More people stay put and renovate – Cherie Barber

More people stay put and renovate – Cherie Barber

Housing affordability and the high cost of relocation will see a lot more people opt to stay put and renovate according to Cherie Barber. Cherie talks about the renovation trends we will see in 2017.


Kevin:  Just what’s on the horizon for renovators? We could get no better advice on that from Cherie Barber from Renovating for Profit, who joins me.
Good morning, Cherie, and thanks for your time.
Cherie:  Good morning.
Kevin:  I’m keen to hear what you see as the trends for next year. Is renovation still going to be something that wise investors will be doing in 2017?
Cherie:  Absolutely. With housing affordability being such an issue and the high cost of relocating, more people than ever are choosing to stay put and renovate instead, so that’s great.
I do see that there is going to be continued strong demand for quick cosmetic renovations. Unfortunately, a lot of structural renovations these days are becoming a lot more troublesome with council and cost of reports and CC certificate, so I’m definitely seeing an uptake in the amount of cosmetic renovations.
Kevin:  What are the key things to be careful of if you’re looking at picking up a property, renovating it, and turning it over quickly? Are the fundamentals good for that right now?
Cherie:  Yes and no. The buy, renovate, and sell strategy, it’s not particularly a very good market. Again, when the prices rise, the buy, renovate, and sell strategy fizzles out a little bit, so to speak.
There’s very strong interest in the buy, renovate, and rent strategy right now. Again, housing shortages, tenancy shortages, there is always good demand for tenants. So yes, definitely the buy, renovate, and rent strategy is the winning formulation for 2017.
Kevin:  Are you finding that any particular markets are better than others in Australia, Cherie?
Cherie:  I think a lot of markets are still really good. Obviously, cosmetics don’t tend to work well within 20 kilometers of the CBD. Outside of those areas will work, 20+ from any major CBD.
Regional areas will work okay, but it’s very much suburb-dependent. As we know, Kevin, renovations don’t work in every single suburb, so you have to be selective and choose the suburbs that are going to get you good growth potential as well, because that’s a big thing for renovators.
A lot of renovators buy a property, they get in and renovate it, they’ll get it revalued, or they’ll flip it. Most people are getting the properties revalued, and they do rely on getting good capital growth so that they can refinance into that six or twelve months or two years later, whatever it may be, and then leverage that equity as the deposit to go do project number two.
Kevin:  I know that you help a lot of people around Australia – and have done so for many years – get into the renovation market. Has the profile of the typical renovator changed, Cherie, the people who are coming to you for advice?
Cherie:  Strangely enough, it’s all sorts of people. You have young people, young property guns. There are a lot more people who are educated on property these days, so we’re definitely seeing a very broad market – young people right through to people as old as their 80s, and I have no problem with that. I think anybody at any age can renovate or do anything in property, so it’s good to see.
And obviously, a lot more women coming through the renovation ranks. At the moment, 70% of my students across the country are female, so it’s an interesting step.
Kevin:  What do they bring to the renovation skillset that may be males don’t, in your experience? Is there any way to define that?
Cherie:  It’s definitely not a Battle of the Roses. The reality is if you’re a female at a renovation site, you need men on site; they have physical strength that we just don’t have as females. But what I do think works well for women is our organizational skills. We are born multitaskers.
That’s not to say that men aren’t, but women tend to be particularly good at this. And we all know that on a renovation site, the key is how well organized you are and your ability to coordinate many people. Women do really well with that. They also have great skills in design and color as well, maybe more so a little bit than our male counterparts.
But as I said, males and females each bring their own collective skills to the party, so as long as we all work together, that’s what we hope for, a successful renovation.
Kevin:  That ability to manage a project that you talked about there and get all the timeframes right and do all that careful planning, is that one of the big pluses that females bring to this?
Cherie:  Absolutely. You can’t ever go into your renovation disorganized. You have to map everything out before you start. You have to coordinate your trades, you have to book them in, they have to have a scope of works.
When you’re not organized, that’s typically when it costs you more money in labor costs, rework, materials being installed and then having to be ripped out, so good planning is the foundation of any successful renovation.
Kevin:  What are your plans for 2017 in terms of education and seminars and so on, Cherie? What have you got on the agenda?
Cherie:  We’re rolling out a whole series of new online courses. We have Cosmetic Renovations for Profit coming in the new year. We’ve just launched Interior Design for Profit. That’s for anybody who wants to know the basic principles of interior design and property styling so that they can potentially train themselves on how to do that themselves.
And we have a whole series of other property-related courses – granny flats, small developments. Yes, there are five or six courses rolling out, which we’re pretty excited about.
Kevin:  And all available through your website?
Cherie:  Yes,
Kevin:  Always good talking to you, Cherie Barber. Thank you so much for your time, and all the best for 2017. I look forward to talking to you as the year goes on, too.
Cherie:  Thanks, Kevin. I appreciate it.

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