Now that we know Christina and Tarek El Moussa are splitting up, we’re not so surprised by the frequent spats that flare up between them on “Flip or Flop.” But in the latest episode of this soon-to-be-canceled HGTV hit, the tension between them reaches new heights. Who’d have thought it was possible?
In “Midcentury Miss,” things quickly take a dark turn when the couple purchase a 1,600-square-foot 1950s house in La Habra, CA, paying the full asking price of $447,000 to a real estate wholesaler.
“Real estate wholesalers buy distressed properties and sell them again fast,” Tarek explains. “For flippers like us, it’s a really good thing, because we can turn homes fast.”
But “fast” rapidly turned into “hasty” as these house flippers start cutting corners in an effort to just get this darn flip done. In their rush, they make some costly oversights and mistakes that send their reno budget soaring. Although they estimate they’ll spend $60,000 on upgrades and repairs, they end up blowing $92,000. Yikes!
So, it’s no wonder they’re at each other’s throats. And, since there’s still lemonade to be made from this sour experience, here’s what we learned.
Lesson No. 1: Look up at the trees
Christina and Tarek know the backyard is a mess, but they forget to look up—at the giant tree that’s ensnared in overhead power lines, Or maybe to look down at said tree’s trunk, which has been cut clear through but left in place. Bottom line: The tree is a flat-out disaster waiting to happen, capable of starting a fire, causing a power outage—or even killing someone!
So our favorite bickering couple end up paying several thousand dollars to have it removed. A little careful inspection before they purchased the house could have revealed this, and perhaps gotten them a discount on the price.
Lesson No. 2: Inspect the ceilings carefully
Tarek and Christina know the ceilings need work because they have that outdated popcorn texture (so 1970s). But upon closer inspection, they find out it isn’t “that stuff that you scrape off,” as Christina puts it. It’s actually plaster that has to be skim-coated with a half-inch layer of drywall throughout the entire house. It’s backbreaking, rapport-killing work that costs them an extra $4,000.
Lesson No. 3: Never sic a blowtorch on anything without care
In a rush to make the wooden mantel look distressed, Christina insists that Tarek burn it with a blowtorch. He tries, it looks downright awful, and they have to spend even more time sanding it again. Tarek, to say the least, isn’t happy.
Lesson No. 4: Don’t assume wood floors are always salvageable
Tarek and Christina originally think they can save money by keeping and refinishing the original wood flooring because it looks to be in good condition, but closer inspection by their contractor reveals that it is squeaky and poorly connected, and that each plank will have to be rescrewed from underneath. The bill? A whopping $6,000. Shooting accusatory glances at each other, the El Moussas decide it’s cheaper to just replace them with laminate.
Lesson No. 5: Think long and hard about what color to paint the walls
As much as the couple try to keep it together on-camera, a brawl nearly ensues over the color scheme, which Christina says should simply be bright white everywhere.
“That’s a terrible idea!” cries Tarek. “If we do white ceilings, white walls, and almost white floors, it’s going to be bland, almost like a hospital.”
But Christina digs in her heels, so Tarek caves. And the results are, um, OK, but certainly not as stunning as some of their other flips.
How does it all end?
When the dust and arguments settle, they actually don’t do too badly: They sell the house for $630,000. When you deduct their total investment of $542,800 plus staging and closing costs, they end up making a $62,200 profit.
Still, though, the process sure isn’t pretty—and makes us think that Christina and Tarek are just counting down the days until their HGTV contract is done so they can get out of each other’s crosshairs. Can you blame them?
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