We often get asked why we've dedicated so much, ahem, real estate to coverage of Fixer Upper. The bottom line, cutting through the hype, is that the eponymous HGTV show is one of the most-watched cable TV shows in the country for the last five years running — transcending the interiors obsessed, the DIY addicts, and the home flipping voyeurs to draw in millions of Americans for each episode (and now, each rerun).
Since its 2013 premiere, Chip and Joanna Gaines and their Waco partners have fixed up more than 76 homes and other properties, making formerly industry-specific terms like shiplap not just commonplace but into well-recognized memes. And there are so many lingering questions about the behind-the-scenes, nitty-gritty reality of how those homes came to be and what has happened to them on the real estate market since they were fixed up — like this Waco home featured on the show that is having a hard time selling despite the Magnolia pedigree in its listing.
So, the team at Porch decided to take a closer look at each episode and crunch the numbers for us. In an exclusive study, they uncovered and distilled down everything from the average finished price of a Fixer Upper home to how many disgusting things Chip ate. (Four, including a dead cockroach in season two.)
Here are three takeaways from Porch's research:
Yes, the numbers are pretty different than in the real world.
It's no secret to most viewers that the renovation estimates on flip shows like Fixer Upper are almost always lower than what those quotes would be in the real world. On average, the renovation budget for each home on the show was $121,000 — with 13% of homes coming in over budget and 11% coming in under budget. That puts homes featured on the show in the high bracket for average home renovation costs, considered $76,000 and up, according to recent guidelines put out by Realtor.com. But show participants also paid an average of 5.3 percent less than the listing price for each home, with a base cost of roughly $179,000 — or an all-in cost of about $293,000, which is still well above the median US home price of $213,146 in 2018.
Yes, the homes featured are purchased before filming begins.
Just like on all those seasons of House Hunters, show participants have to secure their home before filming for the show even begins. Most clients (38%) picked the first house they viewed on the show, out of three shown, so that about lines up with the amount of rotation the producers can feasibly do to switch things up and try to throw viewers off the scent. The good news for show participants is, according to Zillow, after all the hassle and magic of television behind the scenes, most Fixer Upper homes are worth 49.8 percent more than their purchase price.
Yes, by and large Fixer Upper did put Waco back on the map.
Here in Texas, the going mantra is sure, stop in Waco for Magnolia (especially if you're already driving between Austin and Dallas, it does makes a great halfway pit stop) but to stay for all the historic draws and new independent businesses now thriving thanks to the attention the area has received from the show. According to the numbers Porch crunched, Magnolia Market alone draws in more than 30,000 visitors every week, or around 1.6 million people a year — including at least four buses full of tourists traveling from New York to see the Magnolia sights. When you're done at the Silos and associated Gaines properties, venture a little farther afield for coffee (or something stronger) at Dichotomy, tours of the Dr. Pepper Museum and the Hippodrome Theatre, and shopping at Wildland Supply Co.
For more data analytics on Chip & Jo's dynamic by the numbers, and the quantifiable ways the family shared "acts of love" on the show, check out the complete Porch study here.