Hard times ahead for Block NZ losers, says Australian contestant

Former Block Australia contestant Carlene Duffy (pictured with husband Michael when they learned of their $10,000 ...
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Former Block Australia contestant Carlene Duffy (pictured with husband Michael when they learned of their $10,000 profit) said it will take the losing Block NZ contestants "months to get over the shock and devastation".

Former Block Australia contestant Carlene Duffy, who walked away with just $10,000 from her auction, said it will take the losing Block NZ contestants "months to get over the shock and devastation" of falling short at auction.

"I would just give it time, because it probably took us a few months," Duffy said. "This whole experience, you sort of feel like you are in a bubble and it's very insular, but if give yourself time and once the shock wears off, you can re-evaluate where you go from here."

Carlene and her husband Michael Duffy were fan favourites of The Block Australia's 2014 "Glasshouse" season, which saw an abandoned 1980s office building transformed into multi-million dollar apartments, but were gutted when 14 weeks of renovations yielded them just $10,000 at auction. 

Adding salt to their wound, the winning team walked away with a profit of $435,000.

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Despite not having seen the latest season of The Block NZ, Duffy said she felt for the losing contestants and was shocked to hear about the twist ending.

"That's brutal," Duffy said. "In our season they call them live auctions but it's actually filmed the night before they go to air."

When asked whether she thought the auction should be aired live or filmed the night before, Duffy said the Australian approach was "100 per cent preferable". 

"I don't know how they do it live to be honest," Duffy said. "I think filming it the night before allows producers more control over what's happening and prevents that sort of thing from happening where there is confusion and chaos."

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Duffy's season on The Block Australia had a number of similarities to the 2017 season of The Block NZ, including a limited number of buyers and high reserves. Ray White were the auctioneers at the Australian show, as they were in Auckland. 

"It's so hard to get your head around how the results happen," Duffy said. "In our case, there wasn't enough buyers in the market so by the time it got to the last two teams there was no one left who was willing to spend that type of money and reserves were to high."

The couple walked into the auction with high hopes as all teams in the previous season walked away with around "$500,000 - $600,000 each".

"It was shocking because in the series before they all won so much money, so I think everyone was a bit cocky about how much money there was to make."

Duffy also echoed The Block NZ winner Andy Murdie's comments about the financial strains that participating in the show can have. 

"It was actually financially devastating because our weekly allowance while we aired was less than what we were earning usually but all our expenses like school fees, mortgage, power bills and rates were the same," Duffy said. "But you do it and think that it's okay because you're going to win money at auction."

Duffy said she and her husband had to "work really hard" to pick themselves after the auction, but that their post-Block experience wasn't all doom and gloom. 

"We made it work for us in other ways. It provided us a platform to launch our business Cedar and Suede and we've been able to get brand partnerships and social media campaigns from it. The past three years has been a whirlwind and we've just made sure we capitalised on the opportunity it afforded us."

The Duffy's always knew that they wanted to be involved in the interior design/renovation industry post-The Block and are now starring in their own reality TV series Ready, Set, Reno

Their advice to the forlorn Block NZ contestants who might want to follow in their footsteps?

"The first step is working out what you want to do next, what your brand is and what you've got to offer," Duffy said. "The world is your oyster." 

 - Homed

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