Stargazing

Chip and Joanna Gaines aren’t happy that owners are renting out ‘Fixer Upper’ homes

The 2,600-square-foot Gorman House in Waco, Texas, was dilapidated and falling apart when “Fixer Upper” made it over. Now, post-makeover, its owners are renting it out.
The 2,600-square-foot Gorman House in Waco, Texas, was dilapidated and falling apart when “Fixer Upper” made it over. Now, post-makeover, its owners are renting it out. MagnoliaMarket.com

Fans of HGTV’s popular “Fixer Upper” dream about hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines coming to their homes and working their makeover magic.

That will never happen for most people. But some of the lucky folks whose old homes have been made over by the renovation dream team have figured out a way to share their good fortune.

They’re renting out their homes.

“When Chip and Joanna Gaines flip a home on ‘Fixer Upper’, we all like to assume that the family will live happily forever and ever in their perfect new home,” notes the country music and lifestyle website WideOpenCountry.com.

“But, that’s not always the case. In fact, many homeowners featured on the show are turning the homes into ‘Fixer Upper Rentals.’”

And the Gaineses are not very happy about that.

The Waco Tribune-Herald reports that the owners of at least a half dozen “Fixer Upper” homes have listed their made-over abodes on Airbnb and VRBO, Vacation Rentals By Owners.

The listings have attracted interest from coast-to-coast, the newspaper reports, bringing even more attention to a town where passion for the show and the Gaineses’ Magnolia Market already draws about 20,000 visitors every week.

But this new rental trend has led to changes for the upcoming Season 4.

“We have no problems with our clients’ interest in using sites like VRBO and Airbnb to rent out their homes. In fact, we get it,” Magnolia spokesman Brock Murphy said in a statement to the newspaper.

Indeed, the Gaineses parlayed interest in the show to create a vacation rental of their own called the Magnolia House.

“But we are going to be more strict with our contracts involving ‘Fixer Upper’ clients moving forward,” Murphy said in the statement.

“We want to honor our national viewing audience. We want to do remodels for clients’ homes. That’s the true intent of our show, and we want to ensure that does not get lost in this new vacation rental trend.

“What started off with perfectly understandable intentions could cast a shadow of a doubt on the much bigger picture, and we are going to do our best to protect that moving forward.”

According to the Tribune-Herald, the homes that have been listed online for rent include: the Gorman House, Harp House and Mailander House from Season 1, and the Shotgun House and Barndominium from Season 3.

None of the homeowners who spoke to the newspaper intended to rent out their homes or rooms after the show came through. But some said that the public attention that came their way because of the renovations became disruptive.

People didn’t just walk up and take photos of the homes; some knocked on doors asking to go inside.

Fans of the show are divided on this latest twist.

“It just kills me that these ‘homes’ are no longer homes. They are an enterprise,” wrote one woman on the newspaper’s website.

“If they want to redo my house in Kentucky, I don't give a damn how many people drive by and take selfies. I’m not moving!”

But a man in New Jersey disagreed.

“Guess what,” he wrote. “When it’s YOUR home YOU can do anything you want with it! Not a hard concept to grasp.”

Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of the wildly popular HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”, talked with the media prior to making their appearance Saturday at the Greater Kansas City Home Show at Bartle Hall.

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