Is ‘Fixer Upper’ Fake? This Is Why Some People Think So

Though there may not be any new episodes of Fixer Upper to look forward to, fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines are still closely following the couple’s lives. And the HGTV hit can still stir up controversy, especially if you try to tell a diehard Fixer Upper fan that some of the design trends featured on the show are going out of style. Another point of controversy? Some people look at how perfectly every episode turned out, and have to wonder: Is Fixer Upper fake?

Let’s examine the evidence and see how things look for everybody’s favorite HGTV show.

Homeowners don’t really go house-hunting with Chip and Joanna

Chip and Joanna Gaines stand in a fully renovated kitchen.

Chip and Joanna Gaines stand in a fully renovated kitchen. | HGTV

Fixer Upper fans love the scenes where Chip and Joanna Gaines go househunting with the homeowners. So when it came to light that many homeowners have already chosen a home when cameras start rolling, many Fixer Upper critics called the show a “fake.” But the casting application never hid the fact that many applicants had already purchased the home they wanted to renovate, or at least had one in mind. Many homeowners who appeared on the show had already chosen a house before filming commences. And their reactions to the home, their excitement on design day, and the surprise of the reveal are all real.

Producers have to film things multiple times

Ever get the sense that certain conversations on Fixer Upper were staged? That could be because sometimes, producers need to film multiple takes to get the shots they need. Rachel Whyte, a homeowner who appeared on Fixer Upper, told Country Living that producers would often have to film things multiple times. So sometimes, they would ask the homeowners to repeat what they said to get it from another angle. “But what happens really is real,” Rachel Whyte explained. “The reactions and conversations are real. The hard thing is remembering what you said before when asked to repeat it.”

But some homeowners filmed all their scenes in one day

The typical episode of Fixer Upper appears to give the homeowners a leisurely timeline. And it also seems to show them meeting up with Chip and Joanna Gaines on numerous occasions. But that wasn’t always how it worked in real life. One homeowner who appeared on Fixer Upper told Apartment Therapy that he and his wife filmed all of their shots in a single day. Jeff Jones explained, “We did all our shots in one day. It was exhausting.” The scheduling typically happens on the production company’s terms — which can mean that homeowners had to take time off from work to appear on the show.

You have to sign off on a budget at the beginning

It’s also possible that those “surprise” expenses that pop up halfway through the typical Fixer Upper episode aren’t quite as spontaneous as they appear. Whyte told Country Living that homeowners have to sign off on a budget at the beginning of the project. “The budget goes towards your wish list, but the design team will also make decisions about what they think the home needs to be a TV-worthy renovation.” So if something that affects the budget does come up, the crew doesn’t necessarily have to consult the homeowners to choose a solution.

The reveal actually is a big surprise

Country Living learned that though homeowners get a blueprint sketch when they sign up to appear on Fixer Upper, their reactions on design day are real. Similarly, Chip and Joanna Gaines really would ask homeowners not to drive by their home as renovations take place. Of course, there’s no guarantee that every homeowner who’s ever appeared on the show complied. But the surprised reactions on reveal day are typically very real. It happens in real life as it does on TV, giant poster and all.

Chip and Joanna wouldn’t always renovate the entire house

Another topic that tends to come up when you pose the question, “Is Fixer Upper fake”? Whether Chip and Joanna and their crew typically renovated the entire house. After all, the reveal on many episodes didn’t include every room in the house. One homeowner told Country Living that she and her husband opted to renovate some of the rooms themselves, in an attempt to save money. If we had to venture a guess, we’d say that that’s probably a common choice.

The furniture isn’t all included

Fixer Upper critics — or those who consider the show a fake — also get upset when they hear that homeowners don’t get to keep all the furniture and accessories used to stage the house. But that should hardly come as a surprise; high-end furniture and antiques get expensive very quickly. Does that make Fixer Upper fake? We don’t think so. After all, real estate agents often stage homes to help potential buyers see the potential. Plus, homeowners who appeared on the show could buy anything they liked and wanted to keep. Plus, pieces built by Clint, or other custom work by Joanna’s favorite artisans, always stayed in the home.

Read more: The 1 Thing Chip and Joanna Gaines Don’t Have in Their Home

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