The evolution of the HGTV hit series Flip or Flop was far from easy for Tarek and Christina El Moussa. In a recent essay on Realtor.com, Tarek admits a lot of "embarrassing mistakes" were made over the course of their journey, underscoring the fact that whether it's in business, personal life, or on a TV show, nothing's perfect.
"Now that we've filmed seven seasons of Flip or Flop and flipped hundreds of homes, I look back at these early days and laugh," Tarek writes, adding "[I] acknowledge that, although stressful, it was all worth it."
Tarek El Moussa Came From Humble Beginnings.
In an interview with Fox News, Tarek shared just how different his life was before he earned his "house-flipping empire." At 22 years old, he recalls being "so broke" that he had to live in his mom's unfinished garage. Unfortunately, it wasn't for a flipping project or renovation.
Living in an "actual garage with [his] dirt bike and spray paint cans," at such an young age though, was a huge motivation for him. So motivating, he says, that within 120 days he was able to buy his first million-dollar home.
What?! "[I went] from selling kitchen knives to cleaning Diesel trucks to eventually get to where I am today," he told Fox News.
Yes, in his early 20s, Tarek hustled hard enough to move not just out of his mother's garage and into an apartment, but to wherever his heart desired (within the casual $1 mil range, that is).
The Couple Met, Not Surprisingly, At Work.
"We met at a real estate office," Christina says in an HGTV video of the couple's meet-cute in the early 2000s, "so we started our relationship working together."
After the The Orange County Register reported, which ultimately forced them to move out of their then-$6,000 per month home into a $700-per-month apartment, recruit a roommate, swap "luxury cars for modest ones, and share Subway sandwiches."decided to take on the real estate market as a team, they experienced some hardships. In 2008, "the couple felt the sting of the housing bubble's burst,"
Their Passion For Renovating Landed The Couple Flip or Flop.
For better or worse, the couple married in 2009, and in May 2010, they began flipping their first home in Santa Ana while Christina was five months pregnant with their daughter, Taylor Reese.
"As scary as it was, we agreed to try—and made every mistake in the book," he said.
After purchasing it for $115,000 with business partner Pete De Best and putting $15,000 worth of renovations in it, they were able to make a profit of $34,000 (selling it at $169,000), "which felt like $34 million back then," Tarek recalls on Realtor.com. The money was huge, but what was to come was even bigger than the two could ever imagine.
During the first flip, the duo filmed a "home video," which Tarek later sent to production companies with the "crazy idea" of it being turned into a reality show. Surprise! HGTV reached out, and by July 2011, they'd shot a pilot episode. "The studio loved it so much, they signed us before it even aired," Tarek wrote on Realtor.com. "It happened so easily, like it was fate."
Of course, it wasn't all that easy. HGTV's contract stated the duo would have to flip 13 houses in just 10 months. "To put it in perspective, the entire year before, Christina and I had only flipped three houses. So, to flip 13 homes in less time would require a pace unlike anything we'd ever experienced."
Though the couple made $10,000 per episode in its initial season, they used their own savings to purchase the homes, before they sold them for a profit. The first episode of season 1 of Flip or Flop finally aired on April 16, 2013.
There Have Been Some Serious Highs And Lows.
In 2013, shortly after Flip or Flop's premiere, a nurse, who was a fan of the show, wrote in to producers because she believed a lump she saw on Tarek's throat was due to thyroid cancer. Once diagnosed, People reports that he and Christina searched his medical records "for any other irregularities."
Devastatingly, they noticed irregularities in his past exams. Within a short amount of time, Tarek was scheduled for surgeries and radioactive iodine therapy to beat both thyroid and testicular cancer.
Following the difficult journey through cancer treatments, a miscarriage, and undergoing in vitro fertilization to conceive their second child — Brayden James (in 2015) — tension between the couple built until Tarek filed for divorce in January 2016.
"Like any couple, we had our share of issues," Christina told People. "But we went through a lot in a short amount of time."
Despite The Roadblocks, Flip or Flop Is Still Going Strong.
Christina admitted that working with an ex is definitely awkward. But, after successfully making it through season 7 of Flip or Flop, their journey together is continuing. In case you missed it, the show's been renewed for its eighth season, bringing the world another 15 episodes.
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