Channel Nine’s renovation juggernaut The Block wrapped on its 14th season this year, seeing Hayden and Sara from New South Wales take the (slightly controversial) win, represented by McGrath St Kilda principal Michael Townsend.
But representing Kerrie and Spence from South Australia was The Block’s first all-female (and the only female agents this season) team, Emily Adams and Stephanie Evans of hockingstuart Albert Park.
2018 wasn’t Stephanie’s first go on The Block merry-go-round. Last year she partnered up with hockingstuart Albert Park director and auctioneer David Wood to help Josh and Elyse take the win, and she’s been a part of the show for a couple of years. She was excited to get another shot, this year with Emily by her side, with David still very much part of the group effort.
“You pitch for them like any sort of business you would go out and try to win. We didn’t have an established relationship with Channel Nine, or the program, they just take into consideration our market results in the area,” says Stephanie.
“Albert Park is the original hockingstuart office; we’ve been in the Bayside area for over 30 years. Those sort of factors play into account when teams are making the selection. It helps that David has a history with the show, but our results as an office in this area was the final factor in the decision.”
With Emily’s experience in marketing behind the scenes, she was in the perfect position to help sell a property as unique as the Gatwick apartment. Combined with Stephanie’s extensive sales background, the duo create a formidable team.
“We ran the sales campaign much the way we would run a normal campaign, but amplified. You’re dealing with a lot more enquiries, way more exposure, the corporate office gets involved,” says Stephanie.
“You’ve got to filter through to work out who are buyers and who are just spectators, so there’s a lot more work. Everyone has to register for the opens so we can qualify people as being actual buyers. We used an Eventbrite ticket system so they were registered and only let in about 30 people at a time so it wasn’t every man and his dog.”
The show earned a lot of criticism this year from property experts for throwing a large number of high-end apartment properties on the market at the same time – something detractors said was setting the contestants and agents up to fail. Emily says there’s no doubt the current market made it a slightly harder task, but that they got the best outcome they could do in a cooler climate.
“I think the current climate has probably been the most challenging out of any of The Blocks, but that’s the odds. Every year you’re faced with the challenge of five or so similar properties hitting the market at the same time. Yes, in the current market selling these properties individually would have been easier, but that isn’t the game,” says Emily.
“You just need to look at the clearance rights that are going around at the moment. They’re sitting at 50 per cent now, but this time last year we were 75 to 80 per cent. It’s quite clear that the market has had a bit of a correction. If anything, the results this year showed that The Block properties are always going to be sought after, especially with the quality this year, the size, the quality and the fact you’re getting them fully furnished. They’re not something you can just buy on a day-to-day basis.
“Smart investors have seen that opportunity to jump on them, especially when they’re competing with five others, and we’ve seen Block properties that have resold again after other series go on to make a profit. It shows that you’re buying a good asset,” says Emily.
As for being the only female agents on The Block 2018, Emily and Stephanie say that gave them an advantage and is something they expect to see much more of in the future.
“There have been so many studies done that show that women make the majority of decisions in buying and selling homes, even if the man is at the forefront. It’s the woman in the background who’s making the decisions. So for a female agent to be able to connect with a woman buyer, I think it’s a huge advantage for us in the market,” says Stephanie.
“There can even be a bit of apprehension in speaking to these older male agents who’ve been around for a long time and are a bit old-school. There were so many good agents who worked on The Block, but being able to promote that point of difference really helped make us stand out. I think there’s also a different attention to detail from women which really helps to sell these higher-end properties,” adds Emily.
So would they do it all again next year when the ever-popular show inevitably returns to our screens? It’s a resounding yes, but they’re quick to point out that if you’re going on a TV show for a boost to your career or your presence in the industry it can have its downsides.
“It always helps to get the exposure and a little bit of airtime here and there, it’s great promotion, but you’re putting yourself in the hands of the producers. At the end of the day you have to take what you’re given and it can be interesting to see what angle you get,” says Stephanie.
“I know a couple of the agents who went in to win some business weren’t really shown in the best light, so at the end of the day it’s not up to you what goes to air. But if your intentions are good and you’re doing the right thing you’re at least going to get great exposure from it and some experience running a different sort of campaign,” says Stephanie.
Of course, it isn’t just the four weeks of the show either. Stephanie and Emily said the experience ended up taking a couple of months, but it also gave them a great chance to speak to some buyers who maybe missed out on Auction Day but are now in the market for a $2 million+ property, who they’re now working with to find something else on their books. As per usual with television, it isn’t always the outcome you expect which ends up being the best one.
“I’d love to do it again, and represent all the female agents out there. I’d love to keep bringing some diversity to the show. 2019 is looking really strong for us; we’ve already signed up a couple of auctions for February when it all kicks off again – our market is quite seasonal and we go really quiet across January. But it means we can take time off, enjoy the summer break, and come back strong in February, completely refreshed and ready for the year,” says Stephanie.