February 14, 2019

How to stay in love during a reno

BELINDA and Trent Ramke are proof that couples that renovate together, can stay together.

The couple’s most recent project — a knockdown and rebuild at 70 Sydney Avenue at Camp Hill — will go to auction on February 23.


And if their previous sales are anything to go by, they may just be laughing all of the way to the bank.

“It is not easy and we do sometimes butt heads but it is all about communication and compromise,” Mrs Ramke said.

“And knowing your role and sticking to it.”

The couple, who married in 2006, started their full-time house building business, Ramear Investments, in 2015, and have so far completed five projects under that name, and several other houses before they founded the company.

Belinda has a background in finance, and Trent is a builder.

They also have two young children, and are just one of a growing number of couples turning their passion for flipping in to a full-time job.

Two of their recent projects — both new builds, one at Kedron and one at Gordon Park — have been among the top sellers in both suburbs.

They bought 59 Thirteenth Avenue at Kedron for $685,000 in May 2017, knocked down the old house and built a new one, onselling it for $1.65 million just six months later.

Another project at 95 Gordon St in Gordon Park yielded a similar result.

They bought that property for $650,000 in May 2017, demolished the existing house to build a new residence and then flipped that for $1.683 million a year later.

We stick to anything that is on a 500sq m-plus block,” Mrs Ramke said. “Location is a big thing but so is budget.

“We also focus on creating practical family homes … we are both northsiders so typically stick to that area as we know it well.”

Renovating or building can test the strongest of relationship foundations, and even the Ramke’s admit that sometimes it can be a challenge.

But Mrs Ramke said learning to live and work together had changed their relationship, with both of them having to learn how to communicate and compromise.

“I do however think it strengthened it,” she said.

Trent, who reckons he is the practical yin to his wife’s more flashy yang, said together they were able to create a good quality product.

“We butt heads every now and then but we can usually compromise and come up with something we both like,” he said.

One example was a bench seat at the Camp Hill house.

Mrs Ramke said it was such a small detail in the overall picture but was “one of our biggest grievances”.

“It is a tiny element but it was a big deal. It took us a few days to get to where it is now,” she laughed.

So what do the couple say are the key things to building a house and a marriage?

“Know your role and stick to it, schedule family time so it doesn’t consume you and understand that there will always be some heated moments,” Trent said.

“If you don’t butt heads from time to time, you aren’t human.”

Both said that communication and a willingness to compromise were the key things to keep in mind, with Belinda adding that quality sleep was a must.

“Keep it in perspective,” she said. “Don’t sweat the small stuff … it is just a wall colour after all.

“And keep the end goal in focus. We are on the same team and have the same objective.”

As for their Camp Hill house, that is being marketed by Place Newmarket agent Matthew Jabs.

The five bedroom house sits on a 630sq m block with a low maintenance backyard, outdoor entertaining area and a pool.

Mr Jabs said they had already had 215 groups through the Sydney Avenue house since it was launched three weeks ago.

“We have had a lot of buyers, builders, renovators looking for ideas come through,” he said.

“They (the Ramke’s) are getting a bit of a following.”