieve a life balance.

Listen to Episode 79: Celebrity Interviewer Explores Bernadette’s Secrets To Financial Success With Renovating

Episode Highlights

  • [00:00:53] Short history of the Jansons
  • [00:03:35] First renovation at the age of 13
  • [00:07:39] Taking control of life with renovating
  • [00:10:05] If you don’t buy a family home, you’re missing out
  • [00:13:01] Renovating as a double-edged sword
  • [00:14:10] The sweet spot in terms of making a profit
  • [00:17:13] Empowering women and making a massive difference
  • [00:19:18] Joint ventures
  • [00:22:56] Biggest mistakes when people renovate
  • [00:25:00] Flipping, the highest risk strategy
  • [00:29:43] Airbnb
  • [00:34:01] Women and renovating
  • [00:37:08] The psychology aspect
  • [00:43:49] Building your own self-worth
  • [00:46:12] Fear and gratitude


Bernadette Well, hello, renovators. I’m going to give you some backstory about today’s episode. Before I launched She Renovates, I sought out a podcasting expert to teach me how to podcast. And that was Natasha Moy.

Now, Natasha is an absolute pro. She is the chairman of the East Side Radio Station Board. She is the presenter of the dialogue. And she also hosts the podcast Living Out Loud with her co-host, Dr. Vincent. I was recently a guest on that podcast, and I decided that it might be a good idea to share that episode on She Renovates. Now, Natasha is an incredibly eloquent presenter who interviews beautifully, and I just find her work an absolute joy to listen to. And I thought that you would appreciate it, too.

So the premise of Living Out Loud is conversations about life, love and the universe. And in this episode, we discuss renovating, financial literacy and the empowerment of women. Please remember that the information that we discuss in this podcast is general in nature and should not be taken as personal advice. Enjoy.

Natascha Moy You’re listening to the Living Out Loud podcast, where we talk about life, love and the universe. I’m Natasha. Your host and my co-host, Dr. Vincent is with me today.

Today, we are going to be interviewing Bernadette and Bernadette you know, I’m actually, I see your surname Janson, and I think that I’m correct. But I was not 100% sure because I wasn’t sure Janson sounds like it comes from some Scandinavian country or some way Dutch, Holland. Am I right?

Bernadette So my husband is Czechoslovakian. He comes from Czechoslovakian roots. But his father was sort of persecuted as a young boy during the war, and his name was Yankowski. And he, when he immigrated to Australia, didn’t want his children to suffer the same grief. So he changed his name. And so he just chopped the end off. So it’s an interesting story. It’s really funny. You know, those people like the shields, the family crest?

Dr. Vincent Yes.

Bernadette They ring you up and they say, we’ve got your family crest. Well, they’ve done that to us and then I said ” No, you can’t possibly have”.

Natascha Moy That’s kind of interesting because I thought a little bit about that. So the reason that we have you up here, which I’m actually at this has been such a long time coming this interview is because you owned a business called The School of Renovating. And this interview that Dr. Vincent and I came up with is the idea of it is to talk about ideas that contribute to life, love and the universe. And when I spoke to you a little while ago, you explained to me that so much about what you do, almost everything that you do is about empowering women.

Bernadette It is. And particularly women that are in sort of middle aged and older who you would probably know that often women sort of start to feel invisible. And many women have a passion for renovating. And so just I always look at it as an extension of the home making sort of nesting instinct. And so by enabling them to be able to do that profitably, it’s very affirming and empowering. And just a lot of fun. And so I think it’s a great thing to do and it certainly has changed their lives.

Natascha Moy The interesting thing I find is it the renovating part, is it the female part? Because obviously you must have started this journey. You’ve been doing it for quite a long time. So you’ve been doing this journey for a while and you are in a healthy relationship, from what I can understand. So it’s not like, a lot of people go through these experiences and think, “I’m gonna do something. I’m going to take control of this.”

How did you develop from obviously being a teenage to a young adult into this field?

Bernadette I did my first renovation when I was 13. Yes. Anyhow, I was gonna make some ridiculous joke about age, but I won’t. And so I lived on a farm in central Victoria where the house was sort of the last place money was spent because all the money went into the business and the farm. And so I decided that I wanted to improve my surroundings. Certainly didn’t meet my expectations as a 13 year old girl. And so, thankfully, my mother was very supportive in that way.

So I went to work and got wallpaper. It was in the 70s. So, it’s all a flower power, wallpaper and song. When it was finished, I got this incredible sense of satisfaction. And like, I had control over my life because I didn’t have control over much. Where we live was quite remote I couldn’t go and visit my friends after school or anything like that. And it just gave me that enormous sense of satisfaction and feeling empowered. And it was from that that really created a passion for it. And it’s something about taking something that’s really boring and dull and half dead and and breathing new life into it and creating something beautiful.

And I met my husband like in my 20s. So, yes, we’ve been married for 35 years. And he has a building background. So I actually thought we had it made. I though “Great. My creativity, his skills and we’re going to really nail this.” But in reality, the renovating it’s just a small piece of the puzzle. And to be honest with you, the projects we did together, like we didn’t lose money, but they were not successful in a financial sense. They look beautiful. But we got so carried away with the reno, didn’t focus enough on the numbers and the strategy.

And so we made a change. And I sort of liken it to like savvy housewife meets professional construction, project management. So I put together a process to make it profitable. And so that’s what we do now. So I know that I can produce around about a $100K sort of really out of the air, just by going and doing a reno. And so you can imagine that does attract some interest. And while I say I work with women, there are not a lot have had a terrible start, terrible time. Personally, they’ve had some sort of setback be that financial. Certainly, a lot of relationship sadness. And but a lot of women I work with are actually married and have long standing partners, but they’re the driving force. So while we do have a lot of people that need help, then it’s not everyone.

Dr. Vincent I really like when you said that you felt that you didn’t have a lot, that they were under your control. But then by renovating, by fixing and doing the decorating and doing the stuff the way that you want it, it actually gave you back control. And that gives you satisfaction, because I remember my mom said that she doesn’t like cleaning. However, on a very stressful day, she likes to clean because she said that even though there are things that are out of her control, at least she knows when she cleans, she can feel the benefit. And that gives her the sense that everything’s going to be okay.

Bernadette Exactly. And it’s like, your surroundings is such a large part of your life. If you have the power to change them and to make them how you want them, then it does feel like you have control over your life, even though you may not have.

Dr. Vincent Wow, that’s very powerful.

Natascha Moy Let me ask you, financial literacy, financial sort of elasticity. I was watching a TED talk very recently with the guy who is the head of PayPal, and they were talking about sort of financial disparity and or so around sort of being almost financial equality. And obviously, there was a technology component to that. So they were talking about how a smartphone basically gives everyone parity across the board when it comes to banking, because suddenly people who can’t get to a bank who have no access are suddenly able to be more financially literate and able to actually look after themselves. And that PayPal obviously allows for a free flow of money between people who don’t even have a bank account.

And so it was a really interesting and they were talking about obviously a large group of poor people, people who are socially and economically challenged. And obviously, you’re talking about women who are middle age and little bit older. And I’m interested to know if you think that the younger generation has a better sense of financial literacy or if it’s just that we’re all gonna land up in this place at some point where they find themselves divorced or they find themselves on their own and they’re going, actually, “I don’t know how to make money. I don’t know how to look after or not to save it. I don’t even know. I don’t know. And I’m scared.”

Bernadette I think what I’ve noticed about the younger generation is, they’re not that young, like in their 30s is this. And this is probably because I’m in Sydney. There is this sense of hopelessness around buying a home. And a lot of the financial gurus say that your home is not an asset.

Dr. Vincent Oh, wow. That’s very fascinating because property is an asset.

Bernadette Yes.

Natascha Moy So you disagree with that?

Bernadette Yeah, I do. I totally disagree with that and for most people their home is the bulk of their wealth. So if you don’t buy a family home or a home for yourselves, then you are sort of missing out on that opportunity. So you pay rent out of your after tax money. If you buy any property, then those properties if you sell them, you pay a large amount of the appreciation in value added tax. I just think a family home is a great way to grow wealth. You’ve got to live somewhere. And I notice that there’s a hopelessness, certainly with some of the young people that I talked to around, “I can never do that.” And it’s just not true.

Dr. Vincent It’s also a forced saving.

Bernadette Yeah, exactly. And I think that that’s really sad because there’s just that incredible sense of your owning your domain when you buy the home that you live in and you’re right it is forced savings and most people would buy a home do pay it off. So that’s a large chunk of money. Like in Sydney, the median house price is right about a $1M.

Natascha Moy That is kind of good saving. I grew up in a home with obviously an older mum. My mum is in her 70s and where we grew up it was very much about sort of you get married to a man who had a bit of money and hopefully you stick together and you benefit from that. Obviously, quite a lot of those people in that generation have ended up getting divorced. As did my mum. And it took her a very, very long time to be able to leave a really horrendous marriage that was full of all the worst things you could imagine. And that’s how we were raised. We were raised in what I referred to as hell.

And because there was no ability to financially do anything. She has incredible taste and she she built beautiful homes with her husband at the time. Had she had the ability to learn how to renovate profitably I think her life would have been very different. So when people come to you and they learn through the different journey that you talk you’ve got a whole of different options. What do you actually teach them?

Bernadette Okay. So you remember that I told you that when we started out, we went down the path of renovating in the way that a builder would do it? Well, I taught them all the stuff that we didn’t do back then. So round being strategic about what you buy. So I want all our students to end up where they’re buying, renovating and holding for the long term and renovation is a powerful tool because it not only increases the income, but it also increases the value of the property. So it’s a double edged sword. But often when people come to us initially, if they want to do short term strategies, which unfortunately is a much higher risk as well.

So basically we teach them everything from the beginning, the right legal structure. If your buying and selling properties in within a short amount of time, you’re going to pay a lot in capital gains tax. I work with my accountant so that they are educated on how they could minimize that. And that’s a really simple process. And I teach them what to look for according to the strategy that they were upon then the types of renovation.

We used to only do structural renovations, which are pretty major. But probably about 8 years ago, 10 years ago, I worked out that there’s a sweet spot. So it’s a bit more than a purely cosmetic. But it has some change or improvement that life in that home will have. And so that’s sort of the sweet spot in terms of making a profit. So I teach them that. I teach them basically how to manage the project, how to find the right agent to sell it, because it’s always a bit of a minefield, how to style it and get them eyes as for their for their work.

Natascha Moy And I’m laughing because Dr. Vincent and I came up with this amazingly beautiful method of working together remotely and when he bought us our merch, okay, he bought us our merch for a reason. And the reason why he bought us our merch was so that we could use it to indicate to one another how we’re going to swap questioning. And I’m sharing the inside stories have very much so. So the idea is we’ve got this amazing merchandise, but it does have a function. However, I’m a little bit loose on that. I am flicking the thing around.

And he’s nodding. “Oh, God, I didn’t mean to do that.” And then I’m like lifting it again. I don’t know about this process because I seem to have a small case of ADHD.

Dr. Vincent Well, two things that I really want to pick up before we move on to the next set of question is that before this interview, Natasha and I, we were talking about financial independence and what Natasha just said just now about there are a lot of women who feel that they can’t get out of a really terrible relationship or marriages because they’re thinking about themselves. Their also thinking about their kids in terms of how they can financially support their lives without this, so to speak, the breadwinner of the family. And as a matter of fact, I shared this statistic with Natasha.That 23 of women in the United States of America, they stay in their really bad marriage for up to 10 years simply because they are not financially independent.

Natascha Moy That’s 23%.

Dr. Vincent 23% which is really high. Basically, to boil it down in my opinion, it’s basically saying that you’re out of luck, unfortunately, because you are poor. You have to suffer. That’s basically what you are saying to these women. So what you are doing is really, really fascinating to me because it is not only giving that control back, but it also empowers people who otherwise probably don’t have that independence.

Bernadette I would like to say that in that scenario, we’re making a massive difference. But that would be an overstatement. Because it takes some work to get to a point it needs. Well, actually you don’t need money. You can actually sort of make an income from renovating with no money by putting deals together and bringing in investors. But the reality is that most people do not like, often when someone’s come out of that sort of a relationship. They are battered and their confidence is about as low as it could possibly be. And are just not in the right mind space.

Where we come in and do our best work is when someone’s been out of a relationship for around about a year and has got over, well, you never get over it completely. But that initial trauma, because you can’t when your head is in that place, you can’t make decisions, like where you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars that you don’t have. So I can’t claim that I do. I make a difference at that point.

Natascha Moy The difference that you do make is the fact that it gives women who after a year of trauma where you can’t do anything, it gives them something that they could potentially do without necessarily a skill set, without a degree, without any job. You don’t need a CV. You can actually go out and do something because it’s not about necessarily having the money. It’s about how you actually manage to build income and stay afloat because you might have 2 kids and you might be 40 years of age and suddenly you’re living on next to nothing.

Bernadette Exactly. And that is the hard thing. One of the things that I’ve really struggled with is that the ideal project for someone that’s challenged in that way is a joint venture. And I have been down the path of facilitating joint ventures with my students. And there is just such a lot of liability around that. And I’ve done it against my husband’s wishes, I guess you would say, because he’s kept saying to me “The risk of it”. But I want to give them the experience so that they can take that and go in and sort of blossom from it.

There’s been this thing going on with Stephen and I about it because he doesn’t want me to because he’s worried about us and I want to. And I don’t personally think he’s got that much to worry about because I’m very careful. But I get his point and I want to because I can see that there are people that need that little help up.

And just recently, I’ve actually partnered with a company that takes and does all the legal stuff. So basically, that’s really for me has opened the door in terms of.

Dr. Vincent Helping more people.

Yeah. And so I’m actually looking at a property on Friday. And I’ve already got the team ready to go into that. So, like, I could do it myself. I don’t really want to do it myself. I want to because it’s a lot of work, really. And I shouldn’t say I don’t need to, but I’ve got a longer term strategy. But so I just wrote sort of set down some sort of points about how it will work. I’ve got 4 people coming into that deal. And so I’ve told them that I want to work with you through this so that then you can go out and set up your own deals and you can actually support other women who are wanting to develop.

I look at projects that are around about a $100K profit. So with 5 people in it, they’ll make about $20K each. It’s not massive, but they’re not really having to do a lot for it. The person that does the actual reno gets paid. So it’s okay. And I’m just really excited about it because I think it’s gonna make a massive difference.

Natascha Moy I think that’s always like an option.

But I have to work slowly with it because I am someone who thinks, “Oh! This is amazing. I just want to get them set up everywhere.” But I have to go through it myself first. There will be things to iron out. There always are. It’s never as good as it looks. But for me not having to deal with the liability and the legal setup is I suppose there is still some liability, but it’s different. And there you go. That’s where we’re at.

Dr. Vincent Wow, that sounds really awesome because, well, your husband is right. As much as you want to help people. You also have to protect the 4 walls of your house. But with all of the things that you see in terms of what your students are doing and what other people are doing in terms of renovating. What do you think is the biggest mistake when people renovate?

Bernadette Okay, so the biggest mistake is buying something that you think you can make look better, because it may not necessarily, that’s just a small part of the equation. Not doing the research. Not understanding where the profit lies in a project. And one of the things is you need to buy actual below market value. Because you’ve got a lot of costs other than the renovation. You’ve got stamp duty. You’ve got holding costs and selling costs, that all adds up. And so that’s the first one.

The second one is not managing the trades very well and letting them run rings around you. That’s something that women really struggle with. And mainly because the industry is still very male dominated. And I’ve been doing this for nearly 40 years. But Stephen and I will both go and get a quote from a trade. We’ve actually done this from the same person. His quote is lower than mine. I know that that’s what’s going to happen.

Dr. Vincent On behalf of my gender, I apologize.

Bernadette Thank you so much, Dr. Vincent. It’s just the way it is, and once I’ve worked with them for a while and they figured out that they’re not going to get away with it, then I don’t have to deal with that anymore. But when I’m starting with someone new, I have to sort them out. So I will assume that what they quote me is the least 10% more than I should be paying.

Natascha Moy That’s so interesting. I’m just curious, if you really have to be good at it. And I love the term flipping. If you were quite good at, would you be able to flip, say, three? Could you do three a year?

Bernadette It depends what you are doing. Firstly I should just go back. If I didn’t say this before I think I did. It’s the highest risk strategy. The problem with flipping is it’s very vulnerable to flippers in the market and the market does go up and down like that all the time. So if you buy in a valley and you sell at the peak, you’re going to be struggling. When you’re flipping, you need to be willing to hold the property if that happens and that’s happened to me last year, I had 3 projects and the market went like that, in Sydney, it nosedived. I have to hold on to all 3 of them for a year. That didn’t intend to do that, but had to do it. And so we actually sold 4 properties in 3 weeks in November because the opportunity came up. Got them all on the market and got them sold. But if we hadn’t have, we would have lost a lot of money. So you got to be careful.

If things in the right, if the wind’s blowing the right way. A lot of the renos we do in Sydney are apartments because the price of a house is prohibitive. I’d like to look at things around $800-$900K. That’s where we get the $100K profit from. It’s just right about 10%. And the thing with apartments is that you need to get approval from the owners corporation. That sometimes takes some time.

If you’re doing houses, you can get in and out much quicker. So you’ve usually got 6 weeks at the start when you buy the house or the property and you’ve got 6 weeks at the end to sell it and settle. That’s three months for a start. So let’s say you spend 3 months on the reno, 6 months. So you could probably do 2 if you’ve got the funds to overlap. One thing I like to do and is to actually land back so by 2 or 3 projects, put tenants in them and then do them as you’re ready. And in that case, you can. You can do 3, 4 properties a year.

Dr. Vincent This is so interesting because we started off saying that by renovating, by making your living space better, you’re actually assuming control. But from what you just said, there’s so many things that in my mind are out of control. Like you can’t predict the market. You can’t predict a lot of stuff. So how do you navigate through in terms of your mental wellbeing? How do you navigate through the uncertainties of this business?

Bernadette Okay. So I’m going to really lay it on the line now and tell you that in my early years, what I didn’t know was I was suffering from a clinical depression. And I really, really struggled with it. As soon as I’d get into a deal, I’d want to get out. It was terrible, but unfortunately, it wasn’t bad enough to me not to do it anymore. And then in round about my 40s, I’ve got diagnosed and got treated. And it’s just so much better now. I just don’t have any of those issues.

And how we deal with that is we create buffers. For now, like I said, I’m buying a property. If it stacks up, on Friday I’ll buy that property. I make sure that the deal stacks up. I’m really clear about how much buffer I should have in there. And then if the market still goes down more, well, then I accept that I’ve got to hold it until it picks up, because almost always. Well, I should say always, even after the GFC. It eventually came back. So you’ve just got to be willing to switch to plan B have an exit strategy. So that’s how I manage it.

Natascha Moy Let’s talk a little bit about Airbnb, because obviously that must be something that’s massive for the whole renovating pricing. So I run an Airbnb and it is amazing. It’s massively successful and I’ve set up for quite a few friends of mine as well. And they are all doing extremely well. It’s positively geared, you’re paying off your mortgage, you’re paying off. However, there are lots of risks and that’s a lot of hard work. And I think what people are misunderstanding is that going in and flipping a house doesn’t take 5 minutes and going in and doing Airbnb is not cruising around having a lovely life. It’s bloody hard.

So you would obviously have quite a lot of people who would be interested in developing Airbnb businesses or turning their homes into an Airbnb. Has that come up as a big part of what you do?

Bernadette Absolutely. Well for a start, I started Airbnb before it was really mainstream. So my first Airbnb was a project that I’d flipped in would have had to have been 8 years ago. And like, seriously, I thought, “This is amazing. I’ve got to tell everyone about it.” And so what it enabled us to do was to renovate apartments. So if you’ve got an apartment and you’ve got an owners corporation that’s taking forever to make a decision, then you can put it on Airbnb. And obviously part of your due diligence is to check that it can be Airbnb and then you don’t have to worry about it. When you get the approval, you can just shut it down so you’re not having to deal with tenants.

Dr. Vincent Right. And minimum stay and in terms of space there.

Bernadette Yeah. So I put together a program so that our students would have that sort of tool in their tool belt. But then I realized that a lot of women that don’t have a lot of income, that it’s a way you can build an income. So in Sydney you can build around about a $100K a year with 5 well-chosen properties. You can rent them all. Not own anything. And have a really substantial income. You keep that going for 2 years, then you’ve got figures to go to the bank. And you’ve got cash. So it’s a great strategy. Unfortunately, the Covid has killed it.

Natascha Moy Screwed it, didn’t it?

Dr. Vincent But it’s not going to be like this forever.

Bernadette No. And in fact, it is already like most of my hosts in my community are getting their places ready for the onslaught because it’s already started. And as soon as the domestic borders open up fully, then that will be back on track. But like, I’ve got women that manage 20, 25 properties, not necessarily all their own, but they manage other people’s properties and have just created an income for themselves.

Natascha Moy It’s an interesting thing that sort of share economy and the share economy, I think is such a huge part of where we’re going forwards. I don’t know about necessarily lots of industries, but I think that the way you can share do joint ventures or flipping, share Airbnb opportunities. I mean, it’s that share economy is very exciting. I was talking to somebody last night who is working at Google. And they’ve set up a share environment with a whole lot of other businesses where they can share resources. So human resource that they have sitting and one case that’s not being utilized is not going to be used in BWC or in all these different businesses.

This idea of sharing has become a really viable, very exciting way of moving forward.

Bernadette It is. And the other thing about it, and one of the reasons I do joint ventures is because I’m an outgoing person. I like sharing the experience. I don’t like doing a project on my own. I don’t like being on site on my own. And so that’s why I do joint ventures. And it’s the same with short term rental. It’s that communication with people and it enriches your life.

Dr. Vincent Do you think that from everything that you just described, do you think that. I apologize. I don’t mean to basically paint women in one way or many in the other way, but just from my interaction with strong women in my life like my mom, my grandma, Tasha, and I love my mentors. From what you just described. I actually think that women are better suited for this kind of job and business because of their multitasking aspect, the communication aspect, as well as the creativity aspect. What do you think?

Bernadette I absolutely agree. I think I said earlier that I look on it a bit like the extension of our homemaking skills, because like when we put together a home. I know that the roles are changing a little bit, but I certainly see with my daughters and son that there’s a very similar thread going there. That they have a different way of looking at the home and what goes on in it and how it should look and feel. And I definitely think that that’s an incredible advantage for someone that’s wanting to work in property, because the other thing is that people who buy homes, women buy homes. So they may not be the person putting writing the check, but they’re the ones that make the decision about whether that’s the right home or not. And so understanding your owner or your guest at that sort of instinctive level, I think it’s an incredible advantage.

Dr. Vincent Because there’s a two way street. When people who basically do the housework or the homemaking making part of their maintenance of the house knows exactly. Say, for example, you need a door for laundry room or something, that if you never actually do your laundry, you have no idea.

Bernadette No. Exactly. Yeah.

Natascha Moy One of my favorite programs is The Block. I’m an absolute block addict. I mean, I don’t think there is a season that goes by where I’m not glued to the television and I don’t even like TV. But I love Neil Watson, have interviewed him in the past and it’s truly my dream to one day be the mature couple on the block. That’s where I’m definitely working my way towards it. But I heard something quite interesting about Airbnb and the way that you decorate.

So a friend of mine who did my interior drawings, she said to me, “Make it white” She said “Make everything white.” She said, “Because the color is really important.” She said, “If it’s white it looks clean and people want to stay in a clean place.” So I did. It’s white on white on white, which is a cleaning nightmare, I have to say. And a friend of mine, she used some different colors and poppy colors in hers. And I land up with a lot of Asian community that stay on mine. I love Chinese, Koreans. And she lands up with a lot of Indian people staying on hers. And my friends said to me, “You know, color is what you associate culturally.” She said, “If you go into Koreans homes, she said the lights are very bright. Everything’s extremely white, very stark. The way that that looks in the images is very attractive. Whereas when you go to someone in India, their home is more colorful.” So there’s so much psychology behind what you do and how you do it. Do you deal with the psychology aspect when you’re teaching people the renovating part?

Bernadette We do, but not to that extent. Not in terms of nationality.

Natascha Moy Obviously. I mean, that’s quite extreme.

Bernadette Yeah. We really look at one, that it has to look sparkling clean because cleanliness is the most important factor in an Airbnb. But two, that it has to stand out. So often, like when we’re renovating, we can’t really put a whole lot of personality into it because it’s got to a have broad appeal. But in Airbnb, you can be really quirky because it’s going to make your listing stand out. So you want it to jump off the screen when people are scrolling through.

Dr. Vincent Almost like Tinder.

Bernadette Dr. Vincent I wouldn’t know what Tinder is like.

Dr. Vincent You’ve been married for forever.

Bernadette So that’s why I’ve been married for about 40 years.

Natascha Moy Right. So you want to jump it off the screen, basically. So, yeah, that’s quite interesting. The different way. Just coming back a little bit to the whole idea of financial literacy and what’s important for women. Dr. Vincent, you come from a country that has some challenging socioeconomic elements to it because obviously there’s quite a lot of poor people at home, which is I believe Indonesia. Can you tell me that I got it right this time because I think I’ve got it wrong the last time I did.


Natascha Moy So Indonesia, it’s not a very masculine dominated environment. The women are quite powerful in Indonesia, I think, within the home, the matriarch?

Dr. Vincent No, not really, actually. It’s a very patriarchy, culture and society. And this is the thing that I sometimes have a clash with my family members or my friends back home is because they were still in and bless their heart. But they were still in the mindset in the era where when you are a woman and you are twenty 22. The clock is ticking and you better get married very, very soon. And the culture is one part, but I think the financial situation is also another part because in the past, marriage is a form of security. Is a form of insurance that someone will take care of you. And I think that it’s so sad that a lot of women in Indonesia, they are very educated. They have a lot of potential, but they are still being imprisoned by this kind of culture and mindset. So I think by being financially independent, I think that gives them. For lack of a better word, of a way out from this outdated mindset. Because if you don’t have the financial independence, you either be dependent on your parents or your soon to be or future husband.

Natascha Moy I find that something that concerns me a little bit about our younger generation at the moment that’s coming up, is this. This whole idea of sort of working when you want to and not necessarily tackling something that you can? I think there’s this idea that it’s abandunce forever.

And we live in a Western world. And Australia doesn’t have a massive poverty line. We just don’t experience it at the same level that a lot of other countries do. And there’s this entire generation that I’m watching that are doing a little bit of this and doing a little bit of this and doing a little bit this never really becoming anything. And I worry that at the end of the day, we all get to that 50, 60, 70 mark when doing a little bit of this and doing a little bit of that is actually not really viable.

And I think that there needs to be something in schools that teaches both men and women about financial literacy, about how to look after themselves, about the way to build wealth so that when you have Covid, you actually can feed yourself.

Dr. Vincent That’s true. I really would like your opinion on this, Bernadette, because we touch a little bit on having a house or property is not an asset. And I think a lot of people my age from my generation actually honestly think that having a house, it’s actually not a financial freedom. It is tying you down to a mortgage. And they’re operating based on that philosophical belief. And that’s the reason why they are happily renting.

Bernadette Yeah, and they don’t see as having to come up with rent every week as being tying them down? So it just doesn’t sort of stack up, does it?

Dr. Vincent Because in their mind, I know that it doesn’t stack up, but in their mind they can pack up and move or move back home, for example.

Natascha Moy That comes back to my points about that semi permanence that we seem to have. There’s kind of now floating through those younger generations and communities where people don’t stick to anything. So they rent and they do a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and then maybe they go home to parents for a little bit. And that’s not everyone. But it is very much a thought process. And it concerns me when I watch older people really struggling at the moment to survive, who have grown up in an environment where they didn’t have financial literacy and independence and they’re now at pensioners’ age and they can’t live the lifestyles that they wanted to live or that they believed they would live.

And it creates a lot of sadness, a lot of depression and a lot of anxiety in older generations not to be able to live the way that they had assumed that they would live later on. And so I think we need to tackle that somewhere along in this youth market so that there is an understanding you will get old one day.

Dr. Vincent There is something that I stole from your website, Bernadette.

Now, this is something that I think is a very correct and strong point that I really resonate with you say something about self-worth and that true renovating as much as you’re building things on the outside. You’re also building your own self-worth and self-respect. And I think having that sense of worth and ownership over something, I think that will actually help them to have more of a commitment to one thing or to one project rather than having a very short attention span.

Bernadette Yeah, I agree. And we’ll obviously, I wrote it. And it’s also not just about the money. It’s about that sense of self and also the sense of being visibe. So when our children were small, I was a stay at home mum but I had projects on the side. We had 4 children quite close together. And my husband was in a construction role. And I’d go to things with him. And I just felt like the third wheel I felt like I was the hand back. Like I didn’t have any really right to be there. But when someone would say to me, “What do you do?” And I’d say, “Oh, I’m a renovator.” It’s like, “Oh, actually, you are a real person.” You do something that, it’s that sense of feeling like I’m not nothing. I do make a contribution.

Natascha Moy Yes. I think I am enough.

Dr. Vincent Instead of being the wife of your husband. You are Bernadette and you have a husband.

Bernadette Exactly. And I’m not my children’s mother. And that’s the other thing that I really love about it because it does give you a sense of self that you’ve got something that you make something out of nothing which is very exciting.

Dr. Vincent I am learning so much. I know you always listen to me saying that we learn so much. But there is a reason why Bernadette is on the show and we are calling Bernadette a friend to our show, because instead of calling you our guest, we have a term for people who come onto our show and we call it a friend to the show.

Bernadette I’m honoured. Thank you.

Natascha Moy So we have a couple of last questions for you. We like to ask people this question. What do you fear? What do you fear in this level?

Bernadette I fear being incapacitated. I fear not being able to do the things that I want to do. I broke my knee cap 2 years ago and was the first time in my life that I had actually felt like I might not be able to do the things that are on my list. So I’m currently 62 and I have like a list, this long stuff that I want to do before I die. And so I want to make sure that I’m fit and able to do that. So that’s my fear.

Dr. Vincent Just to end the show in a very positive note. The second part of the question is that what are the things that you are grateful for?

Bernadette I guess the main thing I’m grateful for is my husband and family. The fact that I was born into the family that I was born into, I feel incredibly privileged.

Dr. Vincent Wow.

Natascha Moy So we’ve come to the end. And I want to thank you just for being so generous.

You gave away so much information about what you do and how you do it. And it was nice to kind of pick your brain. And I love the idea of renovating as my company. As I said, I want to be on the block as my company. That’s a dream. So I feel like I was a little bit of a sneaky interview.

Bernadette I personally think the block would be like career suicide. Just saying.

Natascha Moy Again, I mean, I just want to know I can do it. I probably would never land up there, but it’s still my idea. You know, it’s my Kokoda Trail.

Bernadette They don’t want anyone that can do it. I have a friend who is a very skilled flipper, like she’s incredible, she and her husband. They’ve been on another show, renovation show, and they’ve auditioned for the Block 5 times. And they can’t get on because they are so talented. There would not be enough things go wrong. Not enough drama. So they just cut it off.

Dr. Vincent So for people like you and Natascha who wants to learn more or who wants to actually doing this formally with your school of renovation, how do they get in touch with you? How do they actually get the process start?

Bernadette Okay, so I would say that anyone that wants to start down the path of renovating should go and listen to our podcast and find out whether that really is what you want to do. Because I’m sort of pretty blunt about what’s involved because it’s like anything. There are aspects of renovating that are not so great and you need to know about them. If you do that and you still feel it’s for you then get in touch with us. We have a bootcamp. I’ve just taken my training fully online, which I’m thrilled about. And which is our core training. And then after that, if you want support, we do coaching and all sorts of things.

Natascha Moy So the website is and the podcast is She Renovates.

And I would like to proudly mention that I taught Bernadette how to podcast. And she has a podcast that has 2,000 downloads, an episode.

Bernadette Well, can I just jump in and update that? So we’ve just crept up to 700 a week, so we’re edging towards 3000.

Natascha Moy Wow, that’s amazing.

Dr. Vincent I’m so lucky that I’m surrounded by not only beautiful women, but very strong and smart women. On that note, I thank the both of you for allowing me to be in your presence.

Bernadette Well, thank you so much, Dr. Vincent. That’s a lovely compliment. And I’m going to accept it.

Natascha Moy Absolutely. Bernadette, thank you so much for coming on to the show. You’ve been listening to the Living Out Loud podcast. And we will be back with some other great interviews after this one. We have interviews that are up on how to live well.

And that was done by someone who is a funeral director, Matthew Kwoka. And we also have a fantastic interview with Marina Passalaris. And we will have some other great, fantastic interviews coming up. So join us and listen in. Thank you both.

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    Share it!

    If you loved the episode, I would be so grateful if you shared it on social media or left a review! 

    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!”
    Practical and honest adviceLuke Marland via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 05/12/21
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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.”
    Amazing insights and adviceJennaBrad via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 03/22/21
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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!”
    Practical Magic For All RenovatorsJames’ Inspiration via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 12/15/20
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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”
    My Guilty Pleasure..Tanned Greek via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 10/26/20
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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) 😉”
    You would have to be crazy to miss this !!Lifestylepp via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 10/15/20
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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 !”

    Want more?

    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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