PHOTO: Marty Fox, chief executive of real estate agency WhiteFox, on site in Hampton East. Photo: Nine

Introducing The Block’s Newest Judge: Get to Know Marty Fox Inside Out

The reality renovation show The Block is returning to its roots in more ways than one this year. The juggernaut program will head back to the suburbs of Melbourne and welcome a new judge – Marty Fox, real estate agent, serial property flipper, and chief executive of real estate agency WhiteFox. Fox’s 15 years of industry experience will bring a wealth of knowledge and insight come judging time.

Bringing a Fresh Perspective

Long-time fans of the show will remember the founder of McGrath Real Estate, John McGrath, as one of the first judges on the panel, working alongside current judges Shaynna Blaze and Neale Whitaker. However, this season, Neale Whitaker has announced Fox’s addition to the team and explained his own reduced appearance on the show due to family priorities.

“I’m very proud to be completing my 17th season as a judge on The Block. It’s an amazing privilege to have been part of this iconic show for 13 years,” Whitaker shared on his Instagram account. “For the 2023 season, however, I’ve put my family first and cut back on my judging weeks. But I’m happy to announce that real estate guru Marty Fox has been able to bring his experience to The Block and join Shaynna and Darren on the weeks when I couldn’t be there.”

Whitaker further expressed his excitement for his partner’s recovery and his return to The Block full-time for the show’s 20th-anniversary season in 2024.

A Rising Star in Real Estate

Fox began his real estate journey at the age of 21 and steadily climbed the ranks, mentored by Graeme Wilson. In 2017, at 29, Fox founded his own agency, WhiteFox, which quickly gained attention as a disruptor in the industry, thanks to its direct language, black-and-white photography, and introduction of curved signboards. Today, WhiteFox has offices across Melbourne and has expanded to New Zealand.

Blockheads with a keen eye may remember Fox from past seasons. He served as the auctioneer for Harry and Tash’s house in 2020 and made an appearance last year as the auctioneer for Rachel and Ryan’s Gisborne property. Fox’s presence as a property expert in the judging panel will undoubtedly bring a new dynamic, addressing the calls from past winners Mitch and Mark for an industry expert to join the mix.

Insights from the New Judge

We had the opportunity to sit down with Marty Fox and gather insights into what we can expect this season on The Block.

Why did you decide to join The Block 2023?

Fox didn’t hesitate when invited to take a regular seat on the hit show’s judging panel. Reflecting on his decision, he shared, “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].”

What will you bring to the show this year that’s different to past years?

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.

What’s your judging style? Will you be a good cop or a bad cop?

Fox described his style as firm but fair. He elaborated, “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.

Is there a formula when it comes to scoring? How do you allocate points?

Fox 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.

What’s it like working with the judges?

“We’ve got a really nice chemistry, us four. We get along really well, and there’s a lot of mutual respect, and we’re having a lot of fun. Having a new person helps bring a new dynamic,” Fox shared.

What’s your key piece of advice for contestants?

Fox’s advice to contestants centers on the importance of understanding that real families will live in these homes. He emphasized 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 Fox’s expertise and the fresh energy he brings to the judging panel.