‘Fixer Upper’: 8 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets Chip And Joanna Gaines May Not Want Fans to Know
Fixer Upper premiered on HGTV in 2013 and it was an instant hit. The home renovation series made married couple Chip and Joanna Gaines overnight stars, as they fixed up old homes in Waco, Texas, and turned them into beautiful, updated spaces.
Between Chip’s demo and construction and Joanna’s stunning interior designs, homeowners were always stunned by the amazing results. But what viewers saw on camera wasn’t the full picture. Here are eight behind-the-scenes secrets about Fixer Upper that Chip and Joanna Gaines may not want fans to know.
8. Homeowners needed big bucks to appear on ‘Fixer Upper’
Homeowners who wanted to take advantage of Chip and Joanna’s services and appear on Fixer Upper were required to have at least $30,000 in cash set aside for renovations to be considered for the show.
7. The furniture isn’t free, either
Homeowners also needed extra money to pay for all of the furniture Joanna used to stage the home — which didn’t come cheap. If they didn’t have money in the budget for the furniture and accessories, all of the staging items would be removed after the reveal.
“I think it’s so funny because you wouldn’t want to get rid of all your furniture,” said participant Rachel Whyte, per Ranker. “They give you an itemized list of how much everything costs at the end to see if you want to purchase things at a discounted price.”
The one perk was that clients were allowed to keep the custom pieces that Clint Harp made.
6. The house hunt was completely fake
In addition to having plenty of cash on hand, applicants were required to have already purchased the home they wanted to renovate. So, those house-hunting scenes were totally fake.
“You have to be under contract to be on the show. They show you other homes, but you already have one. After they select you, they send your house to Chip and Joanna and their design team,” season 3 David Ridley told Fox News.
5. Chip Gaines was not doing all of that manual labor away from ‘Fixer Upper’ cameras
It appeared to Fixer Upper viewers that Chip was putting in a ton of physical work when renovating homes for the show. But according to season 3 client Lindy Ermoian, that supposed manual labor was all just for show.
Lindy revealed that Chip actually had nothing to do with the demo and construction when cameras weren’t rolling. During the three-month renovation, Lindy and her husband Chris stayed next door and never saw Chip doing any work.
4. Not all of the rooms were renovated
It appeared to Fixer Upper fans that Chip and Joanna remodeled the entire home. But Whyte revealed that the Gaineses only remodeled the rooms that were going to be on TV. For Whyte’s episode, they redid “the parts of our house that were seen on the show, as well as one additional bedroom.”
According to Joanna, how many rooms they remodeled was determined by the homeowner’s budget.
3. The Gaines’ former Magnolia business partners sued them
Before Chip and Joanna signed on with HGTV for Fixer Upper, they partially owned the Magnolia Real Estate Company with two other men. In 2013, the Gaineses bought out each partner and their $2,500 shares. Then two days later, they revealed their deal with HGTV. This resulted in a $1 million lawsuit.
“There was a sense of betrayal and frustration,” said former partner John Lewis. “Once I had sold him my interest in the company, and his show began to flourish, I never heard from him again.”
2. Some homeowners have monetized their appearance on the HGTV show
Fixer Upper wasn’t just a profit-making venture for Chip and Joanna. It also financially benefited homeowners who received renovations in the early years of the show. Thanks to the Gaines’ popularity, the homes they remodeled became tourist attractions. So, owning a Fixer Upper house in Waco became a lucrative business opportunity.
Currently, there are about 12 past Fixer Upper homes for rent on Airbnb and VRBO, including the Brick House, the Mailander House, the Chicken House, the Harp House, and the Midcentury Modern House.
1. Chip and Joanna Gaines changed their ‘Fixer Upper’ contracts
According to the Waco Tribune, after renting out their renovated properties became a popular trend, Chip and Joanna made some changes to their contracts and made them “more strict”
“We have no problems with our clients’ interest in using sites like VRBO and Airbnb to rent out their homes. In fact, we get it. But we are going to be more strict with our contracts involving Fixer Upper clients moving forward. We want to honor our national viewing audience,” the couple said in a 2016 statement.
Jill Barrett, who owns the Midcentury Modern House, says Chip and Joanna made those changes to their Fixer Upper contract because they didn’t want people doing the show with the intent of putting the house on Airbnb to make a buck.