Selling Houses expert’s advice for ‘desperate’ homeowners in a tough market

A house untouched since 1968, a hoarder’s home filled to the brim and a decor trend known as “hipstoric”: this 15th season of Foxtel’s highest-rating lifestyle program, Selling Houses Australia, looks a little different than it did during the property boom.

Indeed, the promos depict host Andrew Winter, landscape designer Dennis Scott, and interior design expert Wendy Moore all dangling from ceilings, with the tagline, “When the market is down, they’ll turn it around!”

Selling Houses Australia’s interior design expert Wendy Moore. “There are a lot of people who are paralysed by the market,” she says.

“People are coming to us because they’re in a desperate situation,” says Moore, who is also the general manager of Foxtel Lifestyle. She replaced Shaynna Blaze on the show in 2022, after Blaze’s exit, along with landscape designer Charlie Albone.

“What we find this year is that there are a lot of people who are paralysed by the market,” says Moore. “They don’t know what to expect. A lot of them have probably missed the market high, but still in their minds, they’re valuing their property as if it was still in the market high. From Andrew’s point of view, there’s a real education piece on what the expectations should be now.”

In terms of interior styling, though, hard and fast rules still apply.

“People are so attached to the things that make their house feel like their home, that they struggle to see that that might be what’s getting in the way of it being sold,” says Moore. “Sometimes you just have to rip the Band-Aid off and say, ‘Those things that you love, you just have to take them with you’. There are also some people who make the mistake of making everything so neutral and unlived in that people don’t get a sense of home when they walk in. I think that’s sad.”

The Selling Houses Australia team: Dennis Scott, Andrew Winter and Wendy Moore.

Moore “fell in love” with the 1968 property featured in epsiode two, as it was in the western Sydney suburb of Greystanes, near where she grew up in Campbelltown.

“It was like a museum! It felt really nostalgic for me,” she says. “Dennis was making fun of me, saying it’s probably going to be knocked down one day, and that broke my heart. I wanted to decorate it in a way that gave a nod to the ’60s, so there’s a lot from my childhood memories, including the kitchen.”

The “hipstoric” aesthete, which blends period detail with the gritty urbane, was enthusiastically applied.

“I quite like the buzzword,” says Moore. “It’s a mix of celebrating the history of something but bringing in a bit of an urban, hip edge to it. We’re all dealing with a house in one era and a lifestyle in another. It’s about collecting things and bringing them together and making them work.”

It was the Gold Coast hinterland house in episode five, belonging to a woman with a hoarding disorder, that most challenged Moore.

“Hoarders are talked about as other people over in America and that’s not the reality,” she says. “We put a human face and a relatable problem to that, and honestly, it just broke my heart. I got quite emotionally involved in trying to help her out of this situation.”

The way in which people adorn their homes has long been a passion for Moore, who started an “affordable” interior design page at The Australian Women’s Weekly while building her publishing career. After serving as a judge on Seven’s House Rules from 2013-2019, Moore was reluctant to take up Foxtel’s offer to return to the screen. But the “down-to-earth” nature of Selling Houses Australia appealed.

“This show feels more ‘me’, in that I’m actually doing the work rather than judging the work,” she says. “I enjoy getting on the tools. I’m much more comfortable in jeans than I am in an evening dress. And I’ve always loved homes and the stories of homes. Our homes are so emotionally connected to us. Interior design has to delve into the heart and soul of the homeowners. You have to understand people to do it well.”

Selling Houses Australia returns on March 22 on Foxtel.

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