The new kid on ‘The Block’

The new kid on ‘The Block’

For the first time in 13 years, there has been a change to the judging panel of ‘The Block’, with WHITEFOX Founder and CEO, Marty Fox, being announced as an exciting new addition to the team.

WHITEFOX Realestate

The popular DIY renovation show is making a return to the suburbs of Melbourne, specifically Hampton East, and is set to introduce a new judge – our very own Marty Fox. With 15 years of experience in the real estate industry, Fox is not only a skilled agent but a masterful auctioneer and a serial property flipper with a keen styling eye.

In a recent Instagram post, long-time regular Neale Whitaker announced he is stepping back from his judging duties for personal reasons, allowing WHITEFOX CEO, and past Block auctioneer, Marty Fox, to step in and bring his characteristic style and flair to the role. Whitaker expressed pride in completing his 17th season as a judge on The Block, highlighting the privilege of being part of the iconic show for 13 years. However, for the 2023 season, he made the decision to prioritize his family due to his partner, David, facing significant health challenges earlier in the year. As a result, Whitaker reduced his judging weeks but happily revealed that Marty would be stepping in to join Shaynna and Darren in his absence.

WHITEFOX Realestate

For those fans who don’t know, Fox’s journey in real estate began at the young age of 21, steadily climbing the ranks under the guidance of his long-time mentor (and now father-in-law and Chairman of WHITEFOX), Graeme Wilson. In 2017, at the age of 29, Fox ventured into entrepreneurship and launched WHITEFOX. Since its inception, WHITEFOX has been seen as a disruptive force in the industry with its bold personality, identifiable tone-of-voice, black-and-white photography, social media marketing and arched signboards – among other unique tactics.

Enthusiastic followers of The Block may recognise Fox from previous seasons where he has been an auctioneer on a couple of occasions; Fox auctioned Harry and Tash’s house in 2020 as well as Rachel and Ryan’s Gisborne property last season, successfully selling it during post-auction negotiations after it passed in on the auction day.

Fox didn’t hesitate when invited to take a regular seat on the hit show’s judging panel this year. Reflecting on his decision, he said “Even in my time as an agent on the show, it felt comfortable; it felt like a really great environment. There’s a family feeling and a nice energy that’s fostered by Julian [Cress, the show’s creator].”

WHITEFOX Realestate

When asked how he would approach being a judge on the show, Fox emphasized his rawness and commitment to honesty. “I always want to be speaking the truth, and I won’t sugarcoat much. From a judging perspective, that’s what these people need; they need honesty,” he explained. As an experienced agent, he believes the opinion of those representing buyers in the market is crucial.

Describing his style on the show as ‘firm but fair’, he remarked, “If I don’t like it, I’ll explain why. Some of my comments may come across as a little bit harsh, but it’s short-term pain for long-term gain.” He also expressed his appreciation for the diversity of opinions in the property industry.

He also outlined his scoring approach, breaking it down into four sections: floor plan, materiality, craftsmanship, and marketability. Each section receives a score out of 10, and the final score is determined by averaging them. “Those numbers lead me to the truth,” he added.

And when it comes to the four judges and how they all work together, Fox said, “We’ve got a really nice chemistry, us four. We get along really well, there’s a lot of mutual respect, and we’re having a lot of fun. Having a new person helps bring a new dynamic.”

Lastly, when it came to Fox’s advice to contestants, it centres on the importance of understanding that real families will live in these homes. He highlighted the need to renovate and build for real people, finding a balance between marketability and liveability. “To win The Block, it comes down to marketability. To build the best house comes down to liveability,” Fox concluded.

As the new season of The Block unfolds, we eagerly await Marty’s expertise and the fresh energy he will bring to the judging panel.