They may have received little love from Blockaholics, but Alisa Keall-Grant and Koan Vette have been tipped for glory on The Block NZ.
After nine weeks of on-set tears and cheers, the four renovated houses featured on TV3's ratings-winning DIY show will be auctioned off on Wednesday's finale.
Each team will keep any profit from their sale. The team whose renovated home sells for the most over the reserve will be crowned the series winner and receive an extra $80,000.
Also up for grabs will be the People's Choice Award, with the winning duo getting to keep the new Mazda6 that they drove during filming of The Block NZ.
Farming brothers Pete and Andy Walker have a commanding lead in that comp, with Keall-Grant and Vette gathering the fewest votes of all four teams.
Their unpopularity - partly based on their attitude to opponents early in the series - is clear on the teams' official Facebook pages. The Walkers have 45,455 likes, Loz and Tom Heaphy have 15,493 likes, Alice and Caleb Pearson have 10,662 likes and Keall-Grant and Vette have just 3160 likes.
But three days out from auction night, high profile real estate agent Michael Boulgaris said he believed the young Auckland couple's home was the most marketable. "I like that [house] a lot."
Throughout the series, Keall-Grant and Vette made design decisions to appeal to the North Shore market, not the judges.
Boulgaris - known in the real estate industry as "The Million Dollar Man" - said that was a "very clever" approach.
He said Wednesday's live auction would attract "huge" interest from potential buyers, saying he was impressed with the design and execution of the major renovation projects.
"I was impressed with the amount of work they are doing with the landscaping on the show," he added. "So many developers, particularly, concentrate on the house and then throw a bit of bark around the outside and think that is landscaping. But that doesn't do it . . . you have to landscape properly."
Keall-Grant, 23, and Vette, 25, have renovated the largest house on series two of The Block NZ.
But they got off-side with some of their rivals - and fans - early in the series; especially for giving low marks in the "Dinner Wars" week in a bid to deny the Walker brothers the services of a painting crew.
Keall-Grant and Vette had hoped the move would see them win the sought-after prize; a move which ultimately backfired when Loz and Tom Heaphy won.
Asked about their tactics, Vette told Sunday News: "The thing is to think of it as a rugby game.
"You are playing with your mates but you are not going to a rugby game to lose on purpose . . . you are there to win. But you still have your mates."
Keall-Grant added: "We adore the other teams. We are obviously good friends, now."
Vette said he hoped all four teams who had toiled through at-times atrocious weather and worked without sleep for several days on end would collect financial windfalls.
"There is the opportunity for everyone to take something away from it." he said.
"That is the best thing about this competition. Everyone could walk away with $200,000 . . . then everyone could be happy."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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