Chip Gaines on One Mistake Many Home Buyers Make

Fixer-Upper star Chip Gaines knows a thing or two about buying homes. As one half of the dynamic duo behind the HGTV mega-hit, Chip has gutted and transformed boatloads of homes with his wife/partner Joanna. Now, the home reno regular is sharing the most common mistake he sees from prospective home buyers.

“It’s interesting to us how often people make the mistake of poor planning,” Chip Gaines told MONEY. “If that client bought that house for too much money, they are already in a pickle. We haven’t even gotten to first base and they’re already behind the 8-ball. So that planning part goes back down to the purchase of the house.”

What Gaines says rings true: If you drop too much money on the home, then you’re going to be hunting under couch cushions for pennies when it comes time to complete any renovations you hoped to do. And forget being approved for that loan.

The article gives one doozie of a story as an example of Chip and Joanna’s magic touch: A couple who purchased a Waco house in 2013 for $28,000 and had it redone by Chip and Joanna, who listed it this past summer for almost $1 million. Amazing? YES. Likely? NO.

Another wise tip from Chip is to make sure to ask for references from your contractor, ensuring that they’re not just choosing the good ones to show you.

“Ask for the last 10 references in chronological order,” he says. “We would release 10 references for the last 10 projects.”

While certainly a client or two may have some complaints, Chip says the fact that a contractor is willing to be entirely transparent speaks volumes about their integrity and the quality of their work.

Read more over on MONEY.

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