50 – The Fast Track To Reno Profit

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renovating profit

Bernadette talks about how to fast track your renovating career through The School Of Renovating’s Boardroom Bootcamp.

Listen to Episode 50: The Fast Track To Reno Profit

Podcast:Download (Duration: 23:06 — 22.98 MB)

Episode Highlights

  • Our recent 5-star review in iTunes podcast
  • The Wynnum project
  • The Bondi “Avocado Smash Strategy” with son David
  • The Rennie St, Redfern project
  • Empowering our students through the Bootcamp
  • Who is the Bootcamp training for?
  • How we guide you in terms of life and property
  • What are the core skills you’ll learn in the Bootcamp
  • What to learn about Joint Ventures
  • The expert professionals that you’ll meet in the Bootcamp
  • An exclusive site visit of one of our reno projects
  • A family business of industry professionals

00:30 – A lovely podcast iTunes review

02:15 – Avocado Smash Strategy

04:09 – Bondi auction

06:46 – Our Bootcamp training

08:30 – Empowering our students

10:36 – Achieving goals

12:30 – An actionable plan

14:18 – 5 touch points to cover

16:41 – High cash flow strategies

18:51 – A case study

20:46 – A family of industry professionals

“Now, we’ve been lucky. But the definition of luck is when preparation and opportunity meet.”


Hello, it’s Bernadette, back with another episode of She Renovates, and this episode is entitled The Fast Track To Reno Profit. And in it, I’m going to be giving you a sneak peek inside our School Of Renovating Boardroom Bootcamp.

This is our core training that gets our students up to speed quickly on a path to replacing their income either straight away or on retirement with renovating and property strategies in general.

But before I do a good bit of housekeeping to do and the first thing is to thank Greent001. I’m sorry, I don’t know your real name, but this is all we get from iTunes for leaving such a lovely review. In it, you said, “Fantastic podcast! Bernadette is so generous in sharing so much hands-on expertise with the listeners. Interesting, informative and so inspirational.” Thank you! That’s so lovely. And what it does is, one, it reassures me that I’m on the right track and two, it helps to spread the love. And that’s really what we’re about, really informing our listeners on the path to financial freedom through renovating, Airbnb and other property strategies. So thank you.

I know it’s a bit of an imposition to ask you to do this, but if you could go over if you haven’t already left a review, go over to our iTunes and write a review. I would really appreciate it because that’s how our podcast gets known and our listenership grows.

Now, the other thing I want to do before I go on to this week’s episode is to share what’s been going on in my life in the last week. And it’s been pretty full. Towards the end of last week. I made the decision to make a flying trip to see my mother. I try and see her every month. She’s in another state in Victoria. But I had missed a month because I was traveling the other direction to Queensland to finish a project and I just couldn’t go a day longer. So I jumped on a plane on Friday morning wings down, saw her spent the day with her and then came back home in time for the auction of our Bondi project, which happened on Saturday.

renovating profit

BONDI Auction Day

And now this was an avocado smash strategy that we were doing with our second child, David. So we’re working through the four children. We’re up to number two. And fortunately, David is an architect. And so that took the heat off me a lot. He did a lot of hands-on work. However, he did go AWOL once he had it on the market. So during the sales campaign and left me with the power of attorney to actually get the thing sold, which was okay, but it was quite a problematic campaign. Now, this project, when we got it ready, when we completed the reno, if we had taken it to market, then it would have probably made a loss because the Sydney market had nosedived. And so we decided to hold it until the market picked up and that happened towards the end of this year. And so we then went to market.

renovating profit

BONDI Reno Project

However, another thing that happened during that period of time was that there were a couple of fairly serious structural issues with some apartments in and around Sydney, the Opal Tower being one of them. And that has made the apartment market very nervous about high rise buildings. Now, this building is only eight stories high, but it was a worrying campaign, challenging for our agent and worrying for us because potential buyers were very nervous.

Fortunately, I had selected the right agent and it was Con Fotaras from BELLE property whom we’ve worked with a lot, who manage the campaign. And he did an amazing job. So you have some agents that just put it on the market and wait for the buyers to come. And there are other agents that do everything in their power to make sure that they remove as many objections as they can. And that was what Con had done.

renovating profit

BONDI Reno Project

Now, David, set the guide, quite low, because he had come to the decision that it was time for him to move on, which we were fine with as long as it covered its costs. Thankfully, he wasn’t attached to the outcome, which is the best way to go into one of these things. And we had our all-time favorite auctioneer, Damien Cooley, do the auction. He exceeded the reserve spectacularly, so we were able to achieve a record price for the building. In fact, the next highest price in that building is about $300K lower. Yet that apartment was about three flights higher. So it should really be more. The reserve was set at $1.25M and the price, the sale price was $1.32M. Great! So it achieved the profit that we were hoping for David. And that sets him up to move on. And it also frees up our cash, which has been in that project for two years. Very exciting!

Over the past month, I have actually listed 5 properties for sale and sold five. The Wynnum land sold very early in the campaign and then earlier this week, the house. We’ve got a contract on the house. So that projects sorted.

renovating profit

Wynnum Reno Project

Then, of course, our Rennie Street Redfern project, which we’d also been holding on to. That sold for a really fantastic price a couple of weeks ago. And then another property that I’d listed a couple of years ago in country Victoria, and it had just done nothing. I took it back off the market. Well, the tenants’ lease was up, so I decided to put that back on the market. And wouldn’t you know it? Within four days, we had a contract.

renovating profit

Rennie Street Project

Now, we’ve been lucky. But the definition of luck is when preparation and opportunity meet. And that’s definitely been the case with the most recent sales. We’ve done the work and then we’ve leaped on the opportunity when it has presented itself.

Okay. So that has been me for the week. I should mention that I don’t do these things single-handedly on just about every project I have, at least a team of at least one, sometimes two or three. And if all else fails, my darling husband Stephen is my backup. But let’s get into the episode.

I guess the reason I’m doing this episode is because our Bootcamp training actually sponsors some podcast episodes and there is quite a bit of reno training around. And I know for you it can be hard to work out what’s right for you. And so I thought it might be helpful that if I guess, answer the commonly asked questions around that training. And so that’s what I’m about to do. You know, most people, when they make a decision to go from where they are to where they want to be with renovating, don’t really have an understanding of how that actually works.

They know that they love renovating and property in general, but don’t really understand the path to go from where, you know, from being in a job to actually being a full-time renovator or just being financially free.

Our mission with the training is to empower our students to be able to replace their income with renovating and other property strategies either straight away or at retirement. Predominantly our clients are women and often they will have their partner with them.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

We’re sometimes asked, do you not accept men? And of course, we do. We often have a few brave men come in and join the training. Recently we’ve had some quite young single men come into the training and I really admire them because if I had known what I know now when I was their age, we would have forged quite a different path. So they use great foresight in choosing to come and train at such an early age.

Who is it for? It’s for renovators and aspiring renovators who want to make renovating and property their full-time gig.

Often it will be someone who’s disenchanted or bored with their job and want to do something that’s inspiring and creative and have a love for beautiful homes and want to make renovating their life. I don’t think anyone ever regrets the decision to choose renovating as an income, and so it’s a great business to be in. We also have people, often couples who are close to retirement and want to speed up the process of building wealth for retirement. We have downsizers who want to, I guess, maximize their return from the downsizing activity. And we also have some women who’ve had a setback or a relationship breakdown and need to forge a new financial path. And lastly, of course, younger people, people who are at the beginning of their journey, their property journey, who just want to set off on the right foot.

renovating profit

We pride ourselves on delivering a really personal experience. The reason I started The School of Renovating is because I love working with people. And while I loved renovating, I find it quite solitary. And so I get joy out of seeing other people achieve their goals. And in order for them to get the maximum out of their investment. We keep the training numbers really small so that we can get to know everyone and to help them personally to map out their plan.

And because it’s set up in this way, we can actually flex and bend with the needs of the group. If someone wants more time spent on one area and less on another, we can do that because we’ve got our finger on the pulse and we know the needs of everyone in the room.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

For us, going and sitting in an auditorium and being talked at for 8 hours a day just doesn’t cut it. We want something where it’s more of a conversation. And of course, the first step in the process is an audit. So we, I guess, guide you through an audit of where you are at the moment in terms of life and property. And so we’re looking for two things.

One, sort of building your dream life and two, sorry, three things, two, looking at what’s not working right now. And generally, that’s in the form of property. So you might have something that’s negatively geared and draining your cash. And so that’s the first area to impact.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

And three, to look at what opportunities you have. And I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone come that hasn’t had something, an opportunity that they haven’t thought of. So that forms the basis of an actionable personal plan. And from that, we map out the path that you need to take for your goal. And that path differs depending on your circumstances. How much money you can invest, how soon you want to stop work. And so once we’ve got that sorted out, then we start looking at the skills you need.

Now, the core skills are what you get in this Bootcamp in order to be able to deliver your plan. From the beginning, looking at what legal structures you need to use to buy a property and because that will that’s both a risk management strategy and a tax minimisation. Setting up your financial framework. Another key part of the process. Unless you’ve got a really robust financial framework, it’s never going to work. We need to get that sorted out upfront as well.

Then ways to find a property that’s at or below market value. Various strategies for getting the right property at the right price.

Of course, research forms a big part of the process so that you can not only identify a suburb or area where there’s profit potential but also looking at what you need in a property for that to have profit potential.

We teach our signature system for adding value. Stephen and I used to always do structural renos and I think just because we could. Until we realised that really the sweet spot isn’t a structural reno, it’s actually a bit more than a cosmetic reno. We call it a Cosmetic Plus. It’s a cosmetic renovation with some aspect of livability or function that’s going to push up the profit potential. And there are several ways of doing that. So we go through those processes.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

We actually have 5 touch points for every project that you need to make sure you’ve covered to make sure that you have done everything you need to do to produce a significant profit.

Also, the key principles to professional project management, what you may not know, that’s Stephen’s area of expertise in that he has been a senior project manager in construction for nearly 40 years. He currently builds hospitals and universities and so he operates on a different level. But our program embodies the principles that he’s taught me. So project management, due diligence, sourcing the right property, being able to do due diligence in terms of price, due diligence and property due diligence and full feasibility.

We teach you benchmarks so that depending on the type of property and the type of renovation you are doing, the sort of ballpark figures that you can use for your back of the envelope calculations. Then, of course, we move on to full due diligence.

You’ll also learn how to manage your reno budget, how much to spend and where to spend it. Other things that you will learn are the requirements for renovating apartments and the things that you need to look out for. It’s a slightly different process and so you need to adjust your approach accordingly.

Another thing that we teach is joint venture structures. Joint ventures are amazing when they work well, but they also bring in a level of complication or risk. And so I think I’ve done 8 joint ventures. Over the years, I have developed ways of dealing with the nuances. People think that joint ventures are about money and they sort of are about money, but they’re also about relationships. So I always equated. It’s like getting married. And you have to assume at some point in that project you are going to absolutely hate the person you are in a joint venture with. And so we need to make sure that you are fully equipped and able to negotiate that and avoid the problems that many JV’s have.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

We do our high-level coverage of high cash flow strategies like Airbnb. So one of the things we teach you is how to identify the profit potential in a property in terms of Airbnb. It’s quite a simple feasibility process that we have pretty much down pat because, you know, if you’ve got a negatively geared property, that would be one of the things that we look at to turn that baby around because it really is disabling if you’ve got cash pouring out the back door as fast as you’re making it.

We cover styling. We cover managing of the sales. We cover lots more. But I’m not going to name everything because I feel like this has been quite long.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Your instructors in the training are me. Obviously, I’m the key person. I’ve been renovating for over 30 years. Stephen is our construction and contracts expert he has a long history in construction, but also an MBA specialising in contract administration, which is very handy little skill for renovators.

We also have David, who is our son, an architect. He will come in to critique your plan. So if you have a property already and you are planning to renovate, he will actually have a look at your plans and give you some ideas on what you can do with that plan. He will help you problem-solve, troubleshoot. He’s been working on our renovations since he was in the second year in Uni. He is a rare breed of an architect who actually understands renovating for profit.

Of course, I mentioned our accountant, Brian will deliver the taxation and legal structures section of the training and one of our financial gurus will come and talk about finance and the ins and outs of financing renos.

For the duration of the Bootcamp. You’ll be working on a case study and if you already have a project, that case study can be your project. So we work with floor plans, budgets and putting together a renovation plan so that you actually have hands-on experience in the process.

Another feature of the Bootcamp is we actually do a site visit of one of our renos theory is a great thing, but it’s always far more, I guess, practical to actually see the project in the flesh and you’ll start to understand some of the things that we’ve been talking about in the boardroom.

Rennie Street Project

And of course, we don’t do anything without beautiful food. We do our catering slightly differently so that it is also very personal. But I’m not going to share that secret now. You’re going to have to wait to come in to know how that works. After the site visit that happens on a Saturday night. Anyone who would like to is welcome to join us for dinner. We always go to a local establishment for dinner at the end of the day.

And of course, the Bootcamp is also available to you online. And also you get a hard copy of the training and the systems to take away with you.

I’m not going to mention everything because I need to leave some surprises there. That’s pretty much how we roll. So we’re often asked how we are different to others. And I would have to say there are 3 things that I think are a massive difference.

Firstly, the fact that we are small and personal. We are not about scaling our training. We want to keep it small and personal because we get great satisfaction out of that. We want to know our students and know what they’re doing.

The second thing is that we are a family business and in itself doesn’t mean a lot, except that we are a family of industry professionals. We have Stephen, who is a senior construction expert. He would be one of the top 50 project managers in Australia. There’s David. He has been drawing pictures of houses since he was 3 and has been working on our plans since he was at Uni. And so has that pretty much down pat. And of course, myself, I have been renovating for profit for around almost 30 years.

And the third thing that I think sets us apart is that we have a no commissions policy. In terms of our training when we bring specialists in or we recommend buyers agents or accountants or mortgage brokers. We do not accept commissions. We do that so that you know, that the person we’re recommending to you is the person that’s best for you. And it’s not about what’s in it for us.

I forgot to mention our reno shopping secret. So where to buy supplies? You will never pay full price for anything again. You’ll be buying wholesale both for your renovating and your styling supplies.

In terms of the Bootcamp, it is held in Surry Hills in Sydney. It’s within a 10-minute walk from Central Station. So if you’re flying in, you can grab the train from the airport and there are masses of accommodation venues in the same block as our building. But I would suggest if you are flying in to treat yourself and stay at Paramount House, which is directly over the road, and it’s a boutique hotel set in the old Paramount studio building. It consists of a very unique studio room and we’ll give you lots of renovation inspiration.

I am going to call it a day to clear this episode finished. And I’ll see you next week.

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

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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