Thursday, 21 January 2016

Is the HGTV show Fixer Upper just as unrealistic as Architectural Digest?


 Joni from Cote de Texas, one of my favourite blogs
 - not only for the blog but the comments -
mentioned the show Fixer Upper and the hosts 
Chip and Joanna Gaines in the post here.

I couldn't comment as I had never even heard of them but the other week as I was waiting for some old episode of housewives in some metropolitan city to bicker this show came on instead.
This post could easily be about me opining about their design aesthetic.
Joanna is known for her American country look dotted with personalized sayings to put on walls.

But I don't think it would be the point because it would be a matter of some like it and some don't.
End of.
It could be a post about dissecting the meteoric rise to fame and their presence in the US design channel called HGTV.

They seem to be the new darlings of the suburban design community and most American housewives.
They live in the home above in Waco, Texas - yes that Waco.

Of course they live the dream of having chickens on a ranch so their lifestyle adds to their appeal of the crude marketing ethos of - if you do as I do you can live my life!

The show is such a clever format of a young couple who tend to look so well scrubbed, good looking and likable like most Mormon missionaries I have come across.

Everyone loves a new start and home shopping so we get to go along for the ride to view 3 houses with a custom wishlist for the respective couple.
Budgets are rather foreign.
The budget is $120k.
Even for America, this seems rather low.

They showed this 1930's bungalow that in Melbourne, Australia would be at least a cool million.
At least.
These style of home oddly doesn't exist in the U.K.
And yet it was....
$88,900!

I was ready to move to Waco on this alone.
But then Joanna and Chip were going through costings of the things they could do.
$3k for a custom island?
Even Ikea would charge more and that's without labour.
I know this varies depending on where you live but look at the renovation estimate.

The prices just seem unrealistic.
Does Chip working on site keep costs down?

It looks like one of those quotes by builders desperate for pitching at a job.
Look at this other house for less than 100K.

My head was spinning and by the way for those who don't know - one of the episodes had a house for sale for 10,000 dollars!
I mean I don't even know where to start with that sort of price point. The couple then spent 50K on the home...

Of course another section that appeals to the viewer is that Joanna lets the couple choose three options on which to spend their money.
At the end of the show, Chip and Jo predictably show off a comfortably decorated home to an elated couple.
Most times they go through the numbers and in most cases the couple through the renovations have made instant equity ranging up to $50,000.

This seems the way Chip and Jo have made their initial business flipping homes.
They now have a business empire built up on the ethos of the show.
Their business not only comprises of a construction company tailoring homes to their aesthetic but they have a furniture range and a store along with a bed and breakfast for all the tourists who travel so far just to buy into their philosophy.

They are an influence to be reckoned with going by the TV show's ratings and the numerous forums and blogs dedicated to pursuing this first perfect home ideal presented by the Gaines couple.

Oddly this had the same effect that many of us civilians might feel when we go through outlandish and impossibly expensive homes when flipping through an average issue of Architectural Digest.

Even though the houses featured on Fixer Upper are "affordable", 
 I kept thinking but are there enough jobs there in Waco for people to live on?

Also if a home is on average 60 to 80K, is it wise to spend almost the same amount on renovations?

I don't think it is wise to spend even half the value of your house on refurbishments. 
Unless you can afford to that is.

This goes against what most couples around the world have to endure which is that they have spent all their money for the deposit and closing costs that they have to wait another few years to save up to decorate and refurbish the home.
It isn't hard to see why people gravitate to this show because it seems so plausibly doable.

Instant gratification works for human nature.
Everything is so seemingly easy where home purchases are done within a month and your builders speak perfect English and all you have to do is doodle something on paper. 

Even I was googling where Waco was and dreaming up decor schemes and relishing the increase in budget in decorating a house I could buy for a small sum.

But would it not be crazy for me to buy a house for 60K then install Gracie handmade wallpaper, matchstick marble for my bathrooms, and an Aga in my kitchen?

But isn't this just going to lead to the very recent sub prime real estate market?

Do people have such short memories?

Or is this show aimed at the demographic in their mid twenties that they would have still been in high school or starting out in college at the last financial crash?

Or are they empty nesters and baby boomers getting ready to downsize and release some equity for their impending retirements?

I can just imagine loads of people out there getting their calculators out and making some bad financial decisions in order to invest in decorating the home rather than investing in the home itself.

I am generalizing here of course but those days of the amateur real estate developer are over - except it seems in Waco, Texas.

In Europe, unless you are in cahoots with an estate agent you will not see any bargain advertised and they will be sold in what is known as "brown envelope" transactions.
 This is where you make sure the agent is rewarded with giving you first dibs on a home being sold by someone who doesn't care or doesn't know better.

Most homes even if it needs renovation has the price built in.

Otherwise, you could buy something at auction.

Did I tell you that I flipped a few houses more than a decade ago?
 I stopped because it was so easy...
Le grand sigh.
I was young and didn't know better and went on to a challenge like my coffee shop that wasn't so financially rewarding.

But even then I had to take risks and once bought a house that was a crack den in Liverpool, U.K.
But that's another story for another day.

Things aren't as easy as this tightly edited show where you shop for a house then do it up and every last fork is installed.

I will continue to watch the show for the novelty and gawking at all the ridiculous house prices and laughing at how quickly sale transactions take in Texas.
 
But I would be lying if I didn't admit that I couldn't help but feel like this show was the sanitized, chirpy, polished suburban real estate version of Jerry Springer.

*If you made it this far, thank you because this post was half wiped out due to Mercury retrograde but I decided to post patched up!*

71 comments:

  1. Goodness sakes, not heard of this show but surely I would cry? The money is like 30 years ago money. Everything now costs minimum $1500 even some simple glass replacement on doors and windows- so how can a house be $80,000. It's like a dream- hence the popularity?
    How bizarre. I'm VERY interested in your past of flipping homes you need to tell! You have such an eye I can see how it would be a success. But in the right market and now it is all madness.
    I was in Palm Beach Florida last weekend and the houses there, unbelievable. I was taking pictures of the gardens in the neighbourhood on our morning walks, one in particular I liked, and then I looked down and realized the entire driveway was polished marble, not a lie. A huge circular driveway, sidewalks, the whole business, all highly polished honey marble with a lovely vein to it. XO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was more confusing than a 20 million dollar build. Plus even with builders discounts it all seems implausible but is tempting all those youngsters or those with no experience that this is feasible. It's almost more damaging to people with no sense of self and proper experience than rich kids of instagram. Florida is another funny market - you leave palm beach and then it's another world though! Hope you are having a great time xx

      Delete
  2. NO NAOMI in WACO!
    NO, NO, NO!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know if I would fit in that well in Waco. Plus I have a thing against Texas - just didn't like it...

      Delete
  3. Well...once it's made it to HGTV it's a bit passé. Did you know HGTV has their headquarters in Knoxville, TN? I know! Oh how I miss the design shows...these flippers are ridiculous. Of course this is coming from a home builder. And yes, you can find $20K dollar home here. Just be prepared for the gun fire, meth lab neighbors. Oh wait a minute, your house was used to cook meth. My bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HGTV is a bit like that but it seems they have hit the jackpot with the Gaines couple. They are on fire and there are so many devotees and people are callling her the next martha stewart!!! I must write about the house because only fools enter and I was so young and having no prejudices worked against me initally but i learned a lot :)

      Delete
  4. I think I saw this show once or twice and laughed a lot at the "budget" for renovations. Even given the cheap labour in Texas (surely there were teams of illegal mexican immigrants in the background?) the prices seem… odd. Unfortunately the reality of real renovations is vastly different. We have our own stupid programs her in Oz - The Block (which I wrote a post about last year as it annoys me so much), and unrealistic is an understatement. Sadly the more likely reality for a young couple is more what you described and makes less interesting TV. Our first house was done on a shoe string, with us doing a lot of the work, and over a three year period for a very small house as we had full time professional jobs which limited us. Good furniture came much later, so there was no instant decorating either. But really, these house shows are just another form of overconsumption. And it really does appeal to human nature for quick fixes and instant gratification. This is why I like Grand Designs. Firstly most of the houses won't be falling apart in 6 months time, and secondly the builds can take 2-3 years and just get done in one show.
    But wow to that Bungalow price!! There is literally no way you could buy a house like that in Australia anywhere for that price, even in a rural area. Land value alone would be more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still haven't seen the BLock but know what you mean - for some reason they brought fixer upper but not the block...But then this fixer upper is ratings king. When Joni was discussing them at length I thought it was a bit odd she was mentioning a HGTV show but they have so much clout now. Waco is the new design capital.

      I agree Grand Designs was how it really is - years long. But it aggravates me how if you are buying at the price bracket surely you need to be even more careful with their money but they are also now expecting a perfect home. I mean not many people i know have the perfect home that is "done". I lived in the present house for two years with S without touching a thing. But isn't that price for the bungalow amazing? Even inside they had really nice cabinets with original pulls. It is seriously unbelievable. You have to see the episode where they buy a Victorian Texas house for 10k!!!!! I must say I watch every night now...

      Delete
    2. maybe it's a generational thing too - I'm happy to wait and be patient for it to be 'done' but a lot of other people just aren't. One thing I've always thought ridiculous is the rise of the 'room reveal' on blog posts which I feel has been fuelled by programs like this. I think it shows that people just love the whole thing being 'done'. Instant gratification. And a lot of bloggers specifically finish off a room just for the photos with knick knacks etc (like the one room challenges). And won't show in progress photos making everyone wait on tenterhooks… anyway. I'll go watch a couple more episodes maybe. 10k for a house is literally ridiculous. You can't even buy one on a rural block that they want to move to another site for that sort of money, let alone the land!! How can people not afford a house in the US?? (OK, I get that not everyone wants to live in Waco, but still…)

      Delete
    3. I am terrible in some ways. The house I am super patient though longing to finish it but with tv shows it just doesn't feel right unless I watch 12 hours of it and finish it! I don't like Texas but for 10 k I'm tempted to practice putting shelves up ;p

      Delete
  5. Can't wait to hear these stories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I might write about my northern stories soon!

      Delete
  6. Naomi, I am with you.. Love this show. It's addicting exactly due to the instant gratification. I have thought about packing up and paying them to redo a house for me. Who couldn't afford it at those prices? Even though her style is a little country, she does a beautiful job. He is like the most likable and funny guy. They really hit the jackpot with those two. If only I could so the same thing in 30 days and at that cost! Dreaming! x Kim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are super cute and sweet but I think they must be that sweet or secret psychos because how are they always so chirpy?! and they never fight? FFS - I get into a tiff with my husband if we go to the supermarket or IKEA and they are doing a build and not one cross word!!! But to buy a house and do it up in the time that the legal work would take here is crazy hehe xx

      Delete
  7. Do tell about the crack den in Liverpool!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Waco... I remember there was a cult siege situation there years ago... Ppl were burnt alive.

    America is a depressing place.
    What does flipping houses mean?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find America bipolar - I adore some parts of it and can't understand the other bits. But yes Waco had a bad rep for a long time and the Gaines couple is making it a destination now.

      Flipping is when you buy and sell a place either with or without refurbishing it.

      Delete
  9. America is a very big place where some depressing things happen, but generally we are quite hopeful!

    Houses are certainly not that cheap up here in the NE area, especially near the coast where I am. We've seen that show-- that Jo is very competent and attractive, I think--and they do have to do structural work on these properties in addition to the cosmetics. They seem very sensitive to the budgets of the clients as well. I could not live/survive in Texas, but many seem to love it! Baylor Univ is in Waco, not sure what else for jobs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We all live in hope too for the US this election year!

      I think TExas is a love it or hate it type of place. But I didn't make it straight across the state like I intended to.

      Delete
  10. I have never seen Fixer Upper (and now I am interested in taking a look!) but in my city you could buy a house for $88k in a safe neighborhood (and there are places to work). I don't know Waco, but real estate markets like this do exist in the U.S. - they just aren't in glamourous places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was like you just two weeks ago. I would have a look out of curiosity. You are lucky to live in an affordable city especially as I think the social issue in first world countries is the ridiculous cost of housing - it impedes so much progress which I once wrote about last year or so. My only issue with it is over capitalizing on a home which is a bad financial decision at any price tier.

      Delete
  11. I can't stand that show...for many of the same reasons you list..and think it is the HGTV version of Jerry Springer! I think these are in VERY depressed areas where things are (obviously) worthless. I partly wonder if the reason the costs for the renovations (which are astoundingly low) don't include any labor which the show provides for free? I'm sure labor is CHEAP in Waco. I also find the 'afters' pretty awful. the quality of everything is so cheap -corners don't meet. it just looks sloppy and in 3 years will be ready to be gutted again. *sigh*. I signed off HGTV years ago but I do occasionally still watch the house hunters Interenational version.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see how you could reach a saturation point with this - especially if they have a B&B to accommodate all the people who want a piece of the Gaines philosophy. You are right - the sums don't add up whatsoever.The UK doesn't have this sort of channel and for some reason we do cooking shows but nothing similar but then the UK did do Grand Designs and that is one of my fave shows ever.

      Delete
  12. I too want to hear about this crack den in Liverpool...was this for a Guy Ritchie shoot? I don't think you Londoners or many of those inhabitants of the posh major metro suburbs ever understood the depth of the 2008 crash. In Chicago in those so-so neighborhoods where yuppies (to use that quaint '90s term) could go in cheap and scoop up a 1br for about $185K and just KNOW it would be $250K in 3 years so put no money down after all it was near the lake, had parking, balcony, blah blah blah.... after the bloodbath those 1BRs would go for $60-75K in an empty building with assessments skyrocketing as a result.
    I've been to Waco don't miss it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually it was a crack den and technically that is the end of the story LOL. I think it was definitely experienced although perhaps not as much as other areas. Lots and lots of bankers lost their jobs and many didn't get re-employed to any job because of various social issues. There were lots of divorces and while there was no crash perse there was a massive lull and actually there was more of a panic buying of property and the reverse effect happened in London but then this city is peculiar in many ways. Waco is a rather unfortunate name.

      Delete
  13. Somehow, I cannot envision you in Waco. I agree that it is not wise to spend nearly as much as your house is worth inn renovations. The low price of housing on this show (and I've not seen it yet) can be very misleading because it does not take into account the job market, the astronomic cooling bills homeowners endure for the privilege of living in a hot climate or, come to think of it, the heating bills in winter. Also, as we all know, contractors vary in quality so yes, you can find one on the cheap but are you prepared to live with the consequences of their work? Been there. Done that.

    Now, about that crack den, do please spill the beans?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well hee haw CD - why the heck not? I could have loads of barbecues in my huge back yard - most probably alone hehe.

      Yes will spill but like I said to GSL - there isn't much more to the story! ;P

      Delete
  14. Perhaps you should ask these questions here https://magnoliamarket.com/blog/ on their blog! You guys crack me up! This is just another form of "reality" tv like those "Housewives of ..." Enjoy it for what it is! Following you from my little bitty home in Fort Worth, Texas! Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enjoy for what it is?! You must be a new follower lol! I'm all about the cumulative of the visceral ;)

      Delete
  15. soo...
    I love them. I don't like their taste and, no, Waco isn't for me. Or you. But I love them. Joanna is so beautiful and I love her hair. Chip is so cute and I like his bad haircut. The look isn't my look, but I will watch an episode here or there when I'm not refilling my wine or rolling my eyes.
    I am the king, the undisputed king, of spending out of proportion on a house. I would install Viking ranges in hotel rooms if I could get the permits. If I didn't hate staying in hotels. The first time I ever looked at an apartment with a friend when I was like 18, I said "this is great! But I'm going to change the countertops". It had to be hammered into my head that one doesn't remodel a rental.
    And the prices/labor are believable. We are lucky where I live that we can go hire extraordinarily talented Amish craftsmen for $14/hour. You just have to pick them up and drop them off and watch your language. They can do anything from framing a house to bending wood for a broken piece at the crest of a grandfather clock. Oh and we have the most amazing lumber store in Amish country where they get a lot of their fine wood for cabinet and furniture making. It's called Keim. You'd love it. It's a Midwestern fusion of IKEA and Lowe's and This Old House.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You crack me up! I wish I could fly the talented Amish over here and they could bring me some pickled goods while they are at it. I missed out on Amish country except I saw a few bad boys in a macdonalds in southern Illinois and they had a car. They fascinate me. But the culture here don't produce anything like the Gaines couple. People here just aren't that cheerful!!

      Delete
    2. I am officially jealous that you hire Amish crafts people to work on your house. Sure beats builders that play loud techno music and drink lattes and leave their takeaway coffee cups around your house/ garden.

      Delete
  16. There is nothing special about Waco--most of the U.S. is similarly situated. I just looked at one listing service for the small city of Painesville, Ohio (about which I once posted), and it listed 160 houses for sale between $30,000 and $100,000. (The lower limit was to avoid most vacant lots and true disaster houses.) Of course, many of these are tiny, and/or in questionable areas, but some look o.k., although your point about over-improving a house for its neighborhood is well taken.
    --Jim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I phrased that badly! I meant that not only Waco has quantities of inexpensive houses--no insult intended!

      Delete
    2. Oh I don't think any insult could be construed. There are dumps in London which aren't cheap so it is what is it right? I did hear Detroit had some free houses going at one point if you lived in there for a few years to repopulate areas. Considering homelessness is an issue I don't know why they aren't utilized more and might be cheaper than running a center or shelter.

      Delete
  17. Hear, hear! Great post! I couldn't agree more with what you've said, especially about the possibility that this may lead some people into bad financial decisions that could ruin their lives. Thank you for taking the time to post patched up. Emily :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Emily - towards the end I was yelling and my husband was just ducking because technological bloopers are sooo annoying and in the end I just had to press publish :)

      Delete
  18. I haven't seen Fixer Upper. My last foray into this sort of programme was Sarah's House on HGTV Canada. And for awhile I was mesmerized by the British presenters Kirsty and Phil. I will take a peek at FU and see if it appeals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kirsty and Phil are now institutions and they are now just part of the UK TV scene.

      Delete
  19. I'm a Texan, native Houstonian, and there is NO way I would live in Waco! And, neither would half of America. That is the reason the home costs are low. No one wants them.
    There is a university there, Baylor University is a Baptist university and is very well attended and in fact they have a wonderful medical facility in Houston at the very famous Texas Medical Center. I think it made a good TV show, that's all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But some of them are sooo pretty! with so much space. But I must say the landscape there seems a little barren.

      Delete
  20. I've never seen the show but I'd love to watch it just for the renovations. Waco's prices would make me question purchasing a property whether it was for residential or buy to let purposes - you know that old adage, 'if it's too good to be true......'xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will just find this all so amusing and you will love the prices and you can't help but imagine moving there and your mouth agape and the space they have. But yes I suppose I know no one there so the house would be empty! x

      Delete
  21. I used to bingewatch programs like Househunters, Househunters International, This Old House... At one point an acquaintance was asked to pretend to be hunting for a second (and enormous) home in Miami. Her husband refused to play along, but she thought oh well, free trip to Florida in winter, why not, and she and a friend got all dolled up and looked at preselected enormities with the cameras rolling. The NY ratings when her episode was broadcast must have been through the roof, because all her friends and relations had been alerted, and they told all their friends - well, it was a moment's silly diversion for a lot of people. Funnier than the supermarket cashier and her bus-driver husband who had an alleged budget of $425,000 and "needed" a large great room and a swimming pool on a large plot of land with a view.
    been altered

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw HH Int'l in the states but the locals haven't bought the show - we have our own version but 90% of the time they are in Spain or the Spanish Islands like Lanzarote which might be the Spanish island equivalent of Waco. Yes I always did wonder about the people - I saw one and they were buying ahome in Sardinia but they had never been before. But I love a sticky beak through houses world wide. I would do one of those shows but my husband refuses to do anything of the sort!

      Delete
  22. Hilarious. I'm obsessed with Rehab Addict but it's equally unrealistic. Half the towns where they make these shows (Waco, Detroit) are still half-empty post the 2008 crash and there is no way they will get their money back even with the underplayed costs (I think they just show materials since the labour is built into the costs of the show's production budget I suspect.) Still, it's fun to dream I suppose. I love your line: "the crude marketing ethos of - if you do as I do you can live my life!" How very true!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't watched the show you mentioned but I must get on to it!

      Delete
  23. Okay, Tom and I have been watching lately....kinda fun, gotta admit. We just don't understand how they can do all that work on such reasonable budgets. Unless the quality is very cheap. But still, new windows, marble, hardwood floor......just doesn't add up

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree - it's fun that doesn't make any sense financially but a good makeover story we all love right?

      Delete
  24. Various commenters have hit the nail on the head:

    1) the resale value in these neighborhood where the homes are fixed up is poor. Chip can talk all he likes about how they have made money almost immediately (ignoring the costs of paying a realtor to sell, and moving expenses which have to be factored in if these new homeowners were to turn around and try to sell immediately)

    2) The advertising says they buy houses in the best neighborhoods. No they don't. Best neighborhoods rarely have homes with dilapidated interiors and exteriors and neglected yards like these 'fixers' do.

    3) The projected costs are totally unrealistic on the low end. Go price appliances, tile, lighting, etc., yourself and you'll roll your eyes at Joanna's numbers; which most certainly do not include labor were you to try to get it done yourself with a local contractor and workers.

    4) While Joanna most certainly makes the homes look 1000% lighter, more open and incredibly more appealing than they did previously, if you look carefully, in most cases (not all) almost everything is cheap.

    Plus, all the decorations in the house that give it that finished appearance that is so cute are sold for an extra cost to the homeowner, they aren't included. So the "look" isn't inclusive at all of the numbers The Gaines say the home will cost. I don't like manipulative deceptions like that.

    5) Ever notice how Joanna seems to be installing furniture while the painters are finishing up? In real life, that isn't feasible. All the cabinets would be covered in plastic, floors would be covered with cardboard to protect them, you sand the walls between each of the three coats (1 primers and two finish coats), etc. The Gaines' painters don't go through that sort of effort.

    6) Instant gratification it is. I love watching it. I'd just like to have it necessary to have legal disclaimers stating that these homes are exceptions done for the show, and not something the average Buyer could achieve for these prices. And I'd like to see the "comps" for the neighborhoods the homes are in!

    7) Chip & Joanna seem like very loving constructive parents. THAT is one of the things that is great about them, they are so positive and encouraging with their kids.

    8) It is an entertaining show with the banter between the two of them. But just once, I'd like to see every single room and bath redone with a half-million dollar budget.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well you have really delineated things perfectly! I should have been this succinct! :)

      Delete
  25. Wow! so many opinions. The way I see it, Watch the show if you like and if you don't, then move on and stop whacking Waco". Everyone loves to dream. It just seems Joanna & Chip are so down to earth they make us all feel we could afford what they produce. So live longer and stop getting your blood pressure up because someone else appears to have it all (house and furniture). If you are still irritated, go outside and enjoy the fresh air (if where you live is not polluted).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love an opinion! And you have a point and we all watch what we like for sure. The only thing is that the fake appeal is indeed fake and the dream is indeed based on false accounting which many people believe in and get into debt for. No one is irritated enough to go out for a walk - it's not a football match or an episode of Girls!!! I don't really think the premise we are all jealous and we are pining for the dream life really applies either but thank you for thinking of everyone's health.

      Delete
  26. It's not a scam. Waco is cheap. The weather is not as hot as other parts of Texas or even some of the surrounding areas. Waco is what they call a "chili bowl" all the weather goes around them because of the geography. My sister-in-law just moved there a couple months from Oregon. It took them two weeks to get it all done. They bought a beautiful home for $180,000. Now we are all moving out there! After visiting you'll see Waco is not what it used to be. I also think there will be big change in the city in the coming years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well it's put on the map for sure! I think it will develop tho I've never been of course. How very exciting tho I hear Oregon is besutiful

      Delete
  27. I have been a frequent viewer and the best part was seeing the design of the home with furnishings. To my surprise I learned that after the camera stop that unless the new owner decides to fork over more money for furnishing, they are taken away. The furnishing belong to Joanna and are returned to her wherehouse. So my favorite part of the show is not real and the least appeal of the show is when Chip is on screen. No reason to watch show anymore!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do see your point Barbara bc a place come alive with furniture and it is about seeing a home's full potential.

      Delete
  28. Most design shows and homes that are actually on the market are indeed staged for aesthetic--that's not anything new. The premise is that they take the worst home on a great block and do it over. This is America people... You can pay cash to live comfortably... Baylor University is in the area and there are many young professionals and young families that thrive in Waco and surrounding established suburbs. There are in fact many areas of the Southern US where homes in safe and well-kept neighborhoods are available for purchase for under $150,000... As for the construction costs to have a nicely done kitchen would be about $20,000 USD. I live in NYC and those prices are comparable. No one is getting heated marble floors. The construction designs seem pretty standard for middle class suburban living. & just because a construction worker doesn't speak English well doesn't mean he isn't being compensated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes the format is used universally but the very fact one would overcapitalise and sensationalise zhushing up a house that may not be able to absorb the value raises alarm bells for me - if there are so many other homes out there waiting to be done then why buy up a done up place?

      Delete
  29. My wife and I live in Houston, TX. We're about three hours away from Waco. We purchased a home and put a lot of money intro renovations.

    I think there are a couple of things to address right off the bat. Obviously these budgets aren't realistic. Chip and Joanna sign on for x-number of shows. They have sub-contractors they trust who in turn receive the contracts for all of the episodes/shows and are more than likely under contract for those jobs as well. For a show like this - there isn't time to bid-out subs. Knowing how many jobs and the workload the subs are signing on for allows them to shave costs for the show. The network would never be able to let illegal, undocumented, and uninsured workers on the show and or work for Chip and J. They are so well known at this point - they basically have a target on their back for lawsuits. Considering the liability of a worksite in addition to a film crew there's no way these things are flying under the radar. I guarantee they are permitting all the jobs with the city, insurance, certified subs, etc. etc. etc. List goes on. Illegal workers in Texas? of course! everywhere! but not on this show.

    The subs get more jobs and discount their labor. Most companies, if featured, provide their products free of charge for the advertisement. This is HGTV yes, but it's still a form of reality TV. Instant gratification for sure. This is america, but I'm with you guys for sure. It's not an accurate depiction, but I just read through the comments scratching my head. Of course this isn't realistic. Anyways - come back to Texas and we'll show you guys a great time!

    BTW - Texas is a giant state with an incredibly diverse population and many different cultures. I don't think I could travel to Manchester and in turn decide the entire UK or just GB for that matter wasn't to my liking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True point about the show would be on target for any lawsuits so I guess they would tighten their belts and cross check everything. Plus they might get free adveritisng. I think I write from a UK perspective where these costings are just unrealisitc - but in terms of everything not just the labour but the house prices. Plus I have a few Australian readers where prices are astronoimcal.

      Delete
  30. is it just me or does anyone else also catch Chip misspeaking aBOUT CONSTRUCTION terms and correct ways of doing things.....its as if hes one step below handyman...but I love the show just the same....

    ReplyDelete
  31. I am a long term Waco resident, with some experience in real estate, and have had some limited personal interaction with the Gaines. They are genuinely kind and thoughtful people who love this community and we are thankful that Waco has been shown internationally for the lovely area that it is. It is interesting for me to read these comments and see Waco from an outsider's perspective. Obviously people are in awe about what we can buy here for the prices, and that is one of the reasons I'm thankful that I came to Baylor in the late 90s and ended up staying in this community. Cost of living in all of central Texas really is amazing. The show is very accurate about housing prices here, and even renovation costs, however the reveal decor in the show must be purchased if people want certain items. But to clarify, the gifts the Gaines give to people are real gifts. Also, they do have contractors who know they have steady work with them and they are not hiring illegals. I personally know at least 10 people that have been on the show and I have talked to different workers that have been behind the scenes. And there was a comment that all of these homes must be in depressed areas for those prices, and that is simply not true. They often do pick the most run down house on the block and give people instant equity. I live in Woodway and they have done many houses in Woodway and it is the nice part of town. What people underestimate is the benefit of living in central Texas in general. It is a booming part of the US because of our amount of available land, industry, and home prices. Waco is 2 hours from Dallas and 1 hour from Austin so there is more money here from commuters than people realize. At any rate, thank you for the article and comments, I just wanted to chime in with an insider's perspective. Downtown Waco really is beautiful and booming and we are thankful that the Gains have had such a positive impact. We are also a little sad that our area has now been "discovered" as we also liked being a smaller town. Now we all have to wait through traffic lights for two or three rounds and it takes 20 whole minutes to get across town and so now everyone is complaining about the traffic! Lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your insider and local point of view which is much appreciated! The blog though small does get readers from everyhwere in the world and I live in London so we have a completely different take on it. It looks a lovely town and as I mentioned I was tempted to move even to get the perfect house and to do a remodel. It is just that you couldn't buy a garage in London for the price of a redone house so it blows the mind. It is great that people do have the chance to create a perfect home and as with all these shows - the real pain isn't seen and highly edited. I might drive through the town if I am ever in Texas again!

      Delete
  32. Cristen, THANK YOU!!! Ugh! This whole article and all the comments from people who clearly have not the slightest clue as to what they are speaking about drove me BONKERS! I was literally yelling out loud at the utter ignorance! As someone who lives in southeast Texas and has for 4 1/2 years, after moving here from California, I personally know how CHEAP it is to live in Texas...especially compared to other places, like California. I just wish people would make sure of the facts before talking so negatively about things! Every single negative thing I've seen said on this article and comments are completely untrue and unfounded! Even saying the amount of money spent on the houses is unwise is an ignorant statement. They are literally spending the money to INCREASE THE VALUE of these homes! That's the WHOLE POINT of the show.

    Also, for people who've never been to Texas, or certain areas of Texas, there are completely wonderful neighborhoods that have the nicest, "richest" houses on one lot, and the next door down, is a completely dilapidated home! It's usually due to a natural disaster like a hurricane or the like, ruining a neighborhood, and some homes have been rebuilt, whereas some haven't because the owners didn't have the money to rebuild or fix the homes, and no one has been able to since. That is, until someone comes along, like the people on Fixer Upper, and purchases the house for cheap, and puts value back into the home again! It's a great way to rebuild neighborhoods and raise the value of the current structures, rather than leaving them there and building from scratch. It's a VERY WISE and compassionate decision, and it makes no sense to me that anyone would see it as anything else! Lol. Also, MOST of the houses on this show are NOT even in any sort of "bad" or "dangerous" appearing neighborhoods, anyway. Everyone talking badly about the Gaines and this show seems to just be really hateful. They are wonderful people who genuinely love each other, their clients, THEIR COMMUNITY and what they do, and have been able to be very successful at it, all the while raising the value of their beloved community! It's a very admirable thing, and it honestly saddens me that something so wonderful and admirable can be turned into something ugly and negative! Y'all seriously do need to learn how to not tear people down, and instead pick people up and encourage others...exactly like what the wonderful people y'all are bashing - the Gaines' - do!!! ;) <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can imagine you were yelling LOL! I am like that too but we can't help but bring what we know and equally I am sure you would find parts of London a bit crazy. I understand that things are cheaper there but isn't there a bottom limit to how much marble is for instance? Even in India- things like that are expensive. Actually having been to Texas once and being curious I heard that planning laws there are rather lax and as a property fiend did notice that there wasn't a cohesion in areas as such.

      My point of overcapitalisation perhaps was a finanical theory that applies throughout however regardless of location. I saw during my time when I did do some property renovations that people were putting in ridiculously expensive items/fittings in less than salubrious surroundings under the misguided premise that granite counters would sell a house in a slum.
      From an outsider point of view then I wonder if Waco is the new gold rush and we are all silly for not buying up all the houses for 10k? Perhaps we are.

      The post wasn't hateful at all actually. They aren't a figure here at all and most would not have even heard about them in the UK but considering the US has only experienced a massive sub prime mortgage crisis less than 10 years ago and the public at large have bailed out these institutions that it is a reminder none the less on the principle in general.

      But I applaud you are very proud and loyal to the Gaines. Cheers

      Delete
  33. I love Chip and Joanna and their show. I would love to do a fixer-upper with them, but don't want to move to Waco to do it. I live in Toledo, OH and we have cheap housing prices too. My own house is quite nice (1400 sq. ft.) and probably worth no more than 80K. If it were not so much cheaper to live here, I'd live in England. As it is, I can only visit once a year.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I live in Honolulu, so any HGTV show is laughable to us. Here, the median price of a home is $750k without upgrades. That means no hardwood floors, no granite countertops, no stainless steel appliances, you may not even get a two car garage. A million dollars doesn't buy you that much of a nicer home either. People are paying $1800/month to rent 400sqft, utilities NOT included and no parking and no pets! Welcome to paradise!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for dropping by!