33 – Julie Anglesey Renovating In A Flat Market

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renovating in a flat market

Bernadette interviews Julie Anglesey, our Reno Diva who has been house flipping and renovating for profit in Perth for the past seven years.

Listen to Episode 33: Julie Anglesey: Renovating In A Flat Market

Podcast: Download (Duration: 30:25 — 42.29 MB)

Episode Highlights

  • Julie’s renovating and property journey
  • What she gained  from her education
  • Renovating low price point properties
  • The current Western Australian property market
  • Tips for selecting property to flip in a flat market
  • Engaging energy cleansers for property
  • Thinking outside the box

03:18 – A vehicle for creating wealth.

06:00 – Seminars and courses.

08:00 – What my exit strategy was.

09:30 – Hands on work.

12:21 – All of the costs involved.

15:12 – Cosmetic renovation.

17:05 – Double brick vs asbestos houses.

19:07 – The average days on market.

22:36 – Who the target buyer is.

25:04 – Emotionally connect with that home.

27:58 – Too much supply indicates prices will decline

Transcription

“Doing the numbers for me was definitely knowing what my exit strategy, being very clear and confident on my numbers and knowing exactly where. That helped me give me the confidence to know what I was doing. Definitely.”

Intro

Bernadette Janson is back with She Renovates, the podcast for women who want to create an income and a life they love through renovating. And today I’ve got a really special guest who is renovating in a really tough market. So I thought it might be nice to hear from the other side of the country. And we’ve got Julie Anglesey, now Julie has really done the hard yards and she is flipping in the Perth or the Western Australian market. And so of course the topic is renovating in a flat market so it’s not declining anymore. So we call it flat. Is that right Julie?

Julie: Yep. We could call it flat. Yes, Bernadette.

Bernadette: Okay. So Welcome Julie. And it’s really great to have you.

Julie: Thank you. It’s really great to be talking to you. Love it. 

Bernadette: What have you been up to this week?

Julie: I have had a look at a couple of houses that are actually mortgagee in possession sales but I’d still need to do my numbers on those so I haven’t got very far with those as yet. Basically I’m looking in my office work. I’ve got a couple of work experience students from Year 11 coming in to help me. So yeah I’ve been teaching them stuff about marketing and Canva and Facebook. It’s been fun.

Bernadette: Great! I always think it’s sort of hard work because you’ve got to make their experience valuable you really need to put a bit of timing on it don’t you?

Julie: Yes that’s it. It’s good getting  feedback and seeing their faces light up when they’re learning new stuff. It’s really good. 

Bernadette: Exactly. So the first question I wanted to ask you is I’m hoping this is going to roll as a conversation so feel free to jump in because I always find it with podcasting I do a lot on my own. So it’s really nice to have another person on the other end and when I listen to podcasts I think it’s always better if there’s a bit of banter, from a listener’s point of view. So that’s what we’ll try and achieve today. I am sure we’ll get better as we go along. Firstly, do you want to tell us a bit about your renovating and property journey?

Julie: Yes sure love to. I have always been interested in property as a vehicle for creating wealth but I started out getting married in 1989 and building our first home on the outskirts of Perth in Joondalup. And at the time interest rates were 17% so we built a house and we’re both working full time basically just to pay the interest payments and it was quite a booming market at the time as well. So we were happy to get in but it definitely wasn’t easy making those repayments a bench for the pain of 17% interest rates.

From there, basically we couldn’t buy any other property at that stage and then I soon became pregnant and we had 3 children so it didn’t work for about the next 10 years. So the next 10 years were just us making ends meet and bringing up young children, which was fun. As soon as I could get back into the workforce I was very keen to start investing in property and looked at a couple of different ideas and tried a couple of things but eventually we hadn’t really done any property education as such.

So we met a house and land package salesman and he said “Oh, you just need to build a house.” And by the end of it being built it’s going to be worth a $100K more so you can sell it and then go again and that’s how you start getting money. And we thought so we thought we’d believe this guy. So we built a house we built it in Secret Harbour which is 60 kilometres south of Perth. Sure enough it had gone up by the time it was finished being built. It had gone up probably by about $80K but then we went back to him and he said “Oh no. You don’t sell you hold onto it and you do it again. You just use the equity in that house.” And we went okay. That’s what we’ll do. We’ll do it again. So this was pretty much 2006-2007.

renovating in a flat market

What happened was I really had given up on property as a vehicle but then we went and started getting ourselves educated. We went to some free seminars and then we bought some courses and we actually learn how to do it properly and we realize that we’ve done it all wrong, obviously. In doing that I could say I started getting hyped again. So what I decided was I definitely didn’t want to be stuck building a house again because it just I didn’t want to be stuck in that market even though it’s probably not likely to happen again. But the pain of what I’d gone through was a bit too much for me.

For me my strategy was always going to be flipping. Buying and selling and getting in and out quickly. So my husband and I found a house in Secret Harbour and it was just needed a quick cosmetic reno. Within 4 weeks of buying it we already had it renovated and sold again and we made a $36K profit on that. So we decided, yes we actually do know what we’re doing now we’re doing it right.

So we went and straightaway did another one a Mandurah which is that it’s about 70 km south of Perth and we made $50K out of that. We decided, yeah we’re definitely on the right track. However, unfortunately life gets in the way and my husband and I ended up getting divorced after 25 years of marriage. I wasn’t in a position to buy any more houses for myself but because I’d now had the experience and the education. I knew that this is definitely what I wanted to do moving forward. Since that time I’ve just been doing renovations with joint venture partners and that’s been working out really well.

Bernadette: Awesome. So can we just take a step back? Actually your house and land story wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be. We have a lot of them come through the door. What would you say the key thing was from your education that had you turn the ship around? Was there any one thing that you took from that, that made a massive difference?

Julie: Doing the numbers for me was definitely knowing what my exit strategy was. And being very clear and confident on my numbers and knowing exactly what. Yeah so that helped give me the confidence to know what I was doing. Definitely.

Bernadette: Yeah because I think certainly well with anything really. The more you learn the more you realise you don’t know. And so you can have your hating because it’s just so much to learn. But it’s really I think it’s interesting to see what the key things are that actually make the difference.

Julie: Yeah because I definitely had the belief that it could work. But there was also the fear in there, me missing something and just missing something vital. So yeah once I got clear on the numbers it all fell into place for me.

Bernadette: You’ve done such a great job and that’s really why I wanted to have you on the call because we as you know work with a lot of women who have had similar situations maybe not so much in the property but certainly in life and you’re like that it’s really hard to get going and it’s really inspiring for them to hear someone who’s actually done it and made the best of this situation and is actually getting results. So that’s really brilliant. Well done!

Julie: Great. Thank you.

Bernadette: So in terms of your reno, so I’m going off script a bit so don’t worry about that. But in terms of how much work do you do yourself?

Julie: I don’t do any of the hands on work myself. I contract everything out but I will do some gardening and some general stuff and loading up the skip bin and cleaning up the site just general stuff but I don’t program myself into any of the actual tasks that need to be done. I get in a handy man to do most of the general stuff as far as demo and like if it’s ripping out tiles or whatever the case might be. Fixing up a door you, all those kinds of things and then I’ll get the tradies in to build walls, do the plumbing, electricity. I’ll get my handyman in to install a kitchen and the handyman’s hourly rate is cheaper than a tradesman. So whatever I can get the handyman to do I will.

renovating in a flat market
renovating in a flat market

Bernadette: Awesome. So can we just take a step back? Actually your house and land story wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be. We have a lot of them come through the door. What would you say the key thing was from your education that had you turn the ship around? Was there any one thing that you took from that, that made a massive difference?

Julie: Doing the numbers for me was definitely knowing what my exit strategy was. And being very clear and confident on my numbers and knowing exactly what. Yeah so that helped give me the confidence to know what I was doing. Definitely.

Bernadette: Yeah because I think certainly well with anything really. The more you learn the more you realise you don’t know. And so you can have your hating because it’s just so much to learn. But it’s really I think it’s interesting to see what the key things are that actually make the difference.

Julie: Yeah because I definitely had the belief that it could work. But there was also the fear in there, me missing something and just missing something vital. So yeah once I got clear on the numbers it all fell into place for me.

Bernadette: You’ve done such a great job and that’s really why I wanted to have you on the call because we as you know work with a lot of women who have had similar situations maybe not so much in the property but certainly in life and you’re like that it’s really hard to get going and it’s really inspiring for them to hear someone who’s actually done it and made the best of this situation and is actually getting results. So that’s really brilliant. Well done!

Julie: Great. Thank you.

Bernadette: So in terms of your reno, so I’m going off script a bit so don’t worry about that. But in terms of how much work do you do yourself?

Julie: I don’t do any of the hands on work myself. I contract everything out but I will do some gardening and some general stuff and loading up the skip bin and cleaning up the site just general stuff but I don’t program myself into any of the actual tasks that need to be done. I get in a handy man to do most of the general stuff as far as demo and like if it’s ripping out tiles or whatever the case might be. Fixing up a door you, all those kinds of things and then I’ll get the tradies in to build walls, do the plumbing, electricity. I’ll get my handyman in to install a kitchen and the handyman’s hourly rate is cheaper than a tradesman. So whatever I can get the handyman to do I will.

renovating in a flat market

But generally I won’t be doing any. I won’t be programming myself for any of those tasks but I am on site pretty much every day because I get them done quickly. I’ll have a lot of people on site at one time and there’s always questions that come up and I find that I need to be there to answer those questions quickly so that people don’t make their own assumptions and get it wrong.

Bernadette: Yes well I’ve got the opposite of that at the moment because I’m doing a project in Queensland and which is over 1000 kilometres and so I’m just, I think I’ve been up 3 times so far and like I’ve made a terrible mistake in letting the tiler tile when I wasn’t there. He did an okay job but there was just some grubby little details that if I had been there I would have sorted it out but it was too late afterwards.

Julie: Yes.

Bernadette: So frustrating. Yes you definitely need to be clear with the finishing trades. You’ve got to be there to make sure that they really toe the line because if left on their  own devices they’ll take the path of least resistance.

Bernadette: And what profit did you make on that?

Julie: $63,000 dollars profit.

Bernadette: That’s amazing!

Julie: I know.

Bernadette: So that’s nearly 50% profit.

Julie: Yeah pretty much. Well when you look at the costs, all of the costs involved it was a 35% profit on cost. Yes 35% return on cost so everything. And that was in a 3 month period. So that’s a really fantastic return.

Bernadette: Awesome! Well done.

Julie: Yes. Thank you.

Bernadette So what’s the market like in Western Australia at the moment?

Julie: Okay. So it’s still as we’ve already spoken about really flat. People are more optimistic than they were a couple of years ago. So 2 years ago the rental vacancy rate was 7.3% in Perth which is really really high. And property prices were going down. Just no confidence at all in the market. But now currently the vacancy rates 2.5%. And so that’s usually the first sign of people starting to feel more confident that things are starting to improve. Having said that though I like to also look at the number of houses that are for sale in Perth. And in Perth equilibrium is around the 12,000 houses for sale is what you call equilibrium. Currently we’ve 16,957 houses for sale. So there’s still a huge amount of supply on the market.

It’s not like things are going to suddenly shoot up anytime soon. And in Perth what we find or what we know. When I talk to people they’re saying that we really still need to get more population coming into Perth so mining in the north has started increasing. But there’s a sentiment that people are still living in places other than Perth like the Eastern States or New Zealand and flying in and out and going back to their homes rather than setting up a home in Perth. So until we start seeing a little bit more of the influx of population, the prices probably aren’t likely to go up anytime soon. The confidence is there, the confidence is gaining.

Bernadette: Well that’s awesome. It’s interesting. We’ve got a new student who is actually a mining engineer in Western Australia and she was saying that she sees it from the other side and she says that the future’s not looking that good with the mining. So I don’t really know what that means but maybe she is not feeling that calm yet about the market so there you go.

Julie you sent us some photos of your projects?

Julie: No. But I will do it, if you like.

Bernadette: It will be really great. To put some before and after in the show notes.

Julie: Yes. Okay.  I’ll do that.

Bernadette: In terms of your renos are they mainly cosmetic or are you doing structural work as well?

Julie: No they’re all cosmetic. Because I want to get in and out quickly. So it’s all pretty much painting, new flooring, window dressings, gardening, new kitchen and bathroom. But not always, I’ve resurfaced a couple of kitchens and bathrooms and laundries as well. And in the last reno that I just did the previous owner had taken out walls basically got rid of a bedroom, taken out a wall to make it like a walk through area.

So in that I just got the guys to put up a gyprock wall and turn it back into a bedroom so I turned to it from a 2 x 1 into a 3 x 1 very very easily. So I still call that a cosmetic reno because there was no planning or no approvals required. It was just a matter of doing that.

Bernadette: So we always try to add some sort of and I think you’re on the same track some sort of livability feature to push up the profit potential cycle of the cosmetic plus. Because if you’re relying on just coat of paint and kitchen and bathroom it’s pretty hard to profit. But by taking it from a 2 bedder to a 3 bedder it has set up for class.

Julie: And in another reno I did it was similar sort of like old 50’s house so I turned it was a 3 x 1 turned the laundry big laundry into a combined bathroom and laundry so therefore we turned it into a 3 x 2 from a 3 x 1.

Bernadette: And the other thing is you Western Australian’s that Australians like your double brick.

Julie: Yes we do.

Bernadette: So one of the great companies did a bit of a number on the timber industry and had this big publicity campaign about white ends at some point in history and now all houses that’s the norm, a double brick.

Julie: Yep definitely the double brick. Prior to that a lot of the houses where built out of asbestos. The timber framed ones. And insulation was terrible in those houses, freezing in winter and stinking hot boxes in summer. So the double brick sort of houses were a lot more comfortable than those houses. And yeah I think that’s probably from my memory where it started in the 60’s and 70’s. But having said that you know there are certain suburbs in Perth that are full of those old timber framed asbestos houses and the one that I did this year the $63K profit one was an asbestos house and in that suburb people don’t mind asbestos because all of the houses are built the same.

Bernadette: And on that subject, how do you choose a subject that you can flip in?

Julie: There’s a couple of things that I like to do is I like to choose a suburb that is within 30 minutes of my home so I’m not having to drive too far because it’s pretty far when you are in the middle of your reno. So I like not to be too far away from it and I make sure that when I’m actually searching in the first place. I only search in suburbs that are within my price range.

That gets rid of all of that all the bright shiny objects all around knowing that I actually can’t buy in those suburbs. I just make sure that a fine tune that first. Before I even start looking.

Another thing that I look for in a suburb is I check the days on market of that suburb because I want to sell quickly. I don’t want to be stuck in a suburb where days on market is too high. In Perth days on market is it’s fairly high really probably compared to what Sydney was but what I do is I compare what the days on market in my suburb is with the days on market average for Perth and if it’s the average or low up and it’s at least it’s a suburb that’s turning over. I like to check the days on market.

Bernadette: What would that actually be like in terms of days on market?

Julie: The average days on market in Perth at the moment is 79 but that’s over 2 months. So if I found a suburb that’s got 50 or 60 days on market I’d be thinking, “Gee, that’s pretty good.”

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Bernadette: And the other thing about that is that if you do your job well and you did your reno well you should be able to do much better than the average in the suburb anyhow.

Julie: Absolutely yes. And that’s exactly with this example that I’ve been talking about the cheap cottage. The days on market in that suburb I think was around 120 or might have been 90 it was fairly high anyway. But when I looked at it I knew that most of the houses in that suburb were unrenovated original houses that people wouldn’t want to live in. I knew that a renovated cottage was actually going to sell a lot more quickly than the others.

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And then the other thing that I look at which I also looked at in this suburb is supply versus demand in the suburb because I like to look into numbers and data. What I do is I check  the number sold in the past year. So that indicates the demand basically how many is selling in a year. And then I compare that to what’s currently on the market for sale.

So I go to realestate.com which is the main search engine here in Perth and or in W.A. And I untick the surrounding suburbs little box so that gives me and I choose houses that tells me exactly how many houses at for sale in that suburb. For instance this suburb that I’m talking about in the last year had 41 houses sold and is currently 15 houses for sale so it’s almost like 3:1 supply versus demand. When I saw that I could say well there actually is demand in that suburb even though days on market is high. I had a good reason why the days on market would have been high in that suburb and that was because of the unrenovated unlivable houses in the suburbs.

BernadetteTerry Ryder produces a report called Price Predictor and it predicts movement, market movements based on sales volumes which is a little bit about what you’re talking about. He’s worked out that if there’s a surge in sales volumes that usually precede a hike in the value.

When your renovating in some of the really cheapest suburbs in Perth and I’m guessing some of these properties will be absolute renovators delight, verging on money pit. Where do you draw the line?

Julie: Absolutely yeah. This last one is a great example of that because the house was on a 728 sqm block which it’s not subdividable and it’s a suburb lot fuller. Every block in that suburb is 728 sqm and all of the houses are small 3 x 1’s but the fences are all asbestos. Some of them don’t look fantastic. So when I looked at that property I thought, “Okay you could, replacing the fences would be way too expensive but even painting the fences there was a lot of fences and there was also a fence dividing the backyard into two as well which would have needed painting on both sides.

That’s just an example of what I do when I go and I’m in a suburb and I’m in a house that I’m renovating is, I get to know exactly who the target buyer is and in knowing who the target buyer is that tells me where to draw the line. The target buyers in this suburb were going to be first time buyers and none of the houses in that suburb had painted fences. And as I said they’re all asbestos houses as well. So originally I was going to paint those fences because that’s what I like to do and then I just thought, “No. There’s another $1K that I don’t need to spend.” Because remember I don’t do the physical labor on it, I pay someone to do it. That was just one example of, “Okay I’m just not going to do that”. I’m just gonna put some cheap plants in the garden and no one’s even really going to notice these fences.

That’s how I make all of my decisions all the way through the renovation. I spend a bit of time getting into the head of exactly who that target buyer is. I’ll check the census data and see who people are in that suburb and who lives there. And that gives you a bit of information on what their hobbies are and what their type of work. It also lets me know whether a shed, like a tradesman shed is a great selling point in a property all of that. I also speak to the local agents and go to the home opens to just get a really good idea of what the other houses are like and watch for suppliers and all that kind of stuff. But talking to the agents just really gives you a fantastic insight into actually who’s purchasing these properties. So once I’m very clear on that I’m pretty much throughout the whole renovation, on in that person’s head.

For this renovation I thought it was going to be a young 20’s female that would buy it. I pretty much when I was making decisions that’s who I was renovating for. But it ended up being a 23 year old male, single male first time buyer that bought it. Similar to what I had chosen in the renovation suited him as well. Does that answer your question? It sort of went a bit all over the place then.

Bernadette:  It’s interesting and like I think when you well certainly with newbie renovators they tend to  go a bit crazy and think of absolutely everything. And I always think particularly in lower priced suburbs that if it’s too polished that they feel like they’re being played.

Julie: I agree and it doesn’t feel comfortable to them as well. They need to walk in there and feel really comfortable they really need to emotionally connect with that home when they walk into it. That was another reason even for the staging that I chose. There’s a lot of staging companies around. And there’s a lot of beautiful stuff around.

But I decided to go with the cheapest staging company then they really just had basic furniture and it was just stuff from Fantastic Furniture and Kmart and it wasn’t high end all but I knew that like everyone that walked in there said “Wow! This looks amazing!” If I was in a high rent suburb I might have chosen potentially a different staging company with higher end furniture. But I knew that I wanted to connect with these first home buyers. It’s basically Perth’s cheapest suburb. I don’t want to go over the top.

And I’ll just tell you another thing that I did in that it was a decision stage that we bought. And the old guy who was like in his 80’s had a heart attack and died in the house. I was very aware of whether there was any energy hanging around from him as well. So I got a couple of ladies in, who were like energy cleansers I suppose. I’ve got everyone I told all the tradies that they had to be out at lunch time this particular day for an hour or two. So these ladies came in and they just said just leave it to us and you can go and they did all this stuff and they had candles going and buckets of salt water and bells and all sorts of things. They walked out and they said “Yup, it’s a beautiful house it’s got a beautiful feel.” Yeah, pretty much everyone that walked in after that said, “Oh! This house it’s got such a great feel!”

But I decided to go with the cheapest staging company then they really just had basic furniture and it was just stuff from Fantastic Furniture and Kmart and it wasn’t high end all but I knew that like everyone that walked in there said “Wow! This looks amazing!” If I was in a high rent suburb I might have chosen potentially a different staging company with higher end furniture. But I knew that I wanted to connect with these first home buyers. It’s basically Perth’s cheapest suburb. I don’t want to go over the top.

Bernadette: Exactly. Because if it looks like you’ve overdone it in terms of the renovation the staging then they start to look at the prices if it’s overpriced.

Julie: Yeah.

Bernadette: Going overboard.

Julie: Great point. Yeah exactly.

And I’ll just tell you another thing that I did in that it was a decision stage that we bought. And the old guy who was like in his 80’s had a heart attack and died in the house. I was very aware of whether there was any energy hanging around from him as well. So I got a couple of ladies in, who were like energy cleansers I suppose. I’ve got everyone I told all the tradies that they had to be out at lunch time this particular day for an hour or two. So these ladies came in and they just said just leave it to us and you can go and they did all this stuff and they had candles going and buckets of salt water and bells and all sorts of things. They walked out and they said “Yup, it’s a beautiful house it’s got a beautiful feel.” Yeah, pretty much everyone that walked in after that said, “Oh! This house it’s got such a great feel!”.

Bernadette: Wow! That’s really thinking outside the square.

Julie: I wanted to cover all bases on that one.

Bernadette: Yeah that’s great. So did they have a business doing that?

Julie: No, not really because they actually didn’t want payments. I was thinking, “Oh how am I going to what am I gonna do about this energy?” You know when you sort of put it out there someone just said to me, “Oh! Actually my co partners does that I’ll give you her number.” I’m like “Okay, cool. Thank you.”

Bernadette: Awesome. So we’re coming to an end. And thank you for all the great value that you’ve given us today. What I would like you to do now Julie is just share maybe your 3 top tips for someone that’s wanting to renovate in an area that’s quite low budget or the market’s flat or even do you worry about the market declining?

Julie: I don’t necessarily. I don’t try and sort of predict that. I guess my top 3 tips would be definitely get in and out quickly. Number 2 would be check what that supply versus demand is because  if there’s too much supply that’s probably going to indicate that prices might start declining or it might stay on the market for too long. So I find that number to be a really important number that I look at when I’m looking at finding a house in the low end market and definitely know exactly who your target buyer is. Because that is what’s going to help you decide exactly what you’re gonna do in your renovation and then you won’t overdo it.

Bernadette: Brilliant. So thank you very much for that. For anyone wanting to get in touch with you. How do they do that?

Julie: OK. I’ve got a Facebook page called Renovating Made Easy so you can definitely like that. On there, there are my contact details I’ve got a website called Renovating Made Easy. I’m on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. I do have some YouTube how to videos on how to actually what I described about how you find the supply versus demand. I go through that so that you can actually see what sites to go to. Yes. So that’s how you can get in contact with me. Thank you.

Bernadette: Well thanks so much for that. I know that our listeners will have got enormous value from that. Can I ask if you’re listening and if you haven’t already done this. If you like to go over to iTunes and leave us a 5 star review so that other women who are in the situation have the benefit of actually finding out about this and coming over and listening to this She Renovates podcast and on that note I will sign off and say thank you to Julie and thanks to our listeners and see you next week!

Julie: Bye everyone!

Thank you so much Bernadette. It’s great. I really enjoyed it.

Bernadette: Thanks Julie. Take care.

Julie: Okay. You, too. Bye.

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