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The ‘Fixer Upper’ Curse: Why Chip and Joanna Gaines Homes Can Be Hard to Sell

The ‘Fixer Upper’ Curse: Why Chip and Joanna Gaines Homes Can Be Hard to Sell

Fixer Upper curse?

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You’d think the “Faceless Bunker” house, as it was dubbed when it was featured on the second season of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” wouldn’t have a problem attracting a buyer. After all, the modern beach-themed, 4,000-square-foot abode with lake views was given a face-lift by none other than Chip and Joanna Gaines. The four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom beauty in Waco, TX, was even named the most popular home of the week on realtor.com®.

But despite a surge of interest, the home has languished on the market for well over a year. It hit a total of 428 days on Monday, according to realtor.com.

The problem? Its super-duper-high list price of $899,000. While that’s down considerably from its original asking price of $1,225,000, it’s still about 380% higher than the Waco area’s $187,500 median sales price in May.

Local and out-of-town buyers simply can’t afford that price, or aren’t willing to pay a “Fixer Upper” premium of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“I don’t think an affiliation with ‘Fixer Upper’ benefits the seller monetarily,” says associate real estate broker Matthew McLeod of Synergy Realtors in Waco. He represents another “Fixer Upper” home currently on the market that’s having trouble selling. “No one is willing to pay extra money because a particular person remodeled their home, whether they’re a celebrity or not.

“The more expensive they get, the harder any home in this market is to sell,” he says.

There are currently at least three homes that were featured on “Fixer Upper” that are up for sale, and each one has been on the market for more than 100 days. That’s likely because they’re all priced at more than $500,000.

In the case of the Faceless Bunker, the home was originally sold for just $349,900 in summer 2014. The current owners spent roughly $230,000 on renovations. So if the home does sell for its new asking price of $899,000, the owners will pocket about $319,000 in net profit.

“We sell a lot of million-dollar homes” in the Waco area, says McLeod. “The difference is there seems to be an opinion that an affiliation with ‘Fixer Upper’ will manifest a buyer who’s willing to pay a lot more money for that home. I’ve never seen that to be the case.”

‘Asian Ranch House,’ ‘Paw Paw’s House’ can’t find buyers

Faceless Bunker isn’t the only graduate of “Fixer Upper” that’s having trouble securing a buyer. The “Asian Ranch House” has been sitting on the market for 139 days as of Monday.  The home, with a front porch, chef’s kitchen, and gas-burning fireplace, was listed in April for $739,000. The price on the four-bedroom, 4.5-bath property in northern Waco has since been dropped to $679,900.

The owners paid just $262,000 for the home in the second season of the show, and then about $190,000 fixing it up. But while the Gaines connection helped the listing score tens of thousands of views, it has yet to produce a buyer.

“Just by having the ‘Fixer Upper’ name in our description, we get a lot of traffic online, which is typically how you sell houses,” real estate agent Kristin Clements, who represents the home, told Business Insider. But it hasn’t worked in this case.

The priciest of the “Fixer Upper” bunch, “Paw Paw’s House,” hasn’t fared any better. The $1,450,000, three-bedroom, three-bathroom abode has been on the market for 213 days as of Monday. The Southwestern-themed residence was a family-owned property that had sat vacant for years before undergoing a $250,000 renovation on the third season of the show. It was sold and now is being resold, according to McLeod, who represents the property.

The home now boasts concrete countertops, a copper sink, and an ample mudroom. It sits on 210 acres in Marlin, TX, of which the sellers are willing to part with 10 to 200 acres.

McLeod represented another “Fixer Upper” home that was listed for $1 million in October 2017. But even though the price was reduced to $750,000, there weren’t any takers. So about a year after it was listed, the home was taken off the market.

“There’s far fewer people who are shopping for above $500,000” in Waco, McLeod says.

Why some ‘Fixer Upper’ homes sell fast

More affordably priced homes featured on the show tend to sell much faster.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom “Brick House” from Season 3 was listed at a very reasonable $219,900. It was listed on May 3 and went under contract in under three weeks. The home features arched glass windows in the living room’s built-in cabinets, quartz, kitchen countertops, and a detached building outside that could be used as a rental.

“Our honey spot is around that $150,000 to $250,000 range,” Clements told Business Insider. “That’s where we’ll get people buying right away.”

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