PLACES IN THE HEART
When it comes to property, should you stay or should you go?
There’s not much that Andrew Winter and I agree on. My Love It Or List It Australia co-host and I generally agree to differ professionally on most things, but there’s one thing we concede. We’re both terrible navigators. Spin us around once – or far worse, disconnect Google Maps – and we have absolutely no idea where we are. The show’s producers despair of us ever returning to base after a driving scene. Which is all the funnier given how many kilometres we’ve clocked up over the past eight months while filming 13 episodes of the show in five Australian cities.
Love It Or List It Australia (or LIOLI, to give it its affectionate acronym) returns to Foxtel’s Lifestyle on Wednesday, and this season we’ve added Adelaide and the Gold Coast to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Anyone familiar with LIOLI will know the show touches on two things close to Australian hearts – real estate and renovation – and Andrew and I come to the rescue of Aussie households divided down the middle. Should they renovate their homes and stay, or sell up and move on? Along the way there’s plenty of good property viewing (nobody can tempt with real estate like Mr Winter) and some pretty deft renovating, too. That’s my department, aided by a very talented design team.
It’s a mix that makes for great viewing, but with or without television cameras, the show’s central theme is a familiar one. With real estate in its current state of flux, there’s more at stake than ever in making the right decision. Renovating is a costly business, but so too is selling. On the right-brain “love it” side, the equation almost always includes the often incalculable – and sometimes illogical – emotional attachment to a house or suburb, and the belief and vision that problems can be solved without booking the removalists. Left-brain “list it” thinking grapples with issues of functionality, over-capitalisation, aspiration (“all this could be yours”) and the indisputable power of real estate dollars. But what really makes a home tick? Is it that extra bedroom, second loo or revamped laundry – or something far less tangible? The show might be called Love It Or List It, but it could just as easily be called Heart Versus Head. It’s a debate as old as time, but one that still has the power to challenge and surprise. As the next 13 Wednesdays will demonstrate.