All The Mistakes Chip And Joanna Gaines Made While Flipping Their First House

While everyone can admit that Chip and Joanna Gaines are master renovators, they didn't always have the knowledge and skills they do now. In fact, their first house flip included a slew of problems. They tested out renovation hacks on a tiny house they bought right after their honeymoon, which they intended on flipping fast but ended up living in. "We made every mistake in the book," Joanna recalls, per Their list of mistakes included painting over wallpaper instead of removing it, keeping popcorn ceilings, and choosing to use pricey double shower heads instead of a more budget-friendly option.

However, Joanna still looks back on their first flip with fondness and says that it was a learning experience. "To this day, if you ask us what our favorite house we ever lived in, we both go back to this little white 800 square foot home," she writes in the caption of an Instagram post, adding, "We were broke and were forced to be creative with our resources and we were proud as punch about this place. Most of what I learned creatively stemmed from this little fixer upper." If you're trying to get into the flipping business, you could also learn a thing or two from the Gaines' mistakes, so that you don't make them yourself.

What to learn from the Gaines' mistakes

To avoid the Gaines' mistakes, it's important to know why their choices were the wrong move and what you should do instead. First off, it's always best to remove wallpaper instead of painting over it because the paint could show every seam and texture and also loosen the wallpaper, causing it to fall off the surface. When removing wallpaper, you may need to soak the panels in liquid stripper concentrate, then pry them off with a scraping tool. Other types of wallpaper may need to be steamed or simply peeled off.

Popcorn ceilings should also be removed because they can collect dust, become discolored, start to disintegrate, and they contain harmful asbestos. The first step to removing a popcorn ceiling is to test for asbestos, which you can do with a test kit from Lowe's. If it comes back positive, leave the removal up to the professionals, but if there's no asbestos in your ceiling, you could remove it yourself. To do so, begin by covering surfaces and wearing the right protective equipment. Then, use a paint scraper to remove the texture, and if it won't budge, you can moisten it with water and dish soap. Finally, sand down the surface, patch up any holes, and give the wall a fresh coat of paint.

The Gaines' advice on budgeting for a flip

The final mistake Chip and Joanna Gaines made on their first house flip was spending too much money on double shower heads. Since then, they've gotten much better at spending more on things that are worth the splurge and saving on inconsequential items. In fact, almost every single one of their renovation projects on "Fixer Upper" was on or under budget, which proves how much they've learned over the years.

Their first budgeting tip? Use as much from the original house as you can. "If you hate the backsplash, but the countertop is okay, keep the countertop and when you put your canisters and your tea towels up, that's what people will notice when they walk in," Joanna tells CountryLiving. Secondly, they also recommend DIYing or finding cheaper ways to complete tasks whenever possible. "Find ways to work around replacing it, find ways to work with what you have. If you go into it thinking 'I don't have enough money, and I hate my stuff,' typically you're not going to be happy with it when it's done anyways," Joanna says, adding, "Go into it thinking, 'This is going to be a creative challenge—I can't wait to see what we can do.'" This is key to being a successful house flipper, as you want to make as much profit as you can without skimping on quality.