Tarek El Moussa has been an HGTV staple since “Flip or Flop” premiered in 2013. And although he’s divorced from his former flipping partner Christina Hall, their hit show still airs in reruns. With nearly 150 episodes of the show in the bank, it’s a foundational piece of home renovation programming.
El Moussa has also had his hand in various spinoffs, including one where he teaches aspiring real estate investors the ropes: “Flipping 101 With Tarek El Moussa.”
Over his many years on TV (and in the tabloids), fans may feel that they’ve gotten to know El Moussa pretty well. But even now, there’s a lot of hidden facets both old and new to this 41-year-old that might just throw you for a loop.
Curious about what you might be missing? Read on to find out more about El Moussa, including how his career started, what he’s up to now, and what he might be planning for the future.
1. He started out as a real estate agent
It seems that El Moussa always knew the industry he wanted to work in.
At just 21, he got his real estate license and started learning the business. Of course, it would be years before he flipped his first house, and even longer until “Flip or Flop” would premiere, but it seems that this first step of getting his real estate license turned out to be the right move.
2. El Moussa is close to his mom—she even helps with flips!
In the opening credits of “Flipping 101,” El Moussa explains his past struggles with the housing market, even saying that, “I was so broke when I got started, I actually lived in my mom’s garage.”
While living in a garage doesn’t sound too luxurious, it seems Mama El Moussa has been there for her son, supporting him in the worst of times. So, it’s no surprise he still calls on her for help.
In a Season 8 episode of “Flip or Flop,” titled “Small House, Big Problems,” El Moussa enlisted the help of his mom, Dominique, to clean ugly oil stains off the driveway. Her tip for using baking soda and soda pop got the stains right out!
For Mother’s Day in 2019, El Moussa gushed on Instagram about how much his mom means to him: “My mom has always been there through thick and thin and we never realize how important parents are until we become one!! Mom I love you to the moon and back!!”
3. He hit hard times in the housing crash of 2008
During the housing market crash of 2008, El Moussa and Hall, who were married at the time, lost almost everything. They swapped their $6,000 monthly mortgage for $700 monthly rent (and even had a roommate), and split $5 Subway foot-longs because they couldn’t afford two.
Oh, how times have changed.
Soon after their financial struggles started, they signed a contract with HGTV—and the rest is history. These days, El Moussa is the star of two hit shows, sold his Costa Mesa home for $2.7 million, and even owns a yacht.
4. A ‘Flip or Flop’ fan may have saved his life
“Flip or Flop” may have saved not only El Moussa’s finances, but also his life.
During one season of “Flip or Flop,” a viewer wrote in to producers saying that she was a nurse and was concerned about a lump on El Moussa’s neck. He got it checked out, and the lump turned out to be thyroid cancer.
He got treatment and is now cancer-free. Still, he must feel pretty lucky to have such great (and observant) fans.
5. El Moussa’s flips always make a profit—with one exception
El Moussa always seems to make the right renovation choices and is often making big profits on his flips. In fact, there was just one episode of “Flip or Flop” in which El Moussa and Hall ended up in the red.
Way back on Season 3’s “Big Lot, Little Flip” episode, they were doing a flip in Buena Park, CA, and found themselves spending too much on the renovation.
“No matter what, we’re not going to make money,” El Moussa said. “The question is, ‘How much money are we going to lose?’”
In the end, they had a $3,300 loss on the house. Sure, it could have been worse, but after putting in all that renovation work, it must have been disappointing to not make any money.
6. El Moussa and Hall funded their flips with past earnings
Apparently, one of El Moussa’s secrets to success is how he invests his money. While it seems like he spends a lot of cash on his flips, he’s also great at saving.
In 2013, El Moussa and Hall revealed that they made $10,000 per episode of “Flip or Flop,” and while it would have been easy to invest that money in their renovations, they explained that they chose to save it instead and simply use the cash they made from their last flip for their next renovation.
It’s a great practice that probably helped El Moussa make such a comfortable living.
7. He’s married to a real estate agent, who’s also a reality TV star
El Moussa didn’t remain a bachelor for long after his divorce. In August 2019, he confirmed he was dating Heather Rae Young, who is a reality TV star in her own right. She starred in the Netflix original show “Selling Sunset,” where she shared her experiences as a high-end Los Angeles real estate agent.
Their 2021 nuptials were chronicled on the show, “Tarek & Heather: The Big I Do.”
8. Heather Rae El Moussa is now his house flipping partner, too
With the new Mrs. El Moussa showing off her real estate skills on “Selling Sunset” and Tarek flipping homes all over HGTV, the El Moussas may have the potential to be the biggest real estate power couple since, well, El Moussa and Hall.
The couple’s HGTV show “The Flipping El Moussas” will chronicle Heather’s introduction into Tarek’s prolific home flipping business.
We’ve even seen one of the homes set to be featured on the show come up for sale. After hitting the market in mid-December 2022 for $2,895,000, a Los Angeles home “meticulously remodeled and designed by Tarek and Heather El Moussa from HGTV” has yet to find a buyer. It’s still on the market, but the price has been cut. We hope it isn’t an omen for the success of their show.
9. The final flip on “Flip or Flop” was pretty profitable
El Moussa and ex-wife Hall brought their popular HGTV show to a close with one final hour-long episode in December 2022. The home in Sunset Beach, CA, was purchased in October 2020 for $925,000. It was a run-down single family home that had been converted into a dull duplex.
When Tarek first runs the numbers on the place, he figures they could ask for $1.5 million—after renovating the home and converting it back into a sparkling single-family residence.
And while the show aired in late 2022, the home was done and on the market in May 2022. After listing for $1,899,900, the home sold in July 2022 for $1,850,000. Tarek and Christina estimated they spent about $1.32 million on the home and its renovations, leaving them with a tidy profit of $529,000.
10. He’s a dad to three kids—for now
In addition to the two kids (Taylor and Brayden) he has with ex-wife Hall, El Moussa and Heather welcomed a baby boy (Tristan) of their own in January 2023. Prior to the newborn’s arrival, the couple told Access Hollywood that even more kids could be in their future.
11. He owns over 200 rental properties
El Moussa is well-known for his flipping activity in Southern California, but he also purchases property for rental income. On a podcast in 2022, the serial flipper claimed to own around 80 rental properties in Oklahoma as well as 30 or 40 rental properties in California. He estimates that he owns over 200 rental properties across the country and loves the passive income rental properties provide.
12. He’s started his own commercial real estate investment firm
In July 2022, El Moussa founded TEM Capital. Launched with a goal of making “top real estate opportunities” available to a wider set of investors, the firm is investing in apartment communities and self-storage facilities.
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