HE'S been serving up property porn on our screens for over two decades alongside his house hunting partner Kirstie Allsopp.

And while it might look like Phil Spencer and Kirstie spend most of Location Location Location, and more recently Love It or List It, nosying around homes, there is plenty of hard graft behind-the-scenes that viewers don't see.

Deals are famously concluded over a pint of beer or glass of wine at the pub.

And it's just as well because Phil, 52, says the back and forth between the estate agents can take hours to thrash out.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun from The Ideal Home Show, he said: "[It takes] Hours and hours and hours. I don’t know what the record is. It’s probably about four hours. It’s a very important part of the programme, at the end when we do the deal.

"A lot of people think that is set up, but no, we are in that pub for as long as it takes. We’re talking real money. People are spending hundreds and thousands of pounds.

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"Kirstie and I are trying to save them tens of thousands of pounds, so it takes time and there’s a lot of negotiations and tactics, and toing and froing and discussions that I’m afraid don’t make the edited version."

But for the most part, the house hunters behave themselves and stay sober, with Phil revealing hours of boozing and tense negotiations isn't the best combination.

He laughs: "No we’ve tried that and it doesn’t work."

Former home surveryor Phil has helped people search for their dream homes for nearly 30 years and is having to use all of his experience to deliver results in the current climate.

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"In the market at the moment, it’s extremely tough to find properties," he says.

"I took a couple to see a house this week in Nottingham. It had  been on the market for two weeks, had 10 viewings and three offers. It wasn’t under offer but it had had three offers."

Fortunately on Love It or List It, his job is to present properties as alternatives to their newly renovated homes, rather than finding their next place.

At the show's heart is the friendly rivalry between Kirstie and Phil as they battle it out to help families decide their domestic futures.

But bragging rights come second to doing the best they can for each family.

"We genuinely want what is best for the couples and putting them on the same page," says Phil.

"Whether they love or whether they list, of course we support our corners, but actually what’s best for the couple is they’re both on the same page and they make the same decision at the end of the process. That’s a win.

"It’s a really fun show to make. When we’re working on Location Location we’ve got a family, a couple, who are really motivated and desperate for me to find something. On Love It or List It one half of the couple is desperate for me to cock it up and not be able to find anything.

"That’s quite an amusing and entertaining place to be when you’re house hunting. It’s a very relevant and topical programme at the moment because they’re conversations every house owner has at some point. Shall we go, shall we stay, shall we invest in it?"

As you'd expect from such big life decisions, not everyone sees eye to eye and there are often times when Phil and Kirstie have to play counsellor.

Phil says: "Sometimes couples are more entrenched than others. Quite often [playing mediators], in fact most of the time there is a degree of mediation when couples are really entrenched and one can’t see the other's point of view.

"I really feel for them because that would be a difficult situation at home with your partner who you love, there’s one topic of debate, a really key one that you cannot agree on. That would be very difficult to live with. Sometimes it goes on for years and years. So it’s great for Kirstie and I to have the opportunity to come in and try and work through that."

On Friday, Phil returned to London's Olympia to share housing tips and gain inspiration from the 114th Ideal Home Show.

Over 600 exhibitors are showcasing the latest new products and household favourites across interiors, homeware, style and garden.

Phil says: "It’s a great show. I love it. I’m a self-confessed property geek.

"It’s lovely to come and look around. I particularly enjoy seeing all the new technology and things I wouldn’t have seen out and about that you do get to see here."

And there was no shortage of interest in Phil himself as he browsed the site.

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"It's like being a doctor, you're always asked for help and guidance and I’m really happy to help," he says. "Buying or choosing a home, or renovating a home is a big thing and it's not something people do often. I’ve been fortunate enough to help people through those processes over many years, hundreds and hundreds of times, so I’m happy to help where I can."

The Ideal Home Show, in partnership with NatWest, the world’s longest-running home and interiors exhibition, is currently on at Olympia London until Sunday 27th March 2022. For more information and tickets, please visit idealhomeshow.co.uk 

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