In its fourth season on A&E, “Flip This House” features a diverse cast of characters working on renovation teams from New Haven, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and San Antonio. Leading the San Antonio team is Armando Montelongo , who works alongside his wife Veronica, general contractor Randy, and project manager Brent.

It’s a rags-to-riches story that has led Montelongo, who joined the real-estate market in 2001, to major success with his family-owned business, Montelongo Home Buyers. With his company, Montelongo has made millions of dollars and renovate hundreds of houses. He’s also helped others find their own niche in the real-estate market so they never have to stress about finances again.

During an interview with me, Montelongo talked about the moment he knew he had to change his life and do something to support his family and why his “Flip This House” segments of the show are the most interesting of all four teams.

“Flip This House” airs on A&E Saturday nights at 10 p.m. CT.

How did you try to make money before getting into the real estate game?

I’m one of those guys who tried everything. I tried selling cars. I sucked at it. I was too honest. I remember a guy came up to me and asked, “Armando, can I get this car cheaper somewhere else?” And I said, “Probably.” My sales manager saw me and fired me. I kept trying other things, but at the time I couldn’t even get hired by a pizza delivery service.

When did you realize you had to change your life?

Well, we were foreclosed on. We had to move into my in-laws’ garage in California. We were living on food stamps. I remember looking at my son, who was only two and a half at the time, and thinking, “One day, this kid is going to know whether daddy is a winner or a loser. I have to do something.” So, I moved my family back to San Antonio in August 2001. We literally rolled into town on our last tank of gas. My wife sold her furniture for food.

Is that when you decided to get into the real estate game?

Well, in 2001 there was this mold scare in San Antonio and real estate depreciated by 40 percent over night. I went in and bought some of the mold properties for pennies on the dollar, fixed them up, remediated them, and sold them under market value and started making millions of dollars doing it. From there I was hooked on real estate. Some people say, “I don’t know if I want to be hooked on real estate.” I tell them, “After you get that first check you will definitely be very hooked.”

How did you buy your first property if you were struggling financially?

The No. 1 thing about real estate is that you have to have a mentor – someone to teach you how to do it. So, I went out there and got a really good deal on a mold property for $36,000, which was worth $125,000 in good condition. I needed about $25,000 to fix it up and I didn’t have any money to do it. So, I went out there and convinced an attorney in town that I didn’t know that this was a good deal. So, this attorney lent me the money. I split the profits with him and I was up and running. I found what we call a “private money investor.” Some people call it OPM – Other People’s Money. From there, I started building an empire with him.

Can you teach anyone about how to make money in real estate or is there a secret genetic makeup one needs to have to be successful?

(Laughs) That’s the question everybody asks. Do I have the magic inside me to do it? The answer is yes. I can teach anybody how to do this if they know basic sixth grade math. If you don’t know basic sixth grade math, then I can’t help you. I have a woman by the name of Abigail I’ve been working with. She has eight kids. She is 32 year old. She is a full-time nurse. She is a busy person. I went out and showed her how to do some real estate deals. She went out and made $110,000 in eight months and then $140,000 in the next eight months. She made a quarter of a million dollars in 16 months.

Do you ever think the entertainment side of real estate is getting a little diluted because of all the shows that revolve around things like home repair and flipping houses?

I don’t know about the rest of “Flip this House,” but I know that my show definitely has its place. I think the other characters are relatively uninteresting on “Flip this House.” I think they are really nice people, but for entertainment value “Flip this House” in San Antonio, bar none, cannot be competed with. When it comes to things like HGTV, you have a lot of people on there trying to make putting wallpaper up interesting. Putting wallpaper up and watching paint dry is not interesting. Putting another nail in the wall is uninteresting. What’s interesting is if you’re going to make money on a deal or not. If I lay it all on the line, what’s going to happen? There will be many who try to copy it, but I don’t think anyone can duplicate it.

Are you comfortable with the term “reality show” to describe “Flip This House” or would you rather be referred to as more of a real-estate-type show?

Honestly, I don’t really care. A&E calls it a docudrama. I really don’t know what that means either. Look, were not in Jacuzzis trying to get 15 girls to make out with us. We’re there to show our business. If they call that reality, that’s great. If they want to call it wealth making, that’s great. I originally did this show so I could show my grandkids one day and say, “Hey, look, you’re crazy-ass grandfather was on television at one time.” Now I do it because it’s a lot of fun. I don’t think putting a label on it affects my own day-to-day reality whatsoever.

7 Responses

  1. I’ve seen this. I don’t like the guy though. To me he comes off as rude and mean a lot of the time. His wife is very attractive though. I remember seeing one episode where she didn’t want to do a house and he forced it on her. Then they show that like 2 days later some people from the city come to the house and inform them that the house is to be demolished. I remember laughing and being like this is what this guy gets.

  2. I have watched this guy as well and have always been curious as to how it’s done. (Flipping Houses) What I am really wanting is to be able to walk away from a $50,000 annual dead end paying job and do something else for a living. Play manoply with real money! So, if it can be done I want to try it!!! Keep doing you thing Mr. Montelongo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I enjoy what I see.

  3. I love Armando and Veronica. I’m from San Antonio and I get a huge kick out of the show. (P.S. Armando’s HOT!)

  4. I think Armando is a bul headed, cheap ass, slick rick, wanna be. My boyfriend and I watch his show on the weekend and all this fat fucker does is bitch and complain about how people are spending his money. For a man that claims to be rich he cant be to rich if he is crying about every fucking dollar of “his money that is being spent. Sorry for the foul words but this guy works my nerves. How could anybody wanna work for suck a grease monkey bitch. PLEASE NO ONE CONDUCT YOUR BUSINESS LIKE THIS GUY HE SUCKS BALLS!!!!!!!!!! If I was Brent or anybody that has worked with the guy I would have been beat his ass.

  5. I am watching a rerun, Saturday, January 9, 2010 of your show Flip this house. It’s titled “Brent’s Big Break”. Veronica is making Brent take spanish classes to have him understand the construction workers because they cannot speak english.
    One of the construction workers demolish all of the kitchen because he did not understand english as what Brent had him do. He was only suppose to demolish the countertops. Veronica said that she wouldn’t tell Armando about it if Brent would continue to take the spanish lessons. What the hell? Why doesn’t she get the construction workers to take english lessons! We do live in the United States, not Mexico! There would be no way that I would be “made” to take spanish lessons just so I can have the cheap workers that Armando has working for him understand me! Armando and Veronica needs to not worry so much on how to make so much money, and learn how to treat people with respect and dignity. Money isn’t going to get them anywhere in life with values like they have.

  6. I keep getting charged $29.95 a month for what??!! I stupidly gave these scammers my credit card to pay for shipping for Armando’s “free” book four months later – January 2010 the charges begin.

    I have sent them numerous emails but no response so far!! My bank is helping me but the charges keep coming third one jsut hit today!

    DO NOT INVEST ANY MONEY IN THIS COMPANY! The only thing they will flip is the money out of your wallet/purse.

  7. I’m engaged to Armando’s nephew. This family sure is one hell of a crazy family, but I must say Armando definitely knows what he is doing. I’ve seen it firsthand. I mean he’s making a living for himself isn’t he? Don’t put someone down you don’t even know. I must say though, the show makes them out to be people they’re not. But, what else is new in the TV world? The point is-forget the hate & show some love! Oh and wish me luck becoming a Montelongo!

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