JoJo Fletcher Shares Her Top Tips for First-Time Home Renovators
JoJo Fletcher may have turned heads as The Bachelorette on Season 12, but now she's turning homes. That's right: Fletcher has traded rose ceremonies for demo days, shimmering ball gowns for ripped jeans and stilettos for a pair of Converse — and is sledge-hammering her way through the world of home improvement and home renovations like the badass she is.
As an ambassador for Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Fletcher is giving Fixer Upper's Joanna Gaines and Flip or Flop's Christina El Moussa a total run for their money. (Once you see the before and after photos from her largest remodel to date, below, you’ll see what we mean.)
"When I was younger, my mom first introduced me to renovations and real estate development through her own work, but it wasn't until college that I became more hands on with design and development," Fletcher told SheKnows. "I'm drawn to the process more than anything and the ability to be creative in a space that means so much to people, like their home."
Just like the rest of us, Fletcher's design inspiration comes from flipping through magazines and clicking on various home-improvement websites.
"When it comes to design, I always create an inspiration board to help visualize how I want the space to look and feel," Fletcher says. "I typically find interior design inspiration from websites like Houzz or other major home and design magazines, like Architectural Digest."
We picked Fletcher's brain on everything home improvement- and home renovation-related. So, if you've been dying to give one of your rooms a much-needed facelift or you're ready for a major overhaul, Fletcher gives her advice on it all — from which room is the easiest to update to tips for first-time flippers and her do's and don'ts for DIY demolitions. Plus, she shares with us before and after photos of her largest remodel to date.
SheKnows: With it being National Home Improvement Month, what would you say is the easiest room in your home to update?
JoJo Fletcher: The living room. I always recommend splurging on a focal point of the room, like a sofa that you and your guests will be spending a lot of time on, and then start building around that. You can incorporate less expensive decor updates — like a fresh coat of paint on your walls, throw pillows or a statement rug — to bring the look of your room together.
SK: To those interested in purchasing a fixer-upper home for the first time, what do they need to know or look for before buying?
JF: Well, first and foremost, you have to love the location you're in. Look for fixer-uppers in neighborhoods and areas you know and love or see growth in. Secondly, always get your home inspected before purchasing so you have a good idea on how to set your budget.
SK: You're currently renovating your fourth house, a truly impressive feat. What are some lessons you learned the hard way?
JF: Because of the nature of remodels, things often end up costing more than anticipated. No matter how big or how small the project, homeowners need to have a solid sense of what their "all in" budget number is. You should try to budget an additional 15 to 20 percent for unexpected scenarios that might arise.
SK: For those of us who have smaller homes/apartments, what are your tips for making them feel and look bigger?
JF: Storage is not something you may initially notice when viewing an apartment or a home, but functionality of a space is critical and extremely appealing to prospective renters/buyers. Having ample storage space can make a room look bigger and decluttered.
SK: You mention that budget planning is key to renovating your home. What do homeowners need to know before they take out a loan?
JF: Home renovations are exciting since it's an opportunity to really customize and personalize your space. Although it can be more enjoyable to think about paint colors and finishes, it's key to determine how you'll finance any renovation project. I'm working with Marcus by Goldman Sachs, whose home-improvement loans are a great option if you're looking to borrow money and have good credit. Marcus offers no-fee, fixed-rate loans up to $40,000 that have no fees, ever. Additionally, Marcus home-improvement loans give customers complete control to use their funds as they like, and there's no need to borrow against their home.
SK: And for those who aren't comfortable taking out a loan, what are some small renovations that will make a big impact?
JF: If you don't have the time to take on a big project right now, there are a number of small changes that you can make that will have a big impact without putting a huge dent in your budget. You can instantly freshen up any kitchen by refinishing your cabinets with a bright white coat of paint. Another easy update is replacing hardware, such as door knobs or drawer handles.
SK: What are your do's and don'ts for DIY demolitions?
JF: In making the decision between a DIY home-improvement project versus hiring a professional, it all depends on your skill level and commitment. Personally, I always help demolish and clean up all of my remodels — while it's a bit tedious, it's not challenging. Plus, I find it therapeutic, and it helps me save money on outside labor costs. One project I always bring in the pros for is roof work. If you think your roof has water damage, I recommend getting it inspected instead of trying to patch it up yourself. Water damage to a roof can quickly turn into a major problem if it is not taken care of properly.
SK: Which project are you most proud of and why?
JF: The house I am currently working on will probably end up being my favorite transformation. This house was abandoned, vandalized and basically left to rot away or tear down, but taking on this challenge has been so exciting for me. It will be my largest remodel to date.
Bathroom before & after:
Kitchen before & after:
SK: You've mentioned in another interview you'd be open to having your own home-renovation TV show. How would your show differ from those currently on air?
JF: I haven't thought about this too in-depth, but I know if I were to ever do another show, I would want it to be 100 percent authentic to me and my passion. Getting to show this side of my life along with the ups and downs that definitely occur in home renovations would be so fun!
For more of Fletcher's tips, head to the home-improvement loan page on Marcus' website.