In this episode, titled “Million-Dollar Cookie Cutter,” El Moussa buys a home in a planned neighborhood in Newport Beach, CA. After some negotiating, El Moussa buys it for $900,000, a considerable reduction on the $925,000 asking price.
The three-bedroom, 2.5-bath house is in good condition (except for a mysteriously pungent smell and a small water leak). The problem is, there’s a danger this house will be overshadowed by the five other houses for sale in the same complex.
Knowing his house will have to stand out, El Moussa hires an interior designer, Darcy Kempton—and ends up blowing an extra $169,000 to get this home looking great, pushing his total costs up by well over $1 million.
Will this pricey flip pay off? Read on to find out, and learn some hard lessons about house flipping ahead.
High-end tile makes all the difference
Since a home design that’s “just OK” isn’t going to cut it in this competitive market, Kempton decides to change up this home’s focal point—the fireplace. Since El Moussa’s going for a clean, beachy look, Kempton picks out a textured, off-white tile. And El Moussa loves it.
“It literally looks like sand on the beach,” El Moussa says.
The only problem is that the tile is pricey: $20 per square foot. With such a large fireplace, this ends up costing El Moussa $4,000. It’s an expensive design choice, but in the end, the fireplace looks beautiful, so it’s definitely worth the extra cash.
The first fireplace looks great, why not go for a second?
A high-end house needs a nice backyard, so El Moussa decides to splurge and add an outdoor fireplace. He knows that a great fire feature will make the yard look cozy and ready for entertaining, but he also knows that the design has to really make a statement in order to be worth the investment.
He ends up picking out a modern, black-and-white tile to make the fireplace really pop. Luckily, it works. When the yard is finally finished, the tile looks sleek and high-end, exactly what El Moussa is hoping for.
Wood shelves add color and warmth
Of course, El Moussa also has to give the kitchen a glamorous update with all the bells and whistles. This includes custom cabinets.
“I love doing custom cabinets,” El Moussa says, “’cause you can do so much cool stuff.”
And cool stuff he does, indeed. The white cabinets with gold trim look amazing, but it’s the dark wood shelves that really make the kitchen pop. The wood works with the cabinetry to break up the space and add a bit of color. Plus, the expert staging, which features colorful jars, reminds buyers that this could be a great place to show off eye-catching kitchen accessories.
To top it off, El Moussa finishes the kitchen with an intricate backsplash that goes all the way up to the ceiling. With this combination of cabinets, shelves, and backsplash, the kitchen looks absolutely stunning.
Great stair railings make all the difference
When El Moussa first buys this house, the banisters are boring, bulky walls.
Still, he doesn’t plan to change them out until he tours another house on the market in the area. This one has modern, black railings that accentuate the space, and El Moussa is inspired to do something similar.
New railings can be pricey, but El Moussa spares no expense on the modern black railings. Of course, the result is amazing.
“I know I spent a lot of money to redo all these railings, but it was worth every penny,” El Moussa says, looking at the finished product. “It makes such a statement.”
The right lighting fixtures
Sometimes, the most important design choices are in the details, and in this Newport Beach home, El Moussa and his interior designer really deliver with the lighting.
El Moussa loves the lights in the kitchen, saying, “These lights have that cool, industrial, speakeasy feel.”
Meanwhile, the gold chandelier in the living room really brings the look together.
“It fits the space perfectly,” Kempton says.
So, is this a flip or flop?
After commission and closing costs, El Moussa knows that he needs to fetch a good price in order to make a profit, so he lists the house at $1,349,000.
At the open house, plenty of potential buyers stop by and love what they see. However, after a week on the market, the house still hasn’t gotten any offers.
With so much invested in this home, El Moussa is hoping the right buyer will come along soon, but until then, you can chalk this up as a very expensive flop.
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