Tarek El Moussa has been an HGTV staple since “Flip or Flop” premiered in 2013. And even though he’s now divorced from his flipping partner Christina Anstead, their hit show is still going strong, with eight seasons (and counting) as well as various spinoffs, including one where El Moussa 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 38-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 Anstead, 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 Anstead 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 Anstead 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 Anstead 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 dating 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 stars in the Netflix original show “Selling Sunset,” where she shares her experiences as a high-end Los Angeles real estate agent. (She even mentions her relationship with El Moussa in Season 2.)
With both El Moussa and Young working in real estate and appearing on TV, they have a lot in common. It’s no wonder they get along so well.
8. He could have a new house flipping partner, too
With Young showing off her real estate skills on “Selling Sunset” and El Moussa flipping homes on “Flipping 101,” El Moussa and Young may have the potential to be the biggest real estate power couple since, well, El Moussa and Anstead.
In fact, it looks like El Moussa may have a new co-star, because Young is already appearing on an upcoming episode of “Flipping 101” with El Moussa. Who knows where they’ll go from there—their own spinoff real estate show, perhaps?
9. The coronavirus affected their housing plans
Clearly, things are getting serious with girlfriend Young. In April, amid the coronavirus pandemic, they moved in together into a new house.
In fact, they’d begun home shopping before the novel coronavirus had became a concern, and had even picked out a house, so El Moussa had sold his old place in Costa Mesa.
But this new real estate purchase fell through because—could you ever guess?—further research revealed that the house needed too much work. El Moussa may love renovating run-down houses on TV, but he wants his own digs to be in decent shape!
In the meantime, the couple rented a modern beach home. Located in Newport Beach and featured in “People,” the place features a modern exterior, contemporary furnishings, and a pool out back.
El Moussa detailed how the movers took COVID-19 precautions, all wearing masks and gloves.
“The pandemic has hit us hard but we are fighters,” he said on his Instagram. “We will get through this, but for the rest of our lives we will remember this.”