35 Rules People Who Go on 'Fixer Upper' Have to Follow

1) You have to live in Waco, Texas.

It's true: The TV couple only remodels homes within a 30 mile radius of where they live, so they can be close to family. "Our kids are young, so until they're all out of the house and off to college, Waco is where we're going to base our renovation business," Joanna Gaines told fans on a Facebook Live Q&A.

2) The renovations aren't free.

However, all projects are done at costso it ends up being less expensive than using a contractor in the traditional sense.

3) You have to fork over some serious cash.

Homeowners have to have a budget of at least $50,000 for renovations. But more is always encouraged!

4) Not every room gets a total overhaul.

Sure, we all love Demo Day, but homeowners shouldn't expect dramatic renovations in every single room. Some spaces (think: guest bedrooms and basements) simply get new floors and paint.

5) You have to give up total control.

Want to approve every paint color? This show isn't for you. In fact, you may not be consulted on certain features at all. Going on Fixer Upper means you have to give Chip and Joanna the reins.

6) But their services are totally worth it!

And (even better) you don't have to pay for them. HGTV kindly covered the costs of Joanna's design service fee—which is a pretty great deal if you ask us.

7) You aren't kept totally in the dark.

The show is split into multiple segments and Design Day is when the homeowners get an update on Chip and Joanna's plans. "You've heard about the ideas, but [Design Day is] when you see a visual representation of what they have in store for your home," Rachel Whyte told Country Living.

8) You get one free piece of furniture.

When the show aired on HGTV, the furniture and decor used for the big reveal was staged. However, the network always gave the homeowner one big ticket item to keep at the end, ranging from a sectional to a dining room table.

9) The rest of the furniture is available for purchase.

After filming wraps, the show provides homeowners with an itemized list of all of the items staged in their home—and at discounted prices!

10) Be honest with the Magnolia team.

Before plans are set, homeowners meet with Chip and Joanna's design team. If you want any input or to share budget constraints, this is the time to bring it up.

11) Get your Pinterest board ready.

According to a former Fixer Upper homeowner, Joanna asks the homeowners to make a Pinterest board of their decor style before she finalizes her design plan.

12) Don't expect to deal with the hosts directly.

Chip and Joanna's careers have taken off since the first season and with more fame comes a busier schedule. They've since tasked some responsibilities to design associates, so homeowners aren't often given a direct line of communication to the hosts.

13) You could get some seriously sweet pieces.

Chip and Joanna often use their go-to vendors, like carpenter Clint Harp, for big projects—and homeowners usually get to keep these one-of-a-kind items.

14) Have a home ready to renovate.

On previous seasons of Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna showed the clients three homes before they settled on one to renovate. While it appears that part was staged, the house-hunting portion is no more. The rebooted season requires guests to already have a home to renovate when going on the show.

15) You can never be too prepared.

From clearing out shelves to moving around furniture, homeowners must have their space completely prepped for renovation when filming begins.

16) You have to move out during filming.

In order to work their magic, Chip and Joanna need full access to your house—which means all homeowners have to find somewhere else to stay during renovations.

17) And you may be displaced for over a month.

Sure, Fixer Upper operates on a reality TV schedule, but flipping a house is still a massive undertaking. The renovation can take up to six weeks to complete, which is considered speedy for a standard contractor.

18) There are no sneak peeks.

Producers want the big reveal to be authentic. Because of this, homeowners are asked to refrain from driving by or visiting their property while construction is underway.

19) You must be a true Fixer Upper fan.

During the show's casting process, you may be asked to disclose whether or not you've applied to other home renovation shows—and if so, which ones. Chip and Joanna might not want a couple from Love It or List It showing up on Fixer Upper. Can you blame them?

20) Make your application picture perfect.

The application allows homeowners to upload photos, so make them count! If you have specific rooms that needs more work than others, include images of them.

21) Your furniture may be repurposed.

Not all of your old stuff gets kicked to the curb. Joanna loves incorporating meaningful pieces into homes, which could mean keeping a family heirloom or a cozy sofa.

22) If Joanna asks personal questions, answer!

Whether it's a framed memento or a spruced up piece of furniture, the host often personalizes pieces for a homeowner for free.

23) You might have to wait to move in.

Even though homes look completely finished at the reveal, sometimes inspections or finishing touches need to be completed before homeowners can safely inhabit the space.

24) You have to start the process online.

Think your Texas home could be the next Fixer Upper? Well, before anything can happen, you first have to apply online.

25) It's a long road to renovations.

After your application is received, you may hear back from the casting agency. Afterwards, you could be asked to do video interviews, written questionnaires, phone calls, or in-person meetings before you're chosen for the show.

26) You must meet the age requirement.

There have been plenty of young couples who've renovated their homes on Fixer Upper over the years. However, all potential participants must be 21 or older.

27) You have to put pen to paper.

After being chosen for the show, homeowners are asked to sign a contract. While we know the participants sign the legal agreement, we don't know the specifics.

28) Nothing starts until you sign the contract.

After the homeowners sign the show's contract, they're given a blueprint sketch of ideas for their home. The concept is drawn up and reviewed with them before filming even begins.

29) Plan to use some vacation days.

The show does its best to condense filming, but homeowners will most likely have to take at least one day off of work to film.

30) Make sure you're camera ready.

While the reveal is only a small segment at the end of the episode, a lot goes into filming it. Homeowners could be expected to shoot from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. as they tour the house.

31) Some acting skills may be required.

Producers often ask people to repeat lines, so they can get the shot from multiple angles. "The hard thing is remembering what you said before when asked to repeat it," former Fixer Upper participant Rachel Whyte told Country Living.

32) Some homeowners cash in on the experience.

Several Fixer Upper participants have placed their renovated homes on the market. Whether it was a savvy investment move or a change in preferences, it appears there was no restriction for doing this by HGTV.

33) And these homes go for a lot.

Because of their Fixer Upper fame, the houses featured on episodes are often listed for a lot more than the average home price in Waco, Texas, which is around $200,000.

34) You'll save money on construction costs.

One of the biggest perks of being on the show is the discounts. According a former participant, Joanna offered to replace her roof at half price, because she didn't like the color.

35) You can't control what's left on the cutting room floor.

There is a ton of footage that gets condensed into a single episode. For that reason, participants might be surprised by what isn't shown on TV. What makes it into the episode is entirely up to production.


Chip and Joanna Gaines are back renovating with "Fixer Upper: Welcome Home" on the Magnolia Network. Here are the rules homeowners must know about the hit show.