In the episode titled “Bankrupt Flip,” El Moussa tells Anstead (his renovation partner and ex-wife) that the four-bedroom, two-bathroom home he wants to buy in Anaheim, CA, is a bankruptcy sale, so there’s no negotiating on the $430,000 asking price. What’s more, they won’t be able to see the inside of the home until they buy it!
It’s a risky move, but after seeing the outside of the property and peeking over the fence to the backyard, El Moussa is confident this flip has great potential.
The outside of the home looks great, El Moussa says. “A lot of times when we look at the outside of a house, if it’s not falling over, if it doesn’t have dead grass, the inside is typically OK.”
So, they hastily decide to buy it.
“Quick decision-making is what real estate is all about,” El Moussa says, pointing out, “no risk, no reward.”
Will these two be able to turn a profit? Here’s what happens with their latest renovation, and some lessons you can learn from these house flippers along the way.
Tackle water damage first
Once they’re inside the house, El Moussa and Anstead find a leak. This issue could be catastrophic to their budget, so before they can do anything else to the house, they need to get the leak fixed.
Luckily, the damage isn’t too bad. It costs only a thousand dollars to replace some drywall, and El Moussa is relieved.
“Spending a thousand bucks on drywall is way better than spending 15 grand on new foundation,” he says, “so I’ll take that deal any day.”
So, it’s good news in the end, and also a great lesson in renovations. Those potentially big problems need to be addressed first.
Wall removal is worth the trouble
Anstead and El Moussa also run into some trouble when it comes to the kitchen.
“The kitchen actually feels kind of big,” Anstead says, “but it’s so separate from the rest of the house, it’s sort of like a waste.”
She proposes knocking out a small wall to give the space a better flow, but as it turns out, the wall she wants to remove is load-bearing.
Contractor Jeff Lawrence explains that the kitchen was an addition, and because of that, it will be more expensive, about a thousand dollars, to remove that wall.
“The more open we can make this space, the better,” Anstead says.
And she’s right. When the renovation is done, the kitchen looks much more open and inviting—and the space gives the living area a better flow.
Extra budget for the cabinets goes a long way
Since El Moussa and Anstead are trying to make a profit on these flips, they often hunt for bargains when it comes to their design pieces.
But this time, when they look at potential colors for the kitchen, they quickly gravitate toward flat-panel, wood-grain cabinets with a blue backsplash. The cabinets cost $600 more than plain white, but they decide it’s worth the extra cash.
The result is unlike any other kitchen this team has ever done. The wood grain color is light, which makes the kitchen feel bright and open. The light blue backsplash, laid in a basket-weave pattern, adds a fun texture to the kitchen.
A backyard can sell the house
While El Moussa and Anstead originally think the backyard will be an easy fix, they soon realize how much work it will need. From replastering the pool to building a deck, there’s a lot to do.
But, instead of cowering away from this massive project, these flippers get creative with a fresh design. They bring in landscaper Jesse Escalara to help make this yard the best it can be.
Escalara has an idea to pull up the concrete around the pool and puzzle it back together for an original design. With the cement in place, the team also cleans up the landscape and creates a modern deck in place of the outdated patio. To top it off, Escalara and Anstead decide to take a risk with the pool’s slide, adding a fun black and white design to make it stand out.
In the end, the yard looks amazing.
“Whoever buys this house,” El Moussa says when admiring the finished product, “50% of the reason they’re gonna buy the house is because of the yard.”
Barn doors save space
Barn doors have been a popular home feature for years. They can bring a look together in a rustic home, or add an extra touch of style to any room. But these sliding doors are not just a good-looking style choice.
When Anstead and El Moussa first tour this home, they notice how cramped it is. The bedrooms are tiny, and the pair know they have to be careful with how they use space.
“It’s a really good idea that we put the barn door here that adds a little more space,” Anstead says of the master bedroom. This way, the next homeowner doesn’t have to worry about a swinging door taking up real estate in the home. This change makes the house feel less cramped.
Stay consistent with style
When El Moussa and Anstead flip a house, they like to pick a style and keep it consistent throughout the house. This house is no different.
However, instead of sticking to one of their usual glam designs, they decide to go midcentury modern this time. They choose gray and blue exterior paint colors that are reminiscent of the era, lots of clean lines, and fun shapes. Then the house is staged with ’60s-inspired accent pieces.
“I wonder if buyers in Anaheim are going to like this midcentury modern look,” Anstead says when the remodel is complete. “It’s just definitely a different design than what we normally do.”
As it turns out, the different style pays off big-time, and the space looks amazing.
So, is this a flip or flop?
In the beginning, this project seemed like it had the potential to be a huge flop: El Moussa and Anstead couldn’t negotiate the price of the house down from $430,000, and the $90,000 renovation was way pricier than their initial estimation of $50,000.
When the house was finished and El Moussa and Anstead crunched the numbers, it seemed unlikely that they could make much of a profit, even with an amazing design. Still, they end up listing it at $599,900 and miraculously receive a full-price offer, leaving these flippers with $54,900 in profit. They’ll take it!
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