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A home renovator’s dream


Newcastle’s Werine Erasmus is a professional renovator, but it hasn’t always been that way.

When she first started out, she was like most of us – a little bit clueless – and relied on YouTube videos to teach her a thing or two.

Werine says she watched all the renovation shows and they inspired her to see if she could do it.

Twenty years on, she has flipped more than 20 properties and is now living mortgage free.

“I am [a] house flipper – I renovate, make it all nice and then I sell again, but I also help other people from time to time just to plan their renovations,” she says.

“I wanted to be mortgage free ASAP, so, with flipping homes, it gave me a creative outlet but also gave me the opportunity to add value to a home and then sell at a higher price.”

One of Werine’s favourite rooms to renovate is the kitchen because it’s the hub of the home.

She adds that, during the early years, she made plenty of mistakes.

Now, Werine has channelled her expertise into a new book to help people renovate their homes.

The Happy Renovator is full of tips, checklists, and advice to make anyone’s renovation easier, quicker and profitable.

Werine says it has been a good two years in the making and that the book is a one stop shop for beginners.

Werine with a copy of her book and her dog Pesto. Photo: Peter Stoop

“People are giving me feedback saying things like: ‘I was going to invest thousands of dollars into a course, but it is all in your book,’” she says.

“So, you don’t have to necessarily go to reno school somewhere if you get the book – it will be a very good basis of where to start.”

The passionate renovator believes if she can do it, anyone can.

“I am just your average Australian girl next door – I didn’t get any training, I just had a goal and YouTube and gave it a go,” she says.

“I really think anyone can do it, as long as you can stick to a budget.”

Werine says two of the most important steps are research and choosing a property that will suit you.

She suggests starting small and choosing a property you can manage.

Another important factor is support. Werine often turns to her husband, family and dogs, Pesto and Pony, for encouragement.  

Go to The Happy Renovator website for more information.

Werine’s Top Renovation Tips:

  • Improvements that can be seen will add the most value. This includes new flooring, light fittings, and window coverings.
  • Avoid big risks such a structural changes or repairs.
  • Don’t spend more on the works than the value it will add to the property. Stick to a budget.
  • Kitchen and bathrooms sell homes. A new kitchen or bathroom can add a lot more value to a home.
  • Aim for a two-for-one-dollar return; for every dollar spent, try to make two dollars.
  • Some of the most value adding changes you can make are:
    • Open plan living
    • New kitchen
    • New bathroom
    • Ensuite
    • Second bathroom
    • Extra bedroom
    • Walk-in robe
    • Built-in wardrobes
    • Butler’s pantry
    • Granny Flat
    • Lock-up garage
    • Double garage
    • Garage + carport
    • Shed

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