Homeowners Belinda and Craig with TV presenters, Andrew Winter and Neale Whitaker at their Ashmore home on the hit Foxtel show Love It or List It. Picture: Jerad Williams
Letting go of the only home your children know is an emotional challenge, but there is also a physical hurdle in actually fitting a family of four into a very cosy cottage.
Renee loved her little family house so much she wanted to stay, but her husband Isaac just wanted to sell – so after coming to a stalemate, the pair called in the experts.
Episode five of the Lifestyle Channel’s second season of Love It Or List It showed Renee and Isaac De Gois struggling with the idea of staying put or moving on.
Co-host Andrew Winter seemed convinced the family would be ready to sell up when he first saw the pint-sized house in Yarrawarrah, 35kms south of Sydney’s CBD.
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“Nothing exciting, I’m delighted to say,” Winter added.
He went on to describe the property as “a tiny house” with the “tiniest bedrooms” before declaring outright “Well, it’s a win for me here, isn’t it?”
After fellow host Neale Whitaker took a look around, he called it a “doll’s house” that was “very tired” and added with brutal honesty that; “It’s functional, it ticks boxes and that’s all it does.”
The De Gois’ humble, but much-loved family home might be on a sizeable 765sq m block, however the actual internal living area is a much more modest footprint of about 100sq m.
Throw two active little girls into the mix and space had become a problem for the growing family.
“I feel like the house is closing in on us, we need more open plan living, just more space, more storage,” said Isaac before the renovations began.
The ex-rugby league player, who scored for the Parramatta Eels, Wests Tigers, the Newcastle Knights and the Cronulla Sharks during his long football career, now works from home as a sports agent so needs the extra room.
However, where her husband saw a lack of space, Renee saw a collection of family memories she wasn’t quite ready to let go of.
“I’m all about the sentiment of the place though, it’s got a lot of character and our neighbours are wonderful, we’ve got a street that has a real community feel,” she said.
“The street is everything,” she said, adding that her eldest daughter’s primary school is located just over their back fence.
Love It or List It hosts Andrew Winter and Neale Whitaker. Picture: Jerad Williams
So then the challenge for Andrew and Neale began.
Prior to any updates, Andrew crunched the numbers and came to the conclusion the De Gois home was worth around $900,000 in what is a “softer” Sydney property market.
He was tasked with house hunting on their behalf with a buying budget of between $1.3 million and $1.5 million.
Meanwhile, Neale had $150,000 to spread his designer dust over the compact home.
Looking back on the experience, both Isaac and Renee said they learnt a lot about the house hunting process and the art of living through a renovation.
“At the start it was very exciting. We never had anything like this done to us before, but then through the process of the build it got pretty stressful. It only took seven weeks, but it was quite a long seven weeks,” Isaac said.
“I was the one who wanted to leave, purely because the house was a bit small. It’s still small, but it’s a lot more open and it’s easier for our family to stay here for many years to come.”
The points this week went to Team Neale after a serious renovation, which included a third bedroom, an ensuite and a contemporary open plan kitchen.
“I think what I learnt was that I really do appreciate what we’ve got,” Isaac said.
“Before it was renovated, it was small but we were happy. We did need to move out during the renovations and ended up renting a house a few minutes away. It backed onto the highway and we could hear trucks 24 hours a day – that’s when we realised that we’re so lucky to be where we are,” he added.
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The decision to stay wasn’t an easy one to make according to Renee.
“I was so adamant on staying but there were some places that made me think we could have more space without it costing as much as I’d thought,” she said.
“But ultimately I do think we’ve made the right decision because as much as the other houses were bigger and beautiful, it’s the location of our house that I love the most,” she said.
Now the couple has caught the renovation bug, they will continue to update their home.
“We’ve done a five-year plan so towards the end of the year we’re going to do an alfresco outdoor area for our girls to play more outside. We’ll go up and do our own bedroom and a living area upstairs. The renovation made us realise that what we’ve got is pretty amazing and we’ll just keep adding to that as we can,” she explained.
Although Andrew lost this round, he will be happy in the knowledge that he must have plated the “List It” seed at the De Gois home.
“I’m on realestate.com.au a lot more now and have a look around at what homes are on the market, just in case. Isaac and I often look over at each other on our devices in the evenings and notice that we’re both on realestate.com.au at the same time! We can help looking!”
Tune in to the Lifestyle Channel on Wednesday October 31 at 8.30pm, as South Australian couple
Anthony and Tracey decide whether to love or list their Tea Tree Gully home of 10 years.
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