Despite the fact that I work in real estate every day, one of my favorite weekend activities is to binge on Fixer Upper. I can completely suspend reality and simply enjoy the beautiful transformations that Chip & Joanna create. The downside to the show is that many people don’t realize it’s produced television that has been manipulated to tell a great design story. Here’s what Fixer Upper teaches us about buying a home.
If you’re not sure what I mean, have you ever noticed how narrow the camera angles are when they drive through the neighborhoods? Or the fact that you rarely see the homes directly next door, especially when the couples have extremely low budgets? Maybe you even saw, ever so briefly, that the house they were looking at was directly behind a Walgreens. When you stop to think critically about the show it’s obvious what their strategy is – play to the strengths of Chip & Joanna and make the house itself beautiful, but trade-off on location to stay within budget.
This trade-off became all too real recently for Ken and Kelly Downs of the “Three Little Pigs” house in Season 3. As you may have seen, a drunk driver recently drove into the front of their home which is situated on a “T” intersection. They also complained that they’ve been harassed since moving in and have not been happy with their purchase. If you remember the house, it was beautifully redone to their exact specifications with his-and-hers office spaces. So how could a couple who had a Fixer Upper designed just for them, not be happy with their new home? What’s the lesson here?
The Importance of Location
Plain and simple: location is, by far, the #1 most important factor in buying a home. While Chip & Joanna have shown us that you can change nearly everything else about a home post-purchase, you can’t (99.9% of the time) change location. That’s why we always recommend our clients do their research on the location: come back to the house at night, introduce yourself to potential new neighbors and go for a walk nearby. These activities will all help you understand if you’ll be happy there in the long term.
If you’re moving to Austin, you may not know that the neighborhoods here are incredibly varied. You can still live within 30 minutes of downtown and have an urban, suburban or rural feel to your area. Schools and commute times are also something to consider as you can see large variances in both of these factors, even in neighborhoods that are a short distance away.
Not Sure Which Austin Neighborhood is Best for You?
Our team of Austin neighborhood specialists can help. With some info about what type of neighborhood you envision yourself in, we can send you a list of neighborhoods that are the best fit. Simply send us an email at info@11OaksRealty.com, call us at (512) 827-8323 or fill out our Austin Neighborhood Finder to get started.
Buying a Home in Austin?
Check out our Austin Home Buyers section to learn more about our Austin Home Buyer Representation Program. We know Austin well and specialize in representing buyers. With a combined 58+ years of experience in residential real estate, there is virtually nothing we haven’t seen. When you’re ready to speak to an Austin Realtor, call us at (512) 827-8323, email us at info@11OaksRealty.com or fill out our Buyer Survey.