Each episode of HGTV's "Fixer Upper" starts off with hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines showing their clients three prospective homes. Once the future homeowners pick a property they seemingly have never seen before, the HGTV stars take over and turn the house into their clients' dream home.
Continue Reading Below
However, the home-buying process depicted on the series may not be as it seems.
Season 3 participant David Ridley told us he had already purchased his home before he was selected to be on the show. In fact, he claimed that was a prerequisite for his selection for the series.
"You have to be under contract to be on the show. They show you other homes but you already have one," he said. "After they select you, they send your house to Chip and Joanna and their design team."
A close look at the show’s application seems to corroborate Ridley’s claim. Some questions on the application imply that in many cases, applicants for the show have either already purchased or at least selected their future homes – without the help of the Gaines pair. The application also includes a portion where homeowners are told to upload photos of the home.
Continue Reading Below
Question 19 on the application quizzes, "Where are you in the escrow process?" And No. 20 asks "What is the purchase price of your new home?" The questions that follow focus on whether or not the already-picked-out home has a yard, garage and driveway.
Question 43 explains, “Talking about the home you are considering purchasing- If we could help you turn this home into your dream home, what would it look like? Please be descriptive (feel free to send tear sheets of things you've dreamt of for the space).”
The fact that many homeowners featured on the show have already honed in on or purchased their houses without the help of the Gaineses seems to be an open-secret. A Waco Tribune article from back in 2014, when the show first hit the air, described how various couples featured on the show already owned their homes. The show’s application is in no way trying to conceal that many applicants may already have a home.
Still, HGTV viewers have been known to get fed up with similar deceptions in the past.
Many HGTV viewers expressed outraged at rumors that began in 2012 that claimed “House Hunters” participants already picked out or purchased their homes prior to being on the show. Reports the show was scripted plagued the series for several years, and the network finally responded with a tongue-and-cheek video earlier this year that showed writers penning homeowners’ reactions word-for-word.
FOX411 reached out to HGTV and asked whether or not the series discloses to viewers that some homeowners may have already purchased the homes they are filmed browsing. The network replied, "'Fixer Upper' fans enjoy the series because it focuses on the playful banter between Chip and Jo, their home renovation expertise, innovative design tips and families who get the help they need to transform a fixer upper into the home of their dreams." No further statement was provided.
Reps for Chip and Joanna Gaines did not return FOX411’s request for comment.
“Fixer Upper” is currently casting its fifth season. The show's fourth season premieres on Nov. 29.
Fox News' Diana Falzone and Leora Arnowitz contributed to this report.