The HGTV show “Fixer Upper” has transformed the town of Waco, Texas, into a full-fledged tourist destination with its renovation of dilapidated homes and opening of new design stores.
But underneath the surface, trouble could be brewing. Some homeowners say that the show led them to purchase properties in an area they don’t feel is safe.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, a suspected drunk driver smashed through the front of a “Fixer Upper” home in North Waco, destroying the outside wall and a downstairs office, Waco Tribune-Herald reported.
The owners, Ken and Kelly Downs, were sleeping inside at the time and were fortunately not harmed. A large fireplace is thought to have prevented the car from smashing through another wall and into their bedroom. The front porch was also unmarked, but large skids have been made across the front lawn, and the outside wall of the office is now boarded up.
Inside, bookcases and ceramics were smashed.
The Downses bought their home, known as “Three Little Pigs,” for $US35,000 and spent around $US215,000 renovating it with Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of “Fixer Upper.”
The couple says that the car accident is symptomatic of a bigger crime issue.
“We’ve lived here a year and a half and we feel deceived by the city of Waco and Magnolia Realty,” Kelly Downs told the Waco Tribune-Herald. The Downses added that they have reported suspicious activity and made complaints to the city but have generally been ignored.
Magnolia Realty is the real-estate agency owned by the Gaineses, who also run a design store called Magnolia Market in Waco.
“Fixer Upper” is often credited with boosting local businesses and improving neighbourhoods in Waco. At the same time, home prices and taxes have gone up. In June, a one-bedroom home that was bought for $US28,000 and renovated on the show was listed for nearly $US1 million.
Kelly Downs described the situation as “‘Fixer Upper’ gone bad.”
“We have been intimidated and harassed,” she said. “People have complained about their taxes going up because we moved here. Store owners have complained about taxes.”
Magnolia Market did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
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