The untold truth of Flip or Flop Vegas

If you're a fan of HGTV, get ready to be excited. No doubt you already love to watch Tarek and Christina take on some pretty impressive house flips in Southern California on their hit HGTV show, Flip or Flop. Well now you'll have double the stunning home transformations to drool over, as HGTV has recently begun airing episodes of their new, highly-rated spin off, Flip or Flop Vegas. 

The new show stars married couple, Bristol and Aubrey Marunde who, similarly to Tarek and Christina before their highly publicized split, combine business and family on the daily by buying, renovating, and selling houses together in Sin City. But as People noted in an April interview with the new stars, "they're not just Christina and Tarek 2.0!" Not to mention, Tarek and Christina are still making new episodes for season eight, even through their divorce. So the spin-off is in addition, and not instead of Flip or Flop on HGTV's summer lineup. 

There's lots to learn about this TV-ready new HGTV couple, so get ready to learn the untold truth of Flip or Flop Vegas!

They're not afraid of being in the spotlight

History doesn't always repeat itself! Despite the fact that their predecessors, Tarek and Christina of the original Flip or Flop series, suffered the side effects of their fame from the show with a very public split, Bristol and Aubrey told The Wrap that their marriage and business are strong, and they aren't afraid of the effects of the limelight on their personal lives. When asked if they were worried the newfound fame from the show could cause a similar highly publicized rift in the Marunde household, Bristol answered, "Aubrey and I are solid…We've been business partners for a long time…We communicate well. Like anything in life, marriage is difficult — whether you're doing a show or not." The contractor and part-time MMA fighter added, "As for getting famous with the show — we're fine with that. It absolutely comes with this whole experience. We're ready for it."

Bristol moved to Vegas to be an MMA fighter

It says right in the intro credits that Bristol splits his time between contracting and MMA fighting — that's mixed martial arts arena fighting in an octagon cage, if you didn't know. So you can bet the dude is tough (hello demo day!). But did you know it was his involvement and desire to make it in the MMA that brought him to Vegas? According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, as well as the star's official HGTV bio page, it wasn't the exciting housing market that brought him to Sin City. "Aubrey and Bristol met in Las Vegas," reads Bristol's HGTV bio, "where she attended college and he moved to pursue his MMA career." So while his greatest fame so far might be due to his contracting and general house-flipping chops, you could say he owes his newfound notoriety to mixed martial arts first.

They met because of each of their special talents

It was while Bristol was looking for his new home that he first met Aubrey. According to a recent profile in the New York Post, "The Marundes met in 2009, when Bristol was talking to Aubrey [a real estate agent] about purchasing his first home, which they ended up flipping together." An article on the HGTV site further explains that the two met "ringside" at a UFC fight (Bristol's interest) in Vegas with friends. Bristol told Aubrey (the real estate queen) he was looking to buy a house in Vegas, and the rest is history.

They've never lost money on a flip

Flip or….flip? Despite the challenges and risks inherent in flipping residential properties in a malleable housing market, apparently the dynamic duo of Aubrey and Bristol have never experienced a flop. That doesn't mean they haven't made less money than they planned to or wanted on a house project. Aubrey explained to The Wrap that "there have been those times when the duo poured their hearts into a project and walked away with just ten grand," though she added they've never actually lost money on a flip.

They have a son named Kale

Not to be outdone by Gwyneth Paltrow and her daughter, Apple, Bristol and Aubrey named their first young son, Kale, according to HGTV. Their second son is named Kyle, though there's no word on whether or not they intend to continue the "K" theme (ala the Kardashian-Jenners) on any future kiddos.The article explains that the two young boys love helping mom and dad in every step of the flipping process. Aubrey says, "Kale is just like me and pretty amazing when it comes to colors," and when given the book of paint swatches, will often choose the exact same colors that Aubrey has already chosen. He's a renovation natural!

Bristol broke his jaw while MMA fighting

Hey may be handsome, strong, and tough as nails, but Bristol hasn't always kept his chiseled good looks in "TV-ready" shape. He talked to The Wrap about the "worst" injury he ever suffered while MMA fighting — a broken jaw. Ouch. In 2015, Bristol got taken down by "a punch at a bad angle" and was forced to eat his meals through a straw for six weeks while his jaw was wired shut. Yikes. He also told HGTV that although he was on a liquid diet, and couldn't fight, that didn't slow him down "at all." He went back to contracting work the day after his surgery, and just one day after he got the wires taken out, he began filming for his HGTV pilot. Talk about resilience! Bristol told People that "I'm actually not allowed to fight during filming, but once we're done I'm going to schedule a fight." Protect that face, Bristol!

HGTV discovered the duo through Instagram

Yes, 'grammers, your Instagram account could still make you blow up on a scale even beyond the coveted title of "internet famous." The Las Vegas Review Journal explained the discovery, saying, "HGTV producers tapped the couple for a show after coming across Bristol's Instagram profile, where he posted before and after shots of their projects and video clips of the renovation process." 

Since even now, Bristol's Instagram account is relatively small (under 7,000 followers at the time of this writing), that makes the discovery even more fairytale-esque, doesn't it? Who knows when you'll be "discovered?"

So far they've flipped over 150 Vegas houses!

In a profile by the New York Post in April 2017, the count was up to "nearly 140 houses" flipped together in Vegas. But just a few months later, the tally on the HGTV web page now claims over 150. Imagine knowing you provided 150 different families with their dream house, and you made money doing it. Is flipping houses the dream job? Aubrey says she "always knew I would own my own business, and the challenges of starting from nothing and building your business was exciting for me," not to mention that her dad was a contractor when she was growing up, so she really got to know the business, and bought her first home at just 20 years old.

They often sell their finished properties in just one day

In many housing markets across the U.S. it can take weeks, months, or even longer to sell a house. But that's not so for Bristol and Aubrey's glam properties in Vegas. "Our properties sell in hours, rather than days or months here," Aubrey told the Las Vegas Review Journal. "That's very unique to the show." Plus, selling properties quickly means they have more money to put into the next flip. The more successful flips, the more moolah! For their first house, Aubrey says it took about four weeks to complete, and then sold in one day, giving them a huge profit to "roll into" their next flip.

They didn't want to do the show at first

As reported by People, Bristol was once a part of the Fox Sports show, The Ultimate Fighter, which Aubrey called "a grueling process." It was because of the craziness of working on a TV filming schedule, and their lack of interest in fame that when HGTV first approached the couple about a renovation show, they were hesitant. "But once we met everyone at HGTV and the whole family there," Aubrey explained, "we really just fell in love with the idea."

Aubrey uses real Casino materials in her designs

The buyers in Las Vegas, according to a quote from Aubrey in the Las Vegas Review Journal, are "savvy" enough to have high expectations from real estate properties. People have an image of a "Vegas lifestyle" in their minds, and it seems that homes that reflect that glamorous image sell faster and for higher prices. "The casino business and industry really runs this town," Aubrey explained, "and buyers are in there, they see the new nightclubs, they see the finishes, the chandeliers, the crystals that they're using."

Las Vegas style tends to be more focused on the "bling bling" of it all than some other markets, and as a designer, Aubrey uses this insider knowledge to stay ahead of the competition. But how does their business turn a profit when they need to constantly include luxury finishes and a high-glam look in their flips? Aubrey confessed that she loves to use second-hand materials leftover from actual casinos when they go through renovations. "A lot of the products that we get are remnants that come in from the casinos; they over-order and I get to use some of those in my projects," she explained. "For example, we just did a really cool kitchen island and there was a nightclub in town that had some blue antique mirrored glass that came in that they had extra of. I bought it for 200 bucks." Achieving high style for low cost is a winning combo for this designer, it seems.

So far the show has hit ratings

Although Flip or Flop Vegas is a relatively recent addition to the HGTV lineup, that doesn't mean it's not already a high performer for the network, ratings-wise. Broadwayworld.com described the show's debut to "strong ratings," adding that the new show's broadcast time (Thursdays at nine pm ET/PT) saw "a 19 percent increase over [one] year-ago levels in the timeslot." That's not the only measure of the show's accomplishment so far. Although the program is new, the Flip or Flop branding may be a boon to ratings, as the Vegas version has reportedly been capturing key demographics among its viewership, delivering "2.5 million total viewers" during its pilot episode, and achieving a spot as "a top five rated program in all of cable for upscale women 25-54." Not too shabby.

The duo identifies most with Chip and Joanna Gaines

Even though the real estate duo told The Wrapthey aren't fearful of following in the original Flip or Flop series' stars, Tarek and Christina's, footsteps with a messy, public divorce of their own, that doesn't mean they don't see themselves in another HGTV husband and wife team.

Chip and Joanna Gaines of the hit HGTV show Fixer Upper do seem to have a lot of similarities with Bristol and Aubrey. Both couples are husband and wife real estate teams where the wife is the main designer and the husband is the main demolition guy and contractor. Both pairs are family oriented and include their children on the show and in their renovation process. Both teams focus on buying low and selling high on renovations in one regional real estate market. "We have read a lot about [the Gaineses] and they're very, very similar to us," Aubrey told People. "It's kind of funny, Bristol and I will read something and shake our head and be like 'Oh my gosh, that's exactly the same kind of stories that we have!'" Hopefully viewers will also see the similarities, as Chip and Joanna Gaines's chemistry seems to be a winning combination for HGTV, ratings-wise.

The family that raises chickens together stays together

Looking for more ways Bristol and Aubrey might resemble Chip and Joanna? How about the fact that both married couples and HGTV teams seem to be raising menageries in their backyards? Chip and Joanna often share scenes of the animals from their family's land, Magnolia Farms, with viewers of their show. And now, Aubrey and Bristol have shared via an HGTV article that they "currently have two dogs, two parakeets, two turtles, four chickens and two fish," which seems to be quite a lot for a busy family. Aubrey explained the situation, saying, "Bristol is always bringing something home for the kids from job sites. Last week it was a huge lizard in a drywall bucket he found, and before that, a baby bunny." You can bring a baby bunny to my house anytime, Marundes!

Vegas luck

Viewers have spent seven seasons enjoying the Flip or Flop formula of a husband-and-wife realtor, designer, and contractor team who succeed at flipping stellar houses, and look good doing it. And if past success is any measure, the Flip-or-Flop Vegas spinoff of the original is set to achieve acclaim and popularity in its own right. And even though Bristol and Aubrey are just starting to introduce themselves and their process to the HGTV viewership, there's already lots that's worth learning about them. 

If you'd like to catch this recent addition to HGTV's addictive home and garden content lineup, tune in on HGTV. Will their streak of buy-low-sell-high flipping luck continue? Or will the uncaring wheel of fortune keep spinning? I'm not sure viewers really care, as long as there are more episodes to watch!