If you only know JoJo Fletcher as the chill girl next door from ABC's Bachelor and Bachelorette, you're seriously underestimating the star. Sure, she can hold her own on reality TV, but her true skills involve busting down walls, tiling backsplashes, and staging homes at a level that'd make Tarek and Christina El Moussa and Chip and Joanna Gaines sweat.
The 27-year-old and her fiancé, Jordan Rodgers, are hard at work on their fourth home — their biggest project yet, as the Dallas house gets gutted to the studs — and just before pouring the concrete slab on the home's expansion, Fletcher gave us an inside look at how she got started, what she wishes she knew sooner, and why she goes HAM on demo day.
Home Renovating Is In Her Blood. Sort Of.
Both of Fletcher's parents are doctors, but her mom always had a passion for design — so much so that she bought a rundown apartment complex and spent her free time renovating it. "My mom would take my brothers and me there, and we'd do little touchups and stuff," Fletcher explained. "I was, like, eight doing random things like that, but it wasn't until college that I got hands-on with development, and it was about three years ago that I got into remodels."
She Goes With Her Gut.
Location is a major factor in any house Fletcher decides to flip, but that's not the only thing. "I have a feeling — and it could have nothing to do with the house itself — that it could be great. I'm kind of superstitious in that way, but I trust that feeling," she said.
House No. 4 Is Her Biggest Challenge Yet.
With every project Fletcher's taken on, the more adventurous she's gotten. The first home took about a month to complete, since the renovations were pretty minor. Her latest one she's pushing to finish in three to four months — but she admits it'll probably take six, because she's overhauling everything.
"It’s being brought down to the studs. Nothing is being kept in that house – not even the drywall. New roof, new vents, everything," she said. "This is the first home where I’m actually expanding the square footage. I’m adding 400 square feet, nothing crazy."
She's A Baller On A Budget.
One of the first things Fletcher does when she's deciding to buy a house is probably the least sexy to most people: Create a budget. And the most important part, she's found, is giving herself a little wiggle room, since a renovation often means that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
"I started out with a budget that has skyrocketed since I put it together [for this new house]. I found asbestos that I didn’t know about, so we’re getting that removed. There isn’t insulation in half of the walls. There’s horrible erosion and termite damage too. There’s so many things," Fletcher said. "You kind of budget in a buffer of about 15-20 percent, but this has exceeded that budget significantly. I’m learning a lot."
She Wishes She Had This Leg Up When She Started Out.
Fletcher recently started working with Marcus By Goldman Sachs after learning the company offers no-fee, fixed-rate home improvement loans to help people renovate their houses. "I wish I had it when I first started. That would've been huge," Fletcher said.
Her Style's Evolving With Each Project.
When Fletcher first started out, she went hard on the rustic trend. "I wanted wood everywhere. I mean, I love wood, but now I'm realizing that it's cool to blend styles. You can warm up a room with wood, and keep everything else crisp and clean, more minimalistic."
There's One Thing That's Gotten Easier With Time.
Early on, Fletcher did just about everything herself, whether it was tearing out cabinets or simply replacing the hardware. "I looked online and researched, and it was a trial-and-error thing. A lot of it doesn't involve a ton of skill, but it takes a lot of patience," she said. "There are some things, though, that I've learned are best left to a professional. Anything like plumbing, I don't touch."
After working on a few projects, some parts of the job have started to get easier. "Matching my colors to my hardware to my countertops — making sure everything was cohesive — was hard for me in the beginning," Fletcher explained. "The more I do it, the better and faster I get at being able to see what goes well together."
She LIVES For Demo Day.
Okay, maybe not lives for it, but she definitely loves it. "That's the day I bring my fiancé, and I'm like, 'We're going in there and we're doing as much as we can.' It's a way to save money, and it's fun," she said.
She makes a good point. After all, who doesn't love tearing stuff up?!
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