In the latest episode, titled “Two Houses for Sale,” Christina throws her ex a real curveball: In addition to remodeling a three-bedroom, two-bath house in Buena Park, Christina decides she wants to put their family home up for sale—the one she got in their divorce.
“It’s really too big, and it has a lot of baggage,” she says. “It’s sad, because a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into making this house our own. There are so many memories.”
But it’s also making their joint-custody commute a living hell, and she’d like to find something closer to where Tarek is living.
The only problem is how to tell Tarek. Christina is afraid he’ll be upset by her decision, and she’s not wrong. When he hears her news, Tarek tries to avoid talking about it—or talking at all. This takes a toll on the house that they’re renovating. Perhaps in a subconscious effort to get his attention, Christina has the exterior painted dark gray and lime green! It’s outrageous.
“The colors are horrific,” says Tarek once he sees it. “This is the worst color scheme ever.”
“I have to agree, the lime green is a bit extreme,” says Christina, as she goes off to pony up an additional $4,500 to have the entire house repainted dark gray with white trim.
Tarek is not without his mistakes, either. He’s so preoccupied about the sale of his family home, he loses track of the progress on the bathrooms in the reno, and the workers install tile in the shower that looks “like blue jeans.”
Tarek admits that it’s his fault for miscommunicating with the workers and not keeping his eye on them, but “I’m not going to tell Christina that.” They opt to stick with the denim-colored tile, because replacing it would cost them even more time and money.
They’ve bought the house for $465,000, the comps are around $640,000, and they estimate about $70,000 is needed for the renovation. So they should be able to make a hefty profit. But with all these flare-ups and flubs, that’s not a given.
As they scramble to pull this project out of the money pit, they come up with some pretty interesting ideas to put this home in top-dollar condition. Take a look and learn.
Flipping is like a box of chocolates…
“… You never know what you’re going to get until you walk through the door,” says Tarek as he and Christina tour their latest reno project and find an electric organ, of all things, that appears to be in good condition. They reminisce about some of the weird things they’ve found in the past.
“Walking into a house with Christina is one of my favorite parts of this job,” Tarek says wistfully. He emphasizes that listing photos never tell the whole story. It’s important to visit the home in person to know exactly what you’re getting into, and you might even find some fun bonuses.
The difference between a wet vs. dry bar
There’s a huge bonus room in the back of the house that’s reported to be permitted, and it has the strangest thing: a pint-size, L-shaped bar in the middle of it.
“What is this?” Christina wonders aloud. “I can’t decide if this is a wet bar or…” Tarek cuts her off before she goes too far making a fool of herself.
“A wet bar is usually wet,” he says, noting that there is no sink or water source in the bar. So, it’s a dry bar, duh.
Beware the smell of gas
There’s an unpermitted laundry lean-to outside, and the moment they step through the door, they smell gas.
“Don’t light a match,” jokes their contractor. They quickly vacate, taking care to not inhale the fumes, and call the gas company. The smell of gas is something to take seriously; the whole place could have exploded in flames.
Hide the stud
There is a huge stud in the middle of a wall they’d intended to demolish to create an open floor plan. But when they take down the wall around it, they find it appears to be supporting the entire home, and the whole thing might come crashing down if they remove it. They opt to build a kitchen peninsula up to it, so it’s not just standing there in the middle of the room. It ends up looking quite intentional, and helps to define the kitchen space.
One pattern is plenty
Christina has selected a fun, gray-and-white-patterned tile that she’s going to use throughout the house to tie the rooms together. While she smartly uses it on the floor in the bathrooms and selects a solid color for the walls and showers, she uses it as a backsplash in the kitchen and selects solid-color flooring to go with it. A room should have only one prominent pattern, or it will look too busy, she explains.
Define an open space with different areas
That bonus room really is huge, and Tarek says he worried that it will look like a big barn, but the stagers are very clever, and they define separate spaces with furniture. There’s a game area, a TV area, and a few conversation areas. It looks perfect!
Does this home end up a flip or flop?
“Even though this house did have a lot of issues, it was a great project and it looks amazing,” admits Tarek.
The potential buyers think so, too. Even with the “blue jeans” showers, they’re impressed—particularly with the kitchen backsplash, and the large but cozy open space in the bonus room. Christina and Tarek accept an offer of $639,000, and they net a $69,000 profit after expenses.
“This is what makes a great team,” adds Christina. “We work through the mess and make it into something awesome. It didn’t work that way for our marriage, but it still works for flipping houses.”