Real estate expert Béa Vandendael is one of the jury members in the new season of ‘Huis Gemaak’. “It will certainly give me sleepless nights,” she says.
Real estate expert Béa Vandendael, together with interior architect Bart Appeltans and Cerina Marchetta, forms the jury of the new season of ‘Huis Gemaak’. The trio coaches the young couples and assesses them during the renovations of their dream home. “I was very happy with the offer,” says Béa. ‘”Blind Bought” was great, but I could no longer combine this with my job and my health was really at risk. So it was nice to have another fun challenge on television and to share my expertise with watching Flanders. I had one condition and that was that the number of shooting days would be limited so that I could fit it perfectly into my daily work schedule.’
What is your role as a jury member?
‘On the one hand I am a jury member, but on the other hand I am also a coach for the couples. This season we want to present sustainable, safe buildings that are in line with the market. I will guide the couples to make the right choices and create their dream home. Moreover, only one couple wins a house, the other two houses are sold again and I will do that for ERA.’
What makes you a good jury member?
‘My years of experience. I have a lot of market knowledge and I know what is going on in the mind of the prospective buyer. I understand what people are looking for in a house and I also want to see that reflected in the properties of the participants.’
Are you strict?
‘Apparently so! I’m scared of that myself (laughs). I especially want the candidates to do well and that may allow me to be tough, but that is with the best intentions and really in their own interest..’
“Blind Bought” was great, but I could no longer combine this with my job and my health was really at risk.
Are you afraid of shattering people’s dreams because it’s about winning a house?
‘It will be extremely emotional if we have to send someone home, because the candidates really throw themselves into it. Their enthusiasm is enormous and I have a lot of respect for that. You also develop a bond with those people in the long run. So I am happy that the final judgment does not rest solely with the jury, because I wouldn’t have the heart to do that. I take comfort in the fact that they know in advance that there is only one winning couple, but it will give me sleepless nights anyway.’
This program is probably not to be underestimated?
‘Definitely not. You get to know each other in a completely different way. It is very tough and certainly not for everyone. My husband and I built a house together, but he mainly took on the tasks. He took a year off work for that, so we didn’t really feel that pressure on our relationship. My eldest son did a total renovation together with his girlfriend and that was quite an ordeal for three years. But now they have a beautiful house and that is their biggest piggy bank.’
I don’t necessarily want to have my face on TV, I especially enjoy being able to share my expertise.
Why are housing programs so successful?
‘The Flemish still has a brick in his stomach. A house remains the safest and most interesting investment.’
Are you going to miss “Blind Bought”?
‘Yes! Finding the right home for people is my favorite thing to do. I put my heart and soul into it. I wanted to make those people happy with their dream home and that made me very happy too, but it became too much! I couldn’t continue to combine two full-time jobs.’
You and Bart are working together again. Have you become best friends in the meantime?
‘We didn’t know each other at all, but we clicked really well from that first minute. There is such a strong chemistry between us that you can’t really describe it in words. We are often on the same wavelength and that makes it a lot of fun to work together. We don’t knock each other’s doors, but when we see each other we never stop talking. We have a very special bond.’
Bart also does many other TV programs. Is that something for you or do you not really want to become a TV face?
‘It’s a bit too late not to become a TV face (laughs). But for me, the programs should always be related to real estate. I don’t necessarily want to have my face on TV, I especially enjoy being able to share my expertise.’
Did you ever expect to become so popular?
‘Not at all! I also thought it would only be for one season. The success was very unexpected! I also had to get used to people I don’t know at all speaking to me or waving at me. I like it that people appreciate what I do and get something out of it, then I take everything else with pleasure.’
What do you attribute your success to?
‘My expertise, I hope. I don’t beat around the bush and tell it like it is, that’s my job. To disguise everything and beat around the bush is a complete waste of time.’
I’m weighed down! No one agrees, perhaps out of politeness, but I notice that I have become fatter. Especially when I look back at the very first season of “Blind Gekocht” I now see those extra pounds due to menopause.’
Do you get a lot of DMs from people asking for your advice?
‘Yes! Unfortunately I can’t help everyone, because I can’t do magic. It is with a heavy heart that I have to leave many messages unanswered, because responding to everyone would again be a full-time job.’
After all these years, do you still find it strange to see yourself on TV?
‘Absolute! I’d rather not look. I just can’t get used to it, it’s so confrontational. I think I have a very strange voice!’
At Flair, self-love is central: do you have a lot of self-love?
‘In general, yes, although there is still work to be done. I try to focus on the things I like about myself instead of worrying about my flaws.’
Do you have certain complexes in terms of appearance?
‘I’m weighed down! No one agrees, perhaps out of politeness, but I notice that I have become fatter. Especially when I look back at the very first season of “Blind Gekocht” I now see those extra pounds due to menopause.’
Do you have trouble getting older?
‘Yes. Because there are still so many things I want to do, but I now realize that I won’t be able to do it anymore. I will have to cross off my bucket list without being able to tick off those activities and that is confrontational. I try not to get lost in that and consider every year that I get older in good health as an added value. That is ultimately the most important thing: being healthy and happy.’
I work full-time and get a lot of satisfaction from my job. I wouldn’t be happy if I had to sit at home all day with my (grand)children, my family knows that too.
Are you prone to perfect images on social media and stereotypical beauty ideals?
‘Nowadays we are inundated with so-called ideal images. I can ignore that quite well, but not always from the first moment. Sometimes it just comes in. Yet I try not to let myself be discouraged by ideals that I do not live up to. Trust me, it’s much easier to just be happy with yourself than to constantly try to be someone else.’
You also dare to choose what you like, such as your bright red hair.
‘I do what I want! I indeed have a distinct style, but I don’t think about what others think of it, because I like it. I’ve actually always been like that, that’s the nature of the beast (laughs).’
You are a career woman, partner, mother and grandmother. Is it sometimes difficult not to pass yourself by?
‘It is not easy to maintain that balance. My children used to know that their mother works a lot and I am not the typical grandmother who picks up the grandchildren at the school gate. I work full-time and get a lot of satisfaction from my job. I wouldn’t be happy if I had to sit at home all day with my (grand)children, my family knows that too. I want to help people in their search for a house, because that is one of the most important steps in their lives.’
In “Blind Bought” I was very afraid that I had spent the candidates’ savings incorrectly and that it would later turn out that there was a large negative value on the house that I completely overlooked.
Have you already had to deal with negative comments?
‘Luckily I have been spared from that so far. For the time being I only read sweet messages. I know myself and I know that I would really lose sleep over bad comments if they were justified. Nowadays, on social media, everyone is very quick to give their opinions, which often make no sense. That wouldn’t affect me, but it would when it comes to my way of working. In “Blind Bought” I was very afraid that I had spent the candidates’ savings incorrectly and that it would later turn out that there was a large negative value on the house that I completely overlooked.. People can make mistakes, but this was in front of TV-watching Flanders.’
Finally: why should we definitely watch ‘Home Made’?
‘It can help many people with one of the most important steps they take in their lives: buying their own home. Nowadays, ready-to-live homes are incredibly expensive, so renovating is a good idea and viewers can get ideas and inspiration from the couples and learn from our expertise. The program also shows that nothing in life is handed to you anymore. You have to work really hard for it!’
You can see ‘House Made’ every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:35 PM on VTM.