It’s the ultimate underdog story – two renovation rookies with no experience at all up against plucky, experienced DIYers Alisa and Koan, first-rate, four-time renovators Alice and Caleb, and of course the boys – Andy the builder/farmer and Pete the plumber/every-kind-of-handyman.
We’ve done remarkably well so far – and surprised everyone including ourselves by winning 4 rooms out of 9. And yet I can’t help but shake nervous twinges of cold steel every time I think about auction night. I would confidently say the The Block NZ auction night is more terrifying to me than either my wedding or the time I fought in a charity boxing match in front of 5000 people.
I’ve seen each of the three other wonderful couples pour their heart and souls into their properties and watched with awe and pride as week after week they presented top notch, beautiful rooms and outdoor areas. There’s absolutely no denying that all four teams have produced outstanding homes, all as unique and special as each other. And that’s a problem.
Four houses, each with stand-out features – as different from each other as the couples themselves. This is no front running Libby & Ben scenario; this is Workingman’s Cottage vs. Bungalow vs. Villa vs. Modern. This is double glazing vs. high ceilings, original Kauri floors vs. contemporary bleached oak, stylish vs. heritage. This is it, and no one could possibly make a call. Certainly not me, certainly not the judges and certainly not the real estate agents.
I’ve been doing some reading into the Auckland property market and things are looking pretty positive for us all – in the Belmont area where The Block NZ houses are located, the average home sold for 20.8% above CV (Quotable Value NZ) in the three months to May 2013, and more recent sales shows even stronger performance. The properties are located opposite the highly desirable Takapuna Grammar, 100 metres from St Leonards Beach and a stone’s throw from both Takapuna and Devonport, two of the North Shore’s most popular areas.
This knowledge might reassure the everyday seller, but with so much at stake I’m too much of a realist to believe we might get that lucky. I’m sure there are many people who’ve headed into the auction room with the same sickly mix of dread and hope that I’m feeling – but how many have had the nation watching the result? There better be some tissues at that auction, because I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one crying – with relief, joy or bitter loss, who knows? But there won’t be a dry eye in the house (and mine is rarely dry anyway).
To our new best and life-long friends Pete and Andy, Alice and Caleb and Alisa and Koan, may we always remember this moment as the last time we stood together as equals. For sure as the sun rises, one of us will be the winner and almost undoubtedly Pete and Andy will be driving away in an all new Mazda 6. I only hope we’re all walking away with a heavier wallet worthy of our sacrifices.
Good luck to us all. I love you guys. Let’s party anyway.
Check out Loz and Tom’s house on TradeMe. Flash as.