As this site’s resident expert on all things HGTV, I am not exaggerating when I say that I want Chip and Joanna Gaines to be my best friends. What they do on Fixer Upper, restoring the run-down, outdated, and even seemingly unlivable homes of Waco, Texas, is nothing short of sorcery. Don’t believe me? Watch the episode in which the couple wants a shotgun home and try to tell me that what Chip does to that tiny house doesn’t make you want to move into it yesterday. And on top of it all, they just seem like sincere, wonderful people (like the exact opposite of the couple from A&E’s Flipping Vegas).
That said, the popularity of the series has led to astounding success for the Gaines family, with people making Waco a travel destination just so they can shop at the Magnolia store. In fact, as we saw on Fixer Upper, they even turned an old home into a bed and breakfast inn so fans could bring their entire families to Waco. That’s how awesome Chip and JoJo are at what they do – they make people want to visit Waco.
And now, according to the Waco Tribune, the subjects of the Fixer Upper episodes that we’ve watched with jealous eyes have learned from the pros and are cashing in on the fame of their homes. People are now renting their Fixer Upper houses on Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO to the show’s fans, with rates starting around $250 a night. Some of the more memorable homes, like the aforementioned Shotgun House and the Chicken House, will soon be up for rent, while the simply awesome Barndominium (probably my favorite episode) is already waiting for guests. The price? $1,277 a night.
Yes, that sounds ridiculous, especially for a trip to Waco, but this house is pretty freaking awesome.
What’s interesting is that, according to the HomeAway explanation, the family that appeared in the episode “were relocated out of state” and so a mutual friend purchased the house, solely for the purpose of renting it, as the ad states it “was never occupied.” Does that sound a little bit fishy? Either way, everyone involved wants to make sure that this new trend doesn’t affect the soul of the show.
“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. But we are going to be more strict with our contracts involving ‘Fixer Upper’ clients moving forward,” Magnolia spokesman Brock Murphy said in a 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.” (Via the Waco Tribune)
Interestingly, one of the people currently renting his Fixer Upper home is Clint Harp, who fans will recognize as the guy who makes stunning custom furniture for Joanna’s designs. He says his family moved from the “Harp House” after one year because it was too close to his shop, and he wanted to be able to disconnect from work. As for everyone else, they just saw dollar signs on the people constantly driving by their landmark homes. Who can blame them?