HGTV Star Reveals How He Flipped from Broke Realtor to Millionaire Host

HGTV's Tarek El Moussa and wife Heather Rae El Moussa

Getty Reality TV stars Tarek and Heather Rae El Moussa attend the 47th Annual People's Choice Awards in Dec. 2021.

Tarek El Moussa has found fame and fortune by flipping homes on HGTV over the past nine years, but — much like the houses he brings back to life on his shows — he has transformed himself from struggling to uber-successful. On July 8, the host of “Flipping 101” posted a tribute to an old friend who took a chance on him when El Moussa could barely make ends meet.

According to Yahoo! Finance, El Moussa’s interest in real estate started at age 20, when he attended a free seminar on the topic. He then got his real estate license at age 21 and sold his first million-dollar house at age 22, according to his web site. El Moussa’s first wife, Christina Hall, revealed in an early HGTV promotional video that they met working in a real estate office.

The pair teamed up as a real estate duo in 2008 and married in 2009, according to, but the housing crash that year threw them into financial disarray and the couple had to trade their $6,000 monthly mortgage for an apartment with a roommate, which cost them $700 a month. Eventually, the couple obviously had a change of fortunes, but not without help from others.

In 2010, the couple joined forces with real estate partner Pete De Best to purchase and flip their first house, made $34,000 and knew they were onto something.

El Moussa Thanks Old Friend for Advising Him When Times Were Tough

As the couple started flipping more homes in 2010, Tarek reached out to entertainment lawyer Roger Behle, according to the birthday tribute he posted to Instagram on July 8. That relationship led to the launch of Flip or Flop, the hit show the El Moussas hosted on HGTV, even through their messy divorce, until the spring of 2022.

“In life, you can only go so far on your own,” El Moussa wrote in his post. “Roger is like family to me and one of my best friends in the world. It didn’t start like that.”

El Moussa then shared details of how Behle supported him when he was down and out. “I reached out to him in 2010 to help me with my first ever tv contract,” he explained. “It was to shoot the pilot for Flip or Flop. At the time, I had never worked with a lawyer before. He requested a $2500 retainer and at that time I didn’t have $2500. So…I asked for a ‘payment plan’ lol.”

“He must have liked me,” El Moussa continued, “because he said yes! Since that day, almost 13 years ago, we’ve been through everything together…Looking back, I couldn’t have made it without Roger.”

Landing HGTV Show Forced El Moussa To Amp Up His Investments

Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall

HGTVTarek El Moussa and Christina Hall starred in “Flip or Flop.”

In 2017, El Moussa told Insider that after a bit of early success with flipping houses, he became “addicted” to the process and quickly proposed it as a show idea to HGTV. He’d flipped two more homes in a year when when the network agreed to pickup the show and asked he and Christina to flip 13 houses in 10 months.

“At the time I had no idea how I was going to pull it off, but I knew that somehow I could make it happen, so we signed the contract — we ended up pulling it off,” he said. “Flip or Flop” debuted in 2013 and, within weeks, the show was a hit and HGTV moved it to primetime.

Following their divorce and the end of the show they built together, El Moussa and Hall both signed multiyear contracts with HGTV to host their own series. El Moussa now hosts “Flipping 101” and “The Flipping El Moussas” with his new wife, real estate expert Heather Rae El Moussa, while Hall hosts “Christina on the Coast.”


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