Tarek El Moussa may have gained fame (or infamy) bickering with ex-wife Christina Anstead on “Flip or Flop,” but on his latest show, “Flipping 101 with Tarek El Moussa,” he shows a whole new side of his personality: teaching new house flippers how to turn a profit.

But his most recent pupils, a husband and wife renovation team, seem strangely familiar—maybe because they’re bickering much like El Moussa and Anstead used to back in the day!

In this episode, titled “Broken Slab to Totally Fab,” Cesar and Sahar have had little success on their first few flips, making only about $10,000 a pop—which isn’t great.

Their problem is their poor decision-making skills and Cesar’s expensive taste. So, it’s up to El Moussa to help this couple find a common ground for their next flip, in Anaheim, CA.

Can he help this clashing couple learn to work together? Read on to find out which huge mistake the couple make in the kitchen, plus some take-home lessons that might help us improve our own homes, too.

A stone exterior looks dated today

This stonework looked incredibly dated.

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When El Moussa first sees Sahar and Cesar’s flip, he doesn’t get a good first impression.

The exterior of the home is covered in stone, and not only does it look dated, but it also wasn’t done well, El Moussa points out.

“They actually just took the existing stucco, put some cement on it, and then put the stone up,” El Moussa says, inspecting the exterior.

A clean exterior will impress more buyers.
A clean exterior will impress more buyers.

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Of course, the stone has to go, so they end up removing the stone to get a clean, fresh look. To finish it off, Cesar and Sahar end up going with a light gray paint color and a darker tone for the garage door and the window shutters.

The colors look perfect on this simple but charming home.

Give the fireplace a face-lift

This fireplace looked too plain before renovation.
This fireplace looked too plain before renovation.

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The fireplace is one of the first things people see when walking into this house, so El Moussa knows it has to look perfect.

Sahar says she plans to redo the fireplace facade with travertine, a stone that usually comes in a tan or cream color, but El Moussa disapproves of the idea. Travertine is an outdated fireplace material, and he knows buyers will want something fresh and modern instead.

El Moussa, Sahar, and Cesar go shopping and pick out a perfect gray and white slab for the fireplace. The only problem? Their team shatters it during installation! So, these flippers have to eat the cost of a new slab.

This slab was the right choice.
This slab was the right choice.

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In the end, the new slab goes up and it looks perfect in this living space. It’s elegant, modern, and bold with a dark gray accent wall behind it.

Don’t forget to factor in installation costs

Sahar complains that Cesar is always spending too much on their flips, so Cesar is careful to choose a flooring that is on sale, settling on a wood-tone tile.

The only problem is, installing tile floors can be expensive, and Cesar doesn’t account for the extra couple thousand dollars it will take to get the tile installed.

El Moussa points out that tile is nice, but laminate would have looked just as good and would have saved them money.

Choose a large kitchen over a large pantry

This pantry was taking a big chunk out of the kitchen.
This pantry was taking a big chunk out of the kitchen.

HGTV

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes Sahar and Cesar make during this flip is failing to remove the pantry.

When El Moussa first sees those pantry walls jutting out into the kitchen, he knows that removing that structure will transform the kitchen, making it feel much larger and even allowing space for an island.

Unfortunately, Cesar and Sahar are so busy bickering about other renovation choices that they forget to get that pantry removed. With the tile flooring already done, they don’t have a choice but to work with the space they have.

The pantry still makes the kitchen feel smaller, but at least the space looks more inviting now.
The pantry still makes the kitchen feel smaller, but at least the space looks more inviting now.

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El Moussa recommends keeping the same kitchen peninsula, but pushing it out a couple of feet to allow more space in the prep area. He also recommends extending the backsplash and cabinets to the side of the pantry so the kitchen will look larger.

During the open house, potential buyers seem to like the improvements El Moussa suggested. But it’s clear that an open kitchen (without the pantry) would have been more impressive.

Doing all renovations at once will save money

This pool could have had a full makeover if Sahar and Cesar had updated the tiles.
This pool could have had a full makeover if Sahar and Cesar had updated the tiles.

HGTV

Usually, a backyard swimming pool can be a big perk for buyers—just not when they look as old as this one.

Cesar and Sahar know they have to improve the look of this pool, so they spend money on new plaster. Yet when the work is done, El Moussa inspects the results and is disappointed.

He points out that Sahar and Cesar missed a big opportunity to switch out the outdated pool tiles. As it is, the tiny tiles on the rim look outdated and dirty, but now that the plaster is done, it’s too late to switch these out without a big price tag.

Was Tarek El Moussa’s ‘Flipping 101’ tutorial a success?

Sahar and Cesar had bought the house for $560,000, and after spending $71,000 on renovations plus $51,000 on closing costs, commission, and interest, they have to sell the house at $682,000 to break even. They decide to list it at $749,000.

In the end, these flippers get an offer for $760,000. If this offer goes through, they stand to make a profit of $78,000. That’s much better than $10,000!

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