PLACES IN THE HEART

When it comes to prop­erty, should you stay or should you go?

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page - By Neale Whi­taker Neale Whi­taker is co-host of Foxtel’s Love It Or List It Aus­tralia on Life­style, and a judge on Nine Net­work’s The Block.

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.

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