Cherie Barber’s 7 top renovating secrets

The renovation queen's guide to making makeover dreams come true.
Marcel Aucer

There are avid renovators and then there’s Cherie Barber – a queen amongst men and women in the field of house flipping. Over the past two decades, the property expert has amassed a library of renovating secrets learned along the way as she has honed her renovating prowess – tackling more than 50 of her own projects!

With her premier US series, ‘Five Day Flip’ and a series of ‘Interior Design for Profit’ online courses, we ask the DIY doyenne for the secrets to her success.

Whether renovating to add value or to enjoy for years to come, keeping a close eye on the bottom line is always smart. This is the renovating gospel according to Queen Cherie.

Cherie Barber's renovating secrets
(Credit: Brigid Arnott)

1. What not to do when buying a renovation property

Never pay too much for the property to start with – it will be almost impossible to claw that money back when renovating and still make a decent profit. Purchasing at the right price requires research and due diligence checks to come to understand what properties are worth in the suburbs you’re sizing up.

2. What to avoid when renovating

Watch out for remedial works at the time of purchase. These can turn out to be costly fixes. A building inspection is your best friend here.

3. How to avoid spending too much on your renovation

Avoid overcapitalising on a home – pouring more money into your renovation than the property is worth. As a rule of thumb, don’t spend more than 10 per cent of the current value on cosmetic renovations.

Remember, a poorly executed renovation is likely to actually devalue, rather than add value, to your property.

4. How many quotes to get when renovating

Here’s a renovating secret you may be familiar with – always get three quotes for jobs – it’s the only way you’ll be able to properly evaluate the actual cost of work.

5. Shop around for renovating materials

Shop around to ensure you’re buying all your materials at the best price possible.

6. What to factor into your renovating budget

Factor in delays and plan for disasters. Weather, unforeseen defects and overbooked tradies can cause work to drag out. As can materials that fail to turn up on time.

7. Tips on DIY renovating

DIY where you can. A fresh coat of paint in a modern colour palette can give you a three-fourfold return on investment. And the best thing is, you don’t need to hire tradies, as long as you have the time, skill and patience to do it yourself.

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