Tarek El Moussa of “Flip or Flop” is used to selling hot properties, but on his new HGTV show, “Flipping 101 with Tarek El Moussa,” one of the houses he works on literally catches fire!
In the episode “A Baptism by Fire,” El Moussa teams up with mother-son team Audrey and Anthony, who are hoping to make a family business out of house flipping. But these two get in big trouble when their Woodland Hills, CA, house catches fire, possibly due to old electrical wiring.
With hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, this episode ends with an incomplete renovation, making this “Flipping 101” a cliffhanger of sorts—or even a flop, at least in terms of deadlines!
Still, there’s lots to learn from El Moussa’s renovation expertise, so read on to find out his plan for this renovation, and snag some tips you might be able to use in your own home.
Small improvements can make for a great entryway
The entryway is a home’s first impression, so it should be bright, open, and beautiful.
However, when El Moussa first steps into Audrey and Anthony’s flip, he’s underwhelmed by the dark wood and the old lighting fixture. Still, he says there’s hope.
“Right when you walk in, it definitely feels closed. It feels dark,” El Moussa says, looking around, “but I do like the high ceilings, I like the staircase layout.”
He explains that this space could be a big success if they add some modern railings, a big, new chandelier, and maybe even some wallpaper.
These are small, cosmetic changes, but El Moussa knows they can make a big difference.
Don’t settle for a small kitchen
El Moussa is impressed by the size of this five-bedroom, three-bathroom home, but he hates the size of the kitchen.
“This is like an apartment kitchen,” El Moussa says of the small space. He recommends taking down the walls on either side of the kitchen, and even relocating the sliding door, to stretch out the kitchen.
El Moussa knows that buyers will expect a huge kitchen in this large home, so it’s important that they impress with the space.
A master bedroom fireplace is a big selling point
While this renovation runs into a big problem when it catches fire, there is one flammable feature that El Moussa says could help the house sell. When he finds a fireplace in the bedroom, El Moussa is pleasantly surprised by the luxe feature.
“That is cool. You don’t find that very often,” El Moussa says of the fireplace. With a little bit of updating, this fireplace could give this master bedroom a sophisticated look.
Go for a luxe shower instead of a tub
With a large master bedroom, complete with a luxurious fireplace, El Moussa knows that the master bathroom has to be impressive.
Unfortunately, he finds that this master bathroom needs some serious work. While it’s a good size, it needs to be reconfigured and updated.
While El Moussa sets his sights on a large shower, Audrey says that she’d like to also add a tub.
“We have to have a bathtub,” she says. “Everyone likes free-standing bathtubs.”
However, El Moussa disagrees, saying that a tub will take up unnecessary space in the bathroom and it won’t add extra value to the home.
“In a master bath, most buyers would rather see a big shower,” El Moussa says. “You just need a tub somewhere in the house for families.”
You can always relocate a closet
While two of the three bathrooms are a good size, the downstairs restroom is small and narrow.
At first, Audrey thinks there’s nothing she can do about this. There’s a bedroom closet on the other side of the wall, and she doesn’t think they should remove it.
“It would be nice to make it larger, but I don’t think we can steal space,” she says.
Of course, El Moussa has a solution. He explains that they can use that closet space to make a big shower, then build a new closet on the other side of the bedroom wall. Adding a simple closet will be easy and relatively inexpensive—and the large shower will impress buyers.
Audrey seems happy with this solution. While closet space may be a big selling point, a luxurious shower is more important to many buyers.
Never wait to grow grass
El Moussa has some helpful hints when it comes to the backyard. The yard is large, and El Moussa knows that keeping up the grass will be expensive. He explains that the grass is already halfway dead, and if they were to redo it with new sod, it would cost around $5,000.
He says that their best bet is to get started on the yard even before renovations start on the house.
“Come in here with a landscaper, make sure that the sprinklers hit all the areas,” El Moussa says, “add seed, add fertilizer, so while you’re remodeling the inside, the backyard will have time to grow.”
He puts Anthony in charge of the yard, but when Anthony fails to fix the grass, El Moussa is disappointed. Audrey will have to pay to redo the yard, but Anthony learns a valuable lesson about follow-through.
Is the latest ‘Flipping 101’ tutorial a success?
This episode ends before Audrey and Anthony are able to put this home on the market, so it’s hard to say if this flip is able to make a profit.
El Moussa calculates that with a $925,000 purchase price, $50,000 in pre-fire renovation, $85,000 in interest, and $60,000 in closing costs, these two would have to sell the house for $1,120,000 to break even. El Moussa seems optimistic, and the home’s exterior at least is looking OK (see photo below).
Still, Audrey and Anthony learn a lot from El Moussa. Anthony learns the value of hard work, and Audrey learns about the value of a good bathroom, the importance of kitchen space, and how to brighten up an entryway for cheap. And that kind of wisdom is priceless.