The Block auction will be held on Saturday at Brighton, as usual the day before broadcast, but it will be unlike any other year.
To comply with current restrictions in Melbourne, just 10 people (plus the minimum number of people to conduct the auction) will be in attendance.
In the case of Nine’s television show, it means 3 of those 10 will be camera crew.
If it were held on Monday, up to 50 could have attended, as further restrictions ease.
But Executive Producer Julian Cress isn’t too worried, and is grateful he has been able to get the show completed under such trying conditions.
“We managed to finish our renovation of these houses five days before Stage 4 restrictions came in,” he tells TV Tonight.
“Restrictions eased to allow for By Appointment inspections of real estate on the day that our campaign started. So we have been lucky enough to be able to show the houses to potential buyers for the last five weeks.”
While 7 registered bidders will attend as selected by selling agents and contestants, Cress has a plan to keep the event exciting.
“We’ve reached out to our friends at Spirit internet and they’ve come down to The Block today and a erected a 3 storey mast in our driveway, which has a microwave link to their HQ in the city that is delivering 200 megabits per second of guaranteed high-speed internet. We are going to have a very robust Zoom call setup for each auction, where the extra visitors will be able to basically bid on these houses from the comfort of their own homes,” he explains.
“We will have arrangements with them through the agents to make sure that we’re able to meet with them immediately after the auction to execute the contract and pay the deposit.
“They’ll be able to see the auctioneer and the other bidders. They will, I think, feel like they’re at the auction. I don’t think that their opportunity to understand what’s happening in the auction or to bid successfully is diminished in any way by being on Zoom.
“They’ll feel like they’re there.”
Indeed Cress’ mind is not on how the auction will take place, but in hoping the properties actually sell.
“We’re not selling houses here for $600,000. These are big homes in a very aspirational, suburb and we’re quoting $3.2m to $3.4m.
“We’re also trying to sell five of them in one day, which is a tall order.”
The Block auction 7pm Sunday on Nine.