The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - CHAN­TAY LO­GAN

Queens­land v NSW, Coke v Pepsi, Leno v Let­ter­man, Holden v Ford. An­drew Win­ter v Neale Whi­taker. The duo’s ri­valry is real on new se­ries Love It or List It Australia, but view­ers can rest as­sured it’s friendly fire.

The lo­cal ver­sion of a global fran­chise pits Selling Houses favourite An­drew against The Block judge Neale as they at­tempt to sway the home­own­ers’ fi­nal de­ci­sion to stay or go.

“It’s a friendly com­pe­ti­tion be­tween Mr Win­ter and my­self … and the home­own­ers,” Neale says.

“An­drew, of course, is Team List It, I’m Team Love It.

“We filmed in Bris­bane, Syd­ney and Mel­bourne and each episode is a real Aus­tralian fam­ily, a real Aus­tralian home and a real Aus­tralian bud­get.

“The houses are too large or small for their needs, too dated or just not func­tion­ing prop­erly and in each sce­nario one mem­ber of the cou­ple wants to stay and one wants to move.

“My job is to try to fix it through a ren­o­va­tion – us­ing their money – and per­suade them that the home of their dreams is ac­tu­ally right un­der their noses.

“An­drew’s job is to lure them away. He’s very com­pet­i­tive.”

While Team List It rarely tri­umphs in global off­shoots of the show, An­drew sug­gests the Aus­tralian score­board is in for a shake-up.

“Neale says he’s not com­pet­i­tive, but he’s let my car tyres down, he’s put in of­fers on prop­er­ties to stop us in­spect­ing,” An­drew says.

“There’s a gen­uine ri­valry there … you just can’t help it.

“We don’t need any fake drama, we don’t need pro­duc­ers mak­ing any­thing up.

“The first episode we shot we don’t know the home­own­ers’ fi­nal de­ci­sion and it was re­ally nerve-rack­ing. We stood there wait­ing and we both nearly had lit­tle wees.”

An­drew rel­ished film­ing the fresh for­mat and hopes au­di­ences ap­pre­ci­ate the au­then­tic­ity of the drama.

“I would never claim to be a Top Gear, but Top Gear was so suc­cess­ful be­cause of the nat­u­ral ri­valry of the peo­ple in­volved in it,” he says.

To fur­ther raise the stakes, the hosts aren’t play­ing with hy­po­thet­i­cals and “TV money” – their de­ci­sions hit the home­own­ers’ hip pocket.

“The small­est bud­get was $75-80,000 and the largest was $250,000,” Neale says. “There was one par­tic­u­lar house where we lit­er­ally gut­ted the whole house and started again. There are a lot of damn good ren­o­va­tion ideas and there’s a lot of prop­erty porn as well.”

An­drew, who lives at Sanc­tu­ary Cove, be­lieves the stay-or-go dilemma faced by home­own­ers on the show will be widely re­lat­able, but par­tic­u­larly per­ti­nent on the Gold Coast.

“We’ve all been there, but this is quite a new dilemma for the Gold Coast be­cause the ma­jor­ity of our hous­ing stock is re­ally ’80s and ’90s on­wards,” he says.

“Up un­til prob­a­bly five years ago the most any of our houses needed was a coat of paint and new floor­ing.

“That stock is now get­ting to an age where it needs a lot more. If it hasn’t been touched since 1987 it prob­a­bly needs new kitchens, new bath­rooms, new floors, pos­si­bly new win­dows … it needs so much done to it.

“That’s go­ing to start to hit the Gold Coast mar­ket now. The ren­o­va­tion mar­ket starts to turn things around.”

An­drew says the trend is ex­as­per­ated by lim­ited sup­ply.

“The Gold Coast is get­ting to a point now where all that in­ner sec­tion is re­ally full, so all the ma­jor de­vel­op­ment is on the north­ern end or in­land on the other side of the mo­tor­way.

“That area in the mid­dle be­comes prime space.

“Sud­denly if you want to be (the beach) side of the mo­tor­way in that strip, you’re go­ing to be more re­stricted.

“You haven’t got 1000 blocks of land wait­ing for you.

“That’s why when the next slump comes – and it al­ways does – we’ll slump more like a big city than a re­gional area.”

Love It or List It Australia was filmed over six months ear­lier this year, with each stand-alone episode fol­low­ing a sin­gle sto­ry­line to its con­clu­sion. “This isn’t nor­mal makeover TV where things are done in three days or a week – it’s over two to three months, but still man­aged very ef­fi­ciently for TV pur­poses,” An­drew says.

“We ac­tu­ally fol­low through and do it – it’s se­ri­ous.

“Neale does full home ex­ten­sions. He’ll do any­thing to beat me.”

Love It or List It Australia episode one is avail­able from Fox­tel’s on de­mand li­brary or streamed on de­mand on Fox­tel Now. Episode two airs Oc­to­ber 4 at 8.30pm on Lifestyle.

Love It or List it Australia hosts Neale Whi­taker and An­drew Win­ter.

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