5 Things You Never Knew About ‘Fixer Upper’—Until Today

Updated: Oct. 27, 2023

The Fixer Upper show has all kinds of secrets!

If you’re one of the many fans who loyally watched Chip and Joanna Gaines on their Fixer Upper show from the beginning, you’ve gotten to know a lot about the couple—and their work—along the way. From magnificent (but outdated) mansions to quaint ranches and everything in between, the pair has worked wonders on homes. Their authentic relationship might have stolen our hearts, too.

Still, Fixer Upper is reality TV, and the reality is that certain things happen off-camera that the audience doesn’t see. While these secrets aren’t as exciting as the renovation reveal, we’ve rounded up five things you might not know about Fixer Upper.

Test your knowledge with things no one knows about Joanna Gaines.

1. You Have to Pay to Be on the Show

According to Showbiz CheatSheet, the minimum it costs to work with Chip and Joanna is $30,000. To be clear, that’s the minimum for a client’s renovation budget and part of the application process.

That might seem like a steep price for a minimum budget, but it makes sense when you look at the types of homes the pair takes on. Most of them are complete gut jobs, renovating a house from inside out—and I’ll be the first to admit that I love the transformation reveal at the end of each episode.

2. Furniture Is Not Included

All of the tasteful furnishings that Jo arranges before the big reveal aren’t free, and they don’t come cheap, either. According to The Kitchn, Joanna shared on her Magnolia blog that the furniture and decor are there to help new homeowners visualize their space. If they like it, they can buy it, but those finishing touches aren’t included in the renovation budget.

3. Clients Don’t “Choose” a Fixer Upper

Yep, that’s right. The beginning of every Fixer Upper episode takes Chip and Jo’s client to several locations, ultimately ending with them choosing a house. David Ridley, a former client on the show, told Fox News that he had purchased his home beforehand—meaning the selection process at the beginning of each episode is just for entertainment.

“You have to be under contract to be on the show. They show you other homes but you already have one,” Ridley said. “After they select you, they send your house to Chip and Joanna and their design team.”

The application process for the show seems to support Ridley’s statement that contestants already have a home or at least have one in mind. Throughout the application, contestants are asked to upload photos of their fixer-upper, the price point of the home and more.

4. Not Every Room Is “Fixed Up”

If you’ve spent time watching HGTV, you’re familiar with a homeowner’s list of “needs” for a renovation projects—a spacious bathroom, additional walk-in closet space, revamped mudroom and finished basement. But more often than not, clients don’t have an unlimited budget to work with, so it’s a game of give and take.

Chip and Joanna work with the budget they’re given. That means the duo can’t always fix up the entire house. Joanna shared on the Magnolia blog that what was renovated and revealed on the show were a client’s top priorities. If they wanted other parts of their house fixed up, the couple had to finish up other spaces on a separate budget.

5. Magnolia Isn’t Just a Brand Name

Magnolia trees are beautiful and they’ve become a symbol for the Gaines family brand. But why the magnolia tree? Architectural Digest shared that on one of their early dates, Chip climbed a magnolia tree to pluck Joanna a flower. Since then, a magnolia tree has found its way into each project the pair take on. Chip shared that the duo loves to plant a magnolia tree at every location they work on.

Don’t miss our list of Joanna Gaines’ favorite recipes!