Renovating for profit - Cherie Barber's top tips

Despite renovating over 140 properties and building a hugely successful career in the media and property space, Cherie Barber admits she’s made her fair share of mistakes. But it’s the lessons learned across three decades in the industry that has led to a comprehensive suite of online resources and courses designed to help everyday Australians achieve their renovation and property dreams.

Photo: Renovating for Profit

We caught up with ‘Australia’s Renovation Queen’ to learn more about her online courses and top tips for anyone looking to renovate for profit.

Please note: all insights and information provided should be considered general advice for educational purposes only. As we’re unaware of your own personal circumstances, you should not mistake any information in this article as personalised investment advice. We recommend seeking advice from a qualified financial professional before making any major financial decision.

What is the average age of people who register for your online courses?

We have a mix of ages. We have young entrepreneurial types and older Australians and retirees as well.

My oldest student in a previous course was 83 – she wanted to become a professional renovator. I just had so much respect for her. It just shows you’re never too old to start anything including renovating. Many older Australians have great attention to detail and in my experiences, they seem to have a lot of time for other people as well.

Is it possible to renovate or redesign in both a functional and stylish way?

You’ve actually got to do that. You can’t just have a functional space that looks ugly and you can’t have a beautiful place that’s not functional. So, the two go hand in hand. We’re just about to release a new course in the next couple of months called Renovate your home, and that’s how you can actually renovate your home to a budget but also functionally and to a beautiful style, as well. So, that’s a definite course to look out for.

Do you have any advice for older Australians who may be reluctant to renovate for fear of being ripped off?

I’ve had a lot of people contact me over the years and tell me they’ve been ripped off. I think the key is education. It doesn’t matter if you’re 90 or 19, if you’re not educated about a property, you’re open prey. It’s important to do courses and educate yourself with people who know what they’re talking about, rather than people who have got no track record behind them. All of our courses have been developed based on my own personal experiences as a professional renovator for the last 30 years. They’re written in plain English and designed for all skill levels.

Do you have any other tips for retirees looking to renovate for profit?

Buying property through your super is a big thing for retirees. So, if you’re going to do something like a buy, renovate and sell strategy, a tax effective way of doing that is to buy unrenovated property through your super. There’s a lot of tax benefits for retirees in the renovate for profit space.

A lot of people around 50 have a bit of a financial awakening. They think, I’m retiring in 15 years, I don't have enough money in my super. How am I going to live off that? Property is a great way to build your equity a lot faster. Any older Australian right now who can buy property in their super, and is in a position to hold on to that property, is likely to do well, especially with property values rising so quickly. 

I’d also say that people need to get independent financial advice – 100%. Do this in combination with other sources of information. Follow people who walk the talk, who provide evidence and have real life case studies they can show you. 

To register for one of Cherie’s free live webcasts or to learn more about her courses, visit the Renovating for Profit website.

Remember: all information provided in this article is general in nature and should not be considered personalised advice. Please consult a financial professional if you would like to receive personalised financial or investment advice.