Rules Everyone On Fixer Upper Has To Follow

"Fixer Upper" is a crowd favorite among those who love engaging in DIY projects and home improvement opportunities. The show was on HGTV for five seasons, beginning in 2013. The hosts, Chip and Joanna Gaines, have recently moved the show over to the Magnolia Network and rebooted the concept, according to Hello Magazine. As such, "Fixer Upper" enthusiasts can continue to digest the exploits of their favorite television hosts and their talked about home renovations.

But watching the show isn't the only thing that you can do. Many people who love watching these home improvement and transformation projects might consider applying to be a part of an upcoming episode in future seasons. Participants come from all walks of life, but there are a number of rules and regulations that go into the selection process and the project itself. Of course, every participating homeowner will have to sign a contract with the network and the program before any work can commence. The contract is sure to contain some common technical and legal language about how the renovations will proceed, what the responsibilities of the homeowners and hosts are, and more. Not all of the regulations here will be widely known, but many rules that guests follow while appearing in an episode of "Fixer Upper" have become a part of the public discourse.

Geographic restrictions apply

If you're thinking of throwing your name in the ring to participate in a future episode of "Fixer Upper," these key rules will help you tailor your application and make the best possible decision for your family and home. The first, and perhaps most important, rule that homeowners must abide by is one of geography. Chip and Joanna Gaines have publicly stated that they will only work on homes located within a 30 mile radius of their hometown of Waco, TX (via Facebook). In the past, the show has revolved around selecting a property in need of key renovations and then engaging in these projects, but today participants must already own their home and have an end vision in mind. Of course, the team will evaluate the property and create a final plan of attack for the update, but those who are in the market to buy (rather than existing homeowners), and anyone living outside of this radius surrounding Waco, won't be able to participate in "Fixer Upper."

The hosts have noted that their children are young and spending time at home is important at this moment in time. As such, Chip and Joanna don't want to travel beyond what essentially amounts to a day's commute (for reference, Zippia reports that the average American drives about 41 miles per day to and from work) for any project they may take on for the show. With the amount of fame that Chip and Joanna have found, they have established themselves as household names in this industry and have successfully negotiated a strict boundary in this regard. Although homeowners outside this proximity of Waco may be disappointed to learn that their property won't be able to be featured on "Fixer Upper," the knowledge that these well-known hosts prioritize family time over their own careers is a nice change of pace from what seems to be the norm in many celebrity circles — and that may make a dedicated viewer appreciate the show even more.

Homeowners don't always have a direct line of communication with Chip and Joanna

While reverence for Chip and Joanna's legendary renovation skills and an admiration for their commitment to family might inspire you to apply for a slot on a future show, you shouldn't necessarily expect to enjoy a direct line of communication with the hosts. Because of their fame and busy schedules working with suppliers and contractors, engaging with the network, and quarterbacking multiple projects at once, their time to work with participants has become increasingly limited (via Vox).

Of course, Chip and Joanna will certainly take the time to meet and speak with homeowners that are appearing on the show, and interviews, conversations, and the big reveal will all take place throughout the filming and renovation process. However, it might be a letdown to expect a routine conversation with the two hosts over the course of your remodel, only to find that you'll primarily be working with a contractor (or multiple contractors) and converse through them. Early on in the series, the two played a more direct role in the process, but with their increasing schedule density, the show has evolved to position them more as hosts rather than renovators. Nevertheless, the opportunity to work with the pair and the team that they have assembled is a once in a lifetime experience that can't be overstated. The knowledge you'll gain can transform how you'll maintain a well-designed and beautiful home.

Handing over creative control is a must for all participants

Another key rule homeowners who are participating in a "Fixer Upper" episode must follow no matter what is a handover of creative control. When your home is selected for an episode, you won't be able to veto design changes, critical installations throughout the home, and more (via Rachel Teodoro). However Rachel Teodoro also notes that the design team will work with homeowners regarding certain choices and material selection processes to give them the home they are hoping for.

While this can seem daunting for a homeowner who likes to engage in their own DIY updates, it's easy to see why the design team would want to retain decision making power when renovating and filming. Handing over control allows the "Fixer Upper" team to make professional decisions about where the direction of your home improvement project will go. As well, by relinquishing the ability to engage in frequent status updates and redesigns, the team is able to complete the project in an immensely short period of time. Instead of taking months, Yahoo! reports that most home improvement projects filmed for "Fixer Upper" are done in 4 to 6 weeks. This means there simply isn't time for the contractors to constantly give feedback to homeowners about what they're doing and how they plan to accomplish it. Creative control is an important aspect of any home improvement project, but when trusting the professionals featured on "Fixer Upper" to remodel your home, you'll need to let them do their thing.

The Fixer Upper team won't tackle every room in your home

While the design team will create a comprehensive plan to remodel your property and improve a vast laundry list of things throughout the home, the team won't tackle every room in your home, according to Rachel Teodoro. The project scope for a whole home remodel simply can't be facilitated by this show's confines. For one thing, the condensed timeline for renovations means that the "Fixer Upper" contracting team will need to focus on big ticket items that will provide a big wow factor, and ignore smaller changes. Throughout the reveal process, homeowners involved in the episode will be taken through their property to see a number of different areas of the home that have been reimagined. However, careful viewers will note that the homeowners don't visit every single room in their property, and certain areas are left untouched out of necessity, budgeting requirements, time restrictions, and more.

This type of prioritization happens in the typical renovation process as well. It's simply unfeasible for a homeowner to engage in a comprehensive remodel that sees the entire space of their home redeveloped. Homeowners must focus on the action items that matter the most to them and will make the greatest impact on their lifestyle. Home improvement shows have come a long way since This Old House popularized the genre in the '70s and '80s. Today, hosts are focused on delivering content that homeowners can actually take away and use — in the same way that Russell Morash and his team have done things for decades. Targeted renovations are the standard in home improvement, and homeowners participating in "Fixer Upper" should be prepared for this kind of household treatment.

You'll need to budget a sizable amount for the renovation

Another reason why whole home renovations aren't done on "Fixer Upper" is the fact that homeowners must supply the funding for all the renovations. The show won't pay for the project (but often gives homeowners certain personalized items and one larger addition as a part of the package). notes that the average spend on "Fixer Upper" renovations comes in just under $280,000. Of course, the larger your budget the better chance you'll have of getting on the show, and the more substantial your renovation will end up being. This simply makes for better television than a minor renovation project that tackles a single room or makes small adjustments to many different areas in the property. Similarly, the professionals that Chip and Joanna Gaines have enlisted for the program are some of the industry's hottest names, and certainly some of the best contractors and renovation specialists in the Waco area. These professionals wouldn't typically take on a more modest renovation project on their own, and so once again a sense of reality has to be met when approaching the confines and purpose of the program.

As well, budgeting for the renovation project on your own brings some skin into the game. Homeowners who participate on "Fixer Upper" are those who genuinely wants to improve their quality of life at home. These are people who have saved for months or years for the opportunity to renovate their property and provide viewers with a backdrop of how the remodeling process takes shape. Participants are selected based on a number of secretive criteria, but a commitment to funding the project on your own provides producers with the knowledge they need to understand your commitment to the renovation process and the home itself.

Yet, renovation costs come at a significant discount

Even though homeowners will have to foot the bill for the renovations, they will gain access to services, materials, and products at cost rather than at a markup (via Rachel Teodoro). This isn't so much a rule as it is a perk or benefit that participants get access to for allowing their projects to be filmed and monetized when the episode is broadcast on TV. The sizable budget that homeowners must put aside to participate on "Fixer Upper" is augmented considerably by the fact that they're able to take advantage of discounts on virtually everything involved in their home improvement project. The cost of renovating a home can be substantial, and so this price reduction is immensely valuable. Rocket Mortgage notes that it can be as much as $200,000 to completely gut and reimagine a home (with a price tag of at least $15,000 for a much less in depth, yet still comprehensive, update on a smaller property).

HomeAdvisor reports that contractor fees can be around 20% of the total project cost, making this discount a massive swing in favor of the homeowner. Fundamentally, this means that your renovation budget gains a 20% boost, alongside any additional price reductions as part of the agreement. In practice, this means that an example budget of $100,000 for use on your home as a part of "Fixer Upper" will stretch as far as a typical $120,000 budget set aside by another homeowner not on the show.

Homeowners must clear away spaces to be renovated and move out during filming

One of the most important things that homeowners have to do aside from budget for the renovation is all of the preparation work before the contractor and film crews arrive on site. Any room that's set to be renovated must be cleared out and left bare so that contractors are able to get to work right away. Stripping away furniture, decorations, and other elements in your room can be a time consuming process. Therefore, anyone participating in the show must commit to a potentially lengthy preparation before filming can even commence. Homeowners will also have to commit to moving out of the property throughout the duration of the filming and renovation process (via Country Living). Contractors needed virtually 24 hour access to the space, and if you are still living on the property, then you may inadvertently get in the way of the rapid progress that must take place throughout the renovation. Similarly, the production team hopes to keep these updates a secret from homeowners until the final day or hours. 

This means that even though you'll be tempted to drive past your property and take a peek at how the updates are going, Country Living notes that, as a participant on "Fixer Upper," you'll need to refrain from investigating how the team is doing at your home. On the other hand, homeowners who offer up their property for remodeling on "Fixer Upper" will need to remain on hand to do interviews and give commentary. This may only require a single day of filming, but homeowners may be expected to commit a larger portion of the project time for interviews or even reshoots.

You can sell the property after the show wraps on your renovations

Finally, those who participate in showcasing their home on "Fixer Upper" are able to sell their property at the end of the process — they do not give away any sort of rights when it comes to the use of their home when agreeing to participate for the program. Homeowners can choose to stay in the property for many years after the show has wrapped filming, or they can immediately list it and try to take advantage of the press and modernizations surrounding their unique new space. Of course, because participation on the program will stretch your budget and give you access to discounted pricing models, it's likely that you'll be able to take advantage of both an increased resale value and a boosted return on investments from those ingrained discounts.

In fact, some homeowners who have had their properties showcased on "Fixer Upper" have done just this (via Vox). Of course, everyone will be different, and your unique needs should be taken into consideration during any opportunity to renovate, move, and everything in between. Essentially, what this show provides to a homeowner is the ability to leave their home improvement project to a team of professionals who will take the reins. In exchange for this once in a lifetime benefits, homeowners allow their property and everything about this update to be filmed and package together on the cutting room floor to entertain the show's routine viewers.

What you do in or with the home after the cameras have stopped rolling, and Chip and Joanna Gaines have packed up and moved on to the next property, it's completely your business. This might come as a shock to some, but those thinking of participating in the program might have reservations about pulling the trigger due to an uncertainty regarding future restrictions. Fortunately, you can rest easy knowing that the hosts and production team won't impose any type of rules on you or your property after the show has concluded.