flip this house

The Truth Behind Flip This House: What's This Business Really Like?

flipping houses house flipping house flipping shows Apr 20, 2021

House flipping shows have been airing for as long as anyone can remember and have gained popularity over the years. These shows appeal to everyone, from new homebuyers looking for some inspiration for themselves to those looking into real estate investing, to people just randomly tuning in while flipping through channels.

Along with the other opportunities the real estate industry provides, house flipping entails the process of purchasing a home, renovating it, and reselling it. The "flip" is the turnaround time from the initial purchase of the home to selling it at the closing table.

With such easy access to the variety of house flipping shows available today, it is important to acknowledge that each will give you a different perspective of the house flipping process. This article will dive into the Flip This House series and how to venture into real estate investing if you wish to explore it further!

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What Is Flip This House?

Since house flipping is a well known term in the real estate business, it is pretty clear what Flip This House entails. Created by Richard C. Davis and Charles Nordlander, the series follows real estate investors who purchase, renovate and resell the homes in hopes of making a profit. 

To provide you with a little more perspective, house flipping is an investment opportunity in real estate that involves a real estate investor purchasing a home with the intention of quickly selling it for a profit. The flip is considered the quick turnaround time from when the home was purchased to when it is resold. 

Whether you have watched other house flipping series or this is your first, you may recognize the stress that may come about this entire process. Why is that? Well, since the house flipping process could range anywhere between a couple of months to a year, there is a lot of pressure to renovate these homes. Getting the homes into the best livable conditions is the top priority in hopes of gaining a big profit after the resell. 

Read Also: How To Flip A House - The (ULTIMATE) Guide


Meet The Flip This House Cast

flip this house cast

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As the series does follow various real estate investors, they are based in different teams depending on location and have changed from one season to the next. Let’s get to know the different Flip This House teams and the individuals who do it all! 

Charleston Team Featured in season 1

  • Richard C. Davis - Richard C. Davis is the CEO of Trademark Properties which is also how Flip This House was started. It was decided that the series would not be renewed for another season due to a disagreement in the contract. A lawsuit against A&E was made by Trademark Properties for breach of contract and fraud which rewarded Davis with $4 million. Davis continued on with a series The Real Deal partnered with TLC in 2007. A&E then continued on with Flip This House with a recast of teams. 
  • Ginger Alexander - Ginger was Davis’ right hand woman both in Trademark Properties and in the house flipping process. Ginger was with Davis when the company was barely starting with 11 employees and has grown in her career alongside the business. She currently is the investment coordinator handling all investments from renovation to sale and closing. 
  • Dawn Nosal - As project coordinator, Nosal closely deals with developers in regards to sales and marketing, shares absorption and how to capture the highest percentage of market share. 
  • Kevin Molony - The head of construction during the home renovation part of the flipping process. 
  • Vance Sudano - Vance was one of the real estate brokers who were in charge of selling the houses once they were ready.

San Antonio Team Featured in seasons 2, 3, 4 & 5

  • Armando Montelongo - The star coming from Flip This House, Montelongo has gained fame and money his own specific way. He was a founder of his own self-named real estate investment business in San Antonio, Texas, then later moved to California to start his career as a real estate investor. Three years later, he then started his Armando Montelongo Seminars business in which he holds his own seminars that offer thousands of people some advice and tours of foreclosed homes, all in which still allows him to earn a good amount of profit. 
  • Veronica Montelongo - After fourteen years of marriage, Veronica and Armando unfortunately divorced. Compared to her ex-husband Armando, Veronica has always liked to keep her life as private as possible. So private that not even her birthday or age is on the internet! Stemming from her popularity in Flip this House, Veronica is still very active within the real estate business and started working with John Morales. During their time working together, Veronica and John got engaged in 2014. 
  • David & Melina Montelongo - The San Antonio Team also includes Armando’s brother and sister-in-law, David and Melina. As Armando and David were co-founders of the Montelongo House Buyers, they also worked together on the show. David’s wife was the company’s marketing director as Veronica also took part in the business as the sales executive, as well as VP for Armando Montelongo Companies.   
  • Randy Burch & Brent Holt - Following the departure of David and Melina Montelongo, Randy Burch and Brent Holt joined the San Antonio team in season 4. Randy took on being the contractor of the homes while Brent was the project manager. 

Although they may seem like your typical family with their successful ventures, the family later on faced legal issues when Armando decided to sue David and Melina for “having a business model - complete with websites and a three-day bus tour - that he says looks too much like his own and is likely to be confused with it”. In terms of the show, this public split between the brothers caused David and Melina to leave after two seasons.

Despite the internal family issues going on with the Montelongo’s, the team managed to complete many flips and were widely acknowledged by viewers even after the series.  

Atlanta Team - Featured in seasons 2, 3, 4,& 5

  • Sam Leccima - The founder of Get Access To Capital, LLC, Sam is a leading financier and arranger of syndicated loans to investors that are in need of private equity funding. Along with this, he is also a real estate investor who also takes on his own house flipping projects. 
  • Shanni Leccima - Co-founder of Leccima Capital Partners LP and the wife of Sam Leccima, Shanni has been in business with Sam for 11 years, 9 of those years being married. At one point they had their own website offering couples information on starting a business together. 

The team also included Lamont Martin and Angela Wilford, however the cast changed in the third season after Sam Leccima was caught in a scandal claiming his work was staged and fraudulent. A&E denied any knowledge of Leccima’s activities within the series and called for a recast of the Atlanta team in the following seasons.  The episodes starring Sam are no longer aired. 

The Atlanta team in the following seasons included Angela and Harris WilfordScott TremmelDanille AndersonPeter Pasternack and Brian Trow. 

New Haven Team - Featured in seasons 3, 4, & 5

  • Than Merrill - Than Merrill is a real estate investor and also an educator in the real estate investment and lending industry. He has founded various real estate investment companies and also found a love for teaching aspiring real estate investors after speaking in many conferences all over the country. 
  • Paul Esajian & JD Esajian - Paul & JD Esajian are co-founders of FortuneBuilders, Equity Street Capital and CT Homes, LLC. Than Merrill was also a co-founder of CT Homes, LLC. Paul and JD are some of the nation's successful investors and experts when it comes to buying, fixing, and selling properties. 
  • Jeremy Black - One of the recruits is Jeremy Black who is their right hand man when it comes to looking for good investment properties. 
  • Lori Parks - Originating from CT Homes and FortuneBuilders, Lori was a top selling realtor in Connecticut and worked in many of the aspects within real estate investing. 

Los Angeles Team - Featured in seasons 4 & 5

  • Rudy Martinez - Prior to the two seasons he was featured in, Rudy also owns two of his own restaurants and was the CEO of his own financial firm, Piedmont Financial, that specialized in short-term, first mortgage financing. He now is a managing member at a real estate services and investment firm. 
  • Carlos Vazquez & Mary O’ Grady - Carlos was the project manager and Mary was the architect and designer. Both Carlos and Mary were on his team at Piedmont Financial.

That cast list was a little longer than usual but it is important to know who you will be gaining information from when you watch these shows. Having background knowledge of their previous work is a great way to see their progress through their real estate journey. 


Is Flip This House Fake? 

The misconception many, if not all, reality TV shows face is that they are scripted or fake. Well, in this series it may be a little more true than it should be, especially compared to other shows. 

There have been some agents featured in the show that have faced complaints, and even lawsuits, for some fraudulent practices in their house flipping practices. However, A&E have released statements claiming they have had no knowledge of these acts and have recast them in the series. Two of the most controversial and known incidents are that of Sam Leccima and Armando Montelongo. 

Flip This House Atlanta businessman Sam Leccima was accused of faking home renovations

In 2007, Sam Leccima was investigated for staging fraudulent house sales and renovations. An investigation by Dale Russell on Fox 5 revealed that all of the episodes featuring Leccima was staged.

According to Dale Russell, they "found Sam Leccima didn't even own the homes he was renovating and lied about selling the houses and making big money".  

It was also stated that Leccima's real estate license was revoked by the state of Georgia even before he filmed his first episode with A&E. The network denied any knowledge of Leccima's accusations and quickly removed him from the series which led to a recast of the season. The episodes featuring Sam has been taken off the air due to these accusations and investigations. 

Armando Montelongo was sued by students of his seminar classes for giving worthless advice

According to Forbes, Montelongo’s secret formula is to “Go deeply into debt to buy distressed properties, fix them up minimally and sell them quickly. ‘People throw money at me to become multimillionaires’”. Although since the release of this article in 2013, when asked to provide successful seminar alums, Montelongo states two in which neither have made millions. 

His formula is simple: First, expose people to his system through a 90-minute free seminar. Then funnel them into a second (cost: $1,497 per couple) and, finally, a third: a three-day extravaganza like the one I attended that runs $40,000 for two.

His formula has allowed him to teach the ways in which many could be successful in a house flip, all in which he displays in the series. With his own advice from his seminars, he was found to be the one person who has made millions. 

Each attendee must sign a contract that absolves Montelongo and his staff of liability for any financial, investment, legal, accounting, or other professional services. Due to this, it may be hard to tell if other alumni are experiencing the same issues but are limited to any action. 

Here's a quick video explaining lawsuits Montelongo has faced: 

As of 2018, there have been more complaints against Montelongo and his tactics which has caused more damage to his name. With these issues, it is hard to tell whether or not people have turned up as successful as Montelongo has made it seem. Despite the dubious outcome of others through his business practice, he still has earned millions of dollars through it all.  

With these scandalous events surrounding certain cast members from the series, many may be skeptical when it comes to the authenticity and credibility of the show. However, it has been claimed by the network that there was no knowledge of these fraudulent occurrences in the episodes so it can be assumed that the series is free from any of these issues and that any of the issues is to be separated from the show. 


Where Is Flip This House Filmed?

Since the series does follow different teams determined by their location, there is not one specific location the series is filmed in. The various teams are based in the United States, featuring locations such as: 

  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • New Haven, Connecticut
  • Los Angeles, California

Although it may seem chaotic to be filming in different locations for one episode, it is beneficial for the audience to be able to see how the different teams take on the house flipping process. They get to see what the different housing markets are like, how much the renovations may be, the price differences between the homes, the profit after resale, and generally more exposure to the diversity and what each community holds.

Location is one of the most important factors to consider in real estate as it offers its own list of pros and cons when it comes to the home selling market. Weather and the environment of the state alone can play a big factor in what the house may need and how much it may cost. Flip This House is a good source to get to know the differences between locations and how it is handled, especially if you are considering moving out of state.


Is Flip This House Still Airing? 

Flip This House aired its first season in July of 2005. Through legal issues and cast changes, the series made it through five successful seasons in the span of four years. The series then aired its last episode in August of 2009. 

There have been no plans in rebooting the series, however, there are many other house flipping shows that are on air today.


REALity Of House Flipping Shows

With so many reality shows on air today, the authenticity of them is not rare to question. Some of them could be as real as it gets or some can use the reality aspect just to capture and intrigue audiences. What is the reality behind these shows? 

In regards to house flipping shows, many are considered to be real in terms of the house flipping process itself. Many, if not all, follow genuine real estate agents and investors and their ventures throughout house flipping. 

On the flip side of things, other aspects could be hindered or over exaggerated. Many series, such as Flip or Flop, have admitted that drama in the show is enhanced a little bit to add more intensity to the show to captivate the audiences at home. 

Information on the processes could also be a part of the show that isn't as authentic as they make it out to seem. They may be open to showing the real deal of house flipping but may glorify the hardships they encounter on the way. 

It is important to know that you should always keep an open mind when watching reality shows. You can gain inspiration from it all, but you should acknowledge that the process may not be exactly as shown. 


Where Can I Watch Flip This House?

Although Flip This House is an older series and hasn’t aired a new season in over a decade, it can still be found on different streaming devices and tv channels. 

You can find episodes of Flip This House on the A&E channel and website, Hulu, SlingTV, fuboTV, and Philo. Compared to others, the options regarding where to watch it is severely limited. 


Shows Similar To Flip This House

Since Flip This House was such a fan favorite, it is no surprise if the audience continued on with watching other series. With more ways to get caught up on shows today, it is easier for people to get caught down the rabbit hole and binge all these popular series!

  • Zombie House Flipping - If you're interested in seeing what the worst-of-the-worst homes are like to flip, then this series is for you! Zombie House Flipping follows a crew who take on the most run down and abandoned homes, some facing foreclosure, to return them to their former glory. 
  • Flip or Flop -  Tarek and Christina show the process of their house flipping ventures as they show the entire process, from purchasing the homes to the renovations and even until they find a buyer. The two have found ongoing success over the years so they are definitely ones to look into for some information and inspiration! 
  • Property Brothers - Another dynamic duo within the real estate business stars brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott. These twin brothers help couples find forever homes through buying and transforming fixer-upper properties. They also have many other spinoff series that can provide you with various perspectives on what the real estate business entails! 
  • Fixer Upper -  Chip and Joanna Gaines have themselves very well known in the real estate business. With their own businesses such as Magnolia Homes and Magnolia Market at the Silos, the two have made their mark with their own businesses, as well as with their fixer-upper projects which their series displays.
  • Murder House Flip - For all those who are into more mysterious themes, this one's perfect for you! Murder House Flip shows what it's like to purchase a home where murders and crimes have taken place. As they renovate them, secrets and evidence may even be exposed. Definitely a twist on your regularly shown house flipping series that you wouldn't want to miss! 
  • Rehab Addict - Aired January 2021, Nicole Curtis stars in Rehab Addict as she helps DIY-ers to restore their historic homes. She identifies everything that needs to be accomplished and tries to take some of the weight off of the families' shoulders and give them their dream home. 

With various shows, you are able to gain insight into everyone's house flipping process and find what you may or may not like about it. This will allow you to decide whether you want to take on your own projects and how you want to go about it. 


Should I Watch Real Estate Shows To Get Into Real Estate Investing?

Getting really invested in these real estate shows? Thinking you’re ready to invest more than just your time watching these shows? Well, you may want to take a step back for a minute. 

As much as these series show you what real estate investing looks like, there may be more of what they’re NOT showing you. It is important to note that these real estate shows may be glorifying the entire process, not showing you what really goes on behind the scenes. 

With the lack of REAL knowledge that is provided by these TV series, it is not a good idea to fully depend on them to get you into real estate. You can definitely use it as inspiration to get started, but you should know that there is way more to it that they are not exposing. 


How To Flip A House?

how to flip a house

Did the show inspire you enough to get started on your own house flipping project? Well, let's get into the basics on how to flip a house and get you started! 

  • You DON'T Need A Real Estate License! - The best part about real estate is that you can still take part in many of the opportunities without a real estate license! You will act as the seller or buyer in the transaction while a real estate agent represents you, so you do not need a license! The best part of all is that you can make money from buying, renovating, and reselling homes without it! 
  • Fund The Flip! - There are ways to fund your flip with or without money. Having your own money to buy the property and pay for the costs allows you to save some time and get started on the renovation process. Although if you don't, no worries! Using "Other People's Money (OPM)" is a common thing that is familiar within real estate investing. This means you are leveraging someone's money by borrowing capital in order to complete the real estate deal. 
  • Find The Home! - Finding homes in a distressed condition or a distressed situation is crucial in becoming a successful house flipper. These two factors will mean the homes are being sold at a discount and the seller is motivated to sell. The less you pay for the home means you are more likely to get a larger profit. 
  • Examine The Costs! - Determining prices before getting into the house flipping process is crucial in having a successful outcome. ARV, repair costs, and the purchase price are needed to flip a house. The after repair value (ARV) is a future price that the home is estimated to be worth after it has been renovated and repaired. Repair costs refers to the amount that is projected to be used in order to fix the home. Last but not least, the purchase price considers those two prices, along with other costs such as closing costs, commissions, utilities, holding costs, insurance, etc. 
  • Buy The Home! - After you've established how you will be purchasing the home, or in other words where you will be getting the money from, you will get to close on the deal. Closing on the home includes the completion of any necessary inspections and a title search report. 
  • Fix The Home! - Finding a contractor, which you should include as you are examining your costs, is important during the fixing process. Generally you will want the general contractor to have completed $10,000 worth of repairs after the first week. It is also important to consider the conditions of the homes in the surrounding area so that the price is comparable to those around it also. 
  • Sell The Home! - Now that you have bought and fixed the home, it is time to sell! You can either go about selling the home on your own which is considered FSBO (for sale by owner) or you can hire a real estate broker to sell it for you. 

Now that you have gained a little more insight on what you need to have in order to flip a house, you may also have more confidence in taking it on yourself. Nonetheless, it is up to you to consider when you are most capable and comfortable taking on your own fix and flip projects. 

Read Also: How To Choose The Best General Contractor?


How To Become A Real Estate Investor If You Like Flip This House?

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As we have learned, these shows may provide you with inspiration to take on your own house flipping projects. So let's discuss how to become a real estate investor if you like Flip This House

  • Get To Know The Basics - With a simple search, you are able to access many articles and books on how to get started in real estate investing. This way you can gain much more insight on how to get started and step-by-step explanations so you know what to expect. 
  • Choose An Investment Strategy - Choosing how you want to invest is also a crucial step in getting into the business. From house flipping to wholesaling, there are various investment options to consider so it is important to see what best fits your situation. 
  • Build Your Network - Getting in touch with others will provide you with help whether it be now or later on. Having a strong network will help you find individuals whether it's for something as little as advice on how to get started to finding buyers later on in the process. The more you network the better! 
  • Consider Getting A Real Estate License - Although a real estate license is not necessary for some opportunities, it is always something that can enhance your experience and knowledge in the business. Your credibility and knowledge will be enhanced, along with your profit! 
  • Get Familiar With The MLS - The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is one of the many resources that is beneficial to get familiar with. You will be able to get the latest on the real estate market such as information on properties that are available or have been sold. 
  • Look Into Training Opportunities - Free training opportunities are available to those with a simple sign up! Taking advantage of those resources will help you get started on your investments.

As overwhelming as it may seem at first, the outcome will be worth it. Getting started as soon as you can will ultimately help you get towards your goals in no time. All you need is your inspiration and determination to get you through it all! 


Final Thoughts On Flip This House

At first glance, the series may have brought up some problematic events more than others. However, the network worked around those problems as they put the credibility and audience's thoughts as their top priority. 

Flip This House, along with other top-rating series, provides you with great insight into what the house flipping process entails. It also differentiates itself by featuring various locations and teams to see how the work environment is when those factors are considered.

With the knowledge and entertainment you get from watching the show, hopefully, you are inspired to start investing in real estate yourself!

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