“Flip or Flop” stars Tarek El Moussa and Christina Haack may have built a real estate empire including three hit shows between them, but they’re still not above flipping some of the grossest houses in Southern California!
In the episode “Filthy Flip,” El Moussa and Haack buy a disgusting hoarder house in Garden Grove for $450,000. The house is in such bad shape, these flippers wonder how long it’s been empty.
“It’s almost like it’s been abandoned for 50 years,” El Moussa says.
But the look of this house isn’t the only problem. This building has not one, but two unpermitted additions, water damage, and a ton of bugs. Still, Haack and El Moussa decide this house is worth the trouble—and, armed with a $133,000 renovation budget, are able to give it a whole new life and look.
Check out how they turn this house around, and learn some smart lessons for renovating your own space.
Try a pop of yellow on the front door
This house makes a terrible first impression. With a dingy paint job, overgrown lawn, and a chain-link fence, the house has zero curb appeal.
So, El Moussa and Haack clean up the lawn and paint the house light blue, brightening it up and giving it a more contemporary look. Still, they run into trouble when trying to decide on the details.
At first, Haack presents El Moussa with an orange color option for the front door, but El Moussa shoots it down.
This orange is just not the style they’re going for, he says. “I mean, that is really hipster.”
They settle on a bright yellow for the door, and while yellow can be a risky color, it looks great on this house. This place once looked spooky and abandoned, but now some bold paint helps it look fresh and bright.
Lighting can make up for lack of windows
Haack and El Moussa close up a window in the kitchen in order to make room for a row of dark gray cabinets. After all, the living room is filled with windows, so they can afford to lose just this one. However, once the cabinets are installed, these flippers realize the kitchen is too dark.
When El Moussa and Haack realize their mistake, they talk about adding the window back in, but decide to wait until the kitchen is finished to make a decision.
“It feels very industrial,” Haack says of the new cabinets, “but hopefully when the backsplash is in, it’ll actually feel like a kitchen.”
While the backsplash helps, the real lifesaver is the lights, which get installed above and below the cabinets. These help the kitchen seem bright, even without much sunlight. It’s a good lesson that, when windows are scarce, good lighting can make up the difference.
When it comes to tile, try to be different
While Haack is quick to decide on the dark cabinets, she has a harder time choosing a backsplash tile.
“I want to lean more modern with this design and find something we’ve never done before,” Haack says. Of course, after flipping over 500 houses together, that’s easier said than done.
She ends up choosing a half-circle design that’s modern and fresh but not too risky. It’s unique, but still a crowd-pleasing look.
Once installed, the tile looks fantastic, proving it pays to try something new. Sometimes it’s best to take a risk with less popular tile in order to stand out in the market.
Customize your bathroom tile with a shape
Haack’s backsplash is such a hit, she decides to replicate it in the shower on a larger scale. She wants to do this by dying the tiles to create an arch effect on the wall.
El Moussa protests, saying it’ll cost about $700 extra for this look, but Haack insists it’ll be worth the extra cost.
When the tile is finished, it looks great. Not only does the look tie in with the kitchen, but it also gives the bathroom a unique style. In the end, naysayer El Moussa admits that spending the extra money was the right choice.
“There’s no other house in the neighborhood that has a custom-designed tile,” he says.
An uncluttered yard feels big
While the front yard is rough, it seems the backyard is even worse. El Moussa and Haack need to take down an illegal addition over what was once the back patio. It’s an expensive demo, and now these two are left with a blank slab of concrete.
Once the addition is gone, contractor Jeff Lawrence asks what they want to do with the slab.
“You could tile it, you could paint it, we could resurface it, have all kinds of options,” he says.
They decide on a cheaper option, spending just $1,800 to resurface the concrete. Meanwhile, they go minimal with the landscaping, replacing overgrown grass with sod and mulch.
“Let’s make it a nice, clean yard,” El Moussa says.
This backyard renovation is really bare-bones, but it saves Haack and El Moussa money while giving the buyer a blank canvas. The simple landscaping makes the yard look large and full of potential.
Is this house a flip or flop?
Once renovations are done, these house flippers realize they have a break-even price of $616,500. They’re excited when they realize that, based on comps, they can list the house at $728,000.
As it turns out, this house is a big win, because it ends up getting 11 offers and selling for a whopping $780,000. After closing costs and commission, Haack and El Moussa walk away with $163,500! That’s a big profit for such a rough house.
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