HGTV’s 'Flip or Flop' star Tarek El Moussa has help for your house

2019-08-01 07:50
Tarek .El Moussa

Cape Town – Tarek El Moussa is the presenter of Flip or Flop on the HGTV Channel (DStv 177) that recently launched in South Africa, and he loves some "demo" work – nope, not "demonstration" but demolition".

When so-called "house flippers" "demo" something, it means they take something like a hammer to a kitchen and physically break the interior down and rip it out.

South African viewers can now catch up with the latest lingo in home makeovers, design and renovation with HGTV and stars like Tarek who is also busy working a new spin-off show, Flipping 101. He flew from the United States to South Africa for the launch of Discovery Inc.'s HGTV and sat down for an interview to talk about "flipping" – the buying of homes you renovate to sell at a profit-sharing trend-advice and what his television journey with HGTV has been like the past seven years.

How did you get into flipping houses? 

After the US real estate market crashed in 2007 I was completely lost. I had no idea how to make money selling houses and then I started seeing investors coming into the market buying distressed properties and re-selling them for a big profit. It looked very exciting to me and I saw the potential so I went after it with everything I had. I started with nothing but a plan and a dream!

What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to renovating homes as assets to then sell for hopefully a profit?

There are so many mistakes, and I always tell people, the most important thing you have to do is be educated. It's a big deal. You're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, and if you don't have the right education, it can be very risky, and you can lose a lot of money. And the biggest mistake I see is that people will buy a house just because it's a piece of junk, thinking they can make a profit. But just because a house is a piece of junk doesn't make it a good flip because you have to get it for the right price.

For people who want to start – because "flipping" is not yet that big here in South Africa but the trend is starting and growing – what would your advice be?

You know, when I started I had no capital, I raised other people's money, but I was able to raise other people's money by doing extensive research and writing business plans. So my suggestion for everybody who wants to get into it is to read as many books as you can and use the internet and learn about house flipping. There's so much valuable knowledge out there that you can teach yourself.

In terms of house design and trends, what are some of the latest changes and trends when it comes to home renovation that you've noticed?

Marble has been really, really popular over the last few years and I'm starting to see that dwindle off and starting to replace that is we're starting to see cement tiles, a lot of bold patterns. I'm starting to see a lot of black-and-white tiles, and actually really becoming very popular now is black-and-white pattern tiles. Overall, design-wise I'm seeing a lot of simple designs with really bold accent pieces, so you'll have a simple-looking kitchen countertop, simple cabinets, with a defined backsplash that pops and it looks it looks like artwork.

What has the journey on HGTV been like for you, and what do you think contributes to the success of the channel?

You know, HGTV has grown so much. I first aired season one of Flip or Flop in 2013, and I feel like I have a very intimate relationship with HGTV because I feel like I've grown with them. HGTV as a channel has become so big over the last few years, and my show Flip or Flop has risen with them. So, I feel like we're a team, and I love the network. They've just been amazing and been really good.

You're good at "flipping" properties, but you started as a real estate agent. In terms of bringing that expertise and background knowledge to HGTV are there other types of shows that you would like to do or consider or do you see "flipping" as your domain?

Oh, there are so many different shows! I would be open to doing anything – design shows, challenge shows, competition shows, talk shows. You know, I've been through a lot in my life, outside of real estate, so anything entertainment-world related I'm interested in.

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