While El Moussa and Anstead usually stick to renovating homes in California’s Orange County, in the latest episode, “Fish Out of Water,” they head north to West Covina, which is 19 miles east of Los Angeles. There, they work on a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house that’s stuck in another decade. Complete with shag carpets, mirrored walls, and popcorn ceilings, this suburban time machine is practically begging for a remodel.
The reno process isn’t smooth, however, since El Moussa and Anstead can’t stop arguing about one big thing: how to renovate this house. They spar over whether to keep or chuck the kitchen cabinets, what tile to use on the fireplace, and so much more. You wonder whether El Moussa and Anstead can get on the same page long enough for a profitable flip. In the process of trying, though, they pass along some smart advice we could all stand to use in our own homes. Watch and learn!
New cabinets aren’t always worth the cost
El Moussa and Anstead go back and forth about whether or not to get rid of the white kitchen cabinets that come with the house. The cabinets aren’t new, but they’re in good shape and they don’t look too dated.
Anstead wants to give clients a fresh look, saying, “I do know that buyers expect a certain style house from us, which 99.9% equals a brand-new kitchen.”
Meanwhile, El Moussa points out that new cabinets will cost about $12,000—and with the current cabinets looking as good as they do, this upgrade probably isn’t worth the money.
So, Anstead agrees to work around the cabinets, modernizing the kitchen with a unique backsplash and dark hardware to make the cabinets pop.
In the end, the two are proud of their work.
“It looks brand-new, it’s perfect,” El Moussa says.
Focus on the master bath
While the kitchen may not need a complete face-lift, the master bathroom does, and despite El Moussa’s insistence that they stay within budget, Anstead won’t skimp when it comes to this room.
“Redesigning the master bathroom will definitely pay off,” she says.
While the bathroom is a good size, the layout simply doesn’t work. “It just feels so closed off because this wall right here is just awkward,” Anstead explains.
They remove some tall, imposing cabinets in order to make room for a double vanity, then redo the shower in a gray tile (plus they add a sleek glass door). The result is amazing. The muted colors and spacious double vanity give this bathroom the upgrade it deserves.
Don’t be afraid of a bold fireplace
This house comes with a lot of dated features, but perhaps the worst one is the beige fireplace surrounded by mirrored walls.
They quickly decide to replace the mirrors with a gray accent wall, but the two run into trouble when trying to pick new tiles to put on the fireplace. Anstead likes a shiny blue-gray tile that El Moussa disapprovingly calls “very, very, very, very bold.”
Nonetheless, Anstead stands firm—and it pays off. The dark, shiny tile paired with white marble accents gives the room a unique but elegant look. Sometimes, it’s good to go bold.
When it comes to the yard, keep your options open
When first inspecting the backyard, Anstead seems relieved. “It’s actually a big yard,” she says, “but right now it’s just a weedy mess.”
So, what will they decide to do with all of that space?
El Moussa says they’ll need to get rid of the overgrown trees and remove some run-down toolsheds, but surprisingly, they decide to mostly leave the space alone. Part of this is out of necessity: After focusing so much time and money on the house’s interior, they can’t afford to do much in the backyard.
But this choice is also strategic. With so much room, the yard has lots of possibility, and by choosing to simply clean it up, they’re offering a blank canvas, which may work to their advantage.
And it does: During the open house, one potential buyer looks at the yard and immediately says that he’d like to put a pool in the space. Good news: There’s plenty of room!
Choose bold and modern colors
At first, this house has very little curb appeal.
“It needs paint desperately,” Anstead says when first seeing the house. And she’s right. With a faded green color that apparently hasn’t been touched up in a very long time, the house looks run-down and uncared for. However, after El Moussa and Anstead tussle, then settle, on paint colors, they give the house new life.
The exterior goes from unsightly green to glamorous gray. With white trim and blue accents, the new look is dignified and modern, making the house much more attractive to buyers.
“The paint made such a big difference here,” Anstead says with satisfaction.
So, is this a flip or flop?
El Moussa and Anstead buy the house for $475,000, and while El Moussa originally estimates spending $69,000 for renovations, they end up finishing way over budget, at $81,700. But budget isn’t the only trouble they run into. Just as the renovation is finishing up, they realized that houses in the area aren’t selling as quickly (or at high-enough prices) as they’d like.
They list the house for $649,900 but don’t get any offers right away. El Moussa lowers the price, hoping to drum up interest, and apparently it works, because two offers over the original asking price come in soon after.
They end up selling the house for $665,000—which means that, after closing costs and commission, they made a cool $83,300 profit.
“We might not know West Covina that well,” El Moussa says, “but we definitely know real estate.” And with that, they move on to their next flip.