I probably get more questions about the HGTV mega-hit “Fixer Upper” and its hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines each week than just about anything else, so today I’m answering 10 of them!
Note: This post contains affiliate links that may earn me commission.
10 Frequently Asked Questions about “Fixer Upper”
1. How can I get on the show?
They’re already casting for Season 5. To be eligible, you first have to buy a house within 40 miles of Waco, Texas.
Second, come up with at least $30,000 for renovations and be ready to pay more if possible.
Finally, be willing to give Chip and Joanna total control over the project. (More details about the application process here.)
2. Do the homeowners get to keep the furniture Joanna decorates the houses with?
The finished houses are usually staged for the show with items from her store Magnolia Market.
The homeowners then have the option to buy whichever pieces of furniture or decorative items they want to keep. So, no, they’re not getting $20-30,000 worth of furnishings for free! (More details about the staging here.)
3. What happens to the rooms we don’t see finished on TV?
According to Jaime Ferguson, who wrote about her experience on the show for the blog Holy Craft, they finish all of the rooms but only stage the ones that will be featured on the show.
4. How can I stay at the Magnolia House Bed & Breakfast and Carriage House?
Despite its name, Magnolia House is actually a vacation rental, not a traditional bed and breakfast, which means you’ll have the whole place to yourself.
You can also rent the Carriage House behind it, which sleeps six.
The houses are located in McGregor, Texas, about 20 minutes outside Waco. Visit the Magnolia House website for photos and rental information.
5. What software do we see Joanna using on the show?
The 3D modeling software featured on “Fixer Upper” is called SketchUp (Amazon affiliate link).
6. What’s Joanna’s ethnicity?
She says she gets asked this a lot: “Although I did play Pocahontas in high school, I am not Native American. My father is half Lebanese/half German and my mother is full Korean.” (Via her blog.)
7. How long do the renovations typically take?
About 8 weeks.
8. Where can I find photos of the houses featured in the episodes?
They post before and afters on their website and often include additional information, including floor plans!
9. Do they really help the homeowners find a fixer upper to buy?
From what I’ve heard, they prefer if you already have a fixer upper before applying to be on the show.
That means the house-hunting we see in the first half hour is probably just for entertainment purposes. (This makes sense since we know shows like House Hunters also operate that way.) There may be exceptions to this, however. (Via Waco Tribune.)
10. How do they manage to do it all, as well as taking care of their farm and four kids?
I get this question a lot, and I wish I knew the answer! What’s their secret? I’m assuming they have help with the kids and that Joanna has design assistants we don’t see on TV.
Regardless of how much help they have behind the scenes, though, they seem to get an amazing amount accomplished. Let’s face it, they make the rest of us look like slackers. Maybe they don’t sleep??
They have a new book with more details called “The Magnolia Story” (Amazon affiliate link).
Visit my HGTV page to learn about more of your faves, like Ben & Erin.
They don’t own a television! So while us mere mortals spend 10-15 hours per week doing nothing they’re clearly using that time much more wisely.
Good point! 🙂
Fixer Upper has just hit free to air TV in Australia in my neck of the woods. And I’m addicted. After years of internet stalking including the hookedonhouses blog I can finally watch a full show!!!!!!! Didn’t get much house work done last week.
Yay! Glad you finally got it, Donna. 🙂
I love their style and they seem so sweet. They have a real penchant for staging in a timeless, yet of-the-moment way that resonates well.
I must be terribly jaded, though, because I keep expecting to hear about some scandal related to/involving them—I mean, really, are they really that perfect?!? I hope there never is one, though!
Jon G. says
Expect no scandal… they are who they are on the show…character wise anyway (can vouch for that). They go to my church, and members of our congregation get the too good to be true charges a lot, but they are just a couple who loves Jesus & people, and have a passion for restoration in Waco. They are confident in who God has established them to be, and you won’t see them prioritizing anything but their faith, each other, and family which is a strong scandal safeguard.
In the latest HGTV magazine, they say they only sleep about 5 hours a night. I don’t know how they function! But some people genuinely do just need less sleep.
I didn’t see that. When I hear about everything they’re doing, I get tired FOR them. I’d need more than 5 hours, that’s for sure. 🙂
Alie B says
Thanks for getting and sharing the answers to these pressing questions, Julia! 🙂
I love this show, and this family. I think the smiles and tears of the homeowners, at the end of each episode, speak volumes about the success of the renovations.
It feels like they truly want to please their clients; much like the property bothers.
Thanks for the info on Fixer Upper. Chip Gaines is my all-time favorite HGTV personality. The man is a hoot and a half and does not take himself seriously.
I would love to see a story on Flip or Flop. The El-Moussas are the complete opposite, personality-wise, of the Gaines.
Definitely. The El-Moussas are not pleasant to watch. I’ve actually heard of people cheering for them to have an actual “flop”. I really don’t get who HGTV gets their ratings from…they never match my perceptions or what I hear other people saying.
Esther George says
Hi Julia, this has been my do not miss show since it came to our shores (free to air channel) we also get House Hunters, Flip or Flop, Five Day Flip, My First Place and then we get the British shows Escape To The Country, Restoration Man and many more no wonder we don’t get anything done we are watching someone else do it all (they put me to shame). Thank you for sharing. Till next time, regards Esther from Sydney.
Katie Clooney says
My daughter got me hooked on this show. Now I can admit a total addiction. Great post, as always!!
I like this show, and they seem like very talented, creative people. Like a lot of designers, there is certainly a *look* Joanna has that you’re either into or not. The one thing that gets me is the manufactured deadline that always makes them crazy toward the end of the project. Like, does it always have to be that way? All the HGTV shows seem to do that, I guess it adds drama or something. In the real world, any of us who’ve ever lived through a remodel know that the project is finished when it’s finished.
Kitty S. says
$695 – $995 a night? For a rental in Waco?! Those two must be laughing all the way to the bank. I love Joanna, but Chip’s childish antics are a bit tedious. One time he ate a cockroach and I just about vomited! I am also getting sick of her very specific style – white, shiplap, subway tile, word art, soft colors, barn wood, etc. I think her style will need to evolve a bit in order for the show to remain relevent. They do seem like genuinely nice people, though, and very hard working.
Jill Palumbo says
I disagree with you on the style comment. So many of the design shows are the same – modern, slick or maybe mid century. It is nice to see something different for a change. I love the farmhouse, rustic look and Fixer Upper is the only design show I watch because of this. I do notice that from time to time, Joanna does swing towards the more generic, popular style and I hold my breath, hoping she goes back to her signature style.
I too, am sick of Chip Gaines. He really drags down the show. The one time when they juxtaposed clip after clip of Joanna hitting him was revealing. They really need to keep this out of the shows and focus more on repairing, restoring the houses. Keep his antics out. He is really self-centered. I don’t watch the show for him or his kids or his personal stuff like pitching a baseball somewhere. Why does Joanna always precede the owners into their homes and the various rooms? Why doesn’t she let them go in first? It’s troubling how Joanna plays favorites with her kids too. Anyone ever notice she singles out one of the two girls for hugs and “missed you” comments? She always has a clock in each house she does. I do like that they bring back old homes. That’s the best part of the show and something they should really focus more on.
Oh. My. Goodness. Some people just have to nitpick at everything. I feel sorry for you, that you can’t just enjoy a wholesome TV show.
I agree with Kitty S. . . .they DO seem like very nice people. But already the show is the same old stuff every week. Same style, same ‘visit from the kids’ (and really? she has to work in the evening to stage the house? It’s always at night!) . . .same guy who does her wood projects and she visits his shop. Then a trip to the antique stores (cue Chip to look at cute/gross stuff) – it’s just so old already! Time to change it up a bit – way too contrived. And if I hear ‘shiplap’ one more time . . .
I think the style is very formulaic, as is the show itself. In my opinion, the best work she did was a mid-century modern reno that was totally opposite of anything else she has done. I suppose they think “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” regarding the format. At this point, I assume they have been crowed king and queen of Waco?
Jill Palumbo says
See, the mid century one was my least favorite. I think it’s great that HGTV has one show on tv that isn’t all the same. All the design shows decorate exactly the same way and their style is so boring to me. I love the Fixer Upper style!
They have not been crowned King & Queen of Waco, though city officials may think so; they recently granted them 2.5 million dollars (for more ‘historical’ silo reno I think?) to be paid/supplied by local taxpayers… so I guess you could say we are paying taxes to the king & queen. Also, the disneyland-esque car traffic they attract severely jams up city streets EVERY DAY
Bobi Jensen says
Love this post! They are inspiring.
Layla Bera says
I just hear the name of “Fixer Upper” so many time but I never watch this American television series and now when I cam on hookedonhouses.net than I came to know little about Fixer Upper.
bobbie belnap says
I need to know how I get the shelves for dishes and such and how to get the barn doors, we don’t have much money, but you have changed my life. I need your help to help me pull my home together.
Please do not call your clients, perks!
Love this show, but I often wonder what Joanna’s background is in decorating. Has she been to design school, or is she self- taught? And does she work alone, or does she have design assistants doing some (or much) of the work?
Hi Suzette! She has no formal training in decorating. She taught herself while flipping houses. She does have assistants, although we don’t see them on the show.
I went into a little more detail about Chip and Joanna in this post if you want to learn more about them:
Stephen Saint-Onge says
Love this piece. Thanks for sharing this. Big fan of theirs!
I can’t stand Chip’s antics either. And the show is entirely too tedious. I don’t know about actually being queen of Waco but she’s always shown as the way too overly precious Queen of the Gaines household. I hated that HGTV ad where Chip said he was “Joey’s” diamond in the rough. All of those “flip” shows are almost criminal as they wreck havoc on city housing costs. Greedy flippers eliminate a lot of “affordable” housing. I don’t watch HGTV very much anymore & think it should be renamed the Property Bros. channel. I can’t stand them either. I hate their snarky comments about “clients” and their childish antics. I used to like House Hunters but like Love it or List It, it’s completely staged, unreal, & most likely unethical. I liked HGTV better when they had programs like Trading Spaces and Candace Olson’s Divine Design.
Trading Spaces was never on HGTV.
I’m more contemporary than Joanna, hate old things, but she has used some tin pieces I dearly love. But, that’s her style so be it, I LOVE Chip’s sense of humor, appears to be the perfect husband! I love her trips to see Clint, he’s made some great wooden pieces for the show. They seemingly are more energetic than normal people, where do they get that, I want some!! I hope their home life is as they portray it, but you know they have to disagree sometimes, they’re only human. And one last question, why do the girls always wear dresses?
Georgetta Busler says
I love Fixer Upper. This couple clearly has a loving relationship and that is one thing that makes this show enjoyable. I also like the glimpses of their personal life (how are those silos coming along?) and the interaction with their kids.
Love the show, love them, love your site! Do you know if they’ve ever published the before and after floor plan of their own farmhouse like the do of the others on her blog/website?
Hi Sarah! Good question. I don’t remember seeing it, but they may have. They’re pretty good about posting floor plans! 🙂
I’m wondering if they prefer to keep it private, which is understandable. I can’t find it anywhere online. My husband and I love their show and we just bought six acres and want to build a farmhouse and I’d love to see their actual layout. There are certain things you just can’t tell from photos.
Marcus Grodi says
Love the show, and enjoy Chip and Joanna! We have a home in northern Ohio that needs work! How do we locate someone in our area who does what Chip and Joanna do?
Susan Casey says
I can’t find anyone in our area that knows how to do the German mortar smear. We want to “smear” our brick. Where can our brick layer find out how to use this technique?
Jan strickland says
What percentage of clients purchase furniture and/or decor? As a Texan, I love this show. All of you haters – don’t watch!! Quit your bellyaching!!!
Grace Teller says
I like this show, but really don’t like it when the producers glamorize Joanna hitting Chip. Hitting a spouse is never appropriate, funny or cute. If Chip hit Joanna, he would be in big trouble. Joanna needs to stop this really bad habit and the producers need to quit including this in the show.