FLIPPING 10 houses in 12 years is no mean feat, but WA’s The Block 2017 contestants Ronnie and Georgia Caceres make it look like a walk in the park.
The self-confessed renovation addicts and parents to three children are renovating and selling their 11th property under the watchful eye of viewers of the popular TV show, which airs from Sunday night on Channel 9.
The couple’s strong track record of earning a profit from redoing and selling properties continues to shine despite Perth’s depressed real estate market.
Their latest project in Mt Lawley, which won the prestigious Design Excellence award at this year’s Building Designers Association of WA Design Awards, is currently under offer.
The 100-year-old residence, which was extended and most recently advertised with an asking price from $1.249 million, was originally bought for $1.24 million as a 1012sq m triplex block. It was then subdivided and the two rear blocks sold off.
The couple used the same formula on their heritage-listed North Perth home after purchasing it for $1.6 million in 2014.
The subdivided blocks sold for $480,000 and $545,000, while the fully revamped and extended interwar Californian bungalow sold late last year for $1.34 million.
“When flipping houses, you can actually make good money out of it if you select the right house in the right street in the right suburb,” Mr Caceres said.
“Gone are the days of purchasing a property, spending $100,000 on renovating it and expecting a $100,000 profit.
“That is why you only make money flipping houses in Perth when you do it with a development site – you buy a duplex or triplex, you sell the land and renovate the house at the front but the house has to be an old style, character home to make good money.”
So when Mr and Mrs Caceres arrived in the Victorian suburb of Elsternwick for The Block, they could not believe their luck when they discovered they had to renovate a Federation home with a modern extension for the show.
“It was a blessing in disguise and we were like, ‘oh my god, this is amazing’,” Mr Caceres said.
“To tell you the truth, if it was an apartment, I don’t know how we would have gone.”
Touted as the ones to beat in this year’s competition, Mr and Mrs Caceres said it was a nice change to be able to invest all of their time and energy into a property without distractions.
“The fact we had seven days to focus on renovating one room was just absolutely incredible and using other people’s money as well was a dream come true,” Mr Caceres said.
“Georgia and I will walk away from this experience knowing that we’ve left nothing on the table, we’ve renovated a house that flows consistently from the front all the way through to the back, and I’m just so proud because it’s been a long time since WA has had a couple they can get behind.”
Mr Caceres, a solid plasterer by trade, said he and his wife stuck to another of their winning formulas to hopefully win this year’s show – with him looking after the build and the trades while Mrs Caceres, a childrenswear designer, took care of the styling and interiors.
“I think there was a lot more pressure on Georgia going out and making those decisions but if there’s one thing she does really well, it’s seeing something that she likes and she will make the move to commit to it,” Mr Caceras said.
“I think I kind of work well under pressure and if I see something that I like, I am quick to select it; you just can’t second-guess yourself on the show because you just don’t have the time to do that.”
But the couple admit that it wasn’t all that straightforward, with Mrs Caceres featuring prominently on the Channel 9 teaser ranting, “Let’s not call it The Block, let’s just call it The Ronnie Show”.
“There was definitely a few argy-bargies on the show but that’s just Ronnie and I and it wouldn’t be Ronnie and I if we didn’t have, what we like to call, a heated discussion,” Mrs Caceres said.
“It was a very stressful environment with (foremen) Keith (Schleiger) and Dan (Reilly) coming around every couple of hours making sure you’re doing the right job and, you know what, drama happens on the show naturally; they don’t have to create drama on the show,” Mr Caceres said.
The couple are hoping to get a renovating show from their experience on The Block but are also already on the hunt for their next house flip in Perth.
Ronnie’s and Georgia’s top tips for flipping Perth homes
Identify who your buyer is: When we were renovating a house in Mt Lawley, we knew the type of people buying those houses. Over in Elsternwick in Victoria, we spoke to a real estate agent who is at the top of his game in the suburb.
Set a budget and stick to it: You might have some really grand ideas but it they don’t suit and work within your budget, then you have to modify those ideas.
Don’t make crazy design choices: These will put half your buyers off. You need to really try and appeal to as many people as possible.
Do all the work yourself: Don’t be afraid to tackle the work yourself because, at the end of the day, if you make a mistake, you can fix it or get a professional in to fix it. The more trades you employ, that’s profit coming out of your pocket.