It’s all too common a scenario where a builder quotes for a project, only to add more and more variations along the way because it wasn’t exactly what the customer wanted. This blows out not only the budget but adds time and unnecessary pressure to the build and it could have all been avoided if things were more clear in the first place.

In this episode, we have a special treat as Rebeka is joined by fellow female builder, Elizabeth Abdallah from Sencon Homes. They discuss the ins and outs of quoting for new builds and renovations and things to look out for when deciding whether to renovate or knock the whole thing down and start from scratch.

With over 15 years of building experience, Elizabeth started her developer journey when she was pregnant with her first child (she has 4 kids just like Rebeka!). Looking for a challenge apart from her growing baby, she decided to build two townhouses next to each other and potentially sell one off and do it all over again. Well, she certainly picked her market because when boom time came, she more than doubled her value, and thus began the start of her exciting building and developing journey.

Elizabeth has loads of experience in renovating and building from scratch as she now spends the majority of her time building for others, also leaving room for personal projects on the side. In this episode, Elizabeth and Rebeka discuss the process a builder needs to go through when quoting for a job and the importance of being really clear about what you want and communicating that with the builder so they can quote effectively. They discuss some examples of when renovating might not be worth it from a financial perspective but how it’s also important to consider the emotional side of things, especially when dealing with homes with character.

A big takeaway from today’s episode is do your research. Providing a comprehensive itemized quote to a customer is a huge amount of work for a builder, so knowing what you want and communicating those desires is a really great place to start.

If you have a topic or question you’d like us to cover, contact us here.


  • [1:54]: How Liz started her journey when she was first pregnant and ended up building two townhouses side by side. She caught the bug and kept going!
  • [3:18]: Liz shares how she started building her portfolio, became a registered builder and how she splits her time between projects for herself and others
  • [4:37]: How Liz loves the handover and the reward of giving somebody something they love that they wouldn’t be able to do themselves
  • [5:04]: Liz’s general rule is that she won’t do more than 3-4 builds at the same time, making sure that she doesn’t let people down
  • [6:22]: How people often run out of money towards the end of the build
  • [7:30]: When deciding whether to do a renovation or new build, look at the existing layout and if there are any structural changes required
  • [9:00]: How the way roofs were structured in the past wouldn’t be approved by today’s standards.
  • [11:27]: The cost vs benefit calculation you need to go through when considering which changes to make
  • [13:30]: How changing doors on an older home is more expensive than a new home because of the thickness of the walls and quality of wood
  • [15:30]: From a monetary point of view, if you’re increasing the footprint by 1.5 times, you’re better off knocking it down and starting again
  • [16:10]: Keeping the front of the home when there is character is important from a street view perspective. The heritage register will dictate what you are able to do.
  • [19:00]: When quoting for a renovation, it’s easier if the customer can have a minimum specification.  Make sure you ask the right questions to the builder when you receive your quote.
  • [20:20]: Make sure you do your research and have a spec sheet that itemizes what you want. Building a quote is a huge amount of work.
  • [22:30]: How BuildHer teaches people how to tender and how to deep dive on areas where there are discrepancies. Good builders will be able to give you a fixed price and trade breakdown because they need to do that as part of their work.
  • [24:30]: Liz will be speaking to the inner circle


We have several Facebook Groups at BuildHer Collective.


BHC DevelopHers Circle and BuildHer Collective Members Only – these are closed groups for women who are doing our Build Like a BuildHer course or who have joined our DevelopHers Inner Circle.


Anyone is more than welcome to join our Women who Design, Decorate, Renovate & Build group. You will note that it’s a closed group but ask to join and if you’re into building and renovating, this is such an amazing and supportive FREE community, so come on and join in the building goodness!