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.

26 – A Flat Pack Kitchen That Doesn’t Look Like A Flat Pack

On today’s episode,

I consider Michelle Lewis a renovating soul sister. Her passion for property investing and renovating is infectious.
She loves budget renovations, where she spend less in order to have more money in her pocket and more income for her family.

Michelle has extensive experience in renovating, investing and joint ventures. In this episode she talks about her journey and is very generous with her special brand of wisdom around mindset, renovating with a family and the importance of building a support structure.

Listen to Episode 26: A Flat Pack Kitchen That Doesn’t Look Like A Flat Pack

Bernadette covers,

  • The key to success in renovating and property
  • Why joint venture is an important strategy in creating an income through renovating
  • Michelle’s favourite strategy that helped her develop her skills in renovating
  • How renovating and property has impacted her life and that of her family.
  • Michelle’s motivation for starting her property business
  • The most challenging aspect of renovating and investing.
  • Michelle’s 3 tips for succeeding in renovating and property
  • How to execute budget renovations
  • Budget styling strategies
  • Why surrounding yourself with like minded people, a team of like minded people and work with people who align with your values is important

Episode highlights

01:07 – Looking for a challenge

01:54 – My first property purchase

02:49 – A wonderful example

03:54 – A way to a tradies heart is definitely through his stomach

04:49 – Part of my contribution

05:35 – the women I’ve met and the journey

06:31 – A wonderful creative strategy

07:20 – Don’t renovate to your own tastes

09:08 – Think about the things that you’re really good at

09:31 – My bread and butter strategy

11:13 – A massive factor

11:58 – How has renovating impacted your life

13:25 – The journey without hiccups

16:30 – Living by example

17:05 – The most challenging

18:53 – A level of confidence

19:42 – Build yourself and your knowledge before you jump in

21:02 – How you execute your budget renovations

23:10 – Where do you get your styling?

27:49 – A team of like minded people

28:56 – Being frugal

29:36 – Something that looks cool and doesn’t cost much


“There’s so many ways keeping what you have there. If you don’t need to replace it, don’t. Just resurface it or paint it or leave it. If it’s functioning and it’s not ugly in orange or brown just leave it. You don’t have to renovate to the highest standard with a budget renovation.”

Bernadette: Welcome. So I’ve got Michelle Lewis here.

Now I first met Michelle, quite a few years ago at property women. And she’s always struck me as being someone whose so full of energy and enthusiasm around renovating. And I think that you’re the perfect person to come on this podcast, Michelle. Because that’s what we need, people that are energetic and are out there rocking it in their own world. So that they can really inspire other women to really step into what it is that they want to do. I’m going to start by asking you, if you can just share a bit about your story and what brought you to this point.

Michelle:  Yes, awesome. Thank you, Bernadette and hi to all the listeners out here. I’m really honored to be invited to come and speak with you. You have been a mentor of mine and someone I look up to in property. We have a lot in common. I don’t know if you remember, but we’re both registered nurses, have been registered nurses. And like you I was home with the kids wanting to make some income for the family and looking for a challenge. And that’s how renovating came to me, so it sort of came to me in a very natural way. I was naturally someone that liked to buy something that was in need of work and do it.

And then from there it was something I could do whilst having a family. And it’s been an awesome journey along the way. Absolutely.

Bernadette: So I do remember that. And so you’re in Adelaide and I originated in Adelaide as well. Were you originally from Adelaide?

Michelle: Yes. I’m back in Adelaide now. I did my nursing at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and way back when. I say we do have a lot in common.

Bernadette: We do. So do you want to elaborate a bit more on your property story?

Michelle: Yes absolutely. My first property purchase was prior to getting married. Unfortunately, I lost my dad at a young age but when his father died I came into it an amount of money. And I had read one of Tony Robbins books, which was The Power Within and I had also learned a little bit about renovating through different means. And it just made sense to me, I thought, yes! You buy an asset that doesn’t depreciate, that appreciates and you can add value to that asset. And then over time the asset will grow and that just made complete sense to me, so that’s sort of how my journey started.

We bought a property that had been housed with 22 cats. As you can imagine, there was a little cat food, it was a massive cat run, nice people were walking through and go, oh this is disgusting! And I was going, oh this is fantastic! We can renovate this and add value, so that was our first project. We still hold that property, we purchased it for $149,600 and today it’s probably worth about $350,000. A wonderful example of buying low, adding value and then having a great asset which brings us rental income now.

Bernadette:  Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah. So where is it?

Michelle:  So that’s in Adelaide in Woodville South, within a very short walk, like a 2 minute walk to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, it’s in between the city and the sea. So either way, request for transport, all the things we look for when we’re buying a renovated property. Those key areas, walk to shops, I know you like the amenities. So that’s been a wonderful project, we did a lot of the work ourselves. Nowadays, I project manage the work more so, as putting your own time is not always a time when well invested.

Now on the last flip I did, I think we had about 13 tradies on site at once. Which my husband was very nervous about and I was like we’re fine! I’ll bring my chocolate and slice and I’ll get them coffees and food. And they were all happy as you know those night issues, it’s all about communication, making the environment fun and safe and getting it all happening and done. Yeah.

Bernadette: Exactly. A way to a tradies heart is definitely through his stomach.

Michelle: Exactly. And I just, I love this way, if I can deter for a golf track for a minute. There was a sign that’s come out that says, women and men at work, on a work site overseas in Italy. And I’m so thrilled, because of course tradies aren’t all men. And renovators and builders and developers aren’t all men, were women.

Bernadette: Exactly.

Michelle: Really exciting.

Bernadette: Yeah. So what next?

Michelle: So what next. I was always of the opinion that I would do everything myself and I would never need anyone to help me and I’m so independent. Of course we all know that in time, our borrowing capacity is either non-existent or we need to work with others to move forward. And not only that, but I think I’ve come to a point where I’ve acknowledged that I have the skills to renovate. I have a great deal of knowledge about investing and I really put a lot of time and effort every week into learning my craft and my skills and so I’m at a point now where I can bring that to deals and that can be part of my contribution. So if I don’t have the capital or the cash, I’ve got the knowledge and the skills and I can work with other people beginning their journey and help them on the path to make some money out of renovating or in property investing, which is exciting.

Bernadette: Exactly. And it’s always because I’m quite keen on joint ventures as well. I’m doing my 7th at the moment.

Michelle: Fantastic.

Bernadette: And the thing I like about it is having someone to share the journey with.

Michelle: Yes. Yes absolutely. We as women tend to need other women. And I always say to people, yes, it’s lovely to make money. And I’m so thrilled that I have been able to build some income around property. But for me the highlight is the women I’ve met and the journey that I have shared with them, my best friends are property investors. I spend a lot of time with these people and they are my support base that I go to. We share knowledge, a road growing on this journey together. It’s very much not a closed attitude, it’s an open mind. How can I help you? How can we help each other? How can we grow together?

It’s a wonderful space to be in and if you can find other property friends and mentors like that, hang on to them. Because they are gold.

Bernadette: They are. Yes. And there’s nothing like, actually that bantering around in the aesthetics, the picking of lock fittings and talking about the strategy and that’s quite true. But it’s just something really nice about having often a very late night conversations that I’ve been trying to get the selections done for a deal. And beyond with a glass of wine and just going through Pinterest with someone else, it’s addictive.

Michelle: Yeah. And I think renovating really is a wonderful creative strategy. So it’s one of those places not only can we use our knowledge and our intellectual ability. But we can use our creative selves and we can put in to play. It’s a bit like doing a painting, that you’re painting a whole property and that’s really exciting. And I think women do have a special intuitive sense about that kind of thing.

Bernadette:  I really agree with that, because I think it comes from being like, this might sound sexist and it’s not meant to be. But being a traditional homemaker, that nesting instinct, I just see it as being an extension of that.

Michelle: Yeah, it’s like you might say to your partner or boyfriend or husband, what do you think of this color? That color? And their like I’ve got no idea and I honestly don’t care. So it’s not to say that all men are like that of course, but generally the women are quite instinctive in that. But having said that, people need to be careful not to renovate to their own tastes. So we want to renovate to the greatest market we can, look at what other people are doing, look at the latest styles and trends. Talk to stylists and get some good solid information so that you’re not renovating to your own tastes.

Bernadette: Definitely. Yeah.

Michelle: We’ve both seen that.

Bernadette: We had. Yes. I often tell a story that the worst thing I have ever seen was, we’re in Surry Hills. And I went to an open inspection and really, really lovely property that had been renovated by a gay couple.

Michelle: Yup.

Bernadette: And in the bathroom, it’s crowning glory was this massive stainless steel urinal.

Michelle: To everyone’s taste.

Bernadette: What were they thinking?

Michelle: They were thinking that they were going to love it.

Bernadette:  Anyhow.

Michelle: That’s great for the renovator, because that’s an easy fix.

Bernadette:  Exactly. Yeah.

Michelle: It’s really great.

Bernadette: So let’s talk about strategy. Do you have a favourite strategy? Good thing it’s buy, renovate and hold.

Michelle: Well it’s really interesting you say that, because over the last 1-2 years, I’ve really tried to push myself a lot in terms of what I’m doing. And I’ve been looking at development strategies as well and we have tried that strategy in the past and it was met with some issues.

More recently someone’s bought me a deal that is a reno flip and it was just like my light bulb switched on again. And I was like, you need to align your strategy with your core values and what you love and what you’re good at and what you know and what you’ve done before. So the list is out there, that haven’t yet worked out for your strategy. Think about the things that you’re really good at. Are you good at organising? Are you good at communicating with people? Some people are fantastic at finding deals. So that’s why it’s really great to work within a team of people around you. Share what you’re good at and accept the input of others that are better at other things. It’s a bit of a team, it’s that the whole concept of having a team around you and working with what you’re good at.

So I guess my bread and butter strategy has always been the budget renovation. Now that’s a fantastic strategy for beginners or people that just want to step into the market to start with. It’s not a great strategy for high end deals or structural renovations, obviously you need to put more money in and be more specific with that. But the budget renovations I love, I love not to spend money as you know.

Bernadette:  I do.

Michelle: And have a great safe basic home for people, which is what I have traditionally done. Moving forward I’m open to every kind of deal possible. I think my strengths is definitely in the renovating space. I know that space really well. So going forward I hope to do more of that and a combination of perhaps buy, renovate and hold. I’m definitely open to developments as well. The other thing I need to is on my to do list is our self managed super funds. I looked at this some years ago and then I sort of put it to the side. But I definitely would like to look at ways in which we can grow that for our future.

Bernadette: Yeah. Actually I have an episode coming up on property and renovating and self managed super fund. So we have an awesome financial planner in our community and it’s really great. Because we’ve obviously introduced her to renovating and she’s really taken it on with gusto. And she’s a great resource because she’s got that incredibly strong financial background, which is you know because of course with superannuation you need to tread the line very carefully though. Yes. So that will be coming up shortly.

Michelle: Yeah I think that’s a really fantastic point, again that team around you. The property renovation and investing is actually a people’s business and it’s a business about working with a group of people. So communication and working with others is really a massive factor in getting it right. If you don’t have those people around you, it can really hurt you.

And I think the other thing to keep open minded about is, it’s good to try different people, so you might try one person for a particular aspect, for example an accountant. And it may or may not work out and it’s okay but sometimes you have to find that right fit for you in your situation. And again it’s great to get resources from other people that have already been there and done that and talk to them and find out what fits you. You don’t always have to follow the herd but just find out what fits in for you.

Bernadette:   I really agree with that. Just one more question before we move on. We’ve sort of talked about how it’s impacted your life, but how has renovating and property impacted your life, Michelle.

Michelle: Well it’s had a massive impact because what it’s meant is I haven’t had to go to work when the children were young. I would actually take the kids along to our renovation site day in, day out #ihatethatitsanissue. But you know I could have them with me, I did it at the times I wanted.

It’s something that I could fit in around family and that’s priceless and there’s not a lot of jobs that you can do that I know of that work in that way. So it really meant that I could be mom and for many years and I could work around the family and also do my investing.

It also gave me a massive sense of stimulation. I was obsessed with listening to podcasts and just hearing other people’s stories, learning from what other people have done. That has been a massive, since it’s been a real passion for me outside of my regular life.

I think most of us in the investing world will agree that it is difficult to find other women that are doing what you’re doing. And say it will be another one of them listening to them on podcast or catching up online is really like a sanity saver for me. That was a huge, huge wonderful part of my beginning, especially investing journey and still is today. You know I love that. So it’s given us choice. It’s given us freedom. It’s meant when my husband’s had time off work, we’ve had money in the bank to see us through those periods. So it’s meant that we didn’t have to stress financially. Don’t get me wrong there’s been ups and downs along the way. None of us have been through the journey without hiccups or lost money or properties that have gone down in price. That’s part of the journey. So it’s definitely had a wonderful impact.

I’ve traveled all over Australia with my property, journeying with property, learning and I absolutely loved that, that’s given me a little break from the family at times, which is very good for moms who need it.

Bernadette: Exactly. And it’s interesting. I think my motivation for starting my business was surrounding myself with people who shared the interest. I did find being on site, almost lonely at times.

Michelle: Yes it is. It can be very lonely and now I’m a part of a group. We’ve created a small group in Adelaide here with a developer and a builder and we meet weekly mostly and we’ve all commented in, you know how it is fantastic to have that connection because we’re mostly sitting by ourselves, doing everything ourselves, and it is a lonely journey and we all need connection.

Bernadette: That’s great, yes. It enriches your life.

Michelle: Yes it does. It really does. And in making those friendships, you go through all of the milestones of life which is lovely.

Bernadette: Yeah exactly. And what about your children. Are they showing any inklings.

Michelle:  Yeah. Well it’s interesting because when we drive around the streets, I’m talking about property and now my 8 and 12 year old girls say, oh look mom! There’s a development site. Mom, ooh that’d be a great renovator.

Bernadette: Oh that’s so gorgeous.

Michelle: Definitely. And they’ve been on site with us since they were young and helped. Recently my husband and my son rebuilt a small deck at our property here in Woodhills, the girls went along and helped a little bit. We do really try and encourage them to get along and we’ve actually taken and enrolled the 3 of them. They’re doing a business course, the kids business course this year, so that’s been a fantastic journey.

Bernadette: Wow!

Michelle: Yeah. So they’ve started a little business, so we’re just trying to encourage them. They did an entrepreneurial spirit to get their voices in life for now as they go along. Yeah.

Bernadette: Talking about children on building sites. Our children were the same. We were doing a renovation on our own home and it was messy, like really big. And one evening Stephen and I got up, went up the ladder to check out the new roof structure after the trade had gone home and I just looked back to see David who was about to go up, and his little head was popping over the edge. So he followed us up a ladder.

He was just so curious and just wanted to be in everything and just loved the whole process. Even from such a young age, as soon as he could pick up a pencil he was drawing houses on impulse. Now he draws houses for a living, because he’s an architect. So you’re certainly sowing the seeds for their future.

Michelle:  I think living by example or showing by example rather than talking about it is really important. And that goes for stress management and all the things that affects young children. So we definitely try and balance out our lives and encourage our kids to meditate and do all sorts of things to keep them in a space where they’re mentally healthy. Because there is a lot of pressure on young kids these days and young moms and ourselves and old generations I think. So mindset training and self care is something I’m really passionate about as well.

Bernadette: Brilliant! So what would you say has been the most challenging thing about your renovating and property journey.

Michelle: That’s a really interesting question because the first thing that comes to my mind is a belief in self. So when you start your journey you do some things and you think, oh! you know I am doing okay. But lots of people gave me lots of beautiful praise and feedback and I didn’t really have that self belief to start with. And I think that comes along with self development and mindset training and I really encourage all of the women out there to really go within and believe in yourself because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

So I think on a personal note, that the biggest challenge has been just coming into my own and telling myself that I am enough and now I’m getting a bit woo woo and date. But I think it’s really important because women tend to knock themselves down a bit and if they don’t, someone else will. So I think we all need to stand up and stand tall and stand strong in ourselves and stand alongside whoever else see this and say yes! We can do this, too.

And if you don’t have the skills to take the action that you need, you need to find out how you can learn about it. So anything’s possible cause everyone has been there before and done it. And many times women have done it as well and this is not a women or a men’s conversation really, but just in general terms, someone’s always done it.

The simplest advice I would give to people is, you can google everything. If you want a decent make and start with a Google and then find out where you can get educated and teach yourself. But really work on your mindset training in your self development because that is where I have seen the greatest change in myself. Is letting my skills and really stepping up and into my own power and my own space and just believing in myself and not being afraid to say that.

Bernadette:  Yeah. Well I’ve certainly often say that the difference between someone who succeeds and someone who doesn’t is a level of confidence.

Michelle: Yes.

Bernadette: Like you can you can get the skills, you can learn how to do it. But there’s a big difference between actually knowing what to do and going out there and doing it.

Michelle: Yes. And I think you asked me what my 3 tips where, one of them is to take action. So let’s quote it all out. Well quite a few properties we’ve bought have been under $150,000 or under $200,000 and that is achievable for many people. And even if not, buy yourself in a joint venture. So you can do courses and do courses, but you need to take the action.

Bernadette:  Well I absolutely agree with that.

Michelle:  Yeah. And if you don’t have that mindset to take the action, work on your mindset if you don’t have the skills to take the action get educated and work on those skills. Sometimes you need to build yourself and your knowledge before you jump in. Other times you can jump in and learn along the way but whatever the case, take action. A-C-T-I-O-N.

Bernadette: Got it.

And so that’s one of your tips. Do you want to share some more?

Michelle: Yes. I think the first one I said was education. So as Bernadette said we met when I first joined my property journey, started my journey. I researched all the groups that were around at the time and I don’t think The School Of Renovating was.

Bernadette: No.

Michelle: So I joined up with property women because that aligned with my values. They weren’t trying to sell me any property, it was purely an education group. And that was really life changing for me. I did the brilliant diamond program with about 20 other women ranging from about age 30 to 67 was our oldest participant. All so fantastic. She’s still around today and a good friend. And so yeah education is key, so you get educated.

Bernadette:  Yup. I would definitely second that.

Michelle: Yeah. I think my next point was what I had just gone through.

Bernadette:  Yeah tell us a bit about how you execute your budget renovations. Because I love how you operate.

Michelle: Well it’s very interesting because that was my third point before I go. Yeah I think the last presentation I did when we caught up in Adelaide when I had my disco balls and my flowers. I think one of the things I spoke to the group about was and this is something that came to me as I was doing a renovation one day. Is if you really want to do a budget renovation, you want to try and renovate like you have no money. Because that’s often what people do when they’ve bought a house and their money’s tight. They renovate like they have no money, so it’s really about repurposing and reusing.

So when we did a reno and hold in Newcastle, we’ve basically put everything off Gumtree. Nothing was new. I think maybe I got a second hand bench top or something, I buy all the mist into paint and I get a minimum of 3 to 4 quotes for everything that can save me thousands of dollars. Yeah. Buying them instinctively to paint. Ask them at the back. Can I come and have a look what you’ve got at the back out there? That you save thousands, hundreds and thousands of dollars on paint.

There’s so many ways, keeping what you have there. If you don’t need to replace it, don’t, just resurface it or paint or leave it. If it’s functioning and it’s not ugly in orange or brown, just leave it. You don’t have to renovate to the highest standard with the budget renovation. I’m of course at the back of cuts, always wherever you go. Ask have you got anything at the back?

Just recently I helped a client do a piece of renovation and initially we had bought some carpet off of Gumtree, that didn’t work out. So we got onto some carpet guys and to cut a long story short. Initial quotes we’ve had was between $4000-$6000, but we asked the question. What have you got that you don’t want anymore? Or what are you having trouble selling? And we had the whole place carpeted for a $1000.

Bernadette: That’s amazing!

Michelle: Yes. And I’m glad that maybe that was a saving of a minimum of $3000 and that was just by asking what don’t you need? It was a fashionable style. It just wasn’t the most popular colour. But it was fine and I am fine about it. So ask the questions.

Bernadette: And what about styling? Where do you get your styling?

Michelle: Yes. So when we did a reno flip in New South Wales in Newcastle in Kotara South. So the couch that was on the side of the road, I drive past this couch. Oh, that looks like a good couch but I’m sure it must have a massive hole in it or something. I pulled over and it was beautiful and I rang out one of my tradies I said we need to come and pick out the couch. So we went and picked up the couch and I think I loved that couch.

So I kept it for a couple of years and eventually gave it away to someone who was a very grateful recipient. But on the road, Gumtree and whatever you buy on Gumtree and then resell after. So technically your styling doesn’t have to cost anything. Came out brilliant for cheap quilts. You don’t need to put bids in properties to start making use of block mattresses with something underneath. You can also use mattresses that people want to throw away, so you can actually advertise on Gumtree what you want.

I’ve often put on an ad saying something like, wanted single bed mattress and not for use just for styling and then you can dispose of it or sell it afterwards. So definitely, so many ways to save. I’ve rang up TV repair companies, have you got any TV’s that you’re not using that I can borrow for a few weeks. Yeah no worries, I gave him a $50 deposit, took the TV back after. It doesn’t have a plug or anything, but it sits there for styling beautifully. Broken dishwashers, you name it it’s out there and you don’t have to spend a lot of money.

Bernadette:  Yeah I’ve definitely been channeling you Michelle. But I’ve got a team at the moment that are renovating this very sweet little apartment in Edgecliff.

Michelle: Yes.

Bernadette: They think they’re on a tight budget. I don’t think it’s that tight, but anyhow.  They’ll say well the telly should go in that wall but we’re not actually going to put one on there, because we haven’t got it in the budget. And I said, go out when the town’s been clean up, go out and pick the television up, because you do need a television there, it doesn’t have to work. You just need to tell the story that that’s where the television goes.

Michelle: Yeah. Actually you’ve reminded me of another thing I did. So in this flip we did in Newcastle. There was no air conditioning so I bought two splits off of Gumtree and I put them in the garage. And just to save me the installation fee, I just said, Oh! we weren’t sure where you’d want the splits basically that we’ve purchased and put them there in the shed. And we get that, actually in some of the kitchen we actually didn’t install the pantry. We put that in the shed, again saving on costs and time and said, you know we just wanted you to decide whether you wanted the pantry. So you have to create the story, but you don’t actually have to put it all in. You need to create a safe space and have a few added extras. Because those splits off Gumtree were peanuts. But to buy them new, that’s a few thousand dollars.

Bernadette: Michelle it’s a bit sneaky isn’t it?

Michelle: Yeah, it’s a bit sneaky. Is that legal?

Bernadette: No I think it’s like.

Michelle: Oh! It’s yes that’s what I’ve done and it just comes out from within. I don’t know. It’s just who I am.

Bernadette: Well it is. Yeah.

So let’s just recap what we’ve covered. So initially you’re talking about mindset and actually managing your confidence levels and because that’s probably the key to your success. And then we went in to being educated, so getting educated. To be honest with you I think a really brilliant form of education if you’re on a budget is with books.

Michelle: Yes.

Bernadette: You can have someone that might have a t$10,000 programme, but you can buy that book for $40. So there’s really no excuse for not being educated.

Michelle: Yes, I agree. There’s loads of free podcasts including your own, which I’ve been listening to 2 episodes of this morning. Yes it’s fantastic. I must work out a bit of strategy, because I am often carrying my computer around the house, into every room of the house, listening to stuff. I must get some kind of backpack so I can carry it. I’m listening to podcasts. I sometimes do it off my phone which is much easier. But because often people say how do you find the time? And it’s like well you actually make the time. So I’m having breakfast with the kids, we’re listening to a podcast. I’m doing something for myself and I’m getting educated, continually educating myself. When you’re driving in the car, I’m constantly listening to podcasts and it’s exciting. It’s exciting to see what’s happening out there in the world and being part of it and I’m very excited because now I’m on your podcast.

Bernadette:  Yes. So that’ll be a perfect episode to listen to.

Michelle:  Now I can’t wait.

Bernadette: Next thing is to surround yourself with like minded people, a team of like minded people and work with people who align with your values.

Michelle: Yeah. Look this is fantastic. So I run a property women meet up group here Adelaide every so often. And I find that we are a bit different to other groups, first off we are only women, generally speaking.

But there’s definitely a nurturing and spirituality is a kind of word I guess you use. There’s a sort of a connection that we all share and it’s not about greed or keeping information from other people, it’s very much about supporting and nurturing and sharing and growing together as a group. If you can’t find a group, then start one. That’s everywhere I’ve lived I’ve always started a group, because  this is a huge part of my life and I want to share with other people, I don’t want to do it alone. So yeah I encourage you to get out there and just find your group, if not create.

Bernadette: Exactly. So if the door of opportunity doesn’t open, build one.

Michelle:  Exactly.

Bernadette: And then the last one was about being frugal.

Michelle: Yes, frugal absolutely. So you can go to Bunnings and you can buy a tap that’s a few hundred dollars but there’s also much cheaper alternative. The key is getting the cheapest one that looks less expensive as you and I say some people naturally talented at that and others are not. So I would encourage you to learn from other people if you are not my client.

I went with a client recently to Bunnings and I’ve done a few hundred dollars just by being a bit creative and finding stuff there. I always look at the stuff that’s on sale, are reduced, or they’re throwing out. You don’t have to have the specific and the best and the biggest, you need something that looks cool and doesn’t cost much. So always be on the lookout for that sort of thing. The other thing is, you can buy anything and everything off of Gumtree. So people are always shocked what I pick up off of Gumtree, but people are selling. Probably anything I haven’t seen on Gumtree is underwear, I mean underwear.

Bernadette: So pleased to hear that, Michelle.

Michelle:  But apart from that, you can get anything on Gumtree and start searching all your fittings, all your fixtures, even paint. You can buy on Gumtree carpet, you can buy on Gumtree. Word of warning, go and check it out. Make sure it’s got no holes on them, with carpet be careful, because it’s probably being priced stretched so it might not be suitable for your budget renovation. But it does have its price it does have its place. The other thing is when you’re renovating annually, taking things out of a property, put it on your front lawn, you can either sell it on Gumtree. And if you can’t sell it, you put it on Gumtree for free and people will come and take away stuff and it’ll save you. You can keep your money.

Bernadette: Exactly.

Michelle: Your trash is someone’s treasure.

Bernadette: It definitely is.

So thank you very much. That’s been a really valuable and informative episode.

Loved having you on. And just to let everyone know that Michelle supplied some photos of her projects and so they will be in the show notes. So if you go over to our website: And go to this episode, download the show notes and the transcription you’ll find a very interesting and beautiful story there.

Michelle: Thank you so much Bernadette and thanks everyone for listening. I hope to meet you one day and Bernadette next time I’m in Sydney, we must catch up.

Bernadette:  Absolutely. I do come to Adelaide quite a bit too, well not quite a bit. Twice a year.

All right. Well, thank you.

Michelle: That would be lovely. All right. Bernadette have a great day!

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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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    “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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    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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