If you’re a big fan of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, you probably dream of having Chip and Joanna Gaines take you house-hunting and deck out your dream home in shiplap and farmhouse furnishings. It might seem like that’s just a fantasy. But if you’re willing to follow all the rules and agree to all the terms (and believe us, it’s a hefty list), you could actually get cast on Fixer Upper and meet Chip and Jo in real life!
HGTV isn’t shy about telling viewers how they can get cast on its shows. But Fixer Upper hopefuls won’t find casting information on HGTV’s website. Instead, they’ll need to head to the website of the production company for Fixer Upper: High Noon Entertainment. There, the production company reveals all the secrets to getting cast on the show.
Below, check out all the most surprising rules you have to agree to in order to get cast on Fixer Upper.
1. You have to buy a home within a 40-mile radius of Waco
Anybody who’s watched more than a few episodes of Fixer Upper has probably noticed that Chip and Joanna don’t stray too far from Waco, Texas. So anybody who wants to get cast on the show has to buy, or plan to buy, a home within a 40-mile radius of the city, according to a casting call from High Noon Entertainment. Fortunately, there are plenty of neighborhoods and suburbs to choose among. So if you like the area, you’ll likely be able to find a neighborhood that’s right for you.
2. You have to be ‘outgoing, energetic, and fun’
High Noon Entertainment’s casting call says that potential Fixer Upper stars need to be “outgoing, energetic, and fun!” (Or at least be able to seem that way on camera!) The most fun homeowners on Fixer Upper are those who keep up with Chip and Joanna, including Chip’s notorious sense of humor. If that sounds like you, you could be a great fit for the show!
3. You have to ‘be in need of expert design and construction help’
The Fixer Upper casting call explains that eligible homebuyers need to “be in need of expert design and construction help for your new fixer upper home.” Translation? You have to be willing to let Chip and Joanna make a lot of the decisions about how your new home is going to look. One of the biggest secrets behind Fixer Upper is that Chip, Joanna, and their crew are really in control of the renovation. They’ll do their best to design a home that you and your family will love. But ultimately, you’ll have to relinquish control of the project if you want to be on the show.
4. You have to be okay with Chip and Joanna making decisions without you
When you watch Fixer Upper, you’ll see Chip and Joanna making a lot of effort to figure out what the homeowners want. But the casting call reveals that homeowners have to let the couple (and their crew) make decisions without consulting them. The document requires that homeowners agree that “you are hereby appointing the Design Team (Magnolia Homes) to make decisions on your behalf while performing work on your home. While the Design Team will take your thoughts into consideration, you will have to accept that some final renovation choices may differ from your original decisions or desires.”
5. You have to spend at least $30,000 on the renovation
Here comes the painful part: To be eligible to appear on Fixer Upper, you need to have at least $30,000 to spend on the renovation in addition to the cost of buying your new home. The casting call also specifies that your “financial contribution should be proportional to the amount of renovations your new home will need.” The upshot? If you buy a huge old house that needs a whole lot of work, even $30,000 may not cut it.
6. You have to be at least 21 years old
For most Fixer Upper fans, this rule is no problem. Our apologies to precocious youngsters who have saved up their money and want to buy their first house in the Waco area, but Chip and Joanna can’t help you out until you’re legal. We have a feeling that this is a pretty standard rule in show business, so you may need to bide your time if you’re intent on having your moment in the HGTV spotlight.
7. You have to answer detailed questions about the house
When you fill out the application to be considered for Fixer Upper, you’ll have to answer a lot of questions about the house you’re purchasing. (If you just want to move to Waco and haven’t settled on a specific house, you’re off the hook — at least for now.) You’ll have to give some basic information, like the square footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. But you’ll also have to describe the style of the home, find out about any parking restrictions, explain any structural issues, and find out if your neighborhood association requires extra approvals.
8. You have to answer detailed questions about your family, too
The casting call also asks some pretty specific questions about your family. You’ll have to tell producers about who’s going to live in the home, and the ages of your children. They also want to know about your family’s hobbies and activities. The producers also ask whether you have pets, and they want to know your occupation and why you’re moving to the area. Plus, they ask about the neighborhood and type of home you’re moving from, and even ask if there’s a time-sensitive reason why you decided to move.
9. You have to share photos of yourself and your family
The casting call also asks Fixer Upper applicants to upload photos of themselves and their family. This is probably as good a time as any to think about what’s likely to happen if you get cast on Fixer Upper and your home is featured on the show. The Gaines family has lots of fans, so your home may become an attraction for curious passersby. Some Fixer Upper homeowners have even opted to rent out their homes, or sell them altogether, because they didn’t like all the attention.
10. You really have to pitch your family’s story
Think that a cool house is enough to get you on Fixer Upper? Think again. Casting gets competitive for this HGTV hit. So you’ll need to be strategic about how you fill out the casting call. The document asks applicants, “Hundreds of people will be applying to Fixer Upper. Why should we pick your family/your home? What makes your family unique?” Producers also want to know, “If you are chosen for Fixer Upper and we help you turn your situation into the right house that’s in the right location, what would this mean to you and your family?” You’ll probably need to think long and hard about how to answer those questions.
11. You’ll also need to share photos of the home
The producers also want to see lots of photos of the home you’re buying or thinking about purchasing. They especially want to see photos of the kitchen and the living room. And they also request photos of the family room, the bathroom, the backyard, and the front of the house. Interestingly enough, they don’t specifically ask for photos any bedrooms. Because they don’t always renovate all the rooms in a house, the bedrooms sometimes get left out of the show.
12. You have to think carefully about what you dislike about the home
Once you’ve decided on a home, the producers want to know all about what you like and dislike about it. The casting call asks whether the backyard needs any improvements or presents any problems that Chip and Joanna would need to solve. Producers want to know about any problems with the home’s curb appeal. They ask, again, about the style of the house. Then, they also ask applicants to describe their dream home and to explain how the home they’re purchasing could be turned into their dream home. The producers add, “Please be descriptive (feel free to send tear sheets of things you’ve dreamt of for the space).”
13. You have to describe your design style
One of Joanna’s biggest challenges on the show is to design a home that reflects the style of both members of a couple. So the producers of the show try to get a jump on that task from the beginning. When you answer the casting call, you’ll be asked to describe your design style. You’ll need to elaborate if your partner’s style is very different from yours. The producers also want to know what you dislike in the design of a home. (Our advice? Try not to mention of the impractical things Joanna puts in every Fixer Upper house.)
14. You have to specify if anything is off-limits
When Chip and Joanna plan a renovation, they often knock down walls and make other major changes to homes. The casting call asks homebuyers who are interested in appearing on Fixer Upper to specify if there’s anything that’s off-limits in the home. Don’t want Chip and Jo to knock down walls, to rewire the home, to tear out the carpeting, or to make major changes to the outside of the home? Then let the producers know. (And keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t work against you when they’re choosing people to appear on the show.)
15. You have to go on a fictional house hunt with Chip and Joanna
The existence of the casting call — and the questions on it — confirms a key behind-the-scenes detail about Fixer Upper: Those house-hunting scenes at the beginning of each episode are definitely staged. The producers want to know all about the house that you’re purchasing or that you’ve already purchased. So to appear on the show, you have to give up your fantasy of getting Chip and Joanna’s help to choose a house. In fact, former participants report that you have to already be under contract to appear on the show.