The stars of “Flip or Flop,” Christina Anstead and Tarek El Moussa, have made a fortune flipping homes—but even they can get overwhelmed.
On the episode “Better Be Quick,” El Moussa and Anstead buy a house in Fountain Valley, CA, for $670,000.
However, these flippers can’t pay cash for the house, as they normally do, because they’re working on too many homes at once. They need to get a “hard money loan,” which means high interest rates and lots of pressure.
El Moussa and Anstead know they need to work quickly to finish this house on budget, while still making sure that the renovation looks great.
Read on to learn how these two flip this house in record time, and get some inspiration for quick fixes you might want to try on your own home, too.
‘Street paint’ can make a house pop
When El Moussa and Anstead first tour the house, they aren’t impressed with the exterior.
“The bricks are pretty beat up,” El Moussa says.
While Anstead wants to cover the brick with wood-tone tile, El Moussa knows that the tile will cost about $3,000 to $4,000, too much for their tight budget. So, he suggests a cheaper option: paint.
But they don’t use any old paint. They opt for street paint, which is typically used for crosswalks, to make the house extra bold and bright. Using this thicker, brighter paint may be a risk, but El Moussa and Anstead are willing to try it out.
Once the brick is painted, the home is transformed. The gleaming white on the brick and garage makes the structure stand out and gives it a fresh, modern look.
Even Anstead admits, “I like the paint!”
High-end materials can make any space look great
When they first see the house, Anstead and El Moussa hate the kitchen. While the living room has tall, beautiful ceilings, the kitchen ceiling is low, making the space feel cramped.
At first, they want to raise the ceiling, but they realize that it will cost too much to do all the structural changes. So Anstead comes up with a plan B.
“Since we can’t do the structural changes that we wanted to do in the kitchen, we are updating the material throughout the house,” Anstead says.
Anstead picks out a gray countertop and lets El Moussa choose a dazzling patterned backsplash. While the kitchen design is predictable, El Moussa knows that the high-end materials will attract buyers.
When the stylish renovation is finished, the awkwardly low ceiling is barely noticeable.
For a fireplace, tile is the new brick
While painting the exterior brick does wonders for this home’s curb appeal, Anstead and El Moussa decide to use a different tactic for the brick fireplace.
Instead of painting the fireplace, they cover the brick with a modern gray tile. It’s so beautiful, in fact, that El Moussa proposes that they build it up to the ceiling.
The tiling will take an extra five days, but Anstead and El Moussa don’t mind spending the extra time and money.
“I think, in this case, it’s worth it to take the extra couple days,” Anstead says.
When the fireplace is finished, it looks amazing. The floor-to-ceiling tile makes the whole house feel grand.
Play with space to make a bathroom look bigger
El Moussa and Anstead know that buyers love luxury bathrooms, so it’s a shame that the bathrooms in this house are so small and ugly.
However, El Moussa and Anstead do find some ways to make these spaces seem bigger. In one bathroom, they rearrange the shower and toilet, leaving room for a large shower and a double vanity. Then, El Moussa comes up with a tile floor trick to give the illusion of a wider space.
“If we’re doing the long gray tile on the floor,” El Moussa says, “what if we ran it on the floor and then ran it on the wall behind the vanity?”
Anstead likes the idea of extending the tile, and when the tiling is finished, she loves the way it looks.
“Actually, the bathroom is my favorite part of the house,” she says.
Well-trimmed trees can really add value to a yard
El Moussa and Anstead are thrilled to learn that this house has a backyard. However, the yard is small, and it seems even smaller with two overgrown trees taking up so much room.
“This tree’s taking over the entire yard,” Anstead says, when she steps onto the lawn and sees the large avocado tree.
While removing the unsightly trees would make the yard look much larger, Anstead and El Moussa decide instead to trim them.
Keeping the trees has its drawbacks, since it leaves less room for adding a pool or porch. Still, for these flippers, keeping the trees cuts down on renovation costs, saves time, and adds value to the home.
Once the trees are trimmed, Anstead and El Moussa are happy with their decision.
“We have a full, really awesome avocado tree out there. This is actually a big selling feature,” Anstead says.
Is this a flip or a flop?
El Moussa and Anstead know from the very beginning that this is a high-risk house. They buy the home for $670,000, and estimate that renovations will cost about $75,000 and take three months.
Unfortunately, they go over budget, spending a whopping $100,000 on renovations. They also go three weeks over their original three-month timeline, incurring higher fees for their hard money loan.
They end up paying $17,000 in interest, and with $30,000 in closing costs and commissions, they have a break-even price of $822,000. El Moussa decides to list the house at $899,900.
After just a few days on the market, El Moussa and Christina get a full-price offer. That means that they score a respectable profit, of $77,900. In the end, this risky flip pays off!
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