fixer upper

Fixer Upper: The (Ultimate) Guide | Real Estate Skills

fix & flip flipping houses house flipping shows real estate investing Dec 23, 2020

Let’s be real, this year has been challenging in ways we could have never imagined. Struggling to stay motivated and positive has been something we have faced at one point during this pandemic. Our repetitive routines from working at home have filled our days but have made them seem longer. Well, to get out of a routine a bit, why not consider taking up a new show, and maybe even turn it into a new hobby? 

Fixer Upper, along with many other home improvement shows, is a way for you to try something new in the comfort of your own home. Watching the process of renovating a fixer-upper home can be something you may find yourself being entertained by, so much that you may be interested in doing it yourself! 

With the constantly changing state of the world today, many may be considering what they can do to gain more financial stability or even just take on a new project to get out of the house. Well, Fixer Upper may be your exposure to fixer upper homes and the real estate business in general, where there are many opportunities to gain profit!

According to northwesternmutual.com, “You can save a lot of money in expensive markets like San Francisco, where fixer-uppers are discounted an average of 10 percent.” 

Along with the entertainment and inspiration from the show, you’ll be able to gain profits and even get in touch with your creativity. Who knows? You may surprise yourself! 

Enjoying Fixer Upper: The Ultimate Guide? (Click the menu below to jump to the section of your choice!)



What Are Fixer Upper Homes?

Before getting into the TV show, you may want some context regarding fixer-upper homes, well, let’s discuss what it is first and foremost. A fixer-upper is a home that can already be lived in with its current condition but could use some work, such as redecoration, redesign, or reconstruction.

"Fixer uppers" are a result of a number of possible homeowner issues including years of deferred maintenance, hoarder houses, natural disasters, outdated interiors, or previous undesirable renovations that were completed.

Along with other renovation or flipping ventures involved with real estate, fixer uppers are particularly beneficial for buyers who are looking for homes at a lower price or for real estate investors who are looking into potentially making a profit after being flipped. 

Read Also: How To Flip A House For The First Time



What Is Fixer Upper?

With the numerous reality real estate shows out today, what differentiates Fixer Upper from the others? What is Fixer Upper about? 

Fixer Upper follows Chip and Joanna Gaines who own and operate Magnolia Homes, a registered trademark under their Magnolia business ventures. The business focuses on remodeling and design in Waco, Texas, while the show displays the process of renovating and fixing dilapidated homes to bring them to their full potential. 

Along with their home flipping ventures, the couple also takes on being counselors to clients. For what exactly? They are able to help clients envision the bigger picture and where the home's future is headed. 

Here is a video showing some of the most popular homes on Fixer Upper:  




Get To Know The Fixer Upper Cast

fixer upper chip joanna gaines

Image Credit

The show is nothing without the two who started it all, Chip & Joanna Gaines. The married couple started their venture together by owning their “Little Shop on Bosque” in 2003, which was the home of the first Magnolia Market. They have since then developed Magnolia Market at the Silos which allows guests to shop, play games and eat. 

Being married and having kids then led them to the decision to close the Magnolia Market to be able to focus more on their family. This time also let them be more attentive to their construction business, Magnolia Homes. Joanna works as the lead designer and Chip manages the construction. 

According to Chip and Jo, "This is where we were able to learn the construction side of things, and we loved the idea that we were 'making Waco beautiful one home at a time.' This work was meaningful to us, and we worked together for many years as a team". 

Following soon after was the start of their HGTV series, Fixer Upper. Although with so much going on, Joanna describes how she felt an urge to reopen Magnolia Market, which they did in May 2014. 

As we have touched on the story of Chip and Joanna Gaines, let’s get to know them a bit more individually

Joanna Stevens Gaines

  • With her home town being in Kansas, Joanna graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Communications.
  • She got into the design business as she interned in New York and always had a love for boutiques, even in the middle of the big city. 
  • Jo wrote Magnolia Table, inspired by the Gaineses' favorites and selections from their restaurant, which is what the book is named after.  

Chip Carter Gaines

  • Born in New Mexico but raised in Dallas, Chip also graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Marketing. 
  • Chip Gaines has started multiple successful small businesses such as Green and Gold Wash and Fold, a Waco laundry service aimed towards college students, a fireworks stand, and various landscaping businesses. 

Beyond their successful businesses built together and individually, they are also raising five kids! They have found their passion within each of their businesses and have worked tirelessly to be able to achieve what they have accomplished thus far. 



Why Was Fixer Upper Cancelled?

With the wide variety of real estate shows airing nowadays, Fixer Upper was one of the most popular series on HGTV. Despite their ongoing success with the show, Chip and Joanna Gaines announced the end of Fixer Upper after their fifth season being on air. 

The reason for the cancellation of the show was simple - they wanted to focus on their growing family first. Although the show did come to an end, it helped spark other aspects in the couple’s life such as their blog, magazine, housewares, books, and marketplace. Since their final episode aired, Chip and Joanna have opened a restaurant, coffee shop, and are currently in the midst of their own fixer upper project, working on the opening of their boutique hotel in Waco, Texas, aimed to finish in 2021.  

Read Also: The World's Greatest Real Estate Memes


Is Fixer Upper Coming Back?

As we know the news of the cancellation of the widely popular series hit headlines in 2018, due to their own personal reasons. However, Fixer Upper is now making trending headlines once again - but with good news! 

After a three year hiatus, the dynamic duo announced a reboot with new episodes of Fixer Upper in 2021. Although, the show is not appearing on HGTV like it used to. The couple decided to pair up with Discovery, Inc. and the DIY network to be able to begin their next project together - their OWN TV network. 

Along with a new season of Fixer Upper, the Magnolia Network will also include other network shows, one being Joanna’s very own cooking show. Other shows that have also been confirmed include:

  • Growing Floret
  • Home on the Road
  • Bespoke Kitchens
  • Family Dinner
  • Restoration Road
  • The Fieldhouse
  • Super Dad
  • Home Work
  • The Lost Kitchen
  • Inn the Works

Here is a preview of the new network coming soon!:

As they are preparing for their network launch, it is exciting to know that the couple is passionate about what they do and their accomplishments are a strong reflection of that.



Can I Be On Fixer Upper?

Being one of the most popular home renovation shows on the air, it’s no surprise when people often wonder, “How can I be on Fixer Upper?” Let’s discuss some of the major requirements and everything you may need to know if you are interested in the process of getting on the show

  • Application Is Required - Those who want to be featured on the show must go through the application process.
  • Location Matters - As the couple is based in Waco, Texas the applicants must be within 40 miles of it.
  • A Budget Must Be Met - HGTV requires that the home have a purchase price under $200,000 and the renovations must be at least $30,000. However, HGTV does not financially support the renovations, they specifically fund the cost of a bonus item and the talent fee that goes to Chip and Joanna. 
  • You May Already Have A Home - As it may seem the homeowners are on the hunt for a new home, it is likely that they already own a home or have submitted an offer for one. 
  • Be Aware Not Every Room Is Fixed -  Depending on the conditions of different rooms, not every room will need to be fully fixed. Every part of the house is touched up, but it may just be a smaller process like a coat of paint and not a total renovation. 
  • Homeowners Do Not Keep The Furnishings - Joanna handles the staging to inspire the homeowners, however, they do not get to keep it in the end. If the homeowners wish to keep the furnishings an additional budget, on top of the price for the flip, is needed. 

Considering these factors may incline you to want to apply for the show but even if you aren’t planning on it, it’s still nice to know what getting on the show entails. It is also important to acknowledge that each show may require a variety of things. So, if these specific requirements aren’t compliant with you, there may be other shows that may be the perfect fit for you! 



Pros And Cons To Buying A Fixer Upper

Inspired by Fixer Upper? Looking into taking it into your own hands? Whether you are ready to start your own project or want to continue watching the show for pure entertainment just a little longer, let’s discuss some main points regarding the pros and cons that come with buying a fixer upper. This will hopefully help you decide whether or not you’re ready for a fixer upper


  • You Can Design It To Your Taste - If you want to cater to your certain taste when it comes to the design of the home, fixer uppers are a great way to get to the home of your dreams. 
  • You Choose What To Spend Money On - With your budget and your eye for design, you’ll be able to decide what you would want to cut down or spend more on. If you value the presence of the bedroom over the kitchen, that will be your call to make when it comes to renovations.  
  • You Save Money On Taxes - Since the property taxes are based on the home’s sale price, you’ll be able to save on taxes each year. 
  • You Want To Gain Profit Through A House Flip - Fixer uppers provide great house flipping opportunities that will allow you to gain a large profit in many circumstances. 


  • You Cannot Move In Right Away - As fixer uppers tend to endure a lengthy process with the remodeling and renovations, moving into it right away is not a very feasible option. 
  • It Is Expensive - A budget is a crucial factor to consider when looking into purchasing a fixer upper. Unforeseen expenses may come up during the process so having a fixed budget may bring up limitations if you are not prepared to be financially flexible. 
  • There Are Major Risks To Consider - Just like anything else in life, not everything may go as planned. It is important to understand that any complications may come up at any time. Considering whether you are ready to deal with these issues is an important step. 
  • A Permit May Be Required - Depending on the area of the home, certain renovations may require a permit to be done. These permits may cause money, however, if a permit is not applicable to the home, it will be harder for it to sell. 

There are many ways to solve and avoid the cons that may come with the fixer upper homes. Although, at the end of the day, it all comes down to your preparedness and flexibility to endure the entire process. It is important to acknowledge the lengthy and arduous process and whether you are ready to go through it all in terms of time, energy and money. 



Everything You Need To Know About Buying A Fixer Upper

If you are in a position where you are ready to purchase your own fixer upper, it is beneficial to recognize some important factors beforehand. Much of what you need to know about buying a fixer upper can be learned through research and personal experiences, in hopes of influencing better and more efficient decisions.  

Here is a helpful guide to buying a fixer upper that will hopefully help you through the process:

  • Want the Unwanted - The fixer upper homes that don’t tend to attract buyers now, but will in the future, are the ones you should want. The work that is needed to be done in these homes are typically simple corrections but are usually a dealbreaker, especially by first-time homeowners who are looking for a home that is ready to be moved into. More considerably, when you buy the home is the time you should think about its potential for a big resale profit. 
  • Pay Attention to Location - Beyond just fixer upper homes, many buyers consider the location of the home they want to buy so it is an important factor to consider. Up-and-coming neighborhoods are great places to find fixer uppers, especially if surrounding homes are well maintained and occupied.  
  • Focus on the Layout - The layout of the home is a crucial factor to consider in order to appeal to as many buyers as possible. The layout of the home should be able to flow since it is expensive to have major renovations to help with the floor plan. The home should also be able to appeal to the targeted buyers. For example, first time parents would want rooms close together for their children.
  • Differentiate the Issues - Fixer uppers obviously require work but it is important to distinguish the issues that are worse, and more fundamental, than others. This will also play into what issues you need to spend most expenses on. 
  • Know when to Hire a Professional - Although you may want to take on DIY projects, it is important to be realistic with what you are able to achieve. Having professionals do certain jobs will prevent you from completely ruining your fixer upper.  
  • Inspect the Home - Hiring a home inspector before completing the sale is something you should do in any aspect of real estate. Certain conditions of the home may identify whether or not you are getting a good deal. Some of these factors include roof certifications, home warranty, pest inspections, sewer line inspections, and engineering reports
  • Consider your Budget - Finally, after you have considered all these factors, it is important to bring back your consideration of the budget. Deciding if this is in your financial reach is crucial for a successful fixer upper process. Also be prepared to go over your budget, a 10-20% buffer will help you with any expenses that may come up.

Nonetheless, each home will require different volumes of work so it is up to you to do the proper research that is needed. Adequate research is a crucial thing to do before, after, and during the process to reassure that you are minimizing risk whenever you can. 



Fixer Upper Examples

Since the show takes place exclusively in Waco, Texas, not everyone will be able to get the Fixer Upper experience from Chip and Joanna. However, everyone has the chance to take part in their own fixer upper projects as they wish! Here are a few Fixer Upper examples to give you a bit of inspiration!



fixer upper kitchens


fixer upper kitchens after

In the makeover of the kitchen, you can see the difference from before where it was a very enclosed area. The room in its entirety, which goes into the living room, was opened up and also brightened up the area with its design and color.

Living Rooms


fixer upper living rooms


fixer upper living rooms after

With bigger windows, smoother walls, and great interior design picks, the room gives off a neutral vibe. The home staging, furnishings, and touch of plants provide an earthy feel that also radiates with the natural sunlight coming in. 



fixer upper houses


fixer upper homes exterior

fixer upper patio

fixer upper door

Not only did Chip and Joanna enhance the exterior of the home but also added a few features. They added an extended outdoor dining patio for some gatherings or dinner outside on a nice day. The door was also given a nice modernized touch with a fresh coat of paint and small window openings. 

Master Bedroom


fixer upper master bedroom


fixer upper master bedroom transformation

To go with the rest of the home, the master bedroom was also given some neutral and earthy tones. The carpet was replaced with tile and to spice it up, an accent wall was added. 



fixer upper bathroom


fixer upper bathroom after

fixer upper bathroom transformation

Image Credit

This bathroom renovation was not done in the same home as the previous but it sure is a great transformation! The entire bathroom used to be filled with tiles and very dim, but Chip and Joanna definitely did a great job brightening it up. With classic white walls, clean wood tiles, a smooth sink countertop, and neutral tones, the bathroom was looking good as new!

The renovations shown here are just a few of the wonderful fixer upper jobs Chip and Joanna have done. Their eye for renovation and interior design definitely shows off in their final reveal, however, the stories of these families are what give them inspiration and direction.



Fixer Upper Reviews

As there is a wide variety of real estate shows airing today, Fixer Upper holds many positive reviews and superior ratings compared to others. As each show may appeal to its own audiences, this could cause some differences depending on what the show offers and what the viewer is looking for. 

According to Google, 95% of viewers liked this series along with hundreds of five-star reviews left by the audience. Much of the reviews are compiled of lengthy comments about the amazing work Chip and Joanna do on their homes and how they continue to inspire viewers. There are even reviews that describe the many projects viewers are taking on due to the influence the show had on them.

What else would please the audience so much that allows them to have such positive feedback? When it comes to who they are and what they do, their authenticity, devotion, and passion definitely shines through the screen and captivates the audience. Not to mention, their real-life chemistry as a couple is beneficial on-screen as well! 

According to Rachel Whyte, Chip and Joanna’s renovated photographer, “What happens really is real. The producers might have you repeat things a few times, and they might film things multiple times from different angles, but the reactions and conversations are real. The hard thing is remembering what you said before when asked to repeat it.”

With reality shows, it's hard to avoid people questioning the credibility and realness of the show. The couple is very open about their relationship on and off-screen which shows how genuine they are. It is also safe to say that Chip and Joanna's work is purely their own and no - it is not scripted.  



Shows Similar To Fixer Upper

If you are looking for more knowledge regarding fixer uppers, house flipping, or anything about home renovations, it wouldn’t hurt to look into other perspectives and their takes on their own projects. 

  • Property Brothers - Jonathan and Drew Scott are actually most popularly known as the Property Brothers, which is conveniently the name of their reality series. The brothers work on transforming fixer-upper homes into someone's dream home and have a variety of spin-offs that will be sure to appeal to many audiences. 
  • Zombie House Flipping - Following the “Robin Hoods of Real Estate,” Justin Stamper, Ashley Casserly, Peter Duke, and Keith Ori, this series focuses on the renovations of completely run down homes. These homes are usually run down, abandoned and foreclosed, giving them the name zombie houses!   
  • Flip or Flop - Featuring Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead, this house flipping show displays the process of purchasing the home and restoring it in hopes of a successful resale. This provides insight into what it’s like to purchase a home, go through renovations, search for a buyer, and above all else, whether it was a successful flip or a flop
  • Murder House Flip - Given the name, Murder House Flip will give the audience a sense of thrill as it combines crime with home improvement. This new 2020 series takes on the process of transforming homes that have been involved with mysterious murders which makes for an intriguing ride. 
  • Rehab Addict - This series follows rehab addict, Nicole Curtis, as she purchases properties and works on bringing them back to life. She doesn’t just call the shots, she takes matters into her own hands and takes on the manual labor herself. 
  • Masters of Flip - Previous musicians, Dave and Kortney Wilson, began as solo artists and eventually turned into a duo making music together. Although, they then began a joint venture within the housing market. This series displays their business through flips, buy and hold properties, vacation rentals, and their hopes to make a profit through it all.

There is an endless list of home improvement and renovation series that are available to you. Depending on what you are searching for, certain shows will appeal more to you than others. Although reviews of the series may help you determine what you should watch, it is important to acknowledge the difference of opinion that may come from someone else’s perspective. Don’t knock it until you try it! 



How To Become A Real Estate Investor If You Like Fixer Upper

Inspired by those Fixer Upper episodes? Want to go beyond just watching shows on your TV? Well, let’s get your foot in that door and see how you can become a real estate investor, whether it be investing your time or your money!

Here’s how you can start investing in real estate:

  • Get Educated - Getting educated on real estate doesn’t require a college degree! With resources like Real Estate Skills, YouTube videos, books, and many more, you are able to get the knowledge you need and more. Understanding the real estate market and the many options it entails is crucial for your success in the business. 
  • Build Up Your Network - Networking is always an important thing to participate in, whether you’re in real estate or not. Who you know is going to be beneficial on your path to becoming a real estate investor. With your network, you can find other potential investors, buyers, and sellers, even if you don’t realize it in the moment. Also finding a mentor through your network will help you gain insight into the business and what it takes to be successful in it. 
  • Create A Financial Plan - Finding the money to become a real estate investor can sometimes be a challenge, although the good thing about this business is that - you may not even need any! How to properly invest in real estate without straining your finances is an important skill to learn from the beginning. Creating a financial plan for your investments will help you maximize your profits over time. 
  • Study Market Trends - Market trends will help you understand where it is headed in the future and whether or not the property will be a success. Location plays a big part in the investment opportunities you will discover as it impacts their desirability. Nonetheless, it is important for you to find real estate with the consideration of its market trends such as population growth, unemployment, mortgage rates, property and rental rates, development opportunities, occupancy, and vacancy rates.
  • Figure Out How You Want To Invest - The real estate business has many areas you may choose to invest in. Renting out your property, house flipping, and wholesaling are a few of the many investment opportunities. It is up to you to discover which strategy of investment you are most willing to take up. 

Investing in real estate requires openness and flexibility to the business and what it may entail. Not each investment opportunity you will participate in will be like the other, unprecedented issues may evolve and others may go smoother than expected. It is crucial to be able to adapt to the situations you face and be prepared to invest your time and energy, not just your money.  



Final Thoughts On Fixer Upper

Whether you watched the show with the intention of gaining inspiration for your own projects or purely just for entertainment, you have that knowledge to use to your advantage whenever you see fit. Although the application from these series to your real-life situation may seem unrealistic at first, it’s never too late to get started in the business!

As rewarding as the profits may seem, your passion, dedication, and will to invest your time and energy into the process is what will make it worth it in the end.

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