Tarek El Moussa Says He Was Broke After Buying His First Home That He Couldn't Even Afford Furniture

Kelly Corbett
·6 min read

From House Beautiful

In 2010, Tarek El Moussa sent a pitch video to HGTV for a new show where he and his then-wife, Christina, would purchase rundown houses, fix them up, and put them back on the market for a higher price. The funny part was that while El Moussa had dabbled in renovating, he had never actually "flipped" a house for profit before. When HGTV loved his idea, he learned quickly—and Flip or Flop was born.

To date, the 39-year-old has flipped over 300 houses. In addition to Flip or Flop (which will return for a tenth season in 2021!), El Moussa is also the star of HGTV's Flipping 101, where he shows novice flippers the basics of overhauling a home for profit. He has also launched a commercial real estate firm, TEM Investments, as well as his own real estate seminar program, Homemade Investor.

It’s safe to say that El Moussa knows a lot about houses now, but it wasn’t always like that. We did a little digging into Tarek El Moussa's past properties — from the first place he bought in his early twenties, to his current house which he is actually in the process of renovating as we speak. Let's take a look at all of the properties Tarek El Moussa has ever owned.

His $800,000 Bachelor Pad

In 2002, Tarek El Moussa officially became a homeowner at age 21. He described the first place he ever bought with his own money (or rather, the bank's money) in a post he guest authored for Realtor.com.

"It was the perfect bachelor pad—1,400 square feet, massive master bedroom, man cave all to myself, and coolest of all, a 300-gallon shark tank (may I remind you I was 21 at that time?)," he wrote.

The catch was that the home's asking price was over $800,000 and he had set a budget for himself of $400,000. However, he didn’t back down and instead took out an $800,000 loan and moved in. "I was very, very broke. With no money for furniture, I ended up living in an empty house for nearly nine months," he wrote of the home, which he referred to as a "disastrous mistake."

Within the next few years, he would meet his wife Christina while working at a real estate office. He'd end up selling his man cave and move into an apartment with her. While it's unknown the exact year they started dating, it was prior to 2008 as they revealed they were living together in an apartment with a $6,000 monthly mortgage pre-recession.

Once the recession hit, they downsized to a $700-per-month apartment rent (with a roommate), and sold their luxury cars for more modest ones. They were also living off of shared Subway footlongs, according to the Orange County Register. After they got married in 2009, things started looking up for them.

His Family Home With Christina Anstead

"I clearly remember my first house flip: It was May of 2010, when Christina was five months pregnant," El Moussa wrote on Realtor.com. As it turned out, this first flip was their ticket to success. "While renovating this house, we'd made a home video, and I got this crazy idea to send it out to production companies to see if it could be turned into a reality TV show," he continued.

Photo credit: Realtor.com
Photo credit: Realtor.com

After landing landed their very own show, which we know today as Flip or Flop, the couple also had enough money (finally!) to invest in a house. In 2013, they purchased the six-bedroom home located at 19917 Trotter Ln in Yorba Linda, CA, where they would continue to grow their family and careers with HGTV.

Photo credit: HGTV
Photo credit: HGTV

According to Realtor.com, they purchased the property on December 30, 2013, for $2 million. While living there, they shelled out an additional $1.5 million to transform the home's backyard into an island oasis complete with a dining area, pool, and fire pit.

Unfortunately, El Moussa and Anstead announced they were getting a divorce in late 2016. Their onetime family home was sold for $2.925 million in 2018.

His “Bad Decisions” Yacht

Alright, this technically isn't one of El Moussa's homes. However, after splitting from Anstead, he spent a lot of time at sea on his 50-foot Sea Ray Sundancer 510. The luxury yacht, which cost just under $1 million, has two bedrooms and bathrooms. While he originally named it "Flip or Flop" after their hit HGTV show, he ended up renaming it to something a little bit more fitting: "Bad Decisions," as he told People in 2017.

Eventually, this purchase brought him some good luck, however. The single dad-of-two met his current fiancée, Heather Rae Young, on July 4, 2019, when he was out on "Bad Decisions." He spotted her aboard a neighboring yacht and decided to jump ship (literally) to meet her.

His Single Dad Pad

On land, El Moussa moved into a four-bedroom home in Costa Mesa, CA that was a few blocks away from Anstead's new home post-split. This made sharing custody of their two kids, Taylor and Brayden El Moussa, much easier.

The four-bedroom, 3.5-bath mansion cost him $2,280,000. The single dad decorated it in bold colors, striking a more masculine appearance than at the last house he owned with Anstead. When he started dating Young, they moved in together within a week. However, their time was split between living in this home and her apartment, which was located in West Hollywood, CA.

His “In-Between” Rental

After nine months of dating, Young and El Moussa sold their respective places and moved into a rental in Newport Beach, CA. The 3,700-square-foot home has five bedrooms and five bathrooms. He currently lives here with Young, as well as his children, when they are not with their mother.

In June, El Moussa revealed that “this is our in-between house until we build or find the perfect house.” In a video tour of the home, he showed how family-friendly this new pad was. The family room is equipped with armchairs for the kids to spin on, as well as a couch in front of a TV mounted above a large fireplace. In the area in front of the fireplace, he made sure to get tables with wheels so he could roll them out of the way to make space to wrestle with his kids. The home has a yard for the kids to play in as well as a pool.

His Soon-to-be Home

This past September, El Moussa and Young officially became the owners of their very first house, which is also located in Newport Beach, California. While buying a house isn't uncommon for a soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs, this purchase wasn't actually planned. As a rep for the couple previously told People, "Tarek originally bought it as a flip but then they decided to make it their new home."

That being said, the couple is currently renovating the home together — although there is no timeline on when they’ll actually move in. Not to mention, they’ve hit a major snag in the renovation process last month after the home flooded. "We had to rip out the ceiling, the kitchen, and also the floor in the laundry room... and also a bunch of other stuff," Young said in an Instagram Story. She also revealed that the roof was gone.

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