The Block 2023: Selling a home from a reality TV show
After winning three out of the four previous series they’ve been on, the team from McGrath’s St Kilda office is excited to be back for the 2023 series of The Block. While filming took place in a regional area last year, this year it’s back in their neighbourhood, with five 1950s-era houses in Charming Street, Hampton East being transformed for the show. In the grand finale of the 2021 series, they sold the four-bedroom home in Hampton that Blockheads Mitch and Mark renovated for $4,044,444.44 — $644,444.44 over the reserve. So, it’s no surprise that the production team were keen to pass their details on to contestants Kyle and Leslie for this year’s series. “I think the producers want agents they know and trust,” Stirling said. “The contestants didn’t talk to anyone else – they just wanted us. When we met with them, we decided we’d definitely do it again. It’s a big time commitment, but they’re such nice people and really genuine. It felt like a good match.”
With public open for inspections being brought back for the first time post-COVID, there’s sure to be strong interest in the property. “In the first one we did there were thousands upon thousands of people streaming through all day,” Stirling said. “You get really big Block fans, and it gives them the chance to come down and meet the contestants and see the properties in the flesh. They love it. We do some client nights as well and there’s a lot of closet Block fans out there. The other exciting thing this season is that we’re dealing with properties at a reasonable price point. We’re quoting in the high twos. It’s a lot of money but it’s a bit more affordable. It’s opened it up to more owner-occupiers, whereas in the past we have got more investors.”
While the sales campaign runs like any other, Stirling said The Block auctions are unique. “There’s a bit of X factor with the auctions, which keeps everyone on their toes,” he said. “It’s different to a normal campaign. Some buyers deal directly with the producers, so we don’t know who’s a registered bidder until 24 hours before. It tests your nerves a little bit but so far – touch wood – we’ve sold them all under the hammer. That’s our goal. We want the other agents to sell, but we want to exceed our contestants’ expectations by getting them the best possible result.”
Townsend said having several multi-million dollar properties go to auction in the same street on the same day is unusual – and an exciting thing to be part of.
The agents have been involved since the beginning of the process in February, consulting with the contestants about what buyers want. “We put our success down to our hands-on approach,” Townsend said. “I’ve said to every contestant, ‘It’s not about the room or throwing the baby out with the bathwater because last week the judge said your colour scheme was no good. We need the holistic end product, and the house that we’re selling on auction day has to have flow. Our consultation with contestants is so much more than is ever shown on TV and it’s so, so important. We have been on the phone late at night recommending tradies and helping with the project management side of things. Some contestants in the past have wanted us to be the line judge, saying ‘he wants that, but she thinks this’.”
Despite the massive publicity the show generates, Townsend said it was important not to rest on your laurels. “You can’t think that The Block juggernaut is going to do it for you,” he said. “Yes, these listings have the greatest exposure of any in the Australian market each year. It’s the highest rating show on TV. But we don’t waiver from what we know works. We have $10 million properties on the market at the moment, and the process is the same. It’s about getting close to the buyers, understanding them. We’ve always treated it as a normal listing and a normal vendor. They get the same service level and same selling process that’s proven and works. I don’t think we’ve ever had the best house out of all the ones that we’ve won.”
Selling a home on national TV undoubtedly adds to the pressure, but Townsend is not phased. “Pressure creates diamonds,” he said. “As far as real estate goes, The Block is kind of like the grand final. We are running out there with the McGrath jersey on and we want to make everyone proud.”