The Best Cities to Buy Fixer-Upper Houses and Live Like Chip and Joanna Gaines

Even though they stopped making their show Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines are still some of the richest and most loved HGTV stars. They put in a lot of work into building their fortune, but a lot of it derives from their success flipping houses in and around Waco, Texas.

Demo day fixer upper chip and joanna gaines

Chip and Joanna Gaines on Fixer Upper. | HGTV

If you want to try your hand at flipping houses, then you’ll want to head to the best cities to live like Chip and Joanna. Thanks to an HGTV report and Zillow study, we know exactly where to start looking. We can’t promise you’ll achieve Chip and Joanna’s net worth, but the best cities buy fixer-upper houses will help you get started.

House flipping: The best cities to live like Chip and Joanna Gaines

When investing in a fixer-upper house, whether you’re moving in or flipping it, you want to get the best value. However, the average discount nationwide is only 8% of the market value, which typically isn’t enough savings to complete major projects. The best cities to live like Chip and Joanna Gaines have fixer-upper houses where the savings percentages are far steeper than 8%.

10. San Francisco

Savings vs. typical list price: 9.5%

If you have the homebuying budget to afford and renovate a home in San Francisco, then it might be worth it. It’s one of the cities where a house makes more than minimum wage by virtue of its value increase.

9. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Savings vs. typical list price: 13.1%

Fixer upper houses in Virginia Beach list for 13.1% less than move-in ready homes, which makes is a great place to be a house flipper.

8. Philadelphia

Philadelphia is one of the best cities to live like Chip and Joanna Gaines

Fixer-upper houses in Philadelphia cost less than other homes on the market. | Allard1/Getty Images

Savings vs. typical list price: 13.7%

Pennsylvania’s largest city happens to be a fantastic place to live the Chip and Joanna lifestyle, though it’s up to you if you want to open a restaurant, write a cookbook, or start any of the crazy number of businesses under the Gaines’ banner.

7. Chicago

Savings vs. typical list price: 13.8%

Similar to Philadelphia, Chicago fixer uppers list for more than 13% less than other houses on the market.

6. Baltimore

Savings vs. typical list price: 16.6%

You typically need a fortune to afford an average home in Maryland, but Baltimore can help your bottom line if you’re flipping the house. It’s one of the best cities to live like Chip and Joanna Gaines.

5. St. Louis

Savings vs. typical list price: 16.9%

Living the Chip and Joanna Gaines lifestyle is easy in the Gateway City, where houses that need a little less list for almost 17% less than market value.

4. Columbus, Ohio

Savings vs. typical list price: 18%

You can get a spacious house for $500,000 in Columbus. If that house is a fixer-upper that needs some work, then you’ll pay 18% less, or about $410,000, for your home.

3. Pittsburgh

Savings vs. typical list price: 21.2%

Steel City fixer-upper houses cost more than 21% less than their counterparts.

2. Cincinnati

Savings vs. typical list price: 25.3%

You’ll save more than 25% on the cost of a house in Cincinnati if it needs some work. You can either spend the money on renovations or visit some of the 185 attractions waiting for you in one of the most fun cities in America.

1. Cleveland

Cleveland skyline seen from Lake Erie, it's one of the best cities to live like Chip and Joanna Gaines

Prospective flippers pay almost 32% less for houses in Cleveland. | benkrut/Getty Images

Savings vs. typical list price: 31.9%

Cleveland is No. 1 on the list of best cities to live like Chip and Joanna Gaines. Fixer-upper houses are listed for nearly 32% less than their counterparts.

Five dangers to avoid when flipping a house

Chip and Joanna Gaines aren’t the only HGTV stars who know a thing or two about flipping houses. So does Christian El Moussa, of Flip or Flop fame, and she has some mistakes first-time flippers make.

Christina El Moussa

Christina El Moussa knows which mistakes prospective house flippers should avoid. | Jerod Harris/Getty Images

  • Underestimating repair costs

Budgeting too little is a deadly mistake in the fixer-upper game. Have a general contractor come up with a rough estimate, then add a little bit more for the hidden costs that are bound to arise.

  • Poor planning

If you buy a fixer-upper house and *then* figure out to pay for the remodeling, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

  • Re-listing at a high price

Prospective buyers lose interest if a house sits on the market too long. If you list a fixer-upper for too much money, then it likely will sit on the market, and you won’t have anything to show for your hard work.

  • Expecting immediate riches

Most of the most costly home improvements, such as replacing a roof or remodeling a kitchen, aren’t the type of projects you finish in a weekend. They can take weeks or even months, which is why first time flippers should temper their get-rich-quick dreams.

  • Not working with the pros

Doing everything on your own is one way to sabotage your potential success as a house flipper. If you’re serious about getting into the game, then you need some teammates, such as a home inspector, real estate agent, general contractor, and an attorney.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!