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Chip Gaines of HGTV's 'Fixer Upper' explains how to know when it's 'a no-brainer to buy' in real estate


Chip and Joanna Gaines

Two years ago, Waco, Texas-residents Chip and Joanna Gaines debuted their now-hit show "Fixer Upper" on HGTV, the de facto television network for all things home improvement.

In a recent interview with Business Insider, the pair joked that while Joanna has become "America's sweetheart," Chip is "America's contractor."

When they married in 2003, Chip had begun flipping houses and renting them out to Baylor University students in Waco. He brought Joanna on board and she quickly discovered a hidden passion for home decor, opening a small boutique to sell her vintage finds, which would become the flagship of their ever-expanding brand.

Together they now own and operate Magnolia Homes, a real estate, renovation, and design company, in addition to several small businesses under the Magnolia brand, including a retail shop, bakery, furniture line, paint collection, and a "Fixer Upper"-style bed and breakfast.

Throughout his career as a contractor and a business owner, Chip has believed that "real estate has always been a vehicle for wealth." In order to build that wealth, the self-proclaimed "serial entrepreneur" prefers to buy property rather than rent.

"[E]ven when we were broke, I was investing constantly in properties," Chip told Business Insider. "Some properties we would own and rent out to college students that were around the university. Sometimes we would rent them out to local folks, and sometimes we would we live in them."

"So, for me, I have a very difficult time renting anything," he continued. "If I'm going to take office space, I want to own the building. If I want to buy a car, I buy it."

Chip says that people considering whether to rent or buy should ask themselves one question: "Is this asset going to depreciate in value?" If yes, then it's generally not worth purchasing. Chip acknowledges that this strategy holds true for the auto industry, though he admits that he still purchases cars rather than leasing.

"But in the housing universe, if you're confident or nearly positive that these assets are going to appreciate in value, it's a no-brainer to buy," Chip said. "If you get into complicated markets to where you're not confident, rent for a season, or rent for a year or two, and let the market sort of calm itself down before you jump in with both feet."

Watch more from the Gaines' interview with Business Insider below:

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