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From roses to rentals

'Bachelorette' couple's new 'Cash Pad' show transforms Austin properties into short-term rentals

Nicole Villalpando
The new CNBC show "Cash Pad" stars "Bachelorette" couple JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers, who renovated four Austin properties to turn them into short-term vacation rentals. One property was a used shipping container. [Contributed by CNBC]

Three years ago, JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers found love on "The Bachelorette" on ABC. This came after Fletcher wasn't chosen by Ben Higgins on "The Bachelor."

To the surprise of many a cautious "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" fan, Rodgers and Fletcher are still together and planning a spring 2020 wedding.

Before bells ring at the chapel, though, they leaped into a home renovation project of their own Dallas home, and now they're renovating spaces as part of CNBC's new show "Cash Pad," which focuses on short-term rental properties.

Home renovation doesn't come out of nowhere. Fletcher says she's been renovating properties for a decade now, and she already had purchased the Dallas property before they met. "When we got together, it was like, 'OK, babe, here we go,'" Rodgers says.

"I've always done it," she says, but she remembers telling Rodgers, "Babe, you're about to be my free labor." Now they've done a few houses together.

"Cash Pad" isn't just about renovating houses. It helps homeowners take an existing piece of their property and turn it into a short-term vacation rental. "We really saw a big boom in the short-term rental market," she says.

Plus, Rodgers has a not-so-secret love affair with staying in Airbnbs. "The reason we are in this business is we only stay at short-term rentals," he says. "We travel with our dog all the time."

They asked themselves: Would we stay here? What would we need?

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For the show, the couple chose four Austin properties, plus two in Dallas and two in Phoenix. They chose the cities based on their draw. For Dallas, it was the sports teams (Rodgers is the brother of Aaron Rodgers and was a professional football player himself.) Phoenix was about being a vacation spot, one of the fastest-growing cities and having a perfect climate all year. For Austin, it was about being a destination spot with food, music and the tech business.

"Austin is such a beautiful city," she says. "It's super outdoorsy."

And the food, especially the food trucks. "I probably gained 10 pounds just from the taco trucks," he says.

The Austin properties are all very different. One is an old shipping container, another is an Airstream, another is a detached garage loft, and the fourth is a backyard cottage.

The concept of the show is to renovate a piece of the homeowners' property that is not their main house. It's about providing a source of income.

Fletcher and Rodgers filmed the shows in March through April, starting with the Austin shows. Each property took about a week. The Austin properties gave them the most challenges. Here they learned about the city's love for heritage trees. "We had to verse ourselves in tree root systems and get creative and work around it," she says.

Austin was also the city where they had to rip up an entire plumbing job because the inspector required something different.

"A lot of things can go wrong in the planning process," Fletcher says. "There were so many incidences where things didn't show up and we had to replace them."

Their timeline was very firm, Rodgers says, so they couldn't wait for setbacks to work out on their own.

The homeowners who were chosen signed a deal with Fletcher and Rodgers that guarantees them $700 a month in rental fees for four years. Fletcher and Rodgers invest the renovation costs in exchange for a share of the rental fees. After the four years, the homeowners can extend the contract or buy Fletcher and Rodgers out of it.

"They don't have to risk anything; they don't have to manage anything," he says.

The homeowners had to trust the couple because, as Rodgers says, "Since we're investing all of the money, at the end of the day, we're going to make the decisions."

Fletcher says they tried to keep the homeowners in mind. "For us, this is their property, and they will hopefully have it forever," she says. She tried to tailor the design to both what the homeowners would like and what would make the property attractive to people looking to rent it.

The couple chose the properties based on pictures of the properties and a video introduction of potential homeowners. "We got very lucky," Fletcher says. "On the show is the first time we're actually seeing it in person."

Most of the properties were worse than the pictures showed. With the Airstream, "We walked in and we were like, 'Oh, my God," Rodgers says.

The shipping container, too, was in rough shape, but it's Fletcher's favorite transformation because it was her first time to work on a shipping container, and she loved the location off South Congress Avenue.

"It's a showstopper," he says. "It was a dented, rusted shipping container."

"It's a full transformation, both exterior and interior," she says.

How to watch

"Cash Pad" premieres at 9 p.m. July 23 on CNBC.