Most of the fans of HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’ would agree that the show set some major trends for home décor. The home improvement series centers around the talented couple Chip and Joanna Gaines, who transform fixer-uppers into dream homes. While Joanna is a designer, Chip is the lead contractor. The transformations are unbelievable, and the clients seem to love the changes. However, it is possible that not everything we see on the screen is real. So, how much of ‘Fixer Upper’ is authentic, and how much is staged? Let’s take a look!
Is Fixer Upper Real or Scripted?
‘Fixer Upper’ has not only given us some major inspiration for turning our homes into Pinterest-worthy sites, but it looks like it has had a solid influence in the real estate market too. It has been reported that several homes featured on the series were in high demand, so much so that the owners were compelled to make a sweet deal by either renting it out or selling the place. The Bicycle House in season 1 was sold in 2018 for $293,750 and is back on the market. Whereas the Barndominium from season 3 was put up for sale for about $1.2 million. This proves that the work done on the show is authentic and of top-notch quality.
However, everything we see in the series is not as it seems. The viewers are led to believe that the Gaineses took their clients house-hunting before they decide to buy a house. However, according to sources, that was done simply for the show as most of the clients were in some phase of buying a property or already owned the place. This was corroborated by several people who appeared on the HGTV show. David Ridley from season 3 told Fox News, “You have to be under contract to be on the show,” he revealed.
Ridley added, “They show you other homes, but you already have one. After they select you, they send your house to Chip and Joanna [Gaines] and their design team.” Another piece of information about the series that might disappoint you is that the clients did not get to keep all the furniture used to stage the house. However, any items custom made by Clint Harp for a particular project was given to the clients since it was already accounted for in the budget.
Joanna Gaines explained the aforementioned point in her since-deleted blog post. “Our show features real clients with real budgets. The furniture budget is not part of the renovation budget; it’s something some clients add at the end,” she wrote. “About half of our clients already have all their own furnishings, some of which I use for the reveal, and others buy the items I decorate the home with.” Well, it seems only fair considering the budget was utilized well for the required renovations, and they had the option to purchase anything they liked.
Over the years, it also came to light that the production team reshoots some conversations. In a June 2018 conversation with Country Living, Rachel Whyte revealed, “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.” However, the photographer maintained that the interactions are absolutely authentic.
The Gaineses discussed the plans for a house with the owners and shared sketches to help them visualize the final look. Still, it did not mean that they were fully aware of exactly how their house would look post-renovation. This establishes that the look of surprise and admiration on the clients’ faces was quite real. About the big reveal, Rachel stated, “How it happens on TV is how it happens in real life!” Apparently, the clients even got to keep the giant poster of their old house used during the big reveal.
You would also be happy to know that the Gaineses genuinely care about what the clients want for their homes and pay attention to the details. Joanna often asked the clients to create a Pinterest board so she could get an idea of what they envisioned. So, even though the clients were not allowed to visit the site during the renovation period, their wishes were respected and not overruled by the creative vision of the Gaineses. So, all in all, it is safe to say that what we see on ‘Fixer Upper’ is what happened in real life.