What your favorite HGTV stars did before they were famous
Who hasn’t cozied up on the couch, turned on HGTV, and suddenly lost an entire afternoon? There’s something so soothing about watching other people buy houses, remodel, redecorate, and flip them. It can even start to feel like the HGTV hosts are our own personal friends, but how much do you really know about some of your favorite HGTV stars? We did some digging to discover what all the biggest names on HGTV were up to before they hit the big time, and we’ve ranked them by their estimated net worth. Keep reading, and what you learn about these popular HGTV stars will definitely surprise you.
30. Jessie Rodriguez
Jessie Rodriguez is one half of the duo behind Vintage Flip, one of the newer shows on the HGTV lineup. Together with his wife Tina, Jessie seeks out old Southern California homes ready for a new lease on life. The pair tackle renovations, add custom design elements and resell the homes for a tidy profit in every episode.
Before he hit our screens, Jessie Rodriguez had big dreams of becoming an architect. He told HGTV’s Design Blog, “Life took me the long way around, but it seems I got to my dream. I may not have the technical education of an architect nor know how to draw plans, but now I design based on my vision and the architect puts my thoughts on paper.” As of this writing, Rodriguez’s net worth is unknown.
NEXT: Let’s check in with Jessie’s better half to see what she was doing before her HGTV fame.
29. Tina Rodriguez
Before Tina Rodriguez started flipping houses on HGTV, the perky blonde was a marriage therapist. She told HGTV’s Design Blog, “This is a job I can see myself going back to after my kids are in college. I loved this job! Meeting so many types of people and them trusting me with things they had never told a soul was so special to me.”
It’s not all sunshine for the Rodriguez family, however. They are reportedly feuding with the stars of HGTV’s Flip or Flop. Allegedly, after Jessie and Tina made an appearance on Flip or Flop and were offered their own show, the El Moussas got jealous and stopped speaking to them. We hope the old friends can find a way to patch up their relationship!
NEXT: You might not know her face, but this lady has more than made her mark on HGTV.
28. Andromeda Dunker
As a voice actor, Andromeda Dunker might not get name recognition. Yet, the second she opens her mouth you’d be sure to recognize her as the former narrator of House Hunters. Andromeda lent her vocal talents to the series for about ten years and has narrated over 1,500 episodes of House Hunters.
Before she was the melodious voice narrating the home buying show, Andromeda had aspirations as an actress. When a talent agent heard her speaking voice, she was advised to apply for voice work and the rest is HGTV history. Andromeda’s net worth is estimated at around $250,000, but odds are we haven’t heard the last of her sing-song voice.
NEXT: She’s half of a popular mother-daughter duo, but she wasn’t always a successful house flipper.
27. Mina Starsiak
Freckle-faced and spunky Mina Starsiak is a driving force on Good Bones, which she co-hosts with her mom Karen. The two ladies often get their hands dirty, working on demos, renovations, and other projects themselves alongside hired contractors. Before the HGTV show came along, Mina and Karen had started a house flipping company called Two Chicks and a Hammer.
While the company was getting on its feet, Mina actually worked full time as a waitress, jumping into renovation projects on her day off. She recently had her first baby with her husband Steve Hawk, and her current net worth is estimated at $500,000. Knowing Mina’s hard-working attitude, her net worth and her star will likely continue to rise.
NEXT: The grass is always greener in this HGTV host’s yard.
26. Chris Lambton
Chris Lambton stars in the landscaping series Going Yard, but citizens of Bachelor Nation will recognize him from somewhere else. Lambton was a contestant on The Bachelorette in 2010, known then as Chris L. Before his HGTV and Bachelor Nation fame, Chris was an independent landscaper.
Due to the success of Going Yard, you can also catch Chris on Lawn & Order, Yard Crashers, and Best Ever Treehouses. He has an estimated net worth of $1 million. Going Yard fans know we won’t see Lambton on The Bachelor again any time soon. He married his wife Peyton in 2012 and they have a daughter named Lyla.
NEXT: This HGTV star is super crafty and on her way to being quite wealthy too.
25. Karen E. Laine
Karen E. Laine (right) is the other half of Mina Starsiak’s Two Chicks and a Hammer business and the co-host of Good Bones. Fans love the way she finds little treasures in the course of renovations and uses her creativity to add crafty details to the restored homes.
Karen wasn’t always getting her hands dirty, however. Before she appeared on Good Bones, she was actually a defense attorney, making this redhead a real jack of all trades. Her net worth isn’t in need of renovation either. Karen’s currently worth an estimated $1 million. Not bad for a self-taught house rehabber!
NEXT: Let’s spring for a trip to the desert to see what this star was up to before her fame.
24. Lindsey Bennett
As fans of Desert Flippers, we love Lindsey Bennett for her mid-century aesthetic, contagious energy, and down to earth humor. Together with her husband Eric Bennett, Lindsey flips some very beautiful homes in Palm Springs, California. In addition to working hard on homes in the desert sun, the Bennetts are also raising their young children.
Before she had her hands full with an HGTV show and a family, Lindsey lived in Wisconsin and went to business school. After dating her husband Eric for just two months, they started flipping homes together. Lindsey currently has an estimated net worth of $1.6 million.
NEXT: On the flip side, let’s see what Eric Bennett was doing before he found his way to HGTV.
23. Eric Bennett
Super fans of Desert Flippers might already know the answer to what Eric Bennett did before the show. In some light-hearted moments, Eric loves to bust out his radio voice. That’s because before he was famous, Eric actually did work as a radio DJ. However, Eric had other experiences that really translated to success in the real estate market.
Before they left Wisconsin, Eric became a loan officer, and from this experience, he learned a lot about the distressed property and foreclosure markets. In addition, his family is chock full of real estate agents and developers, so he grew up surrounded by people with the know-how to flip houses right. His net worth is also estimated at $1.6 million.
NEXT: Before this stager found on-screen success, she had a long career behind the scenes.
22. Meridith Baer
You know Meridith Baer from her show Staged to Perfection, where she helps real estate agents stage properties to maximize their value on the market. You might not know that she fell into the field of staging completely by accident after helping a friend sell their house for well above the asking price.
Before she was decorating properties, Baer worked as a screenwriter and an actress, with small roles in Happy Days, Eight is Enough, and CHiPs. Her current net worth is not known, but according to reporting by Entrepreneur, her business brought in $1.7 million a month as of 2014.
NEXT: Before he became an HGTV star, this popular host competed for his spot.
21. David Bromstad
We first got to know and love David Bromstad on the premiere season of HGTV Design Star. Since then, he has gone on to host his own show Color Splash with David Bromstad and Color Splash Miami. He’s also a mentor on HGTV Design Star and the host of My Lottery Dream Home.
There’s a reason David has such a great eye for color and design. Before he was famous, he studied animation and illustration and actually worked for Disney as an illustrator. These days, David has an estimated $2 million net worth, which we hope gives him plenty of cash to visit the happiest place on earth whenever he wants a little more inspiration.
NEXT: Time to head to the islands to learn more about this HGTV star.
18. Vern Yip
Atlanta based designer Vern Yip was already an established interior designer when TV talent agents came calling. He first hit the screen in season four of TLC’s Trading Spaces, and he’s been a mainstay on HGTV ever since. You probably know him as a judge on HGTV’s Design Star and from his series Deserving Design.
When Vern isn’t working on his TV shows, he’s raising two kids with his partner Craig Koch. Though Vern has thought about opening a design firm in Atlanta, for the moment he’s happy with his work on HGTV. With a net worth at about $3 million, who could blame him for wanting to keep things just the way they are?
NEXT: Chris Lambton isn’t the only HGTV star with a Bachelor Nation past.
17. Jillian Harris
Before she was an HGTV star, Jillian Harris was already a great interior designer. However, she first got our attention when she appeared on The Bachelor in 2009. Jillian didn’t win the final rose, but she was so beloved by fans that she was selected to be The Bachelorette later that same year.
Since then, Jillian has been one busy lady. She stars as the designer in Love It or List It Too, plus she has her own line of home goods and decorations. She’s announced that she’s working on a vegan cookbook and recently had a baby with her longtime boyfriend. Jillian works hard for her money, and she’s earned a net worth of about $3 million.
NEXT: This HGTV host came up with the idea for his show while he was still in college.
16. Scott McGillivray
Scott McGillivray hosts Income Properties, a show where he helps homeowners turn properties into rentals so they can bring in more money each month. Scott came up with the concept while doing a project in college, and he later developed it into a valuable business model. However, he had an interesting detour before he hit it big.
At one point, Scott was in a boy band called Next Element, and he has the hair gel and dance moves to prove it. These days, he’s busy raising his daughters with his wife Sabrina and enjoying his $4 million net worth. The way things turned out, he probably doesn’t regret saying “bye bye bye” to his boy band past.
NEXT: This star has been through some major changes in recent years that rocked the HGTV community.
15. Tarek El Moussa
We got to know Tarek El Moussa as one half of the seemingly happy couple hosting Flip or Flop. However, in 2013 Tarek battled with cancer and in 2016 his marriage to wife Christina ended, shocking fans. The show went on, and the two are still working together on the series, although Christina has moved on with a new husband.
Before the drama and the fame, Tarek was so broke he actually lived in his mom’s garage. Not content to stay where he was, Tarek hustled hard, doing things like selling knives and cleaning trucks. His hard work paid off big, and Tarek’s estimated net worth is about $4 million.
NEXT: This HGTV star is keeping it in the family business.
14. David Visentin
As a co-host on Love It or List It, David Visentin specializes in finding exciting real estate opportunities to persuade homeowners to sell their houses. He competes against home designer Hilary Farr to see whose offers the homeowners prefer. Before David played a real estate agent on TV, he actually practiced real estate for a long time.
David’s father was also a real estate agent, and David went into business with his dad back in 1987. He worked in real estate in Ontario, Canada until Love It or List It discovered him in 2008. After all those years working in real estate and on TV, David has a net worth of about $4.2 million.
NEXT: This rising star is one half of one of the hottest new HGTV power couples.
13. Ben Napier
Home Town stars Ben and Erin Napier are poised to become the next big HGTV stars, and it’s easy to see why the pair are being compared to HGTV royalty Chip and Joanna Gaines. Their rustic style and simple small town lives are incredibly appealing, and viewers enjoy basking in their on-screen love.
Before he was discovered by HGTV, Ben Napier had his own woodworking company, Scotsman Co. On Home Town, Ben’s woodworking skills really come in handy. Thanks to Home Town, this small town Mississippi man is now worth about $5 million. We think that Home Town is just the beginning for the Napiers.
NEXT: Check out what Erin Napier was doing before she made it to your TV screen.
12. Erin Napier
Erin had a business of her own before Home Town, creating and selling stationary. She met Ben Napier in college where she studied graphic design and they were married in 2008. Their wedding was featured in Southern Weddings, which led to Erin’s Instagram coming up in an HGTV scout’s feed. The rest is binge-worthy TV history.
Erin and Ben recently welcomed their first baby into the world, a daughter named Helen. They also have two very handsome Great Pyrenees dogs Baker and Chevy. That’s a lot of mouths to feed, but since Erin also has a net worth of $5 million we’re willing to bet they have plenty to go around.
NEXT: Before she was on HGTV, this designer wanted her MTV.
11. Genevieve Gorder
You know Genevieve Gorder as a judge on HGTV’s Design Star, but that wasn’t her first time on the screen. She also appeared on Trading Spaces, where her smart designs and quirky habit of working barefoot captured our attention. She also had her own HGTV show Dear Genevieve, and she hosted a 2015 walk-through of the White House Christmas decorations.
Before she was known for her designs, Genevieve had a stint on MTV as a commentator on the show Sex in the ‘90s. With such a long TV career, it’s no surprise that Genevieve has stacked up plenty of cash for herself. Her net worth is estimated at $5 million.
NEXT: Heading up the top ten, she split from her co-host and now she’s worth even more than him.
10. Christina Anstead
We first met her as Christina El Moussa, but since splitting from her ex-husband Tarek Christina has remarried. At the time of this writing, she even has a baby on the way with her new husband Ant Anstead. She also has her own show now, Christina On the Coast, in addition to continuing her work on Flip or Flop.
Before she made it to HGTV, Christina was a real estate agent. After she and Tarek rode out the 2008 real estate crisis together, they figured out how to turn flipping houses into a serious business. Flip or Flop has been on the air since 2013, and Christina’s current net worth is estimated at $6 million.
NEXT: This HGTV star has won an NAACP Image Award for her book Keep Calm It’s Just Real Estate.
9. Egypt Sherrod
You’d have to be in serious denial to say that Egypt Sherrod hasn’t had a spectacular career. At just 19-years-old, she got a job as the music director for a radio station in Philadelphia, becoming the youngest music director in the country. Since then, she’s been a popular radio personality and a real estate agent on the side.
You know her from Flipping Virgins and Property Virgins, but she’s also the CEO of an Atlanta real estate group. Egypt has a lot to keep her busy, and her impressive net worth shows that her work is paying off. She’s currently worth about $6 million.
NEXT: Don’t go far, this home designer is about to do the time warp!
8. Hilary Farr
As a little girl, Hilary Farr dreamed of becoming a ballerina. Next, she pursued acting and even played a bit part in Rocky Horror Picture Show – she’s the bride at the wedding Brad and Janet attend at the beginning of the movie. After many twists and turns, her life led her to her passion for home design and a hosting job on HGTV’s Love It or List It.
In her free time, Hilary loves spending time with her spoiled Pomeranian Queen Mimi and doing activist work to protect endangered elephants. She’s also a fan of snacking on fried pickles, and with a net worth of $7 million, she can order all the pickles her heart desires.
NEXT: This rehab addict attracts plenty of controversy, but what was she like before the fame?
7. Nicole Curtis
Instead of Rehab Addict, you could call Nicole Curtis’ show Drama Addict. From secret pregnancies to public feuds with exes and multiple lawsuits, Nicole Curtis is no stranger to being in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. However, before she was famous, Nicole’s life was very, very different.
Nicole worked her way through school as a waitress at Hooters and IHOP. After having her son Ethan, she started cleaning houses on the side in addition to waitressing full time. She taught herself to rehab homes during this time, leading HGTV to discover her and change her life. She now has a net worth of about $7 million.
NEXT: Before he made it to HGTV, this star’s bank account was a real fixer-upper.
6. Chip Gaines
Fixer Upper star Chip Gaines was pretty much broke when he married his wife and co-star Joanna. The couple actually ran out of money on their honeymoon and had to come home early. On another occasion, Chip went to jail for unpaid tickets.
Of course, all along Chip was hustling to flip houses and improve his skills. By the time HGTV came along, the couple’s flipping business was more profitable, and they now are worth $8 million each. Although Fixer Upper went off the air in 2017, it remains one of the more popular shows that HGTV has ever had.
NEXT: We’re heading into the top five with Chip’s other half.
5. Joanna Gaines
Joanna Gaines (right) didn’t always dream of flipping houses. In college, she studied broadcast journalism and actually interned for Dan Rather at CBS. After school, she went to work in her dad’s tire shop where she met Chip. The two had a whirlwind romance and got married in 2003, less than a year after they met.
In interviews, Joanna has recalled how in the early days of their marriage they paid for everything in cash, sometimes even struggling to buy groceries. Times have certainly changed for this couple. They now worth $8 million each, and reportedly are working on launching their own home improvement channel.
NEXT: Get ready for some double trouble! Let’s find out what our favorite twins were up to before their HGTV shows.
4. Drew Scott
Along with his twin brother Jonathan, Drew Scott hosts the hit series Property Brothers and spin-offs Buying and Selling, Brother Vs. Brother, and Property Brothers: at Home. But before he was half of a dynamic HGTV duo, Drew Scott was an aspiring actor with $100,000 in debt.
Though Drew found some small success as an actor playing Superman’s body double in the TV show Smallville, he and his brother turned to real estate to support themselves while they followed their dreams. It turns out combining real estate with television has paid off handsomely for Drew. He’s worth an estimated $10 million.
NEXT: You won’t believe what Drew’s brother Jonathan was up to before Property Brothers!
3. Jonathan Scott
Just like his brother Drew, Jonathan Scott is no stranger to money problems, at least in the past. While Drew struggled to make a career as an actor, Jonathan was interested in becoming a magician. Unfortunately, his magic tricks didn’t make money appear and at one point Jonathan actually filed for bankruptcy.
Though he still likes to do magic tricks from time to time, Jonathan’s investment in real estate has kept his bank account from disappearing. With his current net worth estimated at about $10 million, Jonathan should have enough to buy plenty of rabbits to pull out of hats for many years to come.
NEXT: Keep going, we’re almost to the top!
2. Mike Holmes
The star of Holmes on Homes, Holmes Inspection, and All American Handyman knows how to get homeowners out of trouble when renovations go wrong. He knows so much because he has actually been involved in construction his whole life. Mike Holmes’ dad was in construction and started teaching him some of the tricks of the trade when he was just six years old.
When he was 21, Mike started his own renovation company, and he has been working in the field ever since. As one of the most popular HGTV stars, Mike also has almost the highest net worth at $30 million.
NEXT: Can you guess which HGTV host has the highest net worth?
1. Ellen Degeneres
Combining the fun of a design competition show with the personality and charm of host Ellen Degeneres basically created our perfect TV show. Ellen’s Design Challenge is as much fun as everything else Ellen touches, and we are officially fans.
Before she was HGTV famous, Ellen was already regular famous. However, even before that, Ellen was a struggling stand up comedian who waited tables at TGI Friday’s to make ends meet. These days, Ellen has a daytime talk show, a Netflix special, a net worth of $450 million, and a long career specializing in making us smile. Who could ask for anything more?