04 Jul Why people trust Rich with their savings – Rich Harvey
Have you seen “Buying Blind” on Channel 9? I wasn’t sure I would like it because the thought of someone buying a property without seeing it or knowing anything about it until they move in is reckless and ill advised. But as we tell the star of the show, Rich Harvey, it is quite engaging. We find out if it is real.
Kevin: I don’t know about you, but I’ve been watching Buying Blind. I wasn’t quite sure if I’d enjoy the show. It’s on Channel 9, and Rich Harvey is going to be joining me in just a moment. Rich is a buyer’s agent who we’ve had on the show in the past, a very talented guy, and he’s one of the stars in the series. He joins me.
Good day, Rich. How are you doing?
Rich: Very good, Kevin. Really nice to chat with you again.
Kevin: I did say to you off air that I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to enjoy it, but I watched an episode the other night and I really got into it. I thought it was quite refreshing. The reason I wasn’t sure if I’d like it is because the concept is a bit crazy, about buying blind, giving someone carte blanche to go out and spend your money.
Rich: It is a very scary concept, Kevin, and I appreciate your feedback. It’s great to get that really positive feedback. In fact, a lot of people have said the same thing. They go “Oh, not another property show,” but once they see it, they realize that it’s actually a journey of people’s lives.
Yes, we have renovation and we’re buying houses, but it’s more about the couples on the show and just the struggles they’ve had and how we have to solve their issues. That’s what’s really enjoyable. And every couple is different; every one has a different dilemma. But I have to say the concept is pretty out there.
Kevin: Can I ask you this, though? We know in the land of television, they go for lots of drama and hype, and a lot of it is false. Please answer me honestly if you can, how much of what we see is real? Are we seeing a real thing here?
Rich: Absolutely, Kevin. It’s 100% real. There’s actually more drama off air, as well, to be honest. There’s even more stress. It’s no wonder I haven’t any hair left.
Kevin: You didn’t have much before you started, mate, let’s be frank.
Rich: And Marshall makes a few jibes along the way as well. Look, it’s absolutely real. The buyers have to sign over a power of attorney, which gives me the authority to buy the home without them seeing it, and then we renovate it and we reveal it.
Kevin: Where do you get the people from?
Rich: They did some sort of Facebook campaign, I believe. They advertised, and they got a number of takers, and they had to then whittle it down to just six couples.
But it was an absolute privilege to be asked to be on the show. It’s an honor to be on it. It is an amazing concept, and the point is that it was an amazing leap of faith for each of these couples.
It was a lot of hesitation. I literally walk up to the front door and I’ve never ever met these people before. They have a camera either side of the door, and that’s literally the first time I meet them. I never meet them before that moment.
I’ve read their brief, I know a little bit about them on paper, but that’s all there is. It’s all real. It’s real money, it’s real drama and real life, absolutely.
Kevin: Has anything gone wrong so far?
Rich: There have been a few properties we missed out on, and that was really frustrating. And that gets shown in the series, certainly. I guess one of the biggest issues we have on this show is that they all have limited budgets and quite unrealistic expectations. And that’s one of the things that we have to do.
Particularly my job as a buyer’s agent is to say to these buyers “Look, I know you would love a five-bedroom home with a swimming pool, but you just can’t have it. You don’t have the money for it.”
I think Lis and Allie were the most realistic couple with the smallest budget, they’re in the second episode. They were buying near the Dandenongs about an hour out from Melbourne, and they had actually trained their kids to sleep in one bedroom because they thought they were moving to a two-bedroom unit. They had a budget of $550,000, they managed to increase that to about $600,000, and then I was able to buy them the house, and they ended up with a three-bedroom house. And they were just a lovely couple, eternally grateful.
Kevin: The one I saw was where they had a really detailed list, they’d studied it for years and years, and they knew exactly…
Rich: Yes, that was Mags and Tyson.
Kevin: Full marks to them, they obviously were on an absolute journey. They saved a lot of money. When I watched it, I thought, wow, because they’ve spent so much time getting ready for this, this means a lot to them. For them to give that up to you was a big leap.
Rich: You know what? Mags had been saving up since she was 14 years old. She was a very particular person, and also Tyson, very exacting in his requirements. They’d actually ranked all of their 26 criteria in a multi-criteria analysis. And being an economist, I didn’t mind looking at that, but what we had to actually do was break them down.
One of the things we did that didn’t make the edit was we actually got them to a point where I got Tyson to rip up the spreadsheet and tell us just the top five things that he wanted. Because at the end of the show, you see me with a piece of paper taped together.
Kevin: All torn up. Yes, that’s right. I wondered why you tore it up, actually.
Rich: Well, it wasn’t me; it was actually Tyson. We actually got him to the point of understanding a realization. “You know what? I might have to give up all of my criteria just to get into the market for what I really want.” But as it turned out, I got 24 of the 26 things anyway, and they were just over the moon.
Kevin: It must be really rewarding for you to go through that journey and then see the delight on their face. What’s it like when you take the blindfold off? Do you think “Oh, god, I hope they like this?”
Rich: Well, the first thing is their pupils are dilated, so they can’t see anything for about three seconds. But after they adjust to the light, they go “Oh, wow.” And I’m intently looking at their faces to go “Did we do it?” All three of us are standing there going “Gosh, I hope they like it. Otherwise, we’re in big trouble.”
Kevin: What does happen if they don’t like it? I think it was Mags who said, “Oh, well, if we’re going to sell it, we sell it.” Is that the only outcome for them?
Rich: Absolutely, there’s no going back. The contracts are signed, it’s in their name, the renovation work has been done, the money has been spent, so the only thing they can do is live with it, or if they don’t like it, sell it. But we’ve added value, so I think they’d be able to sell it with a little bit more equity up their sleeves.
Kevin: Do you plan to go back and revisit them after 6 or 12 months?
Rich: I haven’t planned to yet, but yes, we could certainly think about that if we need to. I know that the series producers went back a month after they had moved in just to touch base. I think that gets shown on air, just how they’re tracking.
But as far as I’m aware, they’re all absolutely loving their property. I got a few messages from them saying “Couldn’t have done it without you, absolutely love it, changed our lives.” So, as you said, it’s incredibly rewarding to help these people on their journey.
Kevin: It has to be great for your business, too. Rich’s business, by the way, is PropertyBuyer.com.au. It has to be great for your business, Rich?
Rich: Absolutely. I hope it showcases exactly what a buyer’s agent does. It’s not the typical way we lead clients with a blindfold on, but it certainly showcases the steps we have to go through. And with this show, we have to decide the compromises for the clients, whereas normally, it’s a discussion with a client along that journey of helping them to choose the right home.
Kevin: How many episodes in the series?
Rich: Six in total. We’ve had three, and there are three to go.
Kevin: And is there another series planned?
Rich: I don’t know yet. I guess it depends on the ratings.
Kevin: And how are the ratings? How are they going?
Rich: They’re actually doing pretty well. It’s in the top ten, so it’s certainly up there. I think a lot of people, as you say, have a bit of property fatigue with some of the shows, but I think this one is refreshingly different and it has a more personalized story to it. And that’s what I love. I love the fact that the couples had to give up control.
Some of them were ready to sign over straight away, within five minutes, like Fotis and Jess, the first episode. It was so funny. He was just a lovely guy and he couldn’t wait to sign the piece of paper. He goes “Look, Rich, I’m over it. I’m ready to go.” And others are like “Oh, gosh, it’s a huge… Can you give me a think about it?” and we have to wait half an hour for them to think about it before they put pen to paper. But the end result so far has been really positive.
Kevin: Good talking to you, Rich Harvey. Rich is the star of the new show on Channel 9 called Buying Blind. Check it out for yourself. It is refreshingly different.
Mate, well done, congratulations. I look forward to talking to you again soon.
Rich: Good on you, Kevin. Thanks again.