Interview | Shannon & Simon Win The Block Glasshouse

In a gut-wrenching finale The Block Glasshouse apartments went under the hammer in a bittersweet sequence of auctions in which brothers Shannon and Simon claimed victory.

“The most dramatic auctions ever” is what tonight’s The Block Glasshouse auctions have been labelled and while it might be riveting TV, it’s real life heartache for the three couples whose auctions were largely unsuccessful.

Achieving the highest sale price of $1.9 million, brothers Shannon and Simon were elated at not only achieving the highest profit of $335,000 but also pocketing the $100,000 prize money. Runners up, Chris and Jenna also finished the night on a high earning themselves a tidy $310,000 profit. Unfortunately for the remaining three couples, the same fate didn’t follow.

Chris and Jenna’s three-level apartment, featuring city views from their rooftop terrace, was the first to go under the hammer. After quickly hitting its reserve price of $1.5 million, bidding stalled, creating a sense of fear and anxiety for all contestants. After a gruellingly tense pause in bidding, the property was eventually sold for $1.81 million.

Celebrations came to an abrupt end after the first two auctions though with the third auction of the night, Maxine and Karstan, watching as their auctioneer submitted three vendor bids, before a handful of genuine bids eventually limped the sale price to $1.71 million, earning them a disappointing $40,000 profit inturn instilling fear and anxiety in the remaining two couples.

Next up were Dea and Darren who had arguably produced the most stylish apartment of the five and earned themselves the second most points by the judges for the entire series. Feeling nervous about having the smallest apartment, they watched in horror as their hard work sold for $1.38 million, just $10,000 above its reserve.

In the final auction of the night, Michael and Carlene who secured the most judges points throughout the series, were similarly stunned when their apartment initially failed to even hit its reserve. After a lengthy pause in proceedings, their auctioneer returned to say that a buyer had made a bid of $1.39 million putting the property on the market. When no further bids were made, the property sold at this price, also earning them profit of just $10,000.

Amongst the excitement and devastation, I caught up with Shannon to get the ins and outs of their auction, how their real estate agents were feeling in the lead up and what ‘s next for him and brother Simon.

Congratulations!
Thank you very much.

And commiserations to an extent I guess…
Yeah it was a very very weird night.

You guys decided to go second in the auction order for the night, what was that decision based on?
Our real estate agent wanted to go second and we had originally questioned his reasoning but he said “no we want to go second”. And well, it paid off.

And Auctioneer Damien Cooley was a great get…
The first thing we did when we found out we were on The Block was ring up Damien Cooley as we were told by a good friend in real estate to ring him up and get him on board straight away.

He’s a gun, and has done very well throughout many series of The Block, so that was a good choice.
Yes he is a gun and came highly recommended so it was great to lock him down. He then recommended Jellis Craig to be our agent so we went from there. The two of them actually know each other quite well and as Jellis Craig didn’t get the desired outcome on the Richmond series, they were keen to do well this time around. So it was from there we formed that relationship.

Were they feeling confident throughout your marketing campaign or did they hold any reservations?
No, them and us were always feeling confident. Much of it came down to the reserve… you can have two buyers and a low reserve and smash it. Or you could have ten buyers and high reserve and be absolutely stuffed but they just said that would do the best they could. We had plenty of interest in our unit with 12 registered bidders, but we knew that ultimately it would come down to where the reserve was set.

You must have been in high spirits and feeling confident going into your auction after Chris and Jenna’s positive result. Talk me through that?
Yeah we were! Chris and Jenna going first was all a little bit scary because they hadn’t done real well throughout the show and perhaps didn’t have the strongest apartment, so for them to go first we felt was a bit of a risk. If they bombed out then we feared the rest of us would too. Also their auction stalled for about 30 seconds right on their reserve and the hammer was literally about to come down so it scared the crap out of all of us. If he had hit the hammer right on the reserve then they would have won nothing. I don’t know how they were feeling but we all just held our breaths. It was horrible. But then their auction took off and well, that’s what we had all wanted, a strong start to the auction. Next up was us, and we did so well and were thrilled and honestly thought that Max and Karstan were going to kill it. But for some reason, the wheels just fell off. We just don’t know what happened.

Going into Max and Karstan’s auction, I guess everyone would have been feeling fairly confident but was there really not that much interest?
It was ridiculous… sure they had a bigger reserve than us but only by $100,000. They had a bigger apartment, northerly aspect and another bedroom so to me the reserve didn’t look like it was too much bigger than ours so we figured everyone who missed out on ours would be keen to bid for theirs, especially as it was the last of the bigger units. We expected them to come out and smash it… but yeah it was just so slow and they literally only just got past their reserve. It was such a let down and was horrible to watch. We all felt so bad for them because above winning, we just wanted everyone to do really well.

Dan and I have always felt the competitiveness fade quite quickly in the moments leading up to the auction and you have genuine feelings of wanting everyone to do really well. Did you guys feel that way too?
Yeah that’s right… after they came in poor Max was in tears and Karstan was just angry and it literally felt like we had been to a wedding and then straight to a funeral. Two extremes! It was the quietest and most devastating silence. It’s not like we could say “oh sorry man, better luck next year”, I mean who would want to do that again! We were happy that we were in front but at the same time it was hard to see our good mates not being compensated for all their hard work.

On the back of the Fans v Faves auction results you must have been thinking you were pretty safe. Did you always believe you were going to do well?
Well we didn’t think we were going to make $800,000 but we all thought we were going to do really well. Even when our auction finished and we pocketed $335,000 we looked at each other and were so stoked but both said that it wouldn’t be enough to win it. There was almost a bit of momentum going and then nothing. And then Dea and Daz only made $10,000 and then straight onto Michael and Carlene who made the same. Their auction pretty much stopped before their reserve so they were literally pulling money out of whatever bidders there were in the room to even make a $10,000 profit. When Carlene came back after their auction I gave her a hug and just lost it, it was horrible.

Do you think it would have been better to perhaps let them pass the property in?
Well that’s what we were saying. We were actually screaming at the TV saying “turn it in, turn it in” so that they could have another month on the market and then do as good as they possibly can. But I guess the bids were there and they had to take it.

Gosh, it’s such a shame for them… everyone produced such a great product. On a lighter note though, you guys must be stoked. How is your family feeling about it all?
Oh mum and dad and our two sisters all came down for it and were just over the moon. We almost made half a million bucks!! That is huge so they were ridiculously happy.

So it seems that the sibling combinations do well on The Block. Could be a secret weapon. You actually made a similar amount to Mike and Andrew from my first series.
Ahh yes it could be [laughs].

So what is next for you guys, are you just going to continue to build your business Vos Creative Services?
We have a few things in the pipeline. There are actually a few designers that want us to work for them, which is great. So we just need to go home and sift through whatever offers there are on the table and determine what is going to be best for us. We will just chill out for the next week or so and then get home and then figure things out from there. I definitely want to continue with interior design though.

Oh that’s fantastic, you definitely have an eye for it. And what about your new wife… will you take her on a nice honeymoon?
Well she’s actually a teacher so she doesn’t get holidays outside of school holidays. We took a quick trip to Bali after we got married, as I didn’t know how busy we would be after the show and we had a spare week so thought, “let’s go”. But yeah we will take a nice big holiday at Christmas time.

How’s Simon feeling, he’s obviously excited too.
Oh yeah he’s excited, we are both definitely stoked. We had breaky with everyone though this morning and just seeing everyone so down was really difficult. It’s great for us but so crap for everyone else. It’s had to be excited but we are very proud of ourselves.

You will feel both sides of it unfortunately but you worked hard and deserve every dollar. How about your tradies, will you put on a bit of a barbecue for them do you think?
Yes for sure. About 90% of our tradies come from Geelong so we will hopefully head down there in a few weeks and put on a few cartons and a bbq and we are taking our builder overseas on a trip. He has worked himself into a grave for us so we are going to take him on a surf trip to Indo… and it’s a good excuse for us to head over as well so we will plan that in the next couple of weeks too.

Well congratulations again, I’m so thrilled for you both.
Thanks Dani I appreciate it.

Well, what a rollercoaster! In my experience, regardless of what goes on throughout a series when it comes to those moments before the auctions commence all competition goes out the window. All you want is the best for your neighbour and for everyone to be rewarded for their hard work, time away from family and friends and months of putting their lives on hold. You might say that they should just be happy they were even selected to go on the show and that’s largely a fair statement but as a contestant you put great financial pressure on yourselves and to come out of with barely any money to cover any lost wages, mortgage repayments or to even take a holiday with your family to recover, is just heartbreaking.

Next year is a new year though and The Block will be back on our TV screens in early 2015 and promises to be bigger and better than ever before.

And finally, good luck to all the couples that participated in The Block Glasshouse for the years ahead and remember to always look for the next amazing opportunity…

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