134 – What’s Your Renovation Strategy?

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The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

She Renovates Episode 134: What’s Your Renovation Strategy?

Knowing your renovation strategy is essential to achieve the results you want when you jump into your renovating journey. Renovating for profit should be the overall goal. Whether you start out with your own home renovation to add value or jump into a Cosmetic Plus renovation and flip or any of the multiple other renovation strategies you can pursue, it’s always good to know your plan up-front. Of course, your reno strategy may change over time too as you build your reno muscle.

In this episode, Bernadette discusses the renovation process with one of our keen students, Odette Overlunde as she navigated two recent renovations. Take note of Odette’s long-term strategy for her renovation future.

Podcast: Download (Duration 34:43 — 31.7MB)

 Watch Episode 134 on Video:


What’s Your Renovation Strategy?


  • [02:15] Get to know Odette Overlunde
  • [04:02] Renovation strategy and IT
  • [07:08] Creating a renovation strategy for clients
  • [08:32] What project challenges were encountered
  • [11:01] Good communication at all levels in a renovation is essential
  • [12:17] Keeping trades happy and on track (pay them on time!)
  • [14:03] Are you covered and protected with the right insurance?
  • [16:48] The Lane Cove project strategy
  • [19:02] How to avoid renovation complaints
  • [20:06]Dilapidation report – the process and lessons
  • [23:18] The Arncliffe project strategy 
  • [30:00] Lessons from doing renovations with clients
The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

It’s so important to be organised, so if you’re completely fatigued, after making 450 decisions through the renovation, you can still ensure quality of work is maintained until the end.” ~ Odette Overlunde  

Renovation strategy with Odette OverlundePocket Rocket Renovator,
Odette Overlunde

Odette Overlunde is an enthusiastic member of The School Of Renovating and has recently worked directly with Bernadette on two reno projects. Odette has been in the Wonder Woman program and has been working on renovations for a client. She did The School Of Renovating Bootcamp in 2018. After her first reno, she decided to continue completing her Degree as part of her long-term reno future. 

“I think the real passion of this comes from when I was a teen, my whole week revolved around all the renovation shows on TV and I thought, I don’t want to wait to win a chance on those shows. I want to do it. So I think I was just looking for any avenue to do it.” ~ Odette Overlunde

Renovation Strategy and IT

Odette is highly motivated by renovations and at the same time, she wants to complete her IT degree. Straddled in two worlds, she loves the nuts and bolts of IT operations, but what renovation gives her is the level of creativity working with colours, lighting and spaces. 

She chose to do IT because she thinks it will boost her borrowing power. It’s one of the spaces she has seen in corporate Australia where older women in their fifties and sixties are still maintaining high positions of leadership and being acknowledged as leading in the fields of the IT industry. 

Bernadette Janson to Odette…

“I just love how strategic you are. I think that is the measure of someone who’s got the capacity to be financially successful with renovating and property and is being really strategic.”

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Exploring a Renovation Strategy For Clients

When working with a client investor, different approaches and opportunities are considered to maximise the value and keep projects on track. Odette considered best outcomes for:

  • Refreshing a space or a whole home
  • Sharing knowledge in terms of finding good trades or suppliers
  • Spending time with investors to clarify goals
  • Focusing on the end goal of the project

What Are The Renovation Project Challenges?

Odette shared one of the challenges she encountered is when an overseas client was not enthusiastic about the project. While she was very excited about discussing, for example,  tile options or certain finishes, the client seemed not to get involved in the design process.

On the positive side, she did not need to struggle as the client was very accommodating in so many aspects, especially with the budget, timeline and communication.

Communication Priorities In A Renovation Strategy You Need To Be Aware Of

Here are some key points to be aware of:

  • Be clear and consistent with requests and instructions
  • Get all of the information you can, as if the client is fully part of the project
  • Be prepared and make sure you can answer any questions 
  • Be concise with what you have to say as you present to the client
  • Be organised and address all possible questions about quotes and supplies

Paying Trades – a High Priority in Your Renovation Strategy

To come up with a good scheme, you have to set the scene for the client and the tradies around those invoices and stick to it. Do not be afraid to ask questions to your client so you will not end up with a rubbish collection service when you don’t want it. Or Tradies who are not happy about their schedule. Open communication is the key and makes sure that everyone is on the same page.

Are You Protected With The Right Insurance?

It’s important before starting a project, you make sure the owner’s public liability insurance is in place for the duration of the renovation. You never know what uncertain situations may happen or what can go wrong during the renovation.

One perfect example is when there were torrential rains in Sydney on the second renovation of Odette’s Project. Aside from the flooding, there was a leak internally where a plumber had not secured a tap underneath the sink properly. It had trickled down into the floorboards of the apartment, down the stairs into other apartments. There was a fair bit of damage to the internal carpet including the apartment underneath. 

Since the project was insured, Odette was able to claim the replacement of the carpet in the bedroom, the floorboards and the kitchen. Dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s is really important from a legal and a liability point of view. The flip side of that is the plumber would probably be paying for it but you don’t want to be the person that’s taking him to court. You want the insurance company to be dealing with that. So make sure that you’re getting really good advice before you move into this area of work. 

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Renovation Strategy About The Lane Cove Project

Both buildings were older blocks and usually had 12 apartments in each. First, Lane Cove didn’t have good ‘bones’. We always look at renovating a structural component of the apartment. In this case, we chose to take down a wall, which was dividing the living room and the kitchen, making it much more open plan.

The other odd thing about this particular apartment is the kitchen was pushed to one end of a galley kitchen, which was something like five meters long, Everything was crammed up the end. We had to spend some money on getting the wall taken out and structurally reinforced and signed off, which was worth it. It brought a lot more light in and completely changed the space – warmer, more homely.

The other thing we did was renovate the bathroom, which had leaks through the walls and then touch up the bedrooms. We left the balcony till last and did some paintwork there to touch up. It was a good space. It was an older layout, which kind of had long hallways and those sort of features. 

How To Avoid Renovation Complaints

It is given that there will be several complaints about renovation noise. Neighbours may react differently on this matter, positively or negatively.

Here are some renovation strategy recommendations to consider to avoid renovation complaints.

  • Talk to the neighbours and make friends
  • Make yourself known and humanise yourself by being friendly
  • Provide your phone number so they can call you anytime if there’s any problem

 I never got a call, even from the very difficult neighbour upstairs. So really just being friendly and just humanising the process was effective ~ Odette Overlunde

Managing the Dilapidation Report Process

The request came through from the Strata committee that the dilapidation reports had to come through before the wall could be pulled down or approved to be pulled down. They came through, took photos for each of the apartments, and then submitted the report to the Strata. This meant that we had to get permission from each of those tenants or residents in those different apartments to be at home. One of the neighbours had to pop home from work and take an hour and a half off work. 

One of the mistakes made is assuming that they would need to do a dilapidation report for the apartment itself, in addition to the apartments surrounding us. This is a good lesson learned. It is important to read through the fine sort of details of the conversations you’re having because the reports are costly. This will save you money and would just take a few minutes to read it.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Arncliffe Renovation Strategy Process

The real estate agent who was currently leasing out the apartment was able to walk us through when it became vacant. This allowed us to evaluate the following:

  • The market and the area
  • What their preferences are
  • What they like to see in terms of finishes
  • The way they live
  • Whom they use for some trades

We ended up going with our evaluation and started not only with the apartment, but also the surrounding spaces.

It’s always about taking a step back when you’re looking at those decisions. Renovations are so easy to get into tunnel vision when you are using the same formulas over and over again. It’s great to renovate as a team because you have room to step back and discuss between yourselves if things are going to work.

Learn From Doing Renovations With Clients

  • Be committed to the quality and delivery of results
  • Plan ahead instead of doing onsite planning
  • Be transparent by letting everyone know what’s going on with the project
  • Maintain good communication throughout for all stakeholders in the project

She Renovates Facebook Group

If you’re sitting there thinking I wonder and have a question to ask head over to our free  She Renovates Facebook Group. You will find over a thousand crazy renovators who just love talking, renovating and would love to answer your question.

She Renovates Free Facebook Group

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.

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Bernadette Janson

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